The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist

The Ulitmate Wedding Planning Checklist

Getting married? Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! 

This Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist is designed to make your dream wedding a reality without any stress. It includes everything you need and is easy to follow. We have also included a FREE printable wedding planning checklist for you to download too!

This comprehensive guide is a ONE-STOP resource with 107 items and 75 insightful links to help you plan an unforgettable wedding day.

If you're feeling overwhelmed with all the planning and details that need to be taken care of, we've got your happily ever after covered!


1. Wedding Budget

Categorize and break down all expenses such as venue, apparel, decorations, stationery, etc. It'll be super helpful to create a spreadsheet and set clear spending limits to keep things organized and make sure your big day doesn't turn into a financial headache.

2. Buy Wedding Insurance

Considering the lessons from the pandemic, think about adding wedding insurance to your budget - it can be a helpful safety net in case of unexpected hiccups, like unavoidable rescheduling or cancellation, vendor no-shows, etc.

Bride working on wedding budget on computer

Initial Planning

3. Wedding Date

When you're getting started with your plans, look into possible wedding dates and think about which season suits you best. 

4. Initial Guest List

Start by drafting your guest list with input from both families, considering venue capacity and budget. Assign guests into categories based on priority and stay flexible to adjust as needed.

5. Wedding Style and Theme

Explore with your partner your personal tastes, think about formal or informal, traditional or modern, and even themed weddings. Find colors and a style you both love—they'll guide decisions on attire, invitations, and venue decor as you plan.

Office desk with notebook, candles, plant, pen and calculator

6. Wedding Planner

A good planner can bring your vision to life without unnecessary stress. If you opt for one, research a few, set up chats, and make sure they fit your budget. 

7. A Designated Person for Day-of-Tasks

On your wedding day, assign a trusted friend or family member to handle vendor communication. Clearly state their responsibilities and prepare them to handle any unforeseen issues.

8. Premarital Counseling

While not mandatory, premarital counseling is a valuable space for couples to discuss their relationship, improve communication, and set a foundation for a successful marriage.

Wedding Announcement and Invitations

9. Engagement Party Invitations

Decide on whether you would like a formal or casual engagement party. Include important details like date, time, venue and dress code on your invitations and send them out 2 to 3 months in advance.

10. Save The Date Cards

Save the date cards are not a requirement. If you decide to send one, include the bride and groom’s names, wedding date, city of where the wedding will take place (country if you're having a destination wedding) and make sure to mention that a formal invitation will follow. Send them out 6 to 8 months before the big day. 

Save the date card for wedding

11. Wedding Invitations Suite 

Your wedding invitation sets the tone for the big day and is the most important piece of your wedding stationery. Details to be included on the invitation card are the bride and groom’s names, wedding date and time, venue name, country (if it’s a destination wedding), city and state, and dress code if applicable. Include additional details such as accommodation and transportation, directions/map, website information and online RSVP on a separate Details card. If you opt for a formal RSVP card, make sure to include a return envelope with your address pre-printed.

12. Bridesmaid Proposal Cards

Make it fun and pop the question to your girls with a proposal card. Do this early to allow enough time for planning a bachelorette party and finding the perfect bridesmaid dresses.

Wedding invitation suite  with details card, RSVP and vellum wrap

13. Bridal Shower Invitations

Normally, the bridal shower is hosted by the bridal party. On the invitation, include location, date and time, theme/dress code and RSVP information (eg. person in charge, phone number and date to RSVP by). 

14. Rehearsal Dinner Invitations

Send out physical or digital invitations 3 to 4 weeks before the event. Include details like date, time, location, dress code, RSVP details and other relevant information.

Gold foil white handmade paper bridesmaid card personalized with name with beige envelope

Day-of Stationery

15. Welcome Sign and Other Signage

Set up a welcome sign and other signage (e.g. photo booth, gift table, reserved seat signs, and directional signs) to provide helpful directions to your guests.

