The Countdown Begins: Wedding Planning Checklist

It’s never too early to start planning. Follow these steps for matrimonial bliss.


  • Tell friends and family.
  • Set the date.
  • Choose the type of wedding you want (formal, semi-formal, informal; which season)
  • Set a wedding budget and decide who will able to contribute and how much.
  • Visit, choose and book your ceremony and reception sites.
  • Pick a photographer/videographer. Have engagement photos taken.
  • Start shopping for your gown.
  • Start working on your guest list.
  • Arrange for both sets of parents to get together.


  • Sign up for any pre-marital counseling or classes.
  • Announce your engagement in local newspapers, if desired.
  • Choose your wedding party members.
  • Arrange the first meeting with your minister, priest or rabbi and wedding planner (if using one).
  • Throw an engagement party.
  • Gather wedding inspiration.
  • Start a Pinterest board.
  • Search magazines and websites for ideas.
  • Begin adding the names of vendors and their contact information into a master contact list.


  • Select a caterer.
  • Choose a baker, schedule cake tastings.
  • Order your gown and schedule fittings (remember to bring your shoes).
  • Shop for bridesmaid dresses.
  • Hire a florist.
  • Book a band/DJ.
  • Start researching honeymoon spots.
  • Finalize the guest list.
  • Book a stationer (and calligrapher, if using one).
  • Mail save-the-date cards.
  • Purchase your shoes, headpiece, jewelry and lingerie for the big day.
  • Book hair and makeup artists for the big day.
  • Reserve event necessities.
  • Book portable toilets for outdoor events, extra chairs, linens, lighting and so on.
  • Start making a day-of timeline, determining what should happen when (speeches, first dance, etc).
  • Book a block of hotel rooms near the reception site for out-of-town guests.
  • Register for gifts at two to three places.
  • Start to keep track of favorite songs.


  • Order all wedding stationery (invitations, envelopes, thank-you notes) and work out pricing for programs, menus and place cards, which will be printed closer to the date.
  • Hire wedding-day transportation.
  • Book flights and hotel reservations for your honeymoon.
  • Arrange the rehearsal dinner.
  • Schedule any beauty treatments (brow-waxing, facials, teeth-whitening) that you’d like to have done before the wedding.
  • Send a guest list to the host of your bridal shower.
  • Order passport, if necessary.
  • Purchase wedding rings; order engraving.
  • Remind mother and mother-in-law to start shopping for their dresses.


  • Order the suits for the groom and groomsmen.
  • Meet with the caterer or facility manager to discuss menus, wine selections, serving style, etc.
  • Choose and order wedding favors and welcome baskets, if desired.
  • Order the wedding cake.
  • Meet with your officiant to discuss your ceremony; invite loved ones to perform readings, if appropriate.
  • Choose songs for the ceremony and reception.
  • Buy thank-you gifts for your attendants.
  • Confirm group hotel rates for out-of-town guests.
  • Book your pre-wedding and wedding-night hotel.
  • Finalize your honeymoon plans.
  • Send invitations to the calligrapher if you’re using one.
  • Plan your bachelorette party with your attendants.
  • Send a day-of timeline to your vendorsso they’ll have ample time for tweaks and feedback.
  • Sign up for dance lessons, if desired.


  • Mail invitations.
  • Do a hair and makeup run-through (with headpiece).
  • Meet with the caterer to finalize a menu.
  • Send programs, menus and escort cards to the stationer to be printed (if not using a calligrapher).
  • Send your wedding announcement to local newspapers, if desired.
  • Write thank-you notes as you receive gifts.
  • Maintain a list of all presents received and thank-yous written.


  • Plot the seating for the reception.
  • Confirm times with all vendors.
  • Have your final dress fitting.
  • Write your rehearsal dinner toast.
  • Compose your vows, if desired.
  • Visit the salon for one last cut and color.
  • Send escort cards and the seating chart to your calligrapher to fill in guests’ names and table numbers.
  • Enter RSVPs into a guest-list database, and call invitees who haven’t yet responded.
  • Get your marriage license. If you’re changing your name, order several extra copies.
  • If changing your name, make arrangements with Social Security, Department of Motor Vehicles, credit card companies and your bank.
  • Mail the rehearsal dinner invitations, if applicable.
  • Stock the bar using your final head count as a guide.
  • Send out as many final vendor payments as you can.
  • Provide addresses for drivers of transport vehicles.
  • Create a must-take “shot list” and discuss it with your photographer.


  • Compile the fees that will be due on the wedding day.
  • Give the caterer a final head count.
  • Appoint a reliable pal to transport the cake knife, toasting glasses, etc. to and from the reception site.
  • Get final beauty treatments (facial, waxing, brow-shaping, etc.).
  • Pack for the honeymoon. Ask someone to bring your luggage to the reception if you’re leaving from there.
  • Give your honeymoon itinerary to a friend or family member in case of emergency.
  • Pick up your dress or make arrangements for it to be fetched or delivered.
  • Arrange for the cake to be delivered to the reception venue.
  • Buy a guest book, if you choose to use one.
  • Delegate small wedding-day tasks: someone to carry your things; someone to bustle your dress; someone to manage the gifts; someone to hand out tips; and so on.
  • Send a timeline to the bridal party, including every member’s contact information.
  • Break in your shoes.
  • Assemble and distribute welcome baskets to out-of-town guests, if desired.
  • Pick up wedding rings, check engravings and sizes.
  • Remind men to pick up formalwear and shoes, and check them for fit.
  • If you don’t have a personal attendant, ask a friend to help you get dressed on the big day.
  • Talk to head usher about any special seating arrangements.
  • Arrange for a light snack for the wedding party to eat while getting ready for the ceremony.


  • Help decorate the venue, if necessary.
  • Have a manicure, pedicure and any other last-minute pampering treatments.
  • Distribute thank-you gifts to the wedding party, special attendants and parents.
  • Organize for a note or gift to be delivered to your fiancé on the wedding day.
  • Take a relaxing bath, go to bed early and start getting excited. You’re about to get married!


Bridesmaids' Attire
Groom's and Groomsmen's Attire