Wedding Planning, How To Plan A Wedding, Wedding Planner Checklist

Planning a Wedding

Planning a wedding is fun and exciting, that’s for sure. Brides and grooms begin searching for information on how to plan a wedding, and start looking for wedding planning websites like The Knot Wedding Shop for help in crossing off their wedding planning checklist of everything they’ll need for their wedding, reception and honeymoon.

Shopping for the wedding gown and tuxedos, choosing the flowers, selecting bridesmaids and groomsmen, choosing the wedding cake and favors, wedding dance songs for the father/daughter dance, enjoying the fun parties and wedding gifts couples receive, all in anticipation of getting married to your sweetheart.

This “wedding planning checklist” offers some ideas about many of the things you will need to do in preparation for your upcoming wedding. These are only ideas of things to consider, to be used as a wedding planning guide, and some things may not apply to you. Some items on this wedding planning list apply to the bride while others are typical responsibilities of the groom. In order not become overwhelmed, work as a team to complete the wedding planner checklist before your wedding.

Wedding Planning Checklist

10 to 12 months prior

  • Discuss the style, budget, and financing with your Fiancé and ALL parents, or anyone else who is expected to contribute to paying for your wedding, reception and honeymoon.
  • Decide the wedding date and time
  • Style or type of wedding desired (traditional, modern, big or small, etc.)
  • Location or venue for the wedding ceremony and reception
  • Wedding vows – will you write your own wedding vows or use traditional vows?
  • Choose a wedding photographer and videographer
  • Select a florist for the wedding and reception
  • Decide on wedding and reception music: DJ, live band or taped music
  • Choose a minister or judge to perform the wedding ceremony
  • Select the location for your rehearsal dinner and time
  • Decide the reception format: buffet, sit-down dinner, pot-luck, etc.
  • Choose who will make your wedding cake(s) – taste tests are very important

7 to 9 months prior

  • Begin writing wedding vows
  • Make a first draft of the wedding invitation list
  • Select your attendants and ask if they will accept being in the wedding party
  • Meet with minister/judge/officiant to discuss ceremony
  • Choose and reserve mens formal wear or tuxedos – get their exact measurements
  • Decide the rehearsal dinner menu and reception menu
  • Complete your bridal registry and what items will be on the registry. Register with at least two well-known bridal registries

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4 to 6 months prior

  • Choose poetry or scripture readings for ceremony, and ask possible ceremony readers if they’ll accept the responsibility
  • Finalize the guest list for the wedding and reception
  • Choose a professional Calligrapher to address the wedding invitations or do it yourself
  • Decide if roses will be given to the mothers before, during or at the end of the ceremony
  • Meet with wedding florist to choose flowers and accessories for the ceremony and reception such as pew bows, candles, candleabras, etc.
  • Chauffers, limousines, horse-drawn carriage, etc
  • Buy flower girl basket
  • Buy pillow for ring-bearer
  • Plan and finalize details with pianist, organist, DJ or other music entertainment
  • Make/print directions and map for rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony and reception
  • Decide the flavor(s) and style of wedding cake and groom’s cake

2 to 3 months prior

  • Start memorizing your wedding vows if necessary
  • Decide how your attendants will process and stand at the ceremony
  • Choose your “something borrowed, something blue, something old, and something new” to wear on your wedding day
  • Choose the color and length of bridesmaids dresses; color and style of hosiery and shoes for bridesmaids
  • Decide where bride, groom and attendants will get dressed for the ceremony
  • Buy or order wedding invitations and programs
  • Buy disposable cameras for reception tables
  • Buy or order birdseed packets (if allowed) or bubbles, etc.
  • Buy wedding ceremony guest book and pen
  • Buy wedding cake knife, napkins, throw/keepsake garters etc for reception
  • Finalize reception rental items: candelabra, table linens, canopy, tables/chairs, etc.
  • Buy Postage stamps for invitations, response cards, and thank-you notes
  • Schedule/confirm makeup artist/hair/nail appointments for wedding
  • Get complete addresses of everyone on invitation list
  • Finalize catering, bakery, florist, formal wear/tuxedo measurements save up to 80%
4 to 8 weeks prior

  • Get marriage license with Fiancé
  • Have final fitting of wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses.
  • Contact newspaper regarding wedding announcement
  • Show final program to officiant and organist to check for accuracy
  • Plan rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Confirm all transportation for all events (including honeymoon)
  • Prepare all the necessary forms for name address changes on social security card, credit cards, bank accounts, post office, driver’s license, etc.

