A Wedding Planning Checklist to Arrange Your Dream Wedding

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Table of Contents

The dream of your big day is breathtaking – imagining yourself in a suit or a white angel dress while your significant other looks at you with pure admiration and all your dear ones surround you. But to pull together your dream wedding, there is a long way to go and too much to do. Yeah, planning a wedding seems overwhelming. But, you don’t need to worry. All you need is a wedding planning checklist. To simplify your wedding planning, it’s essential to divide tasks into manageable chunks and arrange them in a sequential timeline. Our wedding planning checklist pdf has already taken care of this for you.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Wedding Planning

Embarking on the journey of wedding planning can seem daunting, but breaking it down into manageable steps can alleviate stress and ensure a smooth process. The step-by-step guide to wedding planning offers a roadmap to navigate through every aspect of your special day, from setting a budget and creating a guest list to choosing a venue, selecting vendors, and designing the perfect decor. By following each step meticulously, couples can methodically progress through the planning process, ensuring that no detail is overlooked. 

Couples have different engagement times. Whether you have eighteen, twelve, six, or even three months until your wedding day, it’s essential to allocate your planning time effectively by dividing it into six stages. Our wedding planning checklist PDF streamlines all the necessary tasks for each stage, ensuring you stay organised and on track regardless of your timeline.

Stage 1

Pick a Date

The first and foremost step in your wedding planning journey is determining your wedding date.  Your date impacts almost every other planning stage and sets the pace of your wedding preparation process.

Sit down with your partner and look at the calendar to pick your potential wedding dates. After checking with your significant guests, your registrar’s availability, your wedding party and vendors, you’ll finalise the date.

For flawless preparation for your big day, estimate your time until your wedding. Divide up your time into equal time frames. Make a personalised calendar by setting a deadline for each stage of your wedding planning checklist.

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Figure Out Your Wedding Budget

Use our wedding budgeting guide to work out a realistic wedding budget. Do some mathematics and decide how much you have and want to spend on your wedding. Work out how much you have in your savings, and you can save until your wedding. Find out if your parents will contribute or pay for a specific cost and whether you will apply for a loan.

Your wedding budget will give you a more realistic figure of your guest list. It helps you determine whether you’ll need to plan a wedding on a budget or if you have sufficient funds to achieve your desired vision. Once you set a budget for your wedding, you’re prepared to proceed with the subsequent stages of your wedding planning journey.

Decide If You’ll Hire a Planner

When planning the biggest day of your life, you must take care of millions of details. Although you might get help from your family, friends, and vendors, you might still feel overwhelmed and need a pair of extra experienced hands to make your day perfect. 

Before you allocate a share of your budget to different vendors, decide whether you’ll plan your wedding yourself or call on the expertise of a wedding planner. Hiring a wedding planner might be especially helpful if you’re planning a destination wedding or need help with your venue setup.

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Make a Guest List

Your headcount defines your wedding’s costs, your choice of venue, and almost all the other subsequent details of your planning process. So, you need to decide who to invite to your wedding and make a draft guest list before you begin searching for a venue. 

The number of invitees depends on your budget, personal preferences, and wedding style. Ask yourself who you can’t get through the day without and who you want to share this special day with. You can finalise your wedding guest list after tying up your venue.

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Stage 2

Select the Venue and Finalise Your Date

You’ll need the venue before finalising your guest count and booking all the other pros. Picking the venue is generally one of the first items on your wedding planning checklist. 

High-demand locations and dates – like a high-season Friday or Saturday – get booked faster than you think. So, start searching as early as possible. If you have your heart set on a specific venue or date, you should book it as soon as possible. Try to book your wedding at least a year in advance.

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Hire Your Wedding Pros 

Hiring your team of professionals is one of the most significant tasks of wedding planning. Secure your wedding vendors at least twelve months before your date and first arrange with the ones that get booked up quickly. 

Who should be on your wedding vendor list? 

You need a group of vendors to ensure your big day runs smoothly. Which pros you’ll need to hire depends on your wedding style, budget, headcount, and venue. Here are the most needed pros you need for your big day. Some of these vendors may be relevant to you, while you might decide not to hire others.

  • Photographers and Videographers
  • Music Pros
  • Florist
  • Officiant
  • Newlyweds’ Transportation
  • Rentals Company
  • Caterer 
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Stage 3

Choose Your Wedding Party

There’s nothing sweeter than choosing wedding party members among your loved ones. 

