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.

Day before

  • 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.

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