From picking out your venue and vendors, to managing a budget on top of life, wedding planning is indeed very stressful. As a bride myself, I understand all the stress we go through when planning a wedding on top of our hectic daily life schedules. We want everything to be perfect for our big day, but also cost-effective.
To avoid getting overwhelmed with the process, I combined a wedding planning checklist to help you stay organized.
16 to 9 months prior:
- Plan an engagement party or have your family throw you one.
- Attend bridal expos/shows
- Start a wedding binder and begin to look through bridal magazines and Pinterest boards to get inspiration designs and styles for your day. Also purchase a notebook and write down all of your notes and questions you have for each vendor. Personally, each vendor I looked at, I came prepared and met with questions. Do your research.
- Obtain a budget. Determine how much you want to spend based on your families' contributions and your own.
- Choose who you want to be in your bridal party.
- Start a guest list. Make a head count of how many people you want at your wedding this way you can situate your budget for your venue.
- Hire a wedding planner/coordinator.
- Start looking and visiting vendors. Keep in mind location of your guests, ceremony and reception and travel time.
- Book your officiant.
- Book your entertainment, DJ. If you have a specific DJ or event host in mind, these need to be booked ASAP as they get booked up quickly.
- Start researching and looking at photographers, wedding rings, florists and caterers.
- Send out save the dates
8 months prior:
- Book your photographer and videographer.
- If your wedding venue doesn't offer catering, look for one and hire them now.
- Purchase your wedding dress, veil and headpiece. Remember, certain bridal places get booked so be prepared to make your appointment in advance.
- Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out of town guests that will be close to your venue.
- Register for your bridal shower gifts. Sign up at a minimum of three retailers and give yourself and your guests some options.
- Launch a wedding website. Note the date of your wedding, travel information and accommodations and send link to guests.
7 to 6 months prior:
- Select and purchase your wedding invitations. Hire a calligrapher if desired.
- Start planning your honeymoon and booking it. Make sure your passports are also up to date.
- Shop for bridesmaid dresses. Allow at least six months for the dresses to be ordered and fitted and the adjustments if needed.
- Meet with officiant. Map out ceremony and confirm you have all the documents necessary.
- Book and meet with a florist. Make sure you have your colors nailed down and your bridesmaid dresses first.
- Arrange transportation day of if you need.
- Meet with tuxedo places/book them.
5 to 4 months prior:
- Book rehearsal dinner restaurant or venue.
- Select and order your wedding cake.
- Send your guest list to the host of your bridal shower.
- Purchase wedding shoes.
- Start dress fittings. Bring your shoes along to the fitting.
- Schedule a hair and makeup trial to try them out.
- Choose your music selections. Discuss with your DJ what should be playing during reception and ceremony. Keep a running list of your playlist and do not play list.
- Start looking at ring truck shows and attend them. (I got a few hundred dollars knocked off on my rings from a trunk show depending on the sale. Sometimes they have coupons you rub off.)
3 months prior:
- Finalize the menu with your venue.
- Finalize your flower selections.
- Order your favors, if desired. Or make a small donation to a charity of your choosing.
- Make a list of the people giving toasts or speeches for your day. Are they ready to go?
- Finalize readings with your officiant.
- Purchase your undergarments and schedule a fitting for your dress.
- Finalize order of the ceremony and reception.
- Purchase your wedding bands. Keep in mind budgeting for insurance, if desired.
2 months prior:
- Touch base with all of your vendors and the status they are at. Ask any questions that may have came up.
- Meet with your photographer. Discuss specific shots you want and the walk through of any space or locations you had in mind.
- Review your music playlist with your DJ or band.
- Send out your invitations.
- Arrange your bachelorette and bachelor parties.
1 month prior:
- Nail down your guest list. Call people who haven't responded to your RSVP's.
- Get your marriage license.
- Mail rehearsal dinner invitations.
- Visit your bridal store for last dress fittings.
- Send out final payments or as many as you can.
- Confirm times with hair and makeup and all vendors.
- Assign seating arrangements.
- Purchase thank you bridesmaid gifts that will be presented to them at rehearsal dinner.
- Write vows, if any.
- Get your hair colored or cut, if desired.
- Get any materials you need or want for your venue such as decor, frames, card box in order.
Week of the wedding:
- Reconfirm arrival times with vendors.
- Pick up your wedding dress.
- Check in one last time with photographer and videographer and DJ.
- Set aside checks for those you haven't paid yet.
- Make an appointment for a manicure and pedicure.
- Send final guest list to those hosting your wedding.
- Make sure groom and groomsmen are ready with tuxedos.
- Pack for your honeymoon.
Remember, your wedding day is a once in a lifetime day and it's all about you and your fiancee. Relax, enjoy the moment and take it all in. Congratulations and I hope I made your wedding planning process a bit less stressful with my expertise.