Choose your bridesmaids and groomsmen, ushers, maid of honour, best man, and 

flower girl. 

You can also host a get-together to help your wedding party to get to know each other better. It would be nice to pop them the question and give them a small gift at this gathering.

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Buy Wedding Insurance

No matter how big your ceremony and reception are, your wedding is probably the most expensive event you’ve ever planned. So, you might want to take out wedding insurance to protect your significant investment if something unforeseen happens.

If you need to figure out what wedding insurance is, what it covers, whether you should get it and where to buy it, this is the time to conduct thorough research and make up your mind before you spend too much money.

Choose Your Theme

This is one of the most fun tasks on your wedding planning checklist. Figure out your style. Will your wedding be classic, romantic, glamorous, bohemian, modern, or rustic? Choose your colour palette and start thinking of your overall design. You must spend a good deal of time creating inspiring boards on Pinterest and consulting with your planner (if you have one). 

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Start Shopping for Your Wedding Dress, Suit or Tuxedo

A lot of time and research must be dedicated to your wedding attire. Consider your wedding dress style – research styles and designers on Pinterest and wedding websites. Find the boutiques or designers with the style you’re after. Book an appointment with different boutiques and try samples to see what suits you.

Begin early to ensure you have enough time to search, order, fittings, and changes. Start shopping for a wedding suit or tuxedo as early as possible as this also needs plenty of time for fittings and tailoring. 

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Secure Your Beauty Team

Now that you have decided on the bridal gown, it’s time to begin thinking of how you want your hair and makeup styled and searching for your hair and makeup team. Start collecting photos that are close to what your wedding day look is going to be. Research online and ask for referrals. Book appointments to look at the portfolios, consult with different makeup artists, and schedule hair and makeup trials to find the perfect fit for you. Ensure you start early so that you have enough time for all these steps. 

Grooms usually don’t need makeup on their wedding. However, they shouldn’t forget to book an appointment with their barber to have a haircut, style their hair, and get a facial or beard trim.

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Stage 4

Finalise Your Guest List and Send Save-the-Dates

Everyone who gets a save-the-date must get an invitation. Organise your guest list draft for the last time. Ensure you’ve made an accurate guest list and send out save-the-dates anytime from 12 to six months before the wedding – or even earlier if you’re planning a destination wedding. 

Select the Bridesmaid Dresses and Bridal Party Accessories

Now your wedding’s style, colour scheme and wedding dress are ticked on your checklist for planning your wedding. So, it’s time to go shopping for bridesmaid dresses and accessories such as shoes, flower bouquets, and hair accessories (as well as your groomsmen’s outfit, shoes, and accessories).

Finding something that all your wedding party members love and fit in perfectly can take time and effort. So, make sure you have plenty of time to ask everyone’s ideas. 

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Book Your Honeymoon

After the wedding planning marathon, a relaxing honeymoon is a great indulgence. Opt for a honeymoon destination among your potential options. Book your flight and accommodation and finalise your honeymoon plans. Book your trip as soon as possible, especially if you are going to travel to a popular destination in the high season. Be mindful of your passport expiration date.

Choose Your Cake

Search for bakers whose style and design are what you’re looking for. See lots of photographs of wedding cakes until you find the cake you like. Your cake design must go with your wedding style, theme, season, dress, and menu. You can also arrange a tasting session with your baker and consult with them to find the best design and pick the flavour. 

Place your order four to six months before your wedding. Give the baker adequate time so that they can prepare your perfect wedding cake.

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Stage 5

Order Your Wedding Stationery and Invitations

Make a list of all the stationery you’ll need for your wedding day and before and after it. Some of these stationeries include:

  • Invitation cards
  • Response cards (RSVPs)
  • Ceremony programme
  • Place cards
  • Table numbers
  • Menu cards
  • Seating charts
  • Thank you cards
  • Guest books
  • Welcome bag tags or labels

Decide which items must be printed and which you can DIY or send electronically. Find a  graphic designer to design your wedding stationery as a collection in harmony with your wedding style and colour palette. Order your stationery 6-9 months in advance so that they will be ready to send out in time before the wedding.