16. Seating Chart

A seating chart is set up at the entrance of the dining area to guide your guests to their table. Consider a unique and creative seating display to "wow" your guests as it is the one piece of stationery that no one will miss.

17. Escort Cards

An alternative to seating chart, escort cards are normally placed on a table or display wall at the reception entrance where the guests will find the card with their name and table number. This option is less recommended for large weddings.

18. Guestbook 

A guestbook is a simple way for guests to share their well-wishes, adding a personal touch to the celebration.

19. Ceremony Programs

A ceremony program is optional, especially if your ceremony is on the shorter side. It outlines the order of events, wedding party details, and personal touches such as a thank you note. 

white linen seating chart
Photo: Smith & The Magpie

20. Vow Books

Vow books are helpful aids for citing wedding vows and serve as meaningful keepsakes to cherish your love and promises to each other for the years to come.

21. Menu Cards

For a seated dinner, printed menus are a great way to elevate your tablescape and the dining experience. If applicable, include meal choices and options for guests with dietary needs.

22. Place Cards

Place cards help guests locate their assigned seat at their table, streamlining the seating process. Consider your menu design and tablescape to ensure a cohesive aesthetic.

23. Table Numbers

Use table number signs or cards if you opt for assigned seating at your reception. Ensure the table numbers/names are displayed clearly and opt for a design that matches your table-setting. 

24. Bar Menu

A bar menu simplifies choices and make things easier. Consider the tastes of your guests and add your favorite drinks as signature cocktails for a personal touch.

Wedding details flatlay with a wedding vow book and the groom
Photo: Irini Koronaki Photography

25. Favor Tags

Add a personal touch to your wedding favors with tags customized with the couple's names and wedding date.

26. Thank You Cards

Thank you cards can be included at each place setting or sent after the wedding to express gratitude to your guests for their presence. 

Table-setting with white handmade paper menu card and place card
Photo: Olive Paperie Co.


27. Book Ceremony Venue

Consider whether you're having a local or a destination wedding, different types of venue (beach, garden, church, etc), your budget, and logistics. Check for aesthetics, acoustics, and any special requirements to find the right spot for your big day.

28. Choose an Officiant

Find an officiant that suits your style. This could be a religious leader, civil officiant, or someone you know. Before the ceremony, discuss all details with the officiant to ensure everything runs smoothly. If it's a friend or family member, make sure they understand their responsibilities. 

29. Wedding Rings

Start your search for the perfect wedding ring early together, allowing ample time to explore various styles and find one that you both love.

30. Writing Your Vows

You can personalize your vows with a mix of traditional and original elements. Reflect on your relationship, consider tone and length.

Wedding reception table setting
Photo: For Love and Lemons

Ceremony Details

31. Ceremony Music

To make your wedding memorable, choose emotional music for the processional entrance and celebratory tunes for the recessional exit.

32. Ceremony Musicians

Consider if you prefer live musicians, such as a string quartet, pianist or guitarist. Coordinate with them to discuss musical preferences, timing cues, and any specific requirements.

33. Plan Any Additional Elements

For a personalized and memorable wedding ceremony, you can include rituals or meaningful readings to be read by close family or friends. Plan in advance if you decide to include them.

wedding ceremony chairs decorated with flowers

34. Ring Bearer Pillow

Choosing a ring bearer pillow that matches your wedding theme or color scheme adds charm to the ceremony.

35. Aisle Runners

You may consider using aisle runners for the walk down the aisle, depending on your wedding ceremony order.

36. Ushers

You can ask reliable friends or family to serve as ushers, helping guests find their seats and creating a welcoming atmosphere for your wedding ceremony.

wedding bearer pillow with wedding rings tied with a ribbon


37. Book Reception Venue

Secure your reception venue well in advance. Evaluate its location, capacity, ambiance, and budget compatibility to ensure it sets the right atmosphere.

38. Book a Caterer

Decide on the type of food and how it will be served - buffet-style or plated meals. Research caterers in the area and check their menu styles. Caterers typically serve a limited number of events on any given day, it's best to book 8-10 months in advance.

