The Ultimate Wedding Checklist: How To Plan Your Big Day

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If you’re planning your own wedding without the help of a wedding planner, you may be needing some guidance on what needs planning and how far in advance it needs to be considered. See this as your ultimate wedding checklist.

wedding groom and bride hugging

18 months out

1. Create a wedding folder/ring binder

This is when you should start to collate images of inspiration for your wedding (interiors, flowers, decor, dress, etc.). Flick through bridal magazines and cut out images, or use social media tools like Pinterest to house all of your inspiration in one place.

2. Work out your budget

This is the time when you must sit down with your husband or wife-to-be and come up with a figure. Without a budget, you should not begin to plan or book anything.

3. Create the guest list

Write a guest list for you wedding ceremony and reception. This is where you can determine the scale of your wedding.

4. Find a wedding venue(s)

Once you have a rough number of wedding guests, you can find a wedding venue that will cater to that number of guests. Depending on the number of guests and the budget, you may decide to have two wedding venues – one for the ceremony and another for the reception.

5. Get your date in the diary

Conduct in-depth research on wedding venues and make plenty of visits before committing. Once you have found the perfect venue(s), be sure to lock it in, as popular wedding venues can be booked up over a year in advance.

12 months out

6. Throw an engagement party

If you want an engagement party, 12 months out is a good time to throw one. It allows enough time to recover financially before the big day, and it allows you to enjoy your engagement to the fullest with your loved ones. (Remember that whoever you invite to the engagement party should also receive an invite to your wedding day, unless your big day in question is an intimate affair.)

7. Find your officiant

It’s important that you find and book someone who will officiate your wedding. You may already have someone in mind…

8. Research, research, research

This is a good time to research wedding entertainment, caterers, photographers/videographers and florists, and keep their information in your wedding folder.

Eight months out

9. Purchase your dress

For many women, finding the perfect dress is one of the most important elements in planning a wedding. Expect to try on a lot of dresses before you find “the one”, and remember to purchase it at least six months before the big day, so that there is time for it to be custom tailored and adjusted.

10. Book the wedding band

Wedding music bands can get incredibly booked up, especially during wedding season. If you want to ensure your favourite live band can provide the entertainment at your wedding, secure the band at least eight months before the big day.

11. Organize catering

This is a great time to meet with the wedding caterers and design a perfect menu – especially if your venue is not providing in-house catering you are using an external catering service.

12. Hire the photographer/videographer

Once you have decided which photographer you want to capture your wedding day, you should let them know. The specifics aren’t relevant yet, but you should ensure that your wedding date is in their diary.

13. Book accommodation for you and your VIP guest/family

If you and your family require accommodation in the days leading up to and immediately succeeding your wedding, this is the time to book out some rooms at a hotel or in an AirBnB, or else risk disappointment.

Six months out

14. Plan your honeymoon!

In the months leading up to your big day, it can be easy for wedding preparations to eclipse another important aspect of getting married: going on your honeymoon. Nowadays, it’s not so common for couples to go away immediately after their wedding day, due to budget restrictions, but it’s still wise to block some honeymoon time later in the year to visit your dream destination!

15. Buy wedding attire

This is a good time to get your bridesmaids together to buy their dresses, as it allows time for adjustment and tailoring.

Four months out

16. Get invitations printed

You should send out wedding invitations around four months before the big day. Your wedding invitation is the first glimpse your guests will get of the style of your wedding, so maybe hire a designer or calligrapher to ensure they are perfect. A Customised Invitation Card is a great option to make it more personalized!

17. Book the florist

Get in touch with your favourite wedding florist and let them know exactly what type of florals you would like at your ceremony and reception (send them images from your wedding folder).

18. Create a wedding playlist

Whether you’ve hired a live wedding band or a DJ, you should work with them to curate your perfect wedding playlist, full of your favourite songs that will get you and your guests up on the dancefloor. And don’t forget to finalise your all-important First Dance song.

Three months out

19. Finalize and check on all the suppliers

Three months before the wedding you should check in with the caterers, dress makers, wedding entertainment, etc. to ensure everything is on track.

20. Create a schedule for the day

Work with the venue to create a solid day plan. Remember to factor in time for photographs, speeches and food. And if you are inviting more guests to your wedding reception, you will need to ensure they don’t arrive for the evening party before your other guests have finished eating the wedding breakfast.

21. Buy the rings!

So, you have your beautiful engagement ring, but don’t forget to buy your wedding rings and get them sized to perfection.

One month/two weeks out

22. Check RSVPs

This is the time that you should communicate your final guestlist numbers to the venue and the caterers (along with guest dietaries).

23. Get your marriage license

It can take a couple of weeks to get your wedding license, so it’s wise to give yourself plenty of time, just in case.

24. Get ready for the big day!

Once you are sure that everything is in place, you need to focus on getting yourself ready! Book yourself into the salon, have your last dress fitting, write your vows – any last things you need to tick off your list, now is the time!

Get married!


If you’re planning your own wedding without the help of a wedding planner, you may be needing some guidance on what needs planning and how far in advance it needs to be considered. See this as your ultimate wedding checklist. #Wedding #ToDo #Checklist

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