Wedding Planning Checklist and Timeline

When you first get engaged the number of things that have to be done before the big day can seem overwhelming. A good wedding-planning timeline can give you great peace of mind. This wedding checklist starts at 12 months, but if you’re having a shorter engagement you still have plenty of time to get everything done — just reduce and delegate.

12 months

  • Start your research
  • Create your wedding pre-party and website
  • Decide on your budget
  • Choose and hire a wedding planner, if desired
  • Finalize the date
  • Think about guest list size
  • Secure and reserve ceremony and reception venue
  • If having a religious ceremony, discuss any pre-wedding requirements with a member of the clergy
  • Start shopping for The Dress!

9 months

  • Start compiling your guest list
  • Begin researching caterers, florists, photographers, videographers, musicians and other vendors
  • Choose your wedding party

8 months

  • Reserve reception band or DJ
  • Reserve caterer
  • Buy your wedding dress!

6 months

  • Reserve florist
  • Reserve photographer
  • Finalize guest list
  • Select invitations
  • Reserve blocks of hotel rooms
  • Send Save-the-Date cards
  • Begin researching honeymoon options
  • Book wedding officiant or clergy

4-5 months

  • Find and order accessories such as bridal shoes, veil and lingerie
  • Create your wedding gift registry
  • Find and order bridesmaids’ dresses
  • Order cake
  • If not using your regular stylist, choose a salon near the wedding site or a stylist who will travel
  • Reserve a room for the wedding night
  • Finalize and reserve wedding day transportation
  • Choose rehearsal dinner location
  • Order wedding favors
  • Purchase wedding rings

2-3 months

  • Write vows and select readings
  • Mail wedding invitations
  • Create wedding day timeline
  • Have dress fitting
  • Decide on hairstyle
  • Finalize menu with caterer
  • Discuss photo wish list with photographer
  • Mail rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Submit newspaper wedding announcement
  • Have a trial run for makeup
  • Have bridal shower

1 month

  • Get marriage license
  • Finalize and print programs
  • Ask a friend or relative to harass guests who haven’t RSVP’d
  • Have dress fitting
  • Make table seating chart
  • Buy wedding party gifts
  • Plan and make welcome bags for out-of-town guests

2 weeks

  • Finalize head count with caterer
  • Make escort cards, menus
  • SPA DAY!
  • Write toasts
  • Send final payments, set aside cash for tipping
  • RELAX!

2 thoughts on “Wedding Planning Checklist and Timeline

  1. I NEEDED THIS. I’ve been trying to create my own timeline for my wedding next June, but it’s not that easy. Especially since I am the first of my girlfriends to walk down the aisle…it makes it difficult for me to find people to ask for advice. Question for you though: you mention that you shouldn’t create your registry until 4-5 months before the wedding, but what if you are having an engagement party? One of the very first things that I did when I got engaged in May was create my registry on MyRegistry.com. I am having an engagement party at the end of this month, and I wanted to have a registry for that…was that wrong?

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