The Ultimate Wedding Checklist

Heather Kuplast // Writer & Editor

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Creating your Wedding Checklist

Your wedding checklist will be a lifesaver when it comes to planning. You will want to be overly prepared when it comes to the planning. This is usually why most couples decide to have a long engagement. If you’re having a bigger wedding it will obviously require more planning than a smaller wedding. You don’t need to have this long of an engagement; you can make it happen in a short amount of time, but this is recommended to keep you on track and a little less stressed.

What do you need for a wedding checklist?

You should have a checklist broken down by times like you will find below. The checklist should have everything you can think of. No matter how small it is you should add it to the list. If you plan to get your nails done, even the small things like that should be on there. You generally just want it to keep you and your fiance up to date on what needs to be done, and it allows you to split up the work.

What does a Bride need to do Before Marriage?

Before the wedding there are a few important things you want to think about. You can start with your looks and how you want to look on your big day. You will want to start looking into someone to do your hair and make up, if you plan on hiring someone. If you have a goal weight then you’ll want to start working towards that. You can also look into vitamins for hair and nails, vitamins in general are important so it is never a bad idea to do that.

There are a bunch of self care things you can do to be prepared for the wedding so you feel and look your best like getting a facial, your eyebrows done, mani/pedis, hair appointment, ect. You may not need all of these, but if it makes you feel good and more prepared you should add it to the list.

What does a Groom need to do Before Marriage?

Grooms should focus on the most important thing, that being the engagement planning, and if you can get through that with a yes then you are off to a great start. Before the wedding you will want to think about a few things as well. If you want to try a new hairstyle for the wedding then try it out before so you can see if you like it, and you wont need to try to fix a bad hair cut days before. If you have a goal weight then you’ll want to start preparing for that, and of course self care to prepare you for the big day. Women have a lot to do, but men can also look into the pampering side so they also feel and look their best for their big day.

Before you Get Started

You will want to build your checklist based off of a timeline. Choosing when you want to get married is the first step, and from there you can start to build your checklist. You don’t need a long engagement if you don’t want one, but that means you will have a lot more to do in a shorter amount of time. Standard engagement time is about a year, so most of the checklist you find will cover that, but you can add more to each section to make it fit your timeline.

From 1 to 2 Years Before the Ceremony

If you planned for a long engagement then you are all set to start the planning. If you have more than one year then you can pace this out to be nice and easy. We recommend starting with these item during this time:

  • Tell all your family and friends!
  • Choose your wedding date, or a few just to have options
  • Begin looking at venues
  • Set up a wedding website
  • Start saving for your wedding fund
  • Decide how many people you’re willing to invite for your budget

More Helpful Ideas

1 Year Before Your Wedding

So you’ve hit the one year mark and you’re ready to get a little deeper into the planning. You should have a pretty good idea forming in your head, and now you get to search to find exactly what you want!

More Helpful Ideas

10 to 12 Months Before Your Wedding

Now that you’ve had more time to think through what you want it is finally time to start making decisions and finalizing those choices. You’ve still got plenty of time to get things done and change your mind, so don’t stress yet.

  • Mail those save the dates if you haven’t yet
  • Start to pick what you want the bridal party to wear: colors, style, accessories
  • Reserve the venue for your ceremony
  • Book an officiant, if you need a pastor or priest reach out to them
  • Hire a photographer/videographer
  • Any entertainment or food venders should be booked now too
  • Purchase a wedding dress, or start trying them on at least
  • Build a skin care routine and fitness plan, if you want to

More Ideas

8 to 9 Months Before Your Wedding

You’ve definitely got this in the bag. You already have gotten so much done now you can relax a little bit and start getting down to it. You’ve still got some time at this point, but it is going to get more intense. Time to start thinking about:

  • Refine that guest list
  • Plan your honeymoon
  • Find hotels for out of town guests
  • Add to your gift registry 
  • Find a florist 
  • Book a suite for your wedding night

More Ideas

6 to 7 Months Before Your Wedding

Now it will really be coming quickly. How exciting! You’re ready for this and you’ve still got some big things to get done, but they’re the fun ones!

