Congratulations, you got engaged! …Now what?
For some people, planning a wedding is a stress-filled, year-long dash to accomplish a million things. But we believe that wedding planning can (and should) be fun! So, to make it as simple as possible, we’ve put together the ultimate wedding planning checklist so you can get everything done in time and actually be (somewhat) calm on your wedding day.
Like most other wedding planning checklists, ours starts a year before your wedding day. If your big day is coming up a little sooner than that, adjust your timeline accordingly.
You got that ring, now it’s time to get to work! As soon as possible after your engagement, start planning out the rough details of your Big Day to get a feel of what the event is going to look like.
Start Your Vision
Get on Pinterest, start a vision board, or fill up a folder of pictures of fun and unique wedding reception ideas. The sooner you start this step, the more time you’ll have to fulfill those great ideas!
Create a Wedding Budget
Trust us…it’s super easy to get carried away and end up with a $80,000 wedding! So set the limits ahead of time with your spouse-to-be (and both sets of parents, if they’ll be contributing) and set a reasonable wedding budget.
This doesn’t mean you have to get married in your parents backyard. Just that you decide (together!) what areas you can skimp on and where you want to splurge.
Other than you and your future bride or groom, no one will be happier for you than your squad! Go ask your favorite people to be in your wedding party and loop them in on the planning. (After all, that’s what the best man and maid of honor are there for!)
Come up with the full guest list for your wedding day.
What happens after you fall in love with that super-intimate bed & breakfast location only to realize you’ll have nowhere for 200 wedding guests to stand? Create the guest list early so you’ll know how much space you need in your wedding venue. (It’s also one of the first questions they’ll ask during your tour.)
Engagement parties are a fun way to get the celebration going well in advance. They’re also a convenient way to have both sides of the family get acquainted before the two of you say “I do.” (Looking for engagement party ideas? How about a photo booth!)
Starting your wedding plans a year in advance seems like plenty of time, but don’t relax too much! There’s a lot to get done and the time will go by quicker than you think.
Book the Venue
Booking the wedding venue is one of the most important steps of wedding planning (after getting engaged, of course).
Once you book the venue, you’ll have a concrete date to tell the vendors and to put on the wedding invitations. You’ll also know if there are any location-specific tasks that need to be taken care of.
Get It On Camera
You might not remember what the cake tasted like or what favors you picked, but you’ll be seeing those wedding pictures for the rest of your life. Make sure you research and interview plenty of photographers and videographers to find someone whose work matches your vision.
Strike a Pose
This is also a great time to get those engagement photos done! You’ll get a sneak peek of your photographer’s style and personality (plus have some cute pics to share on social media).
Save the Date
Now that you’ve got the date booked, let everyone know about it! There are countless cute ways to announce your upcoming nuptials to your friends and family. (We’re partial to photo strips.)
Right-Hand Man (or Woman)
If all this wedding planning is stressing you out already (and if your wedding budget allows), it may be time to bring in the professionals. A wedding planner can help provide you with resources, ideas, a helping hand, and emotional support in the months to come.
Say “Yes” to the Dress
“Ten months to find a dress?!” Absolutely! Finding the perfect wedding dress and having it altered can take a while, so make sure your wedding timeline leaves plenty of room for both.
But also remember, this is the fun part! Make a day of it with your bridesmaids, family, and maybe your mother-in-law. Sip champagne and go out to lunch after.
Once you’ve found The One (congrats!) complete your look with wedding shoes, jewelry, veil, and all those other accessories.
Food, Glorious Food!
Yum! Who doesn’t love a nice spread of food at a gorgeous wedding? Schedule the tasting with your caterer and decide on a menu. (Psst…this makes for a really fun date night!)
You’ve taken care of the rough draft. Let’s fill in those details! (This is where things start to get really fun!)
Get This Party Started!
Having a KILLER DJ is crucial to making sure your guests have a great time and your party is POPPIN’! Make sure your DJ also acts as an MC, which will help keep everything on track. (We know a DJ that ROCKS!)
Pick the Florist
Take that folder, vision board, or Pinterest page down to the florist and start talking arrangements! You’ll want to discuss the bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, aisle decoration, and any other floral decor you need.
Keep in mind that much of your flower selection will be limited to what’s in season on your wedding date.
Will You Marry Us?
You can’t get married without one…an officiant, that is! Whether you choose a family friend, religious leader, or a professional, you want to select someone who has the same vision as you for the actual “wedding” part of your wedding day.
If you choose an officiant that doesn’t know you personally, you may be asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire so they can familiarize themselves with your relationship and individual personalities.