2 to 3 weeks prior

  • Pay all balances due and remaining security deposits
  • It’s time for the groom’s hair appointment
  • Affix poems to disposable cameras
  • Have final meeting with: florist, caterer, photographer/videographer, musicians, rental services, chauffer/transportation, travel agent
  • Confirm final nail/hair appointments, hotel reservations for wedding night

1 week prior

  • Pick up wedding gown and veil, if necessary
  • Wedding party men (groom/fathers/ushers/groomsmen) to pick up tuxedos and shoes
  • Double check rehearsal dinner plans
  • Give wedding day schedule to all at rehearsal dinner
  • Fill out first page of guest book
  • Give final guest count to reception venue location and/or caterer
  • Finish packing for honeymoon, buy traveler’s checks or foreign currency if needed

1 day prior

  • Take favors, disposable cameras, centerpieces, cake knife and server, toasting glasses, CD’s, and birdseed roses to reception hall.
  • Bride and attendants go to nail appointment

Morning of Wedding

  • Bride, maid-of-honor and attendants hair appointment
  • Give groom’s wedding band to Maid of Honor and bride’s wedding ring to Best Man prior to ceremony.
  • Tell everyone you don’t want to hear about any mishaps or problems! Try to relax and enjoy the whole day. Keep yourself OFF of any to-do list items if any are remaining to be done. Designate to your attendants; that’s what they’re for.


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7 Responses to “Wedding Planning, How To Plan A Wedding, Wedding Planner Checklist”

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  1. Janet Fox says:

    I agree.. One of the most common mistakes people make is to mistake that initial period of infatutaion for ‘love’ and get married. Its only when they get to know the real person, they realize the sheer idiocacy of their decision.

    I was honest enough to tell the same to a friend who was planning to get married to this guy whom she had dated for around 6 months. But then I was the devil there 🙁

    I wish people understand how important it is to actually know the other person before committing to marriage!

    • Lin says:

      Hi Janet, for some reason I didn’t get an email telling me you had commented, so I apologize for the delay in my response. You’re right, far too many people mistake infatuation (and lust) for love, and rush into marriage too fast. From the sheer number of people who’ve been coming to my article about regretting getting married, the problem is much more prevalent than even I had initially thought. It’s also possible that at least some of those people ignored their own instincts, doubts and fears before getting married and went ahead and got married instead of seriously considering whether their concerns warranted calling off the wedding or were “pre-wedding jitters”. Either way, I’ll be doing more posts on “how to plan a wedding”, “wedding planning checklist” and similar articles about getting married.

      • Janet Fox says:

        I wonder what was wrong with the mail!

        Anyways, this is a very ironic situation that we are discussing about. You know what… I was just wondering… There are people who mistake infatuation for love and rush into marriage which they regret afterwards. But I have also seen people being extremely skeptical about marriage/commitment/love etc. that they just dont take the step ahead and confess.. let alone get married.

        Just wanted to say that its very easy to say that a relationship ‘did not work out’ or ‘was not meant to be’. But then what they dont realize is just a bit of effort and they could have made it work..

        • Lin says:

          Janet, every time I hear someone say “it was love at first sight”, I cringe a little. You can’t “love” someone the moment you set eyes on someone – love takes time and requires really knowing someone inside and out, rather than simply seeing someone across the room or speaking to someone briefly and suddenly they’re in “love”. That’s ridiculous, but I hear that phrase used so many times in society.

          Some people are also afraid of marriage; perhaps due to their parents divorce(s) – or they’re friends, family, co-workers etc getting divorced (although appearing to be the “happiest couple in the world”) on the outside, while there was likely a lot of problems inside the home no one knew about.

          I’ve read some statistics that say that people are waiting until they are older to get married, rather than getting married very young, which I think is a good thing. Maturity on many levels is so important if anyone hopes/expects their marriage to last a lifetime. Some people develop into what is sometimes called a “marriage phobic” or “marriage phobia”, where a person lacks the commitment necessary to maintain a long-term, healthy and happy marital relationship.

          I often hear young people (17, 18, 19, 20 year old people) say things like, “if it doesn’t work out, we’ll just get a divorce”. Marriage isn’t a game, but marriage and the commitment is often taken very lightly, to the point where young people especially have an attitude or opinion about marriage that only sets them up for failure and divorce.

          • Janet Fox says:

            I so agree with you on this Lin… ‘Love at first sight’ is an absolutely ridiculous concept. There is no such thing. I guess the validity of such a statement comes across in cases where two people have been attracted to one another at the first glance, then dated and then finally decided to be together.

            Anyways, either of the extremes is bad for a relationship. I guess one just knows when it is the right person and the right time.. 🙂


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