The Ultimate Wedding Checklist

Your big day requires a lot of planning. Don’t freak out. Our checklist has you covered.

While there’s no one right way to plan your wedding, it’s good to be organized. Our checklist covers the common to-do’s, but feel free to add and subtract from the list as much as your heart desires.

Not everyone takes a year to plan their wedding; sometimes it’s more like two years, or two months. For extravagant nuptials, you’ll definitely want to think ahead. But even if your schedule is more compressed, the rough order on our timeline should serve as a handy guide. Of course, take or leave any part of the checklist that doesn’t fit with your vision. It’s your day!

The Ultimate Wedding Checklist

Your big day requires a lot of planning. Don’t freak out. Our checklist has you covered.

While there’s no one right way to plan your wedding, it’s good to be organized. Our checklist covers the common to-do’s, but feel free to add and subtract from the list as much as your heart desires.

Not everyone takes a year to plan their wedding; sometimes it’s more like two years, or two months. For extravagant nuptials, you’ll definitely want to think ahead. But even if your schedule is more compressed, the rough order on our timeline should serve as a handy guide. Of course, take or leave any part of the checklist that doesn’t fit with your vision. It’s your day!



One year before


• Take engagement photos


• Plan and throw an engagement party


• Hire a wedding planner, if desired

  • Research any large events coming to town on your desired wedding date. This might affect hotel room availability, so plan accordingly.
  • It might be good to have several dates in mind as you start looking at venues. That way you have some options to cross-check with venue availability, and then you can finalize your date.
  • Think about your overall wedding aesthetic (for example, will it be rustic or more formal?)
    • It might help for both of you to jot down your respective visions for your wedding. Then you can resolve any looming disagreements upfront.
  • Develop a list of desired venues for both the ceremony and reception
  • Outline a rough budget
  • Put together a rough guest list, including your parents’ guests
  • Brainstorm meal options, keeping your budget in mind
  • Start thinking about the dress, identifying favorite styles and silhouettes


Eleven months


• Tour ceremony and reception venues, and narrow down your choices


• Choose and notify your wedding party


• Think about who you want to officiate your wedding


• Start shopping for the dress



Ten months

  • You can use social media to take care of this for the most part, but make sure to notify any friends and family who aren’t online

• Meet with potential officiants

  • Choose a few different hotels at several price points so guests can choose how much they spend

• Set up gift registries at a few stores with differing prices



Nine months


• Narrow down your guest list

  • Make sure the guest list won’t expand after you book. You don’t want to be scrambling for a larger venue at the last minute.

• Book your officiant

  • Meet with photographers and videographers
    • Do you want a photo booth or any extra services?
  • Meet with DJs or bands for the reception
    • Do you want live music during your ceremony?
  • Meet with caterers


Eight months

  • You might need time to schedule three or so fittings before the wedding
  • Choose a wedding hashtag

• Order save-the-dates

  • Photographer and videographer
  • DJ or band
  • Caterer


Seven months


• Finalize your guest list


• Send out save-the-dates

  • Do you want hand-lettered invitations? Or something more low-key?

• Brainstorm flower ideas

  • What’s your officiant going to say? Is anyone speaking or doing a reading during the ceremony? How will the reception flow?
  • What music will accompany you down the aisle? Are there any must-play songs at your reception? Any songs absolutely banned?


Six months

  • Do you need tables? Chairs? A generator?
  • Will your guests need a shuttle to get to or from the ceremony or reception?

• Meet with an invitation designer, if desired


• Order bridesmaids’ dresses


• Meet with florists

  • Are you going international? Be aware, some countries won’t allow entry if your passport expires within three to six months of your departure date.


Five months


• Meet with bakers and start tasting wedding cakes or other desserts


• Buy wedding shoes so you can take them along to your dress fittings; find jewelry and accessories as well


• Book your florist



Four months


• Book your rehearsal dinner venue


• Order your wedding cake or other desserts


• Order your invitations



Three months

  • Give yourself enough time to get them resized and engraved
  • Who’s speaking at the rehearsal dinner? The wedding reception? In what order?

• Send initial day-of schedule to vendors


• Buy or assemble wedding favors for guests at the reception


• Finalize the menu


• Buy or rent menswear for the groom and groomsmen


• Confirm flowers and centerpieces



Two months

  • Send them around six to eight weeks before the wedding date with the RSVP deadline two to three weeks before

• Confirm day-of schedule, coordinate with all interested parties


• Order your wedding programs


• Assemble a guest book for the reception

• Confirm music selection with the DJ or band



One month


• Prepare your vows and toasts, if you’re making them


• Apply for your marriage license (this may require setting an appointment ahead of time)


• Send out as many final payments to vendors as possible


• Call people who haven’t RSVP’d and confirm


• Finish the reception seating chart


• Buy gifts for bridesmaids, groomsmen and parents


• Buy alcohol once guest list is finalized


• Send out rehearsal dinner invites


• Make nail and spa appointment if desired


• Consider wedding insurance



One week

  • You might need: sewing supplies, stain remover, tissues, Band-Aids, aspirin, snacks, super glue, makeup, tampons, toiletries, phone charger.

• Confirm with all vendors and send out a final headcount at least 72 hours in advance


• Delegate small day-of tasks as much as possible


• Send out the finalized day-of timeline to everyone involved


• Organize day-of tips for vendors


• Break in wedding shoes


• Pack for your honeymoon



Day of


• Hydrate


• Eat


• Chill


• Tip your vendors


• Enjoy your wedding!



Post-wedding


• Send out thank you cards


• Pay everyone you owe money to


• Take advantage of any post-wedding registry discounts


Change your name, if desired, with the Social Security Administration and update all other accounts (driver’s license, passport, insurance policies, other legal documents)


Spend some time discussing money and finances with your new spouse. It’s important!