Yes, your venue will likely have the basic stuff: tables, chairs, and plates. But if you want to theme your ceremony and reception or take the whole thing to the next level, you’ll want to hire a rental company.
They can help you out with Chiavari chairs, uplighting, chargers, and all those details that make your day extra special.
Let Them Eat Cake!
Here’s another date night idea for you: cake tasting!
Whether you go with a traditional wedding cake or something a little more unique, how it tastes is just as important as how it looks. It’s a good idea to pick a unique flavor (tiramisu with ricotta buttercream) as well as something with a more universal appeal (like chocolate!).
Garb Your Girls
It’s been a while since you’ve had a girls’ night, right? Grab up your wedding party and go shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories.
While you might have a clear vision of how you want your ladies to look, listen to their opinions as well. The budget, style, and modesty level that work for one bridesmaid might not work for them all.
Make a Wish List
Creating a wedding registry is a super fun way for you and your future husband or wife to plan your life together. From decorative items to useful kitchen gadgets, it’s also a great way to get your hands on something you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself…like a Roomba!
Nowadays, there are a number of wedding websites that allow you curate multiple registries in a single location, so you can register at as many places as you like!
Whew! You’re halfway there! In six months, you’ll be married to the love of your life. But in the midst of wedding planning stress, don’t forget to prepare for your marriage as well. After all, the wedding is just one day. Your marriage is a lifetime.
Research and purchase wedding favors for your guests. (We may be a little biased, but we think photo booth strips make great wedding favors!)
I Feel Pretty
Every bride wants to look and feel like a princess on her big day, but having a beautiful dress is only half the equation.
Book a great hair and makeup artist so you can #slay on your wedding day! (Just make sure to do a trial run beforehand. The last thing you want on your Big Day is a hair-related disaster.)
Two Tickets to Paradise
Married life together is just over the horizon. Make sure you have an intimate, romantic honeymoon planned so the two of you can start your life together in style. It doesn’t have to be elaborate—even a staycation is a blast when you’re with the love of your life!
Get a Room!
Book a block of rooms at one or more hotels for out-of-town guests that don’t know the area. Create some welcome bags for a special touch.
Get those groomsmen into some snazzy suits or tuxes. And guess what? You guys have as many choices to make as the ladies do. Cummerbund? Vest? Cufflinks? Pocket Square? Tie color? Superhero t-shirts underneath? The possibilities are endless.
Get the Rings
The wedding ceremony is when you exchange the rings, so make sure you actually have them! You can choose matching wedding bands as a symbol of your unity or get unique rings that match your own personalities. You might even want to get them engraved so your future spouse has a sweet message to discover on the wedding day.
You’re nearly there now! Time to take care of the important final details that will make your day really special. By the way, the stress of wedding planning is probably getting to you right about now. Why not give your fiancé a little engagement gift to say “I love you”?
Set the Menu
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to attend a tasting with the caterer and make the final menu selections. Don’t forget to notify them when the RSVPs come in!
Order all your stationary (wedding invitations, menu cards, thank you notes, place cards, rehearsal dinner invites, signage, etc.) and mail the invitations to your entire guest list.
Make sure there’ll be plenty of time for the RSVPs to get back to you in time. The caterer and venue will want to have an exact head count.
This is the perfect time for your maid-of-honor to host a bridal shower in your honor. We know you don’t have much control over this part, but it’s another thing to keep in mind!
Decide on your full wedding reception playlist (including your “do not play” list) for the DJ or band. Select songs for the ceremony and reception, keeping in mind those milestone moments (first dance, mother/son and father/daughter dances, bouquet toss, cake cutting, etc.).
Say “Thank You!”
Order a beautiful gift for your bridesmaids and groomsmen to thank them for keeping your sane during these last few months. Personalized items are always a good choice!
That’s right, we’re counting in WEEKS now, honey! Before you know it, this will all be a happy memory that you can look back on during your honeymoon.
Weddings are notorious for turning otherwise chill people into “Bridezillas” and “Groom Kongs.” Take a step back from all the color schemes, menu choices, and taffeta and think about how much you love your fiancé(e).
Now, write those feelings down. Guess what? You just wrote your vows.
License to Marry
This is the perfect time to apply for a Florida marriage license. (Your marriage isn’t legal without one).
Keep in mind that, in the State of Florida, your wedding must take place at least three but no more than 60 days after the license has been issued.
