Wedding Planning Checklist – What To Do & When

Our wedding planning checklist aims to guide you through the process from start to finish. For most of us, until we get engaged and start planning our wedding it’s the first time we’ve done it. And it’s daunting! But it doesn’t need to be mega stressful. If you haven’t already read How To Stay Organised When Planning Your Wedding and Mistakes To Avoid When Planning Your Wedding they will help with your planning process too. So run through this wedding planning checklist, mark the relevant items in your calendar/planner/timeline and stay ahead of the game.

12+ Months before

  • Set your wedding date
  • Set your budget (Budget Calculator click link to open in browser, click File, Download As, Microsoft Excel – will go to your Downloads folder or give you an option of where to save and you can then fill it in)
  • Draft guest list
  • View and book church and/or reception venue
  • Start researching the type of wedding you want and get Pinning!
  • Book wedding planner if using
  • Choose your bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Send Save The Date cards (only to those guests attending the whole day)
  • Find and book vendors:
    • Photographer and videographer – have an engagement shoot with your chosen photographer
    • DJ/Band/Entertainment
    • Caterers if necessary
    • Transport
    • Florist
    • Stationer
    • Toastmaster
    • Cake supplier
  • Meet the vicar/priest/minister/registrar
  • Check when you have to register your banns etc.
  • Book your honeymoon and make sure you don’t forget travel insurance
  • Take our wedding insurance
  • Start wedding dress shopping – if you’re ordering a couture dress you need to start now. For designer dresses then you need to allow 4-6 months for ordering. Alterations will need to be done 4-6 weeks before the wedding.
  • Now’s a good time to start a healthy eating and exercising regimen. Even if you don’t need to lose weight and are super fit with flawless skin good habits will help your energy levels. For the rest of us mere mortals it takes time and commitment to make sure we look good on our special day!

wedding planning checklist - wedding venue

6+ Months before

  • Order or make your wedding invitations and discuss on the day stationery with your stationer. Orders of Service/Day, Placename Cards, Menu cards, Table Plan, and Thank You cards all need to be booked in.
  • Order the wedding cake
  • Buy wedding shoes and accessories
  • Book make up artist and hairdresser
  • Buy BM’s dresses, suits for the groom & his groomsmen, flower girls & pageboy outfits
  • Book the honeymoon suite for the night of your wedding if you’re not flying off immediately afterwards
  • Decide on your gift list so that you can include details with your invitations
  • Check what vaccinations, if any, are needed for your honeymoon and put a reminder in your diary to have them done
  • Book time off work for your honeymoon and also some strategic days off for other wedding related things
  • Create your wedding website if you’re having one
  • Choose your wedding breakfast menu
  • Book marquee/chairs/tables/crockery etc if having a garden wedding
  • Discuss flowers with your florist and order

wedding planning checklist - wedding invitation

3+ Months before

  • Initial wedding dress alterations
  • Make sure you’re looking after your skin so that you look your best on the day
  • Buy wedding rings
  • Send wedding invitations if you haven’t already
  • Order venue décor and table decorations
  • Choose wedding music and readings
  • Organise wedding party gifts
  • Plan hen and stag parties – get your chief bridesmaid and best man involved!
  • Check the final numbers deadlines for the venue/caterers and put a note in your diary to chase RSVP stragglers
  • Book a final trim/colour for your hair for a week before the wedding
  • Go through play list with your DJ/band
  • Order or make your favours
  • Hair and makeup trials

wedding planning checklist - dress fitting

1 Month before

  • Final fitting and alterations of your wedding dress
  • Touch base with your wedding vendors to make sure everyone has all the correct details and everything is on track
  • Have hen/stag parties
  • Finalise your seating plan and get the details to your stationer
  • Have a wedding rehearsal if you think it’s necessary. This is commonplace in the U.S. but I’m not so sure about in the U.K. If you then end up hosting a rehearsal dinner it adds to the cost of the whole wedding.
  • Arrange to pick up hired suits and find out when they have to be returned by
  • Anyone making a speech should be writing it and practicing it!
  • Have a professional facial
  • Wear your wedding shoes around the house for a short while every day – you don’t want to be hobbling on your wedding day!
  • Consider buying ivory/white/cream umbrellas – useful if it rains and handy if it’s very hot as a parasol!
  • Buy or organise guest book, cake knife etc.
  • Go over your shot list with your photographer

wedding planning checklist - wear in your wedding shoes

1 Week before

  • Have hair trimmed and coloured
  • Make sure the wedding party is all on the same page as to what they’re supposed to do and when
  • Pack for your honeymoon
  • Pack a wedding emergency kit – don’t forget snacks
  • Buy foreign currency for the honeymoon
  • Have another professional facial – at the beginning of the week in case you have a skin breakout afterwards
  • Get your beauty treatments done such as waxing, fake tanning, eyebrow shaping etc.
  • Organise your Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue & A Sixpence In Her Shoe
  • Print out a list of all the wedding suppliers details to give to whoever has been designated to co-ordinate on the day
  • Have some “you” time – make sure you relax and don’t get stressed
  • Clear your desk at work – and don’t take on any new projects!
  • Pick up wedding dress
  • Pick up rings
  • Get vendor payments ready

wedding planning checklist - pick up wedding rings

24 Hours before

  • No work – you should have booked this day off already (see 6+ months before!)
  • Get a Mani/pedi – as late as possible to avoid potentially damaging the polish afterwards
  • Put out everything you will need for tomorrow – don’t have a last minute on the day panic!
  • Don’t be tempted to drink alcohol, it may prevent you from getting a good nights sleep
  • Have an early night

wedding planning checklist - get a mani/pedi

Wedding Day

If you’ve followed our wedding planning checklist you should be ultra organised and on top of everything. Something is bound to go wrong on the day, but it’s how you deal with it that matters. Remember that it’s just one day, and it’s not worth getting totally stressed about things that can’t be controlled.

  • Relax and enjoy the day to the full
  • Take a few moments in time with your new husband/wife to just be in the moment. The day will go by so quickly so try to ‘be present’

wedding planning checklist - enjoy some moments together

Go through this wedding planning checklist and break it down into items that you can delegate. Have a planning meeting with all the relevant people in the wedding party and create a personalised wedding planning checklist for each person getting involved. That way you both know what’s expected of them and when. You can then touch base with them at the relevant times to make sure that everything is on track.

Happy planning!