Oooooh someone is reading my Wedding Planning Checklist, this can only mean one thing, you recently got engaged.
C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S!
Now the fun really starts. Chances are this is your first rodeo too. Don’t worry I have you covered, in this document I have shared tips and resources to help you plan your dream wedding. It is true that not every wedding is planned a year in advance, so you might have to fast forward some details on my 12 month timeline.
I really hope you enjoy the wedding planning process. So let’s get cracking and get those checkboxes ticked!
Okay okay, so you have replied to all the “Got Engaged to …” comments on Facebook, what now? Like building a house you need to lay the proper foundations. Setting a BUDGET (and sticking to it) will help you narrow your guest list, potential venues and emphasize what is most important to you and your fiancé. For example is the bar bill more important than the flowers, do you skimp on the food to get a great band, these are all decisions that the two of you will have to take and yes this can be rather stressful, so why don’t you crack open a bottle of wine, cook a lovely meal, get a note pad and talk, but don’t forget to listen too.
Once you have a number that you both agree upon, this is when you can really start to have so much fun, going to different venues and visualizing the ceremony area, the fairy lights at the reception or this is the perfect spot where we will open the dance floor.
- Get inspired! Visit inspirational Instagram accounts such as @junebugweddings, @dirtybootsandmessyhair, @heywildweddings or create a mood board on Pinterest
- Decide on a budget depending on what is most important to you
- Hire a planner (this is optional, depending on your budget)
- Reserve your date at your dream venue
- Research photographers, caterers, officiants, bands, florists, rentals and so forth
- Start a digital folder or Excel spreadsheet to track your quotes, invoices etc
- Book accommodation for your wedding night
- Research your dream wedding dress
EIGHT – TEN MONTHS
Wow where have those 4 months gone to? You should have found and booked your dream venue and now that you know the space that you are working with, inspiration must be flowing from every corner of your imagination. You have probably woken up in the middle of night thinking, OMW I must not forget this or that. So now that you have researched a Wedding photographer and or videographers, you should now book these two vendors as soon as possible, some photographers get booked up more than a year in advance. Make sure you have made the right choice here, as it can be a very long day if you have someone who you just can’t vibe with. Once your photographer is booked, schedule an engagement shoot, this is the perfect opportunity for you to meet with your photographer, feel awkward and hopefully comfortable by the end of the shoot and just have fun during this shoot!
Wedding dress time! Most girls know more or less what their dream wedding dress should look like. So grab a few girlfriends and head to those bridal stores. Be opened minded, try them all, drink champagne and take ridiculous selfies! This is also the time when you need to start thinking, guest list. You will be surprised how far people will travel for a free meal! Advice here, have a Guestlist A and Guestlist B. Wait for RSVP’s from Guestlist A and take things from there. Remember this day is ABOUT YOU and not about “Aunty Mary” (who you haven’t seen in 20 years) who will feel offended if she doesn’t get an invite. By the way, Aunty Mary would be in Guestlist C!
- Hire your wedding photographer and/or videographer
- Create your wedding website and add additional elements as you go
- Choose your colour scheme
- Select your wedding party & start your wedding guest list
- Buy your wedding dress!
- Meet with the caterers
- Create your gift registry and register at your favourite brands
- Book the officiant
- Schedule hair and makeup artists
- If you’re having a destination wedding, read up on getting married abroad
Okay so most of your budget has been blown! YAY! That means you have made progress! So now its time to find well respected vendors in the area. If you are not sure about a vendor do your homework!
It is important to have finalized your guestlist by now as you would need to know how many free meals you would need to cater for! (: Send those Save The Dates!
This is also a great time to start researching Honeymoon destinations if you don’t have one, or if you do, start researching the things you could do!
- Create and send your wedding save-the-save and e-vites
- Suggest nearby accommodation options for your guests
- Finalise your guest list
- Start planning your honeymoon!
- Choose the bridesmaids’ dresses
- Reserve any rentals you may need for the venue (chairs, tents, linens etc)
- Book a florist
- Book a DJ / Band
- Go to your first wedding dress fitting
- Choose your shoes and accessories
- Purchase the rings
FOUR – FIVE MONTHS
Feeling insane yet? You are more than half way through! Well done, but this is also the time when time magically disappears from you and you will need to make detailed decisions. But its also the time you can have your cake and eat it too! YUMMY! Cake testing time. If you love a flavour ask for another piece, I mean you have to make sure this IS THE ONE, right? You might also want to think about your bridal shower / kitchen tea and your bachelorette / bachelor parties. Make a list of who you would like to invite and hand it over to one of your birdesmaids / groomsmen.