Have a Seat
Seating arrangements can be tedious, but it’s the best way to avoid a reenactment of the Hatfields vs. the McCoys. If you need a little help, take some tips from America’s domestic queen, Martha Stewart. If she can’t help you, no one can.
One month to go! Most of the big things should be taken care of by now, so just finish up the last few details and you’ll be ready!
Final Dress Fitting
If your dress needed to be altered, now is the time to have the final fitting to make sure that it still fits you. Hopefully, you haven’t lost too much weight with the stress of wedding planning!
With This Ring…
Pick up your wedding bands if they haven’t come in by now. Make sure they’re the right size and exactly what you ordered.
Check that the airlines, cruise lines, and/or hotel have your reservations. Buy cute white attire to wear on honeymoon and pick up any other last essentials you’ll need for a great vacay!
License to Marry
Pick up the marriage license and keep it in a safe place. Your wedding officiant will need to sign it after the ceremony before it is sent back to the county to be recorded on Public Records.
One week to go…. We’re counting in DAYS now, people!
There are always going to be a few small “on the day” tasks that need to get done..but not by you! Delegate your to-do list out to trusted friends and family members so that you can relax and enjoy your wedding day.
Pack Your Bags
If you’ll be going away for your honeymoon soon after the wedding, go ahead and pack now (or at least make a list). You don’t want to be running around crazily, trying to throw clothes into a suitcase.
Pick up your dress from the final alterations and hang that puppy up and out of the way so it doesn’t get ruined!
Your rings will be front-and-center at every eye and camera lens, so get your engagement ring cleaned before the wedding day. Any jewelry store should be able to provide this service for you.
THE DAY BEFORE
You’re getting married tomorrow! Bet you thought this day would never come, right? Well, here it is and you only have a few more things to take care of.
Set It Up
Make sure everything is laid out and packed for your wedding day. Dress? Check. Shoes? Check. Rings? Check. Don’t leave anything until the last minute.
Attend the rehearsal dinner and mingle with your wedding guests. There’s nothing that needs to be done right this second, so take a breather for a second and just enjoy this moment.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Get plenty of sleep the night before your wedding so you’ll have energy and a clear head the next day. If your nerves are keeping you up, sip on some chamomile tea, put on a sound machine or meditation app, or do some yoga before turning in.
WEDDING DAY — YAY!
It’s finally here! You’ll probably be up early (if you slept at all), which is nice, because that means you’ll have time to get the last few things done before walking down the aisle.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
It’s the most important meal of the day…and this is the most important day of your life! Eat a healthy, balanced breakfast that will keep you satisfied through the entire morning. (You might not have time to eat again until the reception!)
This Is My Jam!
Put on a fun “getting ready” playlist as you and your wedding party get ready. Having some fun tunes on in the background can help set a fun, relaxing vibe.
Hand Over the Ring
Give the Best Man the rings for safekeeping before the ceremony. If there’s a ring bearer, secure the rings to the pillow and give them to a trusted adult.
As you get ready, take pictures, and say your vows, enjoy the day you’ve spent so much time planning! Maybe even have one of your friends (or your mom!) remind you to stop and take it all in.
While you’re at it, hop in the photo booth!
The Big Day was beautiful, but you’re not done yet! Believe it or not, there are still a few loose ends to tie up, even after you get married.
Send thank you notes for all of those amazing gifts you got at the wedding. Your grandma will love receiving a handwritten note from you!
Complete Your Registry
Did you get any gift cards in lieu of presents? Did you get anything that wasn’t quite right? Now’s the time to exchange, return, and purchase the rest of your gifts.
Memories will last a lifetime, and so will your dress and bouquet…if you treat them right. Preserving your wedding dress and drying your bouquet make beautiful mementos.
Worth a Thousand Words
Follow up with your photographer and videographer to get the final product. Keep in mind that a lot of editing is usually done on both photos and video before they are delivered to the client.
Update the Records
If you’ll be taking your spouse’s last name, now is the time to start the process. But even if you’re keeping your old name, there are still a few last bits of paperwork to take care of.
File the signed marriage license with the county and tell your insurance company that you’re married. Some of them will even offer discounts to wedded customers!
Wedding planning can be stressful, but if you follow our ultimate wedding checklist, you’ll be set up for success from “Yes” to “I do!”
And if you’re looking for a fun wedding activity that ROCKS, look no further than a photo booth! Our customers and their guests love having a personalized memento of an amazing time. And, as the bride/groom, you’ll receive a guestbook with all of the photo strips in it, plus personalized messages handwritten by each of your guests!
Congratulations on the engagement and have a happy marriage!