An expert, comprehensive wedding checklist for brides to help with the crucial stages of their wedding planning. From a detailed wedding to-do list, working out a budget, deciding on who to invite to actually choosing your suppliers, all whilst handling the emotional speed bumps we all face along the way.
WHY DID I CREATE THIS CHECKLIST?
As a wedding expert and professional party planner, I was sure that I had everything I needed to plan my own special day. However, when it came to it, I found that there was still so much that I hadn’t thought of before and nobody warned me about! I couldn’t find the information I needed on existing wedding blogs and even the ‘best’ wedding planning checklists I found online didn’t answer all my questions.
WHY THIS CHECKLIST IS DIFFERENT?
This inspired me to create for you, a full, comprehensive but simple wedding checklist, so that you have everything in one place, and nothing can be forgotten or missed. More than that, I’ve also created extra help for budget planning, guest list advice and other wedding planning tips that I’m sure will help you plan your wedding along the way. You’ll receive it as a free bonus straight to your email.
WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE IT?
Why not? Wedding planning is a stressful thing to undertake, no matter how amazing the result, and I’m offering help because sharing is caring! These days, ‘nothing comes for free’. Well, forget about that, because everything I’m offering here can be yours completely F-R-E-E of charge.
Now read this step-by-step wedding planning timeline and a printable list of all the essential things you will need to do for your big day.
CONGRATULATIONS – YOU’RE ENGAGED!
It’s all happening, and there’s so much to do! It’s time to celebrate, but it’s also time to get the ball rolling and start planning your amazing wedding.
I know it can be pretty daunting, realising you’re in charge of the biggest day of your life, but don’t worry! I’m here for you, every step of the way.
I’ve created this great timeline checklist to walk you through the planning of your special day, step by step. Ready? Let’s go!
YOU GOT A RING ON IT – LET’S START PLANNING!
❏ Before anything else, take some time to celebrate and enjoy your newly engaged status!
❏ Tell everyone your big news, especially those who will be receiving an invite at some point
❏ Make the first draft of your guest list
Tip: You’ll need to know some approximate numbers to guide your budget and venue discussions. Start on paper, or go straight into a spreadsheet, which will be easy for you to update with addresses, RSVPs, and meal choices later on. Check out these 7 essential tips for making your wedding guest list
❏ Set your wedding budget
Tip: Work out how much can you realistically save each month, and find out if any family members are willing and able to help you out. Use these tips and tricks or keeping your wedding costs down
❏ Make a wedding folder
Tip: This will be your go-to place for all things wedding, so scribble down any ideas you already have, like overall vibe, style, time of year, type of food, colour scheme…
11 MONTHS TO GO
❏ Research and visit potential reception and ceremony venues
Tip: Find out what’s included in each package, and check how much you can change your guest count. Read everything you need to know about venue choice here.
❏ Check a local registrar or officiant is available for the ceremony date and time you want
Tip: Some venues won’t let you book until your registrar is confirmed
❏ Book your venue and pay your initial deposit
❏ Arrange wedding insurance
❏ Begin the search for your wedding photographer
Tip: Shortlist your favourites and arrange meetings, think of any questions you want to ask, and get them booked, as top photographers get booked up well in advance! Check out our tips for choosing your perfect photographer and videographer.
10 MONTHS TO GO
❏ Start shopping for your wedding clothes
Note: You need to make an appointment to visit many bridal shops, so get your girls together and make a booking. There’s often a long lead time on dresses, so it’s never too early to start your search.
❏ Shoot engagement photos with your new photographer
Tip: An engagement shoot is a great chance to get some lovely pics of the two of you. Images can be used for your save the dates, or as a central part of your wedding day
❏ Finalise your guest list
Tip: Ask for any addresses you don’t already know, and add them to your spreadsheet
❏ Decide who will be in your wedding party
Tip: Remember to include your maid of honour, best man, bridesmaids, and groomsmen, if you’re having them all
❏ Sort out your wedding website
Tip: You can include a link to it in your Save the Dates so people have somewhere to go for extra information
❏ Design, order and send Save the Dates
9 MONTHS TO GO
❏ Decide what kind of food you want and arrange caterers if you need to
Tip: Use this guide to wedding catering to help you choose
❏ Start looking at invitations, place name cards and table plans
Tip: If you’re going to make your own invites, start working on designs and plan out when you need to get things done
❏ Hire a Wedding Coordinator to make sure your day runs smoothly and to schedule
Tip: If you don’t want to hire one, or can’t afford to, you could ask a friend to take on the role
8 MONTHS TO GO
❏ Meet florists and talk about the flowers you want for decor and in your bouquet
Tip: Seasonal blooms are usually cheaper as they don’t need to be cultivated especially
❏ Choose the type of music you want to feature
Tip: It could be a DJ, a band, a string quartet, or any number of other options – check out this tips to help you decide what wedding music you need for your bid day
❏ Pull together images of wedding cakes you love, and decide what you want it to look and taste like
❏ Discuss ideas for your wedding shower, hen do and stag do with members of your wedding party, who may plan it for you
7 MONTHS TO GO
❏ Book your florist and confirm your choice of flowers and designs
❏ Book your musical entertainment, and any other entertainment you want to feature
❏ Choose a videographer to capture your day on film
❏ Get professionals booked to do your hair and make-up on the day
❏ Start looking at dream honeymoon destination(s) and making plans for your post-wedding break
6 MONTHS TO GO