I always say people will only remember your wedding for two things, the food and the music. So time to sit down and decide on your processional song and your reception playlist.
- Arrange transportation – if your venue is out of town
- Go cake tasting! Decide on your cake flavour and style
- Book the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner venues
- Send your bridal shower guest list to your host
- Choose your processional song and reception playlist
- Purchase the groom’s suit and accessories
- Provide a guest list to both the maid of honour and best man for bachelor party, bachelorette party and bridal shower
And breathe! So time to tick off a few minor details such as food, floral arrangements, your confetti, the programs and menus. Try getting these done as soon as possible so that you can focus on the bigger things in the months to come.
Together take this time to decide on your ceremony readings and then plan to meet with your officiant to discuss how you could make your ceremony more personal. Don’t rush this process, it is one of the most important moments during a wedding.
Your second wedding dress fitting should be scheduled during this time too. #WeddingDietToFall after this fitting.
- Take your engagement photos in a stunning location!
- Your second wedding dress fitting
- Work with your caterer to finalise the menu (including special dietary requirements) and numbers for the reception
- Finalise the florals for the event with your florist
- Finalise the event schedule and create the wedding day timeline
- Design and print your programs
- Decide on your confetti
- Order your wedding favours if your budget allows
- Meet with the officiant and confirm readings from friends and family as well as anything else you would like to include in the ceremony
So everything should be under control at this stage. Take this time to touch base with all of your vendors and make sure you are all on the same page. Sometimes pages get muddled up with other pages.
This is also a great time to meet up with your photographer over a cup of coffee or even a skype session. Talk about the timing of your day and make sure that you have allocated enough time for the important moments of a wedding. If you are unsure of any questions, make a list and fire away.
Your wedding playlist should also be finalized by now, meet up with your DJ / Live Band and discuss what should be played and what should be avoided! #noRkelly
You have earned what’s instore for your bachelorette / bachelor parties, good luck and remember a hangover is just a reminder of the awesome time you had.
Tip: Hangover tip – greasy breakfast!
- Print your menu cards
- Meet with your photographer to discuss your timeline, day-of plans and specific shots you are wanting
- Review the playlist with the band and DJ; and provide them with “don’t play” and “must play” lists
- Let loose at the bachelor and bachelorette parties!
- Send out as many final payments as you can
- Touch base with all vendors
- Make sure all the groom and groomsmen attire is finalised – remember the socks!
- Write your wedding vows
OH MY SHATTERED ERBS! You are now officially one month away from the best blurred day of your LIFE!
This is crunch time, tick off all those little details on your to do list!
Time to get your dress! YAY!
So by now you have received all your RSVP’s and you will now have to create your seating chart, please don’t break up during this process. Crack open another bottle of wine and remember the day is about you!
- Attend your last dress fitting
- Send out the rehearsal dinner invitations
- Purchase your alcohol if your venue does not supply and finalise your signature cocktails if needed
- Confirm times for all of the vendors
- Send out your wedding day timeline again
- Create your reception seating chart
- Purchase wedding party gifts
- Make sure all members of the wedding party know their roles and duties for the wedding day
- Arrange snacks and champagne for the bridal parties on the wedding day (request no onion or garlic!)
Well here we go! One week and you are on the home stretch! This might be a great time to take some time off work and get those few things crossed off your list. Rope in family members or a friend to help you.
Check in again with all your vendors, make sure the wedding party knows their roles and remind family members of exactly their roles on the day.
Pack your honeymoon suitcase, don’t forget sunblock and your passport!
- Touch base with all vendors
- Ensure the vendors and wedding party has the final wedding day timeline
- Send the final guest list and numbers to the caterer
- Outsource any small tasks to family and friends
- De-stress at a spa!
- Make sure your wedding shoes are comfortable and non-slippery
- Pack for your honeymoon
- Check this box to accept that something WILL go wrong / will run late on the wedding day and you should just laugh it off and just have an amazing time!
AFTER THE HONEYMOON
- Get your marriage license and officially change your name!
- Pay all remaining balances to vendors
- Clean and preserve your wedding dress
- Write ‘thank you’ cards
Click here to download a PDF version of the Wedding Planning Checklist