Planning your wedding can be not so organized chaos if you don’t have a system in place to keep track of everything. To help you out here is a check list of everything you need to be able to keep everything in order right up until your big day. 

16 to 12 months 

  • Create a wedding binder where you can compile all of your inspiration and wedding information. This helps you stay organized, and keeps all your ideas in one place so you can find all you inspiration easily. 
  • Figure out what your budget is; how much you want to spend, and how much you feasibly can spend. You can also keep this information in your binder, along with tracking of who is spending how much and on what. This way no one goes over their limits and everything is easy to find.
  • Choose your wedding party. As soon as you say “Yes” everyone is going to be wondering who is on the list. It’s best not to keep your entourage in suspense for too long. 
  • Hire a wedding planner to help you manage everything. (Optional, but they can give you valuable insight, and help manage everything.)
  • Start brainstorming a guest list. Do you want a small intimate gathering, or are you planning on inviting all your family and friends? Coming up with even a rough estimate in the early stages can help you put everything else together easier. 
  • Book your officiant. 
  • Research local venders near you too see who you think will be best suited to serve at your wedding. Get price ideas, options that they offer, and keep all the information in your binder so that you have it for easy reference. 
  • Throw an engagement party! (If you want.) 

11-10 months

  • Begin shopping for your dress. Starting early means you have time to look at loads of different options without feeling pressured to make an instant decision. 
  • Start booking venders that are known to book up quickly. This includes the photographer, videographer, band or DJ. Photographers in particular are in high demand when it comes to weddings, securing one early is always a smart idea. 
  • Book hotel blocks if you need the space for guests. This will ensure that all out of town guests are accommodated, and you wont have to worry the closer you get to the ceremony. Hotels may also offer special deals on booking so don’t be afraid to shop around if you can and see your options.
  • Take care of your engagement photos.
  • Start looking at having custom made invitations created. Talk with a designer or calligrapher if you have something specific in mind. This will give the artist time to operate without a tight time frame.
  • Purchase your dress and begin making any needed alterations.  
  • Send your “Save the Date” cards to all invited guests. 
  • Register for gifts so that your guests can start shopping ahead of time. 
  • Begin bridesmaid dress shopping and fittings. Finding appropriate bridesmaid dresses can be almost as hard as the wedding dress itself. Adding in fittings to accommodate different body types, it’s best to start early. 
  • Meet with florists to see what each can do. This can help you narrow down which one you’d like to go with later on.
  • Launch your wedding website so guests can stay up to date! 

7-6 months 

  • Begin planning your honeymoon. This can be especially helpful if you’re planning on traveling to an in demand location. 
  • Meet with the officiant and make sure everything is covered. 
  • Reserve anything additional that you will need, such as additional seating, lighting, or outdoor accommodations. Depending on the venue you have in mind, make sure you know what they can provide, and what you’ll need to have on hand yourselves. 
  • Book the chosen florist.
  • Arrange transport for both you and any guests that require it. 
  • Brainstorm the general timeline that you will follow on the day of the wedding. At this stage it will be a rough estimate, but it can help you plot out what needs to happen and when. 
  • Hire musicians or DJ, depending on what type of music you wish to provide. 
  • Hire a lighting technician if you have lighting needs that are going to need a specialist. 

5-4 months

  • Book your honeymoon! 
  • Hire a caterer and take care of the final tasting of your chosen menu options.  
  • Buy or rent a tuxedo for the Groom. 
  • Choose your cake and make sure to specify any particulars to the bakery. 
  • Buy wedding bands. 
  • Begin buying groomsman attire, and taking care of their fittings. 
  • Get a trial run of your hair and makeup so that you know what looks best and what you’d like to go with. 
  • Go to pre-marriage counseling if needed for religious reasons, or if you just want to undertake it in preparation. While it may seem silly, a lot of couples say it’s help them become even closer. 
  • Consider taking first dance lessons! Wow your guest with a memorable dance between you and your partner!

3-2 months

  • Order your custom invites if you haven’t already. 
  • Finalize all the party favors for your guests.
  • Print your menus and programs for the day. 
  • Check in with venders and make sure everyone is still on the same page. 
  • Meet with photographer and go over what particular shots you are looking for, and when they should arrive. 
  • Review the set list or playlist with band or DJ. 
  • Send all the invites to your guests. (And, remember: If they got a ‘Save the Date” card it’s only polite they get a formal invite as well!) 
  • Throw bachelor or bachelorette party! 

1 month

  • Enter RVSPs into your official guest list, and contact those who haven’t responded yet to see if they’re planning on attending. 
  • Get your marriage license.
  • Finalize any payments to your venders.
  • Confirm times and places with venders. 
  • Mail rehearsal dinner invites, if you’re planning on hosting one. 
  • Complete your last dress fitting.
  • Email directions to drivers and guests who will be traveling from out of town. 
  • Assign seating if your planning on having an arranged seating arrangement.
  • Write your vows. (Check out our tips for writing the perfect vows here!)  
  • Get hair cut or dyed if you need too.

Week Of

Photo credit: The Bleu Studio
  • Reconfirm times with venders so that everyone is on the same page! 
  • Delegate wedding day tasks to those charged with specific responsibilities. 
  • Come up with timeline for your bridal party on when they should arrive and what they need to do. 
  • Check in with photographer and reconfirm the shots you want. 
  • Break in your shoes by wearing them around the house. This ensures you won’t be terribly uncomfortable walking on your wedding day.  
  • Pick up your finalized dress, if you haven’t already. 
  • Set aside checks and tips for venders to be given to them at the ceremony and reception. 
  • Pack for your honeymoon so that you don’t have to worry about it on your big day!
  • Assemble party favors and welcome basket gifts for guests, and make sure the venue is set and ready to go! 

Things to Remember

This list isn’t set in stone, and depending on your ideas timeline, and particulars, things can definitely be cut and moved around. Let it serve as a rough outline to help guide you though the chaos that can ensue when planning a wedding. Don’t sweat the small things and remember to have fun! This day is all about you and your partner. It’s a celebration of your love and your union, if a few small things are out of place don’t stress about it! Hopefully this list will help keep you on track and a bit more organized, but don’t be afraid to tailor it to your needs!