❏ Think about rehearsal dinner options
❏ Meet with your officiant to discuss the format and style of your ceremony
❏ Start thinking about your vows and any readings you want to feature
❏ Start marital counseling, if required
❏ Meet with everyone who is helping to plan and run your day to check everything is under control
❏ Book your cake maker
❏ Set up your wedding registry and add details to your website
5 MONTHS TO GO
❏ Book your honeymoon flights and accommodation
Tip: If there are specific activities you’d like to do while you’re away, consider adding them to your gift registry
❏ Make sure your passport is up to date
❏ Sort out any suits that need to be ordered, bought or hired
❏ Scope out wedding ring options and decide what you both want
Note: If you want anything bespoke there will be a bit of a lead time to consider
4 MONTHS TO GO
❏ Add columns to your guest list for RSVPs, meal choices, and song choices
❏ Finalise plans for your rehearsal dinner
❏ Order or buy your wedding bands
❏ Order invitations and stationery, unless you’re making your own
❏ Book your wedding transport
❏ Check in with whoever is planning your hen do and find out where you need to be and when
3 MONTHS TO GO
❏ Send wedding invitations with a clear RSVP date
Note: Remember to include information about menu choices, your wedding website, registry, local accommodation, and any other details your guests need to know about the day
❏ If you need any extra bits for the day, like aisle runners, centerpieces, or lights, buy or rent them
❏ Make sure you’re on schedule with anything you’re making yourself
Tip: Enlist bridesmaids or family members to lighten the load
❏ Book dress fittings for that perfect fit on the day
2 MONTHS TO GO
❏ Work on your wedding vows, if you’re writing your own
❏ Check everyone in your wedding party has got their outfit sorted
❏ Write a packing list for your wedding night
❏ Write another packing list for your honeymoon
❏ Give notice at your local register office
6 WEEKS TO GO
❏ Start wearing your wedding shoes around the house
Tip: No bride wants blisters so get comfy in those shoes ahead of the big day!
❏ Confirm guests travelling from out of town have booked accommodation
❏ Start work on your table plans
Note: Table plans take time, so be prepared to make a lot of adjustments before you’re happy with a final layout
❏ Buy a guest book and a nice pen for people to use
❏ Check you’re totally happy with your wedding party’s outfits, shoes, and accessories
❏ Finalise your vows, ceremony wording, and readings
❏ Buy gifts for members of your wedding party to say thank you for their involvement and support
1 MONTH TO GO
❏ Put together your seating chart display to guide people to their tables
❏ Book nail, hair, tanning, waxing and spa appointments
❏ Make final payments to all your suppliers
❏ Create your wedding playlist, or pass song choices to your DJ or band
❏ Confirm all your rentals and when they will be delivered
❏ Create a wedding timeline spreadsheet
Tip: A handy spreadsheet with details of when things will be delivered/collected, and when things will happen on the day will help keep everything clear in your head
❏ Share details of all your suppliers and your wedding timeline spreadsheet with your coordinator
Tip: Sit down with them and walk through the timeline for your day, so you’re both totally on the same page
❏ Attend your final dress fitting
Tip: Take along your shoes and accessories to check everything goes together perfectly
❏ Get any wedding programmes printed
2 WEEKS TO GO
❏ Check with guests who haven’t RSVP’d
❏ Confirm final head-count, menus, meal requests, and delivery with your caterers
❏ Confirm requirements with your photographer
Note: Remember to tell them about family shots and group shots, key times across your day, and any special locations or items that you definitely want to capture
❏ Get outfits steamed, cleaned or pressed if required
❏ Make sure everyone involved in venue set-up and take-down knows what the plan is
❏ Share a transportation schedule with your providers
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN – 1 WEEK UNTIL YOUR WEDDING
❏ Enjoy all your pampering treatments
❏ Pack an overnight bag with the essentials from your packing list
❏ Put together an emergency kit
Tip: Think plasters, make-up, headache pills, mini deodorant, safety pins, breath mints, and tissues!
❏ Pick up your dress, or get it delivered
❏ Give your vendors the number of your wedding coordinator
Tip: If there are issues on the day, let someone else deal with them
❏ Nominate a family member or friend to be the photographer’s contact
Tip: Pick someone who knows everyone and will make sure the right people are in the right shots
24 HOURS TO GO
❏ Drop off favours menus, table plans, decorations, props, and place cards at your venue
❏ Rehearse the ceremony with your officiant and wedding party
❏ Confirm your honeymoon transport if you’re heading straight to the airport
❏ Set an alarm, and a back-up
❏ Print out or memorise your vows, if you’ve written your own
❏ Socks, underwear, bra
❏ Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
❏ Comfortable shoes
❏ Snacks and water
IT’S FINALLY HERE – YOUR WEDDING DAY!
❏ GET MARRIED!
❏ Take a few minutes after your ceremony to be together
❏ Pause throughout the day to appreciate all your favourite people being together to celebrate with you
❏ Take it all in. Your day will fly by, but these are memories that will stay with you for a lifetime
AFTER THE WEDDING
❏ Send thank you cards to everyone who helped with set up, came as a guest, and bought you gifts
❏ Check in with your photographer and find out when you’ll get a teaser of your images, and all the rest of them
❏ Return any rented clothing, props, and accessories
❏ Make sure your vendors have been paid in full
❏ Start the process of making any name changes needed on your important documents and accounts
❏ Get your dress and any other clothing you’ve bought dry-cleaned and carefully stored
❏ Raise a glass and toast to your new married life together, it’s time to live happily ever after!
Until then, enter your email address below to receive the free download of this super planning checklist!
More wedding planning tips & advice:
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Marketing Manager at Poptop – UK Leading Events Planning Concierge Service