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Prepare and Send Out the Invitations

Save-the-dates have announced your wedding date and location to your guests. Now, it’s time to mail them your formal wedding invitation, including the finer details of your wedding day, such as date and location, timeline of the day, accommodation recommendations, and the dress code. Your invitation must also feature an RSVP card to allow guests to tell you whether they will attend or not. Don’t forget to include an address for RSVPs to be sent to.

Send out the invitations two to three months before the wedding. If you’re hosting a destination wedding, send your invitations even earlier. 

Write Your Vows

The earlier you begin crafting your vows, the better. As you need plenty of time to find inspiration, write your vow and practise and rehearse it aloud a few times or read it to a trusted friend. Plan to have your vows ready at least three weeks before your wedding. 

Buy Your Wedding Accessories

Purchase your accessories like shoes, hair accessories, and lingerie before your dress alterations, as you need to take them with you to every dress fitting. Buy your shoes pretty early and start wearing them in. Grooms must buy their tie, tie bars, and cufflinks.

Make Final Wedding Clothes Alterations

Even if you’ve bought or rented all your wedding attire, the process is not over yet. Most wedding dresses are made in generic sizes, so they need some alterations to fit perfectly to your unique figure. Usually, you need to have three dress fitting sessions. So, you should add the dates to your wedding planning checklist.

Once you receive your dress (or suit), you must schedule your dress fittings to have your gown ready in time. Besides that, you need to reach out to your wedding party to ensure that their outfits are prepared as well.

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Stage 6

Apply for a Marriage Licence

The most crucial part of making your marriage legal is signing the marriage licence. You also require this document to change your name.

Get a marriage licence from the clerk of the county in which you’ll be getting married. Then, you must fill it out and get it signed by your officiant and marriage licence witnesses. Your officiant turns it back into the county, and you’ll receive a marriage certificate after your wedding. Marriage licences expire, so you need to check your county’s regulations to know when to apply for the marriage licence to avoid future complications.

Keep a Record of All RSVPs

Your venue and caterer must know your final headcount to arrange the seats, food, and wait staff accordingly. So, you need to keep track of your RSVPs after the deadline to finalise the number of attendees. Contact any guests who have not yet informed you of their attendance. 

Set Your Menu

After finalising your headcount and collecting all the food allergies and restrictions (from your RSVPs), you must sign off the menu with your caterer at least ten days before your big day.

Discuss the meal plan with your caterer, have your final menu tasting, and select the dishes that will be served at your wedding reception. Hand-pick your starter set, main dishes, sides, desserts, and drinks and decide on your serving style. Consider the allergies and dietary preferences of your guests. 

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Create a Seating Chart

You know who is coming, so you can make your seating arrangements. Figure out the venue’s layout, the location of the dance floor and the newlyweds’ table, as well as the size and shape of your tables. Start with seating your parents and the wedding party, and then group your guests by their common interests and qualities. 

Once your seating chart is done, send it to your stationer to create the place cards or any other stationaries to guide everyone to their right spot. 

Create a Music Playlist

Whether you’ve hired a professional band or DJ or decided to take care of the job yourself, you need to list your favourite songs to familiarise your musicians with your musical preferences or add a personal touch to your party music. 

Create a list of your preferred first dance songs and all the songs that you’d love to be played on your big day. Try to create a perfect song list, including a mix of different genres, fast and slow beats, and classic songs with modern dance hits.

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Make Another Checklist for Your Wedding Day

Can you believe you’ve checked all the items on this list? Now, you just need to make a little effort to wrap things up and prepare for the emotions and excitement of the best day of your life. You can make another checklist for your wedding day. List all the items you need to take to the ceremony and the jobs you have to do, such as:

  • Organising tip envelopes for service personnel
  • Packing for the honeymoon
  • Preparing a small bag of personal items and a wedding day emergency kit
  • Providing all your wedding vendors with an emergency phone number 
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Soak Up in Every Moment of Your Big Day

There is a lot of meticulous work and too many details to arrange to pull together the wedding of your dreams. But staying organised from the beginning with a well-crafted wedding planning checklist will help you do the job as stress-free as possible and have so many fun moments with your partner and your loved ones.

Your big day will fly by in a blink of an eye. You’ve gone a long way planning and making everything perfect. Leave the rest of the job to your professionals. Now, it is the time to relish the moment. Dance, laugh, and enjoy being surrounded by those you love. Take some minutes to relax and soak up every moment

Download our wedding planning checklist pdf and live happily ever after!

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