You’ve met that special someone and now you’ve decided to spend the rest of your lives together.
But the glow of engagement often gives way to loads of stress once you realize that planning that dream wedding is a big undertaking, to say the least!
To help you out, we’ve put together a handy, comprehensive wedding planning checklist to help you consider all the options. Use this as your guide to know what you need to do — and most importantly, when you need to do it — to make sure your big day goes off without a hitch.
The ideal length of time to plan a wedding is about 12 months. But if you have less time than that, it’s okay! The key is to make all of the big decisions and purchases up front. Then you’ll be running right on schedule the rest of the way.
- Set your budget: 12 months
- Plan your guest list: 11-12 months
- Book your venue: 11-12 months
- Set your date: 11-12 months
- Hire a wedding planner: 12 months
- Select a caterer: 10-12 months
- Hire photographer: 11-12 months
- Hire DJ or live musicians: 8-11 months
- Hire videographer: 7-11 months
- Buy wedding dress: 9-10 months
- Shop for other wedding attire: 10 months
- Take engagement photos: 9-10 months
- Create your wedding website: 9-10 months
- Book hotel room block for out-of-town guests: 9-10 months
- Order and send save-the-dates: 9-10 months
- Select and order invitations: 6-10 months
- Book florist: 7-9 months
- Book officiant and begin premarital counseling if required: 6-9 months
- Set up wedding gift registry: 6-9 months
- Hire bakery and select wedding cake: 6-8 months
- Select bridesmaids’ dresses and schedule fittings: 6-8 months
- Book rehearsal dinner: 6-7 months
- Select hair and makeup artist: 6-7 months
- Order rental items including chairs and other furniture, linens, draping, plates and cutlery, dance floor and tent: 6-7 months
- Finalize guest list: 6 months
- Plan vows: 6 months
- Plan honeymoon: 6 months
Now that you’ve taken care of the biggest decisions, you’re ready to start filling in the details. Early fittings allow plenty of time to make any necessary adjustments to your wedding dress and other attire. And of course you need to get that all-important marriage license!
- Begin wedding dress fittings
- Buy or rent groom’s attire
- Buy wedding rings
- Schedule hair and makeup trials
- Book transportation for wedding party and guests
- Get your marriage license
- Update passport if you’re traveling overseas for wedding or honeymoon
Now is the time to get those invitations in the mail. You also need to begin finalizing your wedding plans and making payments to vendors.
- Send invitations and track RSVPs: 3 months
- Create day-of timeline: 3 months
- Finalize menu with caterer: 3 months
- Finalize ceremony with officiant: 3 months
- Plan music selections with DJ or musicians: 3 months
- Order wedding-day paper products including ceremony program, menus, place cards and table numbers: 3 months
- Plan guest favors or gift bags: 3 months
- Order gifts for members of your wedding party: 2-3 months
- Buy wedding shoes and start breaking them in: 2-3 months
- Start creating any DIY items: 2-3 months
- Finalize floral design: 2-3 months
- Confirm and pay vendors: 2 months
- Check to make sure wedding party has all necessary attire: 2 months
- Send rehearsal dinner invitations: 2 months
- Confirm lodging for out-of-town guests: 2 months
- Buy a guest book: 2 months
Less than 30 days until your special day! This is when the finer points of your wedding come into sharper focus.
- Confirm day-of timeline with vendors
- Finalize ceremony outline
- Create seating chart
- Finalize day-of plans with wedding party
- Print wedding program, escort cards, place cards and other paper items
- Final dress fitting
- Schedule nail and spa appointments
- Assemble gift bags or favors for guests
- Conduct a final venue walk-through
- Confirm all vendor and rental payments
Final 2 Weeks
Now that you’re on the home stretch, it’s time for more final confirmations, payments and pampering yourself.
- Check on RSVP stragglers and confirm final headcount, menu and deliveries with all vendors
- Finalize transportation for wedding party and guests
- Confirm photo requests with photographer and assign a contact person for photographer
- Finalize venue setup and takedown plans
- Prepare day-of payments and gratuities
- Provide vendors with emergency contact information
- Clean and press all wedding attire
- Get engagement and wedding rings cleaned
- Pack for honeymoon and share itinerary with family
- Pack a day-of bag for items you’ll need at the ceremony and reception, including emergency items
- Enjoy any pre-wedding beauty treatments including manicure, pedicure, waxing, eyebrows, hair color or massage
Can you believe it’s already Wedding Day Eve? Just a few more things to take care of before your celebration begins.
- Finalize arrangements with caterer and venue
- Confirm honeymoon transportation
- Print your vows if needed
- Attend rehearsal
- Eat healthy and drink lots of water
- Pack last-minute items to take to wedding and reception: rings, marriage license, attire, driver’s license, wallet, money, passport, payments and tips, umbrella, snacks, water
- Get a good night’s sleep — you’ll need to be well-rested for your big day!
- Set your alarm
Day of Your Wedding
At long last! After months of seemingly endless planning, your big day has finally arrived. This is your special day, so take a deep breath and soak it all in.
- Stay off your feet until the wedding begins
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Stay hydrated
- Lay out attire and accessories for photographer to capture beforehand
- Thank all of your guests for coming
- Relax and enjoy!
After the Wedding
There will still be things left to do after the wedding. So be sure to tie up these remaining loose ends while you’re still basking in the glow of your newly-wedded bliss.
- Send thank-you notes for wedding gifts
- Return all rented items
- Confirm that all vendors have been paid
- Handle any name changes on driver’s licenses, social security card, etc.
- Review and select wedding photos
- Have a great marriage!
Keep this checklist close at hand to ensure that your wedding goes smoothly.
And contact Les Bourgeois Vineyards to learn how to host your special day at the most unique wedding destination in mid-Missouri!