Planning a wedding is a tall order. There are a million moving parts to keep track of, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed. But don’t stress — we’ve put together this handy checklist to help you stay on top of everything and (more importantly) make sure all the pieces come together in time for your big day.
10-12 Months Before Your Big Day
• Throw an engagement party.
• Draft your guest list. Start a spreadsheet to track addresses, RSVPs and any other pertinent information.
• Select your bridal party.
• Come up with a budget.
• Choose a venue for the ceremony and reception and reserve the date.
• Pick an officiant.
7-9 Months Before Your Big Day
• Choose your caterer (if your venue doesn’t offer catering).
• Choose your photographer.
• Choose your florist.
• Book your wedding entertainment (DJ, band, musicians for the ceremony, etc.).
• Go on cake tastings and choose your favorite.• Research wedding invitation options—will you DIY or go with a pro?
• Book your transportation.
• Start dress shopping. Bear in mind you need to leave time for alterations and 2-3 fittings.
• Decide on bridesmaids dresses. If your bridesmaids will have several options to choose from, let them know. If you’re going shopping with them, pick a date and go! Remember they’ll need time for alterations, too.
• Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
• Create your registry.
6 Months Before Your Big Day
• Send out save the date cards.
• Select and purchase your wedding rings.
• Book your honeymoon.
• Draft a schedule for your ceremony and reception.
3-5 Months Before Your Big Day
• Choose a rehearsal dinner venue and send out invites.
• Choose groom/groomsmen tuxes.
• Book your hair and makeup stylists.
• Do a test run for bridal hair and makeup.
• Order (or make) wedding favors.
• Make sure you have contact information for everyone on your guest list.
• Provide your guest list to the person hosting your shower (if they ask for it—remember, you’re not supposed to plan this yourself!).
• Decide on ceremony readings and whether you’ll write your own vows.
• Choose your music—ceremony songs, first dance, “do not play” list for the reception, etc. and have a meeting with the concerned wedding DJ or band who is going to perform on your big day.
• Print menus and programs if you’ll have them.
• Buy your shoes and start your dress fittings.
2 Months Before Your Big Day
• Send out invitations.
• Time for the bridal shower!
• Gather all the info you’ll need to change your name (if you’re doing that).
• Buy any undergarments you’ll need and have your second dress fitting.
• Confirm that your bridal party has their attire all set.
• Purchase any accessories you still need (garter, “something blue,” jewelry, etc.).
• Confirm details with all vendors.
• Create your wedding announcement for local papers.
1 Month Before Your Big Day
• Time for the bachelor/bachelorette parties!
• Gather your RSVPs and enter them into the spreadsheet you created.
• Create your seating chart.
• Sent out rehearsal dinner invites.
• Send out thank you cards for shower presents.
• Get your marriage license.
• Third dress fitting (if you need it).• Send final payments to your vendors.
• Confirm with people giving readings/toasts.
• Buy bridal parties gifts.
• Pick up your wedding rings.
• Purchase any ceremony/reception items you still need (unity candle, guest book, cake cutting utensils, etc.).
1-2 Weeks Before Your Big Day
• Provide your caterer/reception venue with the final head count and seating chart.
• Confirm final schedule details with vendors (one more time) and wedding party.
• Pick up your dress.
• Get a facial, massage, wax, etc. if you like.
• Put together welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.
• Check out the weather report and confirm your backup plans if you’re having an outdoor wedding.
• Pack for your honeymoon.
1 Day Before Your Big Day
• Get a mani/pedi if you like.
• Time for the rehearsal dinner! (Don’t forget to give out bridal party gifts.)
• Lay out everything you’ll need for the big day.
• Put together envelopes for any lingering vendor payments/tips.
• Confirm day-of tasks with wedding party: who will collect your gifts after the reception ends, return the groom’s tux, deliver payments to vendors, etc.?
• Triple-check your alarm and get some rest!
The Big Day
• Breathe, relax and enjoy your day! Whatever happens now happens. Let your maid of honor/best man field any minor emergencies and let the rest go.