39. Seating Chart

Sort out your seating chart with thoughtful planning. Finalize your guest list, group them based on relationships, and design the chart flexibly to accommodate changes.

40. Wedding Rental

Plan for key rentals like chairs, linens, and lounge furniture that fit your wedding theme and style.

Wedding reception table setting
Photo: Irini Koronaki

Reception Details

41. First Dance

Pick a meaningful song for your first dance and plan any special dances. Consider taking dance lessons and coordinate with the DJ or band for smooth transitions.

42. First Dance Lesson

Add some fun to your wedding prep with a first dance lesson. Work with an instructor on your chosen song and dance with confidence on your big day.

43. Finalize Wedding Menu

Schedule tasting sessions with your caterer and confirm if they can accommodate dietary needs and preferences. Finalize all the finer details of your menu ahead of time to allow sufficient time to source your menu cards.

44. Wedding Cake

Choose a cake design that matches your wedding theme. Consider colors, decorations, personal touches, and pick a flavor you both like.

45. Toast and Speeches

Coordinate with speakers to plan reception toasts and provide guidance on tone and topics to cover.

double layer wedding cake with fresh flowers deco

46. Gift Drop-Off Area

Designate a secure area for guests to place their cards and gifts, such as a basket or box.

47. Timeline/Itinerary for The Day's Events

Distribute timelines or itineraries to your wedding party, vendors, etc., to ensure everyone is on the same page.

48. Emergency Contact List

Prepare a list of emergency contacts for vendors and the wedding party to ensure swift communication in case of any issues.

Wedding gift table decorated with flowers, welcome sign and guest book
Photo: The Knot

💡 PRO TIP: Have a backup plan for outdoor wedding!

Consider securing an indoor venue or setting up tents in case of bad weather, and make sure to communicate the plan to everyone involved.

Wedding Attire

Bridal Attire

49. Bride's Gown

Start searching for your dream gown early and locate a few bridal boutiques that fit your personal style and budget. Pick a dress that makes you feel comfortable and confident. 

50. Bridal Shoes

After you've chosen a wedding gown, you can start searching for that perfect pair of bridal shoes that will match your dress and style. Don't forget to consider the venue and prioritize comfort.

51. Lingerie

Choose lingerie with the right fit, comfort and style.

52. Hosiery

Select a comfy pair to match your dress style and color.

Bridal gown on hanger hung by the window of a skyscraper
Photo: Galia Lahav

53. Jewelry and Accessories

Select jewelry and accessories that complement your bridal gown and any additional dresses if you plan on changing.

54. Headpiece/Veil

Choose one that complements your bridal gown.

55. Gloves

Match gloves to your gown's material and style, avoiding beads or sequins with pure silk to prevent snagging.

56. Garters

Choose a garter that complements your dress for the garter toss at the reception.

crystal wedding earrings
Photo: Olive & Piper

Groom's Attire

57. Tuxedo/Suit

Consider the formality and style along with the fabric and color, keeping the season and overall theme in mind. Ensure it complements the bride's gown for a coordinated look.

58. Shoes

Choose a pair that matches the style of the tux or suit, keeping it comfortable and coordinated with the overall theme. 

59. Bowtie/Tie

Choose a color and material that complement the style of the tuxedo or suit and coordinate with the bride's gown.

60. Cufflinks

Pick a pair that complements the tux or suit's style and color.

A groom in a tuxedo and wearing sunglasses with his groomsmen
Photo: Patyrns

Bridesmaid Attire

61. Dresses

Choose dresses that suit the overall theme and color palette of the wedding. Consider the comfort of your bridesmaids and opt for a style that complements the bridal gown for a cohesive and visually appealing look for your bridal party.

62. Accessories

Choose accessories that go with the overall vibe, colors of the wedding, and bridesmaid dresses for a coordinated look.

bridesmaid in earthy neutral tone dresses standing by the altar
Photo: Birdy Grey

Groomsmen Attire

63. Tuxedo/Suit

Select tuxedos or suits that complement the groom's ensemble and align with the wedding theme and colors for a polished and cohesive look.

