Congratulations! You’re engaged and now the planning begins!

Wedding planning can be fun and exciting but it can also be daunting and stressful- it doesn’t have to be that way. If you fail to plan you plan to fail. Having a checklist and planning ahead can take a lot of stress out of the whole wedding planning equation. Being organized is key. Get a binder and keep track of everything-receipts, ideas, contracts, etc.

Below is a planning checklist to go through to help simplify your process. I have set this around 12 months of planning but this can be altered to any amount of planning time (we did ours in 8 months). If you have more time you can complete tasks sooner or spread them out and if you have less time you will just have more tasks to complete in a shorter amount of time, you can simply your day, or delegate tasks.

  • Before jumping in set a reasonable budget within your reach and then begin to plan within your budget. Make sure you include everything in your budget-cake, hair/makeup, venue, dress, rentals, DJ, Photographer, etc. From your budget create a dream board of what you want your day to look like- colors, flowers, outdoor wedding, theme, etc. Knowing what you want will make the planning process go much smoother and help you stay on task.

Here's a free printable Wedding Planning Checklist that I put together to help make your planning process a little easier

*Don’t get stressed! It’s one day not the rest of your life.

*Have fun!

*Go with the flow! Not everything is going to turn out the way you want and that’s ok! Your day will be beautiful regardless.

12 months

  • Start thinking of time of year you would like to get married and narrow it down to a few dates.
  • Begin considering venues
  • Assemble your bridal party
  • Begin meeting with vendors to see is a good fit for you

9-11 months

  • Book your vendors. Many couples begin booking at 12 months so don’t put this one off!
  • Book your venue
  • Decide on colors and theme
  • Check with your Pastor or Officiant to see if they are available and if they have any pre-marriage requirements
  • Purchase your wedding dress and shoes
  • Contact a seamstress if dress alterations are needed

8-10 months

  • Purchase jewelry and hair accessories
  • Begin to put together your music reception list
  • Book a block of rooms for out of town guests (if needed)
  • Schedule your engagement session. This can really be scheduled at any time. Many couples like to use images from their engagement session for their Save the Dates or on wedding websites.

6-7 months

  • Send out Save the Dates
  • Schedule any rental items (tables, chairs, etc)
  • Choose/Purchase Bridesmaids dresses

4-5 months

  • Plan and book your honeymoon. This one can get lost in the wedding planning equation. If you want to go away right after your wedding be sure you make plans and book your room.
  • Have your wedding invitations printed
  • Create your wedding registry (2-3 stores) Keep an eye on this one. When I did my registry, I had to keep updating it as items became discontinued and/or out of stock
  • Rent/Purchase Groom and Groomsmen attire
  • Book your wedding rehearsal dinner location (if needed)
  • Plan your wedding rehearsal dinner menu

3 months

  • Purchase/finalize wedding decor and favors. You may not be able to purchase favors until you have a head count but know what you want and once your head count is in be sure to cross this off your list.
  • Purchase wedding bands

2 months

  • Mail your wedding invitations
  • Finalize your wedding menu
  • Confirm your flower choice, number of bouquets and boutonnieres, etc.
  • Confirm song choice with DJ/Band
  • Schedule a trial appointment for hair/makeup
  • Meet with your photographer to confirm shot list and day of schedule. We sit down with all our couples to go over all wedding details, schedule for your wedding day, a detailed listing of post-ceremony photographs, other desired photographs, etc.

1 month

  • Create a seating chart. This can become quite stressful, I suggest if you are going to have a seating chart that you not put it off. Some couples will do assigned seats for parents and grandparents only to alleviate the stress. If doing a seating chart for everyone, rip it off like band aid! You can get through this but don’t put it off :)
  • Finish any DIY projects
  • Apply for your marriage license
  • Go for your last dress fitting
  • Create your day of timeline and share with bridal party, parents, etc.
  • Confirm your number of guests with caterer and venue
  • Schedule your wedding rehearsal
  • Break in your wedding shoes. If you plan to wear your pretty shoes all day be sure to break them in by wearing them before the wedding day. You do not want scrunched up uncomfortable feet on your wedding day.

2 weeks

  • Make sure that all wedding vendors have been paid in full. Don’t add to your wedding day to-do list, be sure everyone is paid beforehand so that you have one less thing to worry about.

Day before

  • Wedding rehearsal
  • Wedding rehearsal dinner

Wedding day!

  • Hair/Makeup
  • Lunch-Make sure you eat something!
  • Get dressed
  • Get married
  • Relax! …and live happily ever after!

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