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Your Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide to Your Perfect Day

You’re engaged (congratulations!!), you’ve told all your favorite people, and you’ve started nonchalantly browsing Pinterest… these are all signs that you are ready to kickstart the planning of your wedding day! But if you’re really not sure where to start and need a little push in the right direction, then The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist is for you!

Now, we’re going to sugarcoat it, there’s a lot to cover here, and every wedding is different, which is why we’ve broken this handy guide down into bite-size chunks to help you navigate your wedding planning journey at different stages. Of course, one size doesn’t fit all, and whilst this is based on a 12-month lead time, it’s important to remember that the length of your engagement or time spent actively wedding planning can be any amount of time, from two months to two years, so keep in mind that this timescale will be unique to you.

Wedding Planning Checklist: 12 Months Before the Wedding

To ensure a seamless and joyous celebration, it’s crucial to start the process early. Twelve months before the big day marks a pivotal point in your wedding planning timeline. Begin by meticulously crafting your wedding budget, assembling your guest list (even if it’s rough), and dipping your toes into all things wedding inspiration.

  1. Work out your wedding budget: Calculate your savings, potential family contributions, and how much you can save in the meantime.
  2. Create your guest list: Start with a rough figure in mind, which will help significantly as you move forward.
  3. Research wedding venues: Browse brochures and organize in-person visits with your shortlisted few.
  4. Establish your wedding theme/style/vibe: Use inspiration tools like Pinterest, Instagram, and wedding blogs.
  5. Set a date and book your celebrant/church/wedding license: Secure the essentials early.
  6. Hire a wedding planner: If your budget allows, a planner can be invaluable.
  7. Send digital save-the-dates: Keep your guests informed and excited.
  8. Get wedding insurance: Protect your investment in case of unforeseen events.
  9. Start wedding dress/outfit research: Book appointments at bridal boutiques and tailors.
  10. Research and start booking key wedding vendors: This includes your photographer, caterer, and florist.

Wedding Planning Checklist: 9 Months Before the Wedding

As the excitement of the big day builds, the nine-month mark is a pivotal moment to dive into the finer details of your celebration. This is the time to start researching and booking additional vendors such as cakes, entertainment, and accommodation.

  1. Research and reserve accommodation for guests: Alternatively, collate information on your wedding website for guests to book themselves.
  2. Book your entertainment: Consider a live band, DJ, games, magician, etc.
  3. Find a wedding cake designer: Indulge in some tasting samples!
  4. Contact wedding décor companies: Arrange for hire items, backdrops, and furniture.
  5. Start researching and planning your honeymoon: It’s never too early to dream about your post-wedding getaway.

Wedding Planning Checklist: 6 Months Before the Wedding

You’ve reached the halfway milestone! Now it’s time to focus on the smaller details that will bring your big day to life. Think decor, outfits, and finalizing your menu.

  1. Shop for the groom’s and groomsmen’s suits: Ensure they match your wedding theme.
  2. Research and choose bridesmaids’ outfits: Coordinate with your dress and overall theme.
  3. Meet with your key wedding vendors: Finalize details and make sure everyone is on the same page.
  4. Decide on your menu: Attend tasting appointments to narrow down your choices.
  5. Book wedding transport: Make sure everyone gets to the ceremony and reception smoothly.
  6. Order wedding stationery: Alternatively, use a wedding website to send digital invitations.
  7. Set up a gift registry: Decide whether you want a traditional registry, a wishing well, or nothing at all.
  8. Book hair and makeup trials: Ensure you love your look for the big day.
  9. Research and book the rehearsal dinner: Plan a memorable meal with your closest friends and family.

Wedding Planning Checklist: 3 Months Before the Wedding

It’s getting so close now; you can really feel the anticipation building. It’s time to finalize the details that will make the day uniquely yours: your accessories, the readings, and, of course, the guest list!

  1. Send out your wedding invitations: Choose between digital e-vites or physical paper invitations.
  2. Send out rehearsal dinner invitations: Ensure everyone knows where to be and when.
  3. Attend dress fitting: Plan any necessary alterations.
  4. Shop for wedding bands: Choose rings that symbolize your commitment.
  5. Consider your wedding accessories: Think shoes, jewelry, veil, bag, bow ties, socks, etc.
  6. Buy and order wedding party gifts: Include gifts for parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and each other!
  7. Discuss wedding ceremony readings: Ask those you’d like to involve.
  8. Select your wedding music: Choose songs for key moments, like walking down the aisle and your first dance.
  9. Write your vows and/or speech: Personalize your words to each other.
  10. Research and book smaller details: Consider a guest book, photo booth, favors, confetti, candles, etc.
  11. Start DIY décor: If you’re planning to make some of the decorations, start now!

Wedding Planning Checklist: 1 Month Before the Wedding

The final countdown is here; all that’s left to do is pull everything together and ensure that every detail seamlessly falls into place.

  1. Chase up any last-minute RSVPs: Make sure you have a final guest count.
  2. Have a final dress fitting: Ensure your dress fits perfectly.
  3. Submit final guest numbers: Inform your wedding venue and caterer.
  4. Finalize your order of the day: Coordinate with your planner/coordinator.
  5. Pay final balances to vendors: Ensure all financial matters are settled.
  6. Create a table plan: Organize your seating arrangement.
  7. Book appointments for final touches: Nails, eyebrows, spray tan, etc.
  8. Collect wedding outfits: Store them safely until the big day.

Wedding Planning Checklist: 1 Week Before the Wedding

The day is finally within touching distance! This last checklist is to guide you through the final touches because, let’s be honest, you’ve got quite a lot to think about and remember at this point!

  1. Share vendor contact details: Give your venue and coordinator the information they need.
  2. Create/print place name cards: Ensure everyone knows where they’re sitting.
  3. Check in with all your vendors: Confirm the wedding day schedule and their time of arrival.
  4. Go to final appointments: Get your nails, hair, and other treatments done.
  5. Start packing for the wedding night: Don’t forget your essentials.
  6. Pack for your honeymoon: Get ready for your first adventure as a married couple.
  7. Have a ceremony rehearsal: Ensure everyone knows their roles.
  8. Arrange the ring keeper: Decide who will be responsible for the wedding rings.


As you can see, there is a LOT to plan and juggle during the wedding planning process. This is why having an ultimate wedding checklist such as this can help you enormously in the run-up to your big day. If some of these points aren’t relevant to you, don’t panic. And if your wedding includes even more steps, that’s great too. Every wedding is different, but most importantly, it’s down to you and your chosen dream wedding team to curate and create your perfect day!

Whether you’re hiring a wedding planner or not, this checklist will still be a super useful tool to help you stay on track in the months leading up to your wedding day. Start early, stay organized, and most importantly, enjoy the journey. After all, you’re only going to do it once, so make it count!