64. Bowtie/Tie

Choose bowties or ties that go with the tux or suit and match the overall style and color scheme of the wedding.

Groom and groomsmen group photo wearing tuxedo
Photo: Martha Stewart

65. Alterations and Fittings for Bride and Groom

Schedule fittings in advance for both the groom and bride. Attend a few bridal gown fittings, pay attention to the details like length and comfort and allow sufficient time for multiple rounds of alterations.



66. Bride's Bouquet

Pick a bouquet that suits the season and theme to create a beautiful focal point for the wedding.

67. Bridesmaid Bouquets

Consider the season and theme. Select flowers that complement the overall aesthetic and match the bride's bouquet.

68. Corsages

Consider corsages as an alternative to bouquets for bridesmaids, flower girls, or house party members.

69. Flower Girl Bouquet/Basket

Choose a seasonal bouquet that matches the theme. Try baby's breath, daisies or mini bridal bouquets.

70. Boutonniere

Organize boutonnieres for the groom's party, including fathers, ring bearers, ushers, grandfathers, male readers, and officiant if needed. Choose seasonal flowers to match the wedding theme.

Bride holding a bouquet by the side of her body in the fields

71. Ceremony Altar Flowers

Select ceremony altar flowers with consideration for the season, theme, and overall wedding ambiance to enhance the ceremony setting.

72. Ceremony Aisle Flowers

Consider the season, wedding theme, and ambiance when selecting aisle pathway flowers to complement the altar and enhance the ceremony setting.

73. Ceremony Pew Flowers

Choose pew flowers that match the season and wedding theme, attaching them to ends or along the side of seating rows for a cohesive look with altar and aisle flowers.

74. Reception Table Centerpieces

Select flowers that complement the wedding's color scheme and season, enhancing the tablescape for a memorable and cohesive reception atmosphere.

wedding flower centerpiece in outdoor  garden table setting
Photo: The Knot

Gifts and Favors

75. Bridal Shower Gifts and Thank You Cards

Thank your bridal party with personalized gifts or experiences and a thank you card to commemorate their support on your big day.

76. Wedding Favors

Consider wedding favors that match your theme or hold personal significance such as coasters, succulents, honey jars, or chocolates.

guests holding a mini succulent as wedding favor in her hand


77. Book a DJ or Band

Choose the wedding entertainment style that suits your theme and preferences. Consider a live band or DJ. Check local options, read reviews, attend live shows, or listen to samples. Schedule meetings with potential providers to discuss your vision and ensure compatibility for your wedding.

78. Create a Playlist

Work with your DJ or band to craft a playlist, including key songs for special moments like the first dance and father-daughter dance. 

79. Entertainment for Guests

You can consider enhancing your wedding guests' experience with a photo booth, games, or a dance floor featuring lighting effects for added fun.

Entertainment table decorated with flowers  with instant photo camera

Photography and Videography

80. Photographer and Videographer

Start researching for photographers/ videographers whose work resonates with your vision while staying within your budget. Communicate your needs and preferences and create a detailed wedding day timeline together.

81. Engagement Photoshoot

If you plan to use your engagement photos for save-the-dates or invitations, review your timeline carefully and schedule ahead of time.

82. Pre-Wedding Photoshoot

Typically scheduled 3 to 6 months before the wedding day. Choose a location that aligns with your style and wedding theme, and communicate your preferences to your photographer for the perfect shots.

83. Wedding Day Photoshoot

Communicate with your photographer prior to your wedding day to ensure that they capture all the special moments throughout the day.

Bride and Groom drinking champagne

💡 PRO TIP: Confirm all final details with ALL vendors.

Contact vendors at least a week before the wedding to confirm final details such as arrival times, setup requirements, and any specific instructions.

Beauty and Grooming

84. Book Hair and Makeup Trials

Before booking your hair and makeup stylists, review their portfolios and read reviews. Schedule consultations and trial sessions to test different looks.

