Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist

To plan the perfect celebration, use this comprehensive wedding checklist, with a timeline based on the 3-month length.

3 months before 1 Fix a date for wedding party You can plan your wedding around a season or a special date. Remember: you and your fiancée are going to celebrate this anniversary for the rest of your lives—so pick something special. Once you pick a season or a certain month, begin researching what the weather is like in the location you are planning on getting married.
2 Work out your budget Determine how much you have to spend, based on your families’ contributions and your own.
3 Reserve your wedding venues If you really want a specific date, begin planning and calling around to reserve venues and vendors you want to hire as early as possible. Decide whether to have separate locations for the ceremony and the reception. Decide whether you want to be married indoors or outdoors. If you want to get married outdoors, it is especially important to consider the season.
4 Start a guest list Make a head count database to use throughout your planning process, with columns for contact info, gifts, and any other relevant information. (Want to keep costs low? It may be brutal, but the best way to do it is to reduce your guest list.)
5 Hire a planner, if desired. A planner will have relationships with—and insights about—vendors.
6 Select and purchase invitations. Hire a calligrapher, if desired. Addressing cards is time-consuming, so you need to budget accordingly.
7 Throw an engagement party, if you wish. But remember that your invitees should be on your wedding guest list as well.
8 Start planning a honeymoon. Make sure that your passports are up-to-date, and schedule doctors’ appointments for any shots you may need.
2 months before 1 Purchase wedding dress. You’ll need to schedule time for at least three fittings. Veil shopping can be postponed for another two to three months.
2 Hire the photographer and the videographer. No need to talk specifics yet, but be sure that the people you hire are open to doing the shots that you want.
3 Book the entertainment. Attend gigs of potential acts to see how they perform in front of audiences, then reserve your favorite.
4 Meet caterers. If your wedding venue doesn’t offer its own catering service, look for one now and hire the service this month or early next.
5 Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. Pick three hotels at different price points close to the reception venue.
6 Schedule hair and makeup artists. Make a few appointments with local experts to try them out. Snap a photo at each so you can compare results.
1 months before 1 Purchase the Jewelry. This will give you time for resizing and engraving.
2 Purchase wedding shoes and start dress fittings. Bring the shoes along to your first fitting so the tailor can choose the appropriate length for your gown.
3 Reserve structural and electrical necessities. Book portable toilets for outdoor events, extra chairs if you need them, lighting components, and so on.
4 Arrange transportation. Consider limos, minibuses, trolleys, and town cars. (But know that low-to-the-ground limos can make entries and exits dicey if you’re wearing a fitted gown.)
5 Finalize the menu and flowers. You’ll want to wait until now to see what will be available, since food and flowers are affected by season.
6 Send out the invitations. The rule of thumb: Mail invitations six to eight weeks before the ceremony, setting the RSVP cutoff at three weeks after the postmark date
7 Visit the dressmaker for (with luck!) your last dress fitting. For peace of mind, you may want to schedule a fitting the week of your wedding. You can always cancel the appointment if you try on the dress then and it fits perfectly.
8 Send your event schedule to the vendors. Giving them a first draft now allows ample time for tweaks and feedback.
9 Meet with the photographer. Discuss specific shots, and walk through the locations to note spots that appeal to you.
10 Review the playlist with the band or dj. Though you probably won’t be able to dictate every single song played, you should come prepared with a wish list.
11 Book and provide directions for drivers of transport vehicles. This gives the chauffeurs ample time to navigate a route.
12 Touch base again with all the vendors. Make sure any questions you or they had on your first draft have been answered.
13 Get your hair cut and colored, if desired.
Week of the wedding 1 Delegate small wedding-day tasks. Choose someone to bustle your dress, someone to carry your things, someone to be in charge of gifts (especially the enveloped sort), someone to hand out tips, and someone to be the point person for each vendor.
2 Pick up your dress. Or make arrangements for a delivery.
3 Check in one last time with the photographer. Supply him or her with a list of moments you want captured on film.
4 Set aside checks for the vendors. And put tips in envelopes to be handed out at the event.
5 Book a spa treatment. Make an appointment for a manicure and a pedicure the day before the wedding. (You might want to get a stress-relieving massage, too.)
6 Send the final guest list to the caterer and all venues hosting your wedding-related events. Typically, companies close their lists 72 hours in advance.
7 Assign seating. Draw out table shapes on a layout of the room to help plan place settings. Write the names of female guests on pink sticky notes and the names of male guests on blue sticky notes so you can move people about without re-sketching the entire setting.
8 Pack for your honeymoon.
Week of the wedding 1 Make sure everything laid out Packed for your wedding day. Essential including wedding dress, accessories and gifts.
2 7. Check wedding venue and other arrangements
3 8. Get your beauty sleep
The big day 1 Eat a healthy breakfast
2 Take a deep breath and relax. It’s time to enjoy the day you have spent so much time planning!