  • Purchase the wedding bands 
  • Choose cake style and flavor
  • Decide on groomsmen attire
  • Meet with the officiant to talk things through
  • Plan the transportation for the wedding
  • Order thank you cards
  • Hire musicians 
  • Look into rentals; chairs,tables, tent, decor, lighting
  • Purchase dresses if you haven’t already

More Ideas

3 to 5 Months Before Your Wedding

Now it’s crunch time! You have a little time to squeeze in the big things, but you want this time to be nice and easy because time is going to fly by. You should be preparing to finish up the big stuff:

  • Choose the flowers for the venue, bride bouquet, bridesmaids, ect
  • Get a dress fitting 
  • Order your wedding cake 
  • Make a playlist for your wedding DJ
  • Make a rehearsal dinner guest list 
  • Book flights and hotel for honeymoon
  • Finalize that guest list 
  • Seating plan 
  • Reception menu

More Ideas

2 Months Before Your Wedding

This is the time you’re going to be doing all the little things that can be saved for last. You still have time to make everything happen, but by now you should already be able to see everything coming together perfectly. These are the less fun things, but need to be done:

  • Arrange for the marriage license, order extras
  • Look into name changing for documents and license 
  • Begin writing vows
  • Make a organization system for RSVPS
  • Mail the wedding invitations 
  • Finalize plans with the ordainer 
  • Send out a time schedule to your vendors and anyone you’ve hired to help with the wedding.
  • Get wedding favors for guests
  • Finalize transportation for wedding day 
  • Any fittings left should be done now

More Ideas

1 Month Before Your Big Day

Now to the final plans that need to get done, and the little things you’re already prepared for. Fist, the little big things:

  • Pick up wedding bands
  • Get marriage license 
  • Confirm honeymoon reservations
  • Plan the packing list for honeymoon

You have a couple bigger things to start to think about too:

If you’re making goodie bags for your guests then you’ll want to have those all done now. Don’t save any DIY plans at the last minute.

Make the payments to your vendors and get them paid in full. You don’t want to deal with money at the end of your wedding day, and you want to ensure they will do their best because they’ve been paid.

Order or make your escort and place cards. You will want these if you are having a big wedding. You did not do all the seat planning for nothing, so make sure everyone knows where to go. Generally, these should compliment your wedding look, but you’ve got tons of options for these.

Have a separate envelope for tip money for your vendors. You can find a lot of tipping guides and if you should or shouldn’t tip someone. However, if you have a lot of vendors be prepared to have tip money ready.

Set up the final walk through of your venue. If you have any questions for them this is the time to ask. Bring a family member or friend with you to help you remember what you need to do.

Lastly, Break in those wedding shoes. You don’t want your feet to kill you on your wedding day, and it will give you the perfect reason to strut down the hallway and dance around the house. You’re almost there!

The Final Weeks before your Wedding

You’ve got everything right where it needs to be. Now is crunch time and you got this. There isn’t much left, but still a little more to get done.

  • Follow up with people who haven’t RSVP’D
  • Give the caterer the final count
  • Get the final haircuts and coloring 
  • Delegate wedding duties to the wedding party 
  • Get directions to all guests and the drivers 
  • Get the song list to your DJ
  • Write speeches 
  • Pick up wedding dress
  • Build bridal emergency kit with anything you might need
  • Have a spa day (it’s on the list you have to do it)

1 to 2 Days before your Wedding

A couple days and you’ll be married! You should have everything set up and ready to go. Make sure you have hydrated and eaten well. You want everything to go perfectly and that means you need to take care of yourself too. Prepare for the big day with a good night’s sleep, and pack any bags you have in the car so you don’t need to stress about it in the morning.

  • Get mani/pedis
  • Have fun at the rehearsal dinner
  • Deliver welcome baskets 
  • Arrange for return of rental items 
  • Get as much sleep as possible

The Wedding Day

It’s the big day!! You are more than prepared, and you’re going to have that perfect day. Make sure you stay off your feet as much as you can, and eat a good breakfast. You don’t want to be rushed so sit back and take a deep breath when you need it. Soak up every little moment you can, this is truly the time you want to live in the moment and not worry about what comes next.

  • Give rings and officiant fee to the best man 
  • Have your photographer in the preparations 
  • Have the dress and veil steamed if it is needed 
  • Give wedding party their gifts
  • Smile and say thank you to everyone around you

After your Wedding

You can finally relax and go enjoy that honeymoon. There’s only a little bit left to do, and then you won’t have to worry about it any more!

  • Have any tuxes or rentals returned
  • Make arrangements for your wedding dress if you want is preserved or cleaned 
  • Make your thank you cards and send them out 
  • Go through your wedding photos 
  • Send some photos to your family and wedding party 
  • Go enjoy the married life

After Wedding Ideas

Closing Thoughts

If you can stick to the schedule, and check off the list as you go then you will be so much better off. You are going to be overly prepared and be so thankful for it. Don’t forget that the people around you would be willing to help if you ask. Always accept the help when offered because it is a lot for one or two people to do. You need a support team to help you make the tough choices. You’re going to have that perfect day and you won’t ever forget it!


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