Weddings are certainly one of the most exciting and precious moments in anyone’s life, but it can also be stressful if you don’t have a wedding checklist to mark off what you have done to see what you need to do. So to save you a bit of stress, we’ve created the ultimate wedding checklist, which is based on a 12-month engagement, to keep you on track and at the same time, enjoy the process more.
9-12 Months Ahead
- Set your budget. Sit down with your fiancé and talk about how much you should spend for your wedding. It’s also a good idea to decide ‘who will pay what’ so both of you will know what to expect and at the same time manage your budget even better.
- Select the wedding date and reserve the venues. Pick a wedding date that’s not only significant for you, but something that will work well for everyone involved. Once you picked your date, it’s important to also book the venue for your ceremony and reception as soon as possible as popular wedding venues and hotels are usually fully booked one or two year in advance.
- Pick your wedding party: maid of honor, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearer, etc. Once you’re engaged, your family and friends will start wondering who will be involved in your wedding ceremony, so it’s best to also select your wedding party at the earliest stage of planning.
- Begin compiling your guest list. Start listing the people you will invite. This is very important to give you an idea how much to spend on your wedding. This will also help you select the right venue for your wedding reception.
- Hire a wedding planner or coordinator, if desired. This is certainly optional. If you have family members and friends who can help you plan your wedding, then it’s okay to not hire one. But if you have the budget and want to ensure that everything will go smoothly, then hiring one is recommended.
- Research potential wedding pros: photographer, videographer, band or DJ, caterer, florist, make-up artists, hairstylist, etc. Start searching for all the professionals who will handle some of the most important tasks at your big day. The thing is, there are so many options out there; and if you haven’t planned any party before, you might just get overwhelmed with the vast options; so start your research now.
- Start browsing for your wedding dress. It’s also important to browse wedding gowns as soon as possible to get an idea what to wear on your wedding. This will also give you a lot of time to compare, shop, and find a designer/tailor (if desired).
- Send save-the-date cards. This is particularly important if you’re planning to get married in a distant location or you have guests that live far away. Save-the-date will give you and all your guests an ample time to get ready for a distant travel.
6-9 Months Ahead
- Start hiring your team of wedding pros. Well, there’s no need to talk about any specific details about the wedding yet, but at least make sure that the vendors that you want to work with are available for your wedding.
- Find and book your officiant. A wedding officiant is that one who leads the wedding ceremony. Contact the person in advance and schedule meetings before the wedding.
- Choose bridal party attire. Of course, you would also want to think about how your bridesmaids and groomsmen will look the day of the wedding. Include them in the selection process to make the task less overwhelming.
- Select and order your wedding gown. It usually takes months to create and deliver a wedding gown, so it’s very crucial to order it as soon as possible. Selecting your gown in advance will also give you enough time to make alterations if needed.
- Register for gifts. You should also sign up for gift registry to avoid any duplicate gifts and make sure that you get what you really want.
- Choose cake design and schedule menu tastings. Schedule menu tastings to ensure that the food is great.
- Research and reserve accommodation for guests. If you’re expecting guests from distant places, you definitely want them to have a nice place to stay.
- Create a wedding website. This is totally optional, but it is also considered important today. With a website, not only you can post pictures of you and your fiancé, but you can also include important information of your wedding, which your guests can find useful, including directions on how to get to your venue, RSVP forms, and any important changes about the wedding.
- Start planning your honeymoon. Discuss with your fiancé where you would spend your honeymoon. Planning ahead will give you enough time to set your budget, get your desired accommodation, and prepare the documents you need for the travel, such as passport and visa.
4-6 Months Ahead
- Finalize your guest list. Decide whom to invite. If you’re on a tight budget, only invite those who are truly most important to you.
- Reserve any items needed for your wedding ceremony and reception. Book everything you need for your wedding ceremony and reception – from tables and chairs to lighting components and speakers.
