Below, you will find a wedding planner checklist to help you with your wedding planning and to have a good idea of the timeline involved in planning for your wedding.
Please note that this is simply a guide and although it is very useful, you must keep in mind that the circumstances of each person’s wedding will dictate the type of wedding ideas you can implement as your budget will be a big factor in planning your wedding.
Even though this is simply a broad or general plan, it should still prove very useful for you in your preparations. And before rushing off to buy an expensive wedding planner book, the check list below should give you a very good outline of what is involved in your organizational plans.
12-18 months remaining to your wedding
Plan your budget:
1. What do you have saved? What can you give up? Is your family helping to pay for the wedding? Do you need to borrow? How much is your future partner contributing?
2. Pick an approximate date for your wedding. Be flexible! It may change one or two weekends based on the availability of your desired wedding location and the theme of your wedding.
3. Check out wedding styles and themes (i.e., destination weddings, outdoor weddings, traditional church weddings, beach wedding, tropical wedding?).
4. After researching wedding styles, decide on the type of wedding that best suits you and your partner, and your budget.
5. Based on your budget and wedding theme, decide how many people you would like to invite and whether you are going for a small wedding or a bigger, more luxurious affair.
(Remember, the cost per guest for food ranges from about $50 for a casual h’ors d’oueves style wedding with a closed bar and up to $250 for a fancy sit down meal with an open bar)
6. Check out ceremony and reception locations based on the number of people invited, your budget, and the wedding style you have chosen. Pick three or four and visit them with your partner.
7. Finalize the wedding location and date – make necessary down-payments.
8. If you are having an engagement party, consider doing a registry.
9. Check out wedding dresses – the internet is a great place to do so initially to let you see the options available from plus size wedding dresses to low back to maternity etc. (Dress orders are normally required 6-18 months in advance)
10-12 months remaining
1. Check out wedding photographers and set up meetings with, at least, three over the next 2 months; take a look at their work and see how you get on with them on a personal level which is important on the often tension filled big day.
2. Decide on the wedding favors for your guests; start searching for ideas now.
3. Are you going to design your own wedding rings? Or buy directly in the jewelers?
4. If you are designing your own rings, research ideas of interest.
5. If you are buying your rings, start browsing now. People leave this till the last minute but since it’s something you’ll wear the rest of your life, start searching early.
6. If you have people coming in from out of town, look into a viable hotel option and put a hold on a suitable number of rooms. (Note: the farther you book in advance, the better the rate)
10 Months remaining
1. If you are not getting married in a church, think about who you want to have marry you? Take this month to do the research. Set up meetings with at least 3 people over the next 2 months.
2. Continue wedding dress shopping if you haven’t found your dress yet.
3. Consider taking your bridesmaids and matrons of honor shopping. It is important to choose their dresses early if their dress colors will determine your color scheme.
4. Think about color schemes and themes for your wedding – some people decide this based on what their bridesmaid(s) and maid of honor choose for dresses.
5. Making your own wedding invitations? Start looking at how you want to make them and start looking for ideas.
9 Months remaining
1. Meet with officiants, photographers, church person or priest.
2. If you are getting married in a church, determine what wedding classes you are required to take and sign up for the class(es); if getting married in the Catholic Church you may need to do a pre-marital course.
3. Pick three wedding favor ideas with your partner and put them aside for 2 months.
8 months remaining
1. Go suit shopping for the groom – buy or rent?
2. Finalize the guest list.
3. Making your own wedding invites and save-the-date cards? Put together 3 designs and put them aside for 1-2 months.
4. Consider doing your registry(s). 4-6 months is the norm but, as you can see, there isn’t much to do in month 8. You don’t have to inform people of this for 2-4 months.
5. Start getting addresses and appropriate names/titles for people you are inviting to your wedding.
7 months remaining
Review what you have done so far and ensure that at this stage you have a pretty firm idea of wedding invitations and stationery, wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses and location of your wedding together with hotel accommodation for your out of town or country guests.
6 months left
1. Are you putting music together for your wedding? If so, start putting aside 40 songs/month.
2. If you are making your rings, decide on the style of ring and get things started with your rings’ designer.
3. Finalize your rings, wedding invites, wedding favors and limousine hire if you are going this route.
5 Months left
1. Print addresses for invites, having decided on your three favorite invites, and decide which one you are going to use – make necessary color adjustments if necessary.
2. Start creating/modifying your vows.
3. If you haven’t found your wedding dress, start looking at online wedding dress stores/designers, off-the-rack dresses, and dress rentals.
4. Continue looking for rings if necessary.
4 months left
1. If you are modifying or creating your wedding vows, look at the suggestions given to you by the priest or officiant and talk to your partner about what you would like to include in order to make them personal.
2. If you haven’t done your wedding registry, do it now – this is the latest you’d want to leave it.
3. Check out your wedding flower options and decide on the florist if you are hiring one to do your table decorations.
3 months left
1. Groom should look for shoes for his suit and discuss with the best man what he is going to wear.
2. Research and decide on table settings and make sure you have the correct names and address for everyone you are inviting to your wedding.
3. Address and stamp your wedding invites ready for postage.
2 months left
1. Send out wedding invitations.
2. Finalize your table decorations.
3. If you haven’t already chosen a ring, do so now as it is getting late in the day.
4. If you have a flower girl/ring bearer, take a trip with the parents of these children. Visiting a few stores without the kids the first time would be a good idea. Once you see a store with suitable styles, only then take the children.
5. What are you doing the night before the wedding?
Are you having a rehearsal? Do you have a lot of people coming into town? If you want to organize a special dinner, set up a reservation at a convenient restaurant for YOU and make an appointment to determine the menu.
1. Finalize your vows.
2. Organize up to three dress fittings – it may take a few visits to get it perfect!
3. Buy the flower girl and/or ring bearer outfits.
4. If you are having a rehearsal dinner, finalize menu for the rehearsal dinner.
Meet and greet your guests from out of town, run through your last minute checklist in relation to seating arrangement, wedding flowers and table decorations.
Have a great day!!
Hopefully, the wedding planner above will act as a useful checklist for your wedding planning. Do keep in mind that it is only a guide for the big day on which you will tie the knot, but should force you to plan and budget to ensure that your wedding day is a special one and one that you can really look forward to on your calendar, secure in the knowledge that you have done the necessary wedding planning.