Don’t forget the essentials: your wedding planning checklist

Checklist“I was supposed to send invitations out how long ago!?” If you find yourself constantly surprised by all the details that are involved in planning a wedding, then you are not alone. A lot of brides and grooms don’t realize just how many details they need to figure out, and when those details need to be set in stone. So, before you jump ship and decide to get eloped in Vegas, create your own wedding planning checklist. This will make it just a little bit easier to get things set in place before the big day without having to scramble to get things together the last minute.

9-16 Months Before

These are the very first things you’ll need to get done, and the earlier they are taken care of, the better! It’s important not to procrastinate with these tasks, or else the entire wedding could end up being even more stressful.

– Budget (an honest one that includes all contributions from yourself and family)
– Wedding party for bride and groom
– Create guest list
– Reserve date
– Reserve venue (both ceremony and venue)
– Reserve officiant
– Engagement party (optional)
– Ask around for references on caterers, florists, photographers and other professionals you’ll need there.
– Go to bridal expos to learn about vendors in your area and other wedding related info (optional)
– Put together a binder to keep all this information together!

8 Months Before

Okay, the big day is getting closer, and that means you need to seriously get things done. Here are your tasks that should be completed at the 8 month mark.

– Entertainment reserved
– Meet with caterers to taste food
– Buy wedding dress and tux (fittings required and will take months)
– Hire photographer or videographer (or both)
– Choose hotel and reserve block of rooms for guests (will often mean a discounted rate for you and them)
– Register and around three different stores
– Create a wedding website (optional)

6-7 Months Before

– Pick invitations and send them out!
– Choose bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen tux’s
– Meet officiant
– Plan honeymoon
– Book your florist or choose how you will do your flowers
– Reserve vendors for electricity, chairs, tablecloths, toilets, etc.
– Book limos or other transportation
– Create a timeline for the wedding day

4-5 Months Before

– Book venue for rehearsal dinner and day
– Pick and order cake
– Buy wedding shoes
– Choose and hire makeup and hair stylists
– Pick out music

3 Months Before

– Finalize dinner menu
– Finalize flowers
– Order and create favors
– Choose who will be toasting you
– Finalize how the reception and ceremony timelines will go
– Print menu cards
– Buy and size rings
– Send vendors info on wedding

2 Months Before Wedding

– Meet photographer
– Meet DJ and discuss music
– Talk to vendors
– Bachelor/bachelorette party

1 Month Before

– Check RSVPs and log them
– Marriage license
– Mail invites for rehearsal dinner
– Stock bar
– Send final payments
– Confirm times
– Assign seating
– Purchase bridesmaid groomsmen gifts
– Create vows

The Week Of

– Confirm times with vendors
– Create wedding day timeline (give this to wedding parties)
– Pick up dress and tux
– Pack for honeymoon
– Finalize favors
– Send final lists to venue and caterers

If you keep track of all of these things and create a wedding binder, then it will be a lot easier to make sure you don’t forget anything. While hiring a wedding planner can certainly be helpful, it’s not absolutely necessary if you’re detail-oriented and willing to pay attention to all tasks early on!