Planning your wedding, whether you have two years or three months to do it, can be stressful. If like us, you make endless lists in your head (or on a scrap of paper) only to forget them minutes later, then our Ultimate Wedding Checklist is for you. It’s a step-by-step wedding planning timeline of all the main things you need to do to pull off a fabulous wedding day. Wedding planning can be daunting, between doing the research, managing the budget, and working out what to do when. So we created a full, downloadable list of all the essential things you will need to do, from finding a wedding venue to going dress shopping, and planning a honeymoon to organising the RSVP list.
Your Wedding Checklist & Planning Timeline
This list is a basic timeline based on a 12-month engagement, but it’s important to remember that each wedding is different – we’ve shown brides who have organised their whole wedding in just 10 weeks, others take two years – this planning checklist has general guidelines that will be helpful to every couple. You can also get our three-month planning guide here.
Start by reading through the list below, then download the free printable we created at the bottom of the page, highlighting which ones apply to you, your other half and your wedding. That way you can tick off the tasks as you go (there’s nothing more satisfying!).
As soon as you get engaged/once you’re ready to start wedding planning
12 Months Before The Wedding
- Visit and book your reception venue and ceremony location
- Research potential wedding services and suppliers – photographer, florist, invitations, cake, décor, music, hair and makeup
- Consider and review wedding insurance options
- Decide what type of entertainment you want for ceremony, drinks reception and dancing
- Book photographer
- Book videographer
- Research and consider options for your venue and ceremony decor
- Research and consider a wedding planner or venue stylist – particularly helpful if you have to look after the venue set-up or have lots of logistics
- Start your wedding dress research
- Send Save the Date cards – important if you’re getting married abroad, or during a very busy time of year
- Pop the question to your wedding party
- Enlist any helpers/talented friends of family with aspects of the wedding (for the cake, flowers, dresses etc)
8-10 Months Before the Wedding
- Book band and/or DJ for reception
- Research and reserve accommodations for guests
- Contact decor hire companies if you need to rent anything for ceremony/reception, such as chairs, tables, or a tent
- Book honeymoon – flights and accommodation
- Order wedding cake
- Book pre-marriage course, if required by your church or celebrant
6-8 Months Before the Wedding
4-6 Months Before the Wedding
2-3 Months Before the Wedding
4 Weeks Before the Wedding
- Have final wedding dress fitting
- Make any last-minute adjustments with suppliers
- Finalise details for, and order mass booklets/order of ceremony
- Complete any wedding DIY or craft projects
- Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet responded
2 Weeks Before the Wedding
- Deliver must-have shot lists to photographer and videographer – include who should be in portraits and determine when portraits will be taken
- Give venue/caterer final guest head count
- Create your table plan
1 Week Before the Wedding
- Supply wedding coordinator with a list of supplier requests such as a table for DJ or setup space needed by florist.
- Print place cards
- Call all wedding suppliers to confirm arrangements – create a timetable for day
- Give ceremony and reception site managers a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times, plus contact numbers.
- Get manicure, massage, waxing and all your preening and prep
- Do full wedding dress rehearsal from underwear to veil
- Pack an overnight bag for the reception
- Pack for the honeymoon or mini mooon
2-3 Days Before the Wedding
- Make last-minute changes to table plan if necessary
- Grooms: Go for final fitting and pick up your outfit
- Grooms: Ask the best man to make sure all groomsmen attend fittings and pick up their outfits
- Confirm pick-up times with wedding car company
- Reconfirm final details with all vendors. Discuss any necessary last-minute substitutions
- Print off a sheet with the running order for the day, and the main suppliers’ contact details, give copies to your best man and maid of honour
The Day Before the Wedding
- Drop off place cards, table cards, menus, favours, table plan to reception coordinator
- Provide all wedding professionals with an emergency phone number to call on the day of the wedding.
- Sort out payment (write cheques/organise cash) for any final balances or tips to be paid at the end of the reception.
- Ensure the cake is on track to be delivered to reception venue – have someone else look after this one!
- Rehearse ceremony with full wedding party ceremony readers your officiant at the ceremony site to rehearse and iron out details.
- Get a good night’s rest!
The Wedding Day Checklist!
- Give the gifts for your parents to the best man/bridesmaid for after the speeches
- Flowers delivered to where the bride is getting ready – buttonholes may need to be brought to the guys
- Give wedding bands to the best man to hold during the ceremony
- Give best man the officiant’s fee envelope, to be given after the ceremony
- Introduce your reception coordinator to your wedding planner (if you’re having one), or bridesmaid/best man for questions or problems during the reception.
- Assign a family member or attendant to be the photographer’s contact so he knows who is who.
After the Wedding
- Prearrange for someone to return any rentals
- Pre-plan for someone to take the wedding dress and suit for cleaning or return a rented tux to the rental shop
- Write and send thank-you notes to gift-bearing guests and vendors who were especially helpful
- Collect your marriage certificate
Download our handy and FREE wedding planning checklist…
Ultimate Wedding Checklist
Listen & Subscribe to The One Fab Day Wedding Podcast