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Your Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist

Updated on October 30, 2015

Your wedding day is probably something you have been dreaming about since you were a little girl. This is the day where ideally, all your dreams are supposed to come true. However, brides-to-be often find that the more magical they want that day to end up, the more torture the weeks and months leading to it could be. Especially if you choose not to get a wedding planner and try to do things yourself, you may find yourself biting off more than you can chew.

Once you have set the date for the big day, immediately create a timeline and make a checklist of the things that need to be done within specific periods. Remember that this timeline will be crucial to how your magical moment will turn out, so strictly adhering to it is a must.

Eight to Nine Months Before

Start working on a working budget at least nine months before the wedding, as a lot of the decisions you will be making will be based on this. Create a wedding binder or folder that will contain everything that you need for the wedding and the preparations that will lead towards it. Start making a guest list and consider who’s going to be part of your entourage. You should also start reserving venues as early as now. If the ceremony and the reception will be held at two different venues, always consider the distance between the two, so that you can have ample time to move from one place to the other. Book the person who will be officiating the ceremony as well. You can also start browsing through magazines and other sources for designs that could serve as inspiration. Research on bands, photographers, caterers and florists, and keep all the information you will gather on your wedding binder.

Eight months before the date, start reserving the best band or DJ you have in mind. Might as well hire a photographer and videographer too. Start choosing a caterer for the event and book them right away. Go through your guest list and see how many would need accommodations if you have guests coming from out of town. If there are a lot, consider reserving hotel rooms as early as now. This is also the best time for you to start shopping for a wedding dress. Choose at least three wedding registries and launch a wedding website, making sure that you send the link with the invites.

Six Months Before

Plan your honeymoon now, checking if your passports need to be renewed. Start having invitations made and send out save-the-date cards. Book your florist of choice since you probably have a pretty good idea of what your theme or motif would be. Shop for bridesmaids’ dresses as well. Make sure you have all the documents that you need for the wedding, and start discussing the flow of the ceremony with whoever will be officiating it. Consider other technical stuff you may need. If you’re planning an outdoor event for example, you might need additional lighting. Arrange for transportation that will be used on the day itself. Start planning the program for the reception as well.

Three to Four Months Before

Start planning the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner venues four months before the event. Check the available menus and start booking the places. Double check the invitations and see if anything needs to be edited. Order your wedding cake now, making sure that you attend a few cake tastings before deciding on a final one. Shop for wedding shoes and make sure you start wearing them during fittings. Start checking for hair and makeup artists as well, making sure that you take a picture each time you try out their work so that it would be easier to compare the results. Choose the music that will be playing, and make sure you also compile a list of songs that you do not want to hear playing on your big day.

Finalize the menu and the flowers three months before the event. Consider favors you’ll be giving out to guests. Make a list of the people you would want to speak at the reception ceremony and start talking to them one by one. Finalize what readings you would like to be read at the ceremony and consider the people you want to read them. Finalize the order of the ceremony and the reception as well. Start sending your event schedule to vendors so that they can create their own timeline. Start purchasing the rings so that you’ll have time for any resizing and engraving.

Check on all the vendors and see if everything is going according to plan around two months before the wedding. Walk through the venues with your photographer and discuss what kind of shots you want and which spots you think they should take a picture of you from. Review your playlist with the band or DJ. Start sending out invitations, making sure that you set the cutoff for the RSVP three weeks after you send them out. This is also the perfect time to submit wedding announcements to publications.

One Month Before

Start putting names of guests into a database, and start contacting people who have not responded to your RSVP. Get your marriage license, which usually takes around six days to process. Don’t postpone this until the last minute in case you encounter a few problems with it. Send out the rehearsal dinner invites and start paying your vendors if possible. Have your last fitting done as well. Start mapping out seating assignments and send out directions to drivers as needed. Confirm all schedules with vendors and start stocking up the bar.

The Week of the Event

Now that you’re days away from the actual wedding, it’s time to make sure that everything is set for the big day. Talk to all your vendors and check for preparedness. Choose people you can delegate small tasks to, such as people to take care of the gifts and someone to bring your things for you. It is also best to assign a point person for each vendor so that you can concentrate on your big day. Have your dress delivered or pick it up. Set aside checks that will be paid to vendors, making sure you have someone who will be handing out tips to each of them. Plan a day at the spa before the wedding day to give you the chance to calm your nerves and relax. Pack for your honeymoon so that you’ll be ready to leave after the event. Send your final guest list to your caterer and to the venues.

Having a checklist makes everything so much easier, and would help you stay on top of things throughout the preparation period. It allows you to find solutions right away anytime a problem arises. By having a thorough checklist like this, you can stop any problems before they even start and this would help you avoid a lot of the unnecessary stress that brides-to-be often go through. It also helps you keep track of people to talk to and things to prepare so that you don’t miss out on anything really important. Once you have completed everything on the list, all that you have to think about is looking and feeling your best on your way to the altar. By now, you can finally have that perfect magical moment that you have dreamed of since you were a little girl.

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    • doris and me profile image

      Mohammad Tanvir Ibne Amin 2 years ago from Dhaka

      A very good weeding planning checklist. I must apply it before my weeding.

    • kgmonline profile image
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      Geri Mileff 2 years ago from Czech Republic

      Wow, thanks, @doris and me. And congrats in advance! Let the bells of happiness ring today and everyday until your special day! :)

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