It's never easy, that's why some people hire a wedding planner. Here's my practical, no nonsense wedding checklist for your wedding. Print it out and tick them off. Or hire a wedding planner.
As soon as you know you're getting married/after your engagement
- Discuss your ideal wedding with your fiance, can you agree to disagree?
- Decide your budget range ie 10-20K, 30-60k, 60k +
- Discuss whether you want a wedding planner to help with some or all of the organisation
- Start planning the guest list. Deciding an approximate number of guests will help you determine you choice of venues
- Research potential wedding venues and ceremony locations
- Pick potential wedding dates (check with any significant guests to avoid clashes)
- Decide who to ask to be bridesmaids and groomsmen
- Start a Pinterest account
- Engagement party anyone?
At least 12 months before but earlier is better
- Book reception venue and ceremony locations
- Research wedding suppliers - photographer, florist, invitations, cake, decor, music, hair and make up
- Decide what type of entertainment you want for ceremony, drinks reception and dancing
- Book Photographer
- Start wedding dress research
- Send Save the Date cards
10 months before or earlier
- Book ceremony music, band and dj for reception
- Contact decor hire companies if you need to rent anything for ceremony/reception, such as chairs, tables, and tent.
- Research and book your Honeymoon, travel agents seem like a dated concept but they can be great with advice and tips.
- Research and order wedding cake
- Research bridesmaids’ dresses
- Book or order Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Suits
- Book ceremony musicians
- Ensure passports are in date for honeymoon, don't underestimate how long it can take to order new passports
- Book wedding cars
4-7 months before
- Choose and order wedding invitations & stationery
- Attend pre-marriage counselling, if required (for catholic ceremonies)
- Meet with florist to discuss options
- Shop for groom's suit
- Organise the legalities — give at least 3 months notice to registrar or priest/religious celebrant
- Organise invitations and order of service booklets
- Travel vaccinations?
- Organise wedding transport, late nights, alcohol and driving don't mix.
- Start gathering addresses for guest list
- Research and book accommodation for guests
- Choose and order wedding rings
2-3 months before
- Send invitations to guests
- Deliver must-have shot lists to photographer. Include who should be in formal portraits and determine when portraits will be taken
- Rent the men's formalwear
- Attend dress fittings
- Organise gifts for bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, and each other
- Book a makeup artist and go for makeup trial
- Book hairdresser and organise hair trial
4 weeks before
- Have final wedding dress fitting
- Make any last-minute adjustments with suppliers
- Finalise details for, and order mass booklets/order of ceremony
- Order and plan in-room welcome baskets for out-of-town guests
2 weeks before
- Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet responded
- Create your table plan
1 week before
- Give venue/caterer final guest head count
- Check with venues wedding coordinator if they need anything from you.
- Call all wedding suppliers to confirm arrangements, create timetable for day
- Give ceremony and reception site managers a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times, plus contact numbers.
- Get manicure, massage, waxing and all your preparations
- Do full wedding dress rehearsal (everything)
- Pack an overnight bag for the reception, include Panadol and band-aids
- Organise money to be paid to suppliers on the day but preferably take of this beforehand.
2-3 days before
- Make last minute changes to table plan if necessary
- Groom: Go for final fitting and pick up your formalwear.
- Groom: Ask the best man to make sure all groomsmen attend fittings and pick up their outfits.
- Confirm pick-up times with wedding car company
- Assign a family member or attendant to be the photographer's contact so he knows who is who.
- Drop off place cards, favours, table plan to reception coordinator
- Provide all wedding professionals with an emergency phone number to call on the day of the wedding - best man or maid of honour are the best.
- Sort out payment (organise cash or cheques) for any final balances to be paid at the end of the reception.
- Ensure the cake is on track to be delivered to reception venue
- Rehearse ceremony with full wedding party and iron out details.
- Get a good night’s rest. Seriously. Go to bed early!
The Wedding Day!
- Give the gifts for your parents to the best man/bridesmaid for after the speeches
- Get flowers delivered to the bride’s house
- Give wedding bands to the best man to hold during the ceremony
- Introduce your reception coordinator to your wedding planner (if you're having one), or bridesmaid/bestman for questions or problems during the reception.
After the Wedding
- Prearrange for someone to return any rentals.
- Prearrange for someone to take the bride's gown for cleaning.
- Send thank-you notes to guests and any vendors who were especially helpful.