The Wedding Planning Checklist Every Bride (and Groom) Needs

Everything you need to do (and when) to plan for your big day.

12+ Months Before

  • Set a budget.
  • Look for and book ceremony and reception sites.
  • Pick a wedding date and time, then confirm with major vendors and close family and friends.
  • Put together a planning team.
  • Choose a theme and color palette.
  • Insure your engagement ring.
  • Start putting together your guest list.
  • Choose your wedding party (and propose to them!).
  • Throw an engagement party.ring

9 Months Before

  • Register for gifts.
  • Shop for and order your gown.
  • Book your caterer, band or DJ, and photographer and/or videographer.
  • Meet with florists to determine your floral decor.
  • Research and reserve hotel room blocks for out-of-town guests.
  • Order stationery.
  • Choose an officiant.
  • Take engagement gift

6–8 Months Before

  • Make a wedding website.
  • Book musicians for your ceremony.
  • Order bridesmaids dresses.
  • Start planning your honeymoon.
  • Send save-the-date cards.

wedding cake

4–6 Months Before

  • Arrange for rentals if you need tents, tables, chairs, furniture, etc.
  • Attend pre-wedding counseling, if required.
  • Shop for wedding rings.
  • Shop for the groom’s and groomsmen’s attire.
  • Meet with bakers and order your wedding cake.
  • Hire wedding-day transportation.
  • Have your first dress fitting. Remember to bring the shoes and lingerie you will wear on the big day.
  • Plan your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Renew passport for your honeymoon, if necessary.
bride and groom

4 Months Before

  • Hire a calligrapher for your invitations (your stationer may have someone they recommend or use regularly).
  • Book your stylist and try out your wedding-day look.
  • Book a makeup artist and do a trial.
  • Mail your invitations.

2–3 Months Before

  • Attend your shower.
  • Write your vows and/or meet with your officiant to discuss the run of the ceremony.
  • Purchase gifts for your parents, bridal party, and each other.
  • Send your rehearsal invitations.

1 Month Before

  • Apply for a marriage license in the town where you will be marrying. Check with the town clerk for necessary information/documents.
  • Attend your final gown fitting. Have someone present to learn how to bustle your dress the day of the wedding.
  • Check in with your bridal party to make sure they have everything they need.
  • Make last-minute adjustments with vendors.
  • Create a wedding program to hand out at the ceremony.
  • Plan and put together welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.
  • Attend bachelor/bachelorette parties.

2 Weeks Before

  • Book spa and mani/pedi appointments.
  • Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not responded.
  • Put together a shot list for the photographer and videographer, including a list of formal shots and when they will be taken.
  • Deliver final song list to your band/DJ, including songs on your “do not play” list.
  • Break in your shoes.

1 Week Before

  • Give reception site/caterer the final head count, including vendors like the photographer, videographer, and band/DJ to ensure plates will be made for them.
  • Supply location manager with a list of requests from other vendors.
  • Create reception seating chart.
  • Print place and table cards or give to calligrapher.
  • Put together a timeline for the day-of (when vendors will arrive, who is doing what) and share with the ceremony- and reception-site managers and vendors.
  • Call wedding vendors to confirm details.
  • Groom: Get a haircut.
  • Start packing for your honeymoon.
wedding setting

2–3 Days Before

  • If needed, have your dress pressed or steamed.
  • Groom and groomsmen: Go for final fittings and pick up formal wear.
  • Give place cards, table cards, favors, menus, etc., to the reception-site manager.
  • Call the limousine- or car-rental company to confirm pickup times and locations.
  • Deliver welcome baskets to the hotel.

1 Day Before

  • Get manicure and pedicure.
  • Provide emergency contact information to the vendors.
  • Write checks or coordinate with wedding hosts about final balances.

The Night Before

  • Bring unity candle, aisle runner, yarmulkes, or other ceremony accessories to site.
  • Rehearse the ceremony.
  • Give marriage license to the officiant.
  • Attend rehearsal dinner.
  • Present bridal party with gifts.
  • Give wedding bands to the best man and maid of honor.
  • Assign a family member or attendant to be an emergency contact person for the ceremony- and reception-site managers and photographer.

Day Of

  • Present parents and each other with gifts.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated and eat something.
  • Tip appropriate vendors.
  • Enjoy!


  • Have someone take your gown for safe keeping and return groom’s attire (if rented).
  • Write and send thank-you notes for guests and vendors who were helpful.
  • Change your name, if desired. For help with this, sign up for the name-change service at

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