- Meet with your officiant. Talk about the details of the ceremony – the prayers, readings, order of events, and so on.
- Select and purchase wedding invitations. Search for the design of invitation you want, then find a designer who can make them. If there are any changes you would like, inform your designer.
- Finalize and purchase wedding party attire. Order the dress and attire for your wedding participants as early as possible as alterations may also be required.
- Purchase your accessories and start dress fittings. Also start shopping for your wedding accessories, such as shoes and jewelry. Then make sure to bring them with you during your first fitting so that you and your tailor will better determine any necessary alterations.
- Decide on favors and gifts for your party. If you have budget for party favors, then you should start thinking about them at least 4-6 months before the wedding. This will give you enough time to prepare them or find a vendor who will make them.
- Choose your music. Wedding songs are extremely important, so start making your list as early as possible. Decide what should be playing when you walk down the aisle, when the party is announced, or when the food has arrived.
- Schedule trial-run appointments with your makeup artists and hairstylists. Make a few appointments with your makeup artists and hairstylists so that you’ll get an idea how you will look at your big day.
- Book your hotel room and arrange your transportation. Reserve a room where you would stay the night after (or even before) the wedding. Also book transport for the big day; you can choose whatever you prefer – limousine, car, minibus, or trolley.
2-4 Months Ahead
- Mail your invitations. Send out your invitations so your guests can finally better prepare about their travel and gifts.
- Book rehearsal-dinner venue. If you’re planning to have a pre-wedding ceremony the night before the wedding, book the place where you want to celebrate it, at least 2 months in advance.
- Finalize the menu and flowers. Talk with your caterer and florist about the service details.
- Finalize the order of the ceremony. Meet with your officiant and wedding coordinator, then discuss and finalize the details of the ceremony.
- Meet with your vendors. Once the details of the event are finalized, meet again with all your vendors to inform them about the details. This will allow them to prepare better as well as make any necessary changes.
- Write your wedding vows. If you want to write your own wedding vow, start making it now.
- Purchase the rings. At least 3 months before the wedding, you should start shopping for wedding rings. This will give you enough time for resizing and engraving.
2-8 Weeks Ahead
- Apply and obtain your marriage license. Start working on your marriage license and other necessary paperwork.
- Review final RSVP list and notify your coordinator. Call any guests who have not yet responded so you’ll know what to expect. Once you have the final head count, notify your coordinator and caterer.
- Make any last minute adjustments with your team of wedding pros. Again, meet with your vendors and confirm all the necessary details. If there are any changes that you think need to be made, tell them.
- Confirm honeymoon reservations and start packing. Call the hotel or resort where you plan to spend your honeymoon and confirm your reservations; then begin packing for your vacation.
- Get final haircut and color, if desired. If you want to color your hair or get a haircut, schedule it at least 2 weeks before the wedding date.
- Have your final dress fitting. Again, don’t forget to bring your shoes and accessories with you on your final fitting.
1 Week Ahead
- Prepare final payments to your wedding vendors. Organize the money to be paid to all your vendors and suppliers.
- Pick up your dress. Get your dress. Or if you don’t have the time, make an arrangement to have it delivered to you.
- Break in your shoes. If your shoes are new, you would want to try them first, or better yet wear them around the house, maybe at least a few hours a day to become comfortable with them.
- Delegate small wedding-day tasks. Everybody wants to have a perfect wedding event. Assign some tasks to your friends and family members to ensure that everything will go smoothly at your big day. Choose someone who will be in charge of the gifts, who will look after the party favors, who will carry your things, and so on.
- Relax and let your coordinator do his or her job.
- Stay calm and enjoy your special day.
Of course, we know that not all weddings are the same. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may want to skip some of the tasks mentioned – that’s totally okay. Likewise, you can add some tasks (that you think we missed) if you desire. This wedding checklist is just a simple guide to help you get organized. And don’t stress out if you aren’t able to finish a task in the timeframe specified above, just relax and complete it when you can.