85. Manicure/Pedicure

Get your nails done a day or two before your wedding day. Choose a nail design and color that complement your wedding theme and outfits you'll be wearing on your big day.

86. Confirm Appointments for Wedding Day

Finalize hair and makeup choices, secure appointments with chosen stylists, and confirm details such as timing, location, and specific requirements for the day.

87. Plan Additional Treatments

Schedule a spa day for you and your partner a few days before your wedding to relax and indulge in haircuts, facials, and massages.

Bathtub filled with lemon slices and a tray with bath ball, candle, brush and bath salt


88. Book Bride and Groom Transportation

Explore options like classic cars, luxury vehicles, or horse-drawn carriages. Confirm details, choose a style that suits your theme and preferences and make sure to book in advance.

89. Transportation for Guests

Explore options like shuttles or car services based on the location and distance to the wedding venue. Coordinate with providers for pick-up/drop-off points. Communicate details, including schedule, locations, and costs in advance.

cream color convertible vintage wedding car with foliage decoration on the back
Photo: Green Ridge Designs

Out-of-Town Guests

90. Block Hotel Rooms 

Research and compare options, taking budget and convenience into consideration. Contact hotels and inquire about group rates and availability. Make sure to share with your guests in advance the booking details, including codes and relevent instructions.

91. Welcome Pack

Provide an informative pack including local details, attractions, a map highlighting key locations and contact information. This thoughtful gesture will make their stay more enjoyable and stress-free.

Hotel reception desk sign and bell


92. Create Wedding Registry

Create your wedding registry early and be thoughtful about what items to include. Pay attention to product specs, colors and sizes and include items in different price ranges to suit everyone.

93. Share Registry via Wedding Website or Invitations

Create a wedding website and share the link on your invitations or include registry details in an insert.

94. Monitor Registry

Keep your registry up-to-date with online tools for tracking purchases and adding new items.

Couple sitting on sofa talking and looking at computer


95. Obtain Marriage Licence

Know your local marriage license regulations, timelines, and requirements to ensure a smooth wedding planning process.

96. Prepare Documentations

Make sure to gather and bring all necessary documents when applying for your marriage license at your local office.

97. Legal Name Change

Discuss changing last name(s) after marriage. Know the legal process and update documents, accounts, and records promptly. Keep family, friends, and employers informed.

A pair of wedding rings on marriage certificate

Pre-Wedding Celebrations

98. Plan Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties

Organize the bachelor/bachelorette party by discussing preferences, availability, guest list, expectations, and boundaries. Decide on surprises, themes, locations, or activities to ensure everyone has a great time!

Bride-to-be and friends at Bachelorette party
Photo: Spell

Rehearsal Dinner

99. Book Rehearsal Dinner Venue

Choose a suitable venue for your rehearsal dinner. Contact the venue to reserve the date, time, and communicate any special requirements.

100. Rehearsal Dinner Guest List

Invite immediate family, bridal party, and close friends to the rehearsal dinner. Send out physical or digital invitations and include essential details about the event. 

101. Rehearsal Dinner Program

You can plan a structured dinner program which includes speeches, toasts, and a timeline to ensure a smooth flow of the evening.

Long dining table setting with beautiful flowers in outdoor garden during sunset


102. Honeymoon

Plan your honeymoon based on your budget, travel style, and interests. Once you have decided on a destination, book accommodations, flights, activities and acquire all travel documents in advance.

103. Access Your Will

It is recommended to update your wills after any changes in your marital status. You might also consider opening a joint financial account, especially if you own a house and have a mortgage. If you're unsure about what to do next, seek advice from professionals who can provide expert guidance.

104. Send Out Thank You Cards

Take this opportunity to express gratitude to those who attended and contributed to your special day - your parents, guests who attended and gift givers who didn't make it, your wedding planner and vendors.

Island resort with beautiful huts and beach

105. Update Your Phone Numbers and Addresses

If you have moved into a new home, be sure to notify the post office in advance of your new address and request mail forwarding. Also send change of address cards to friends and family members.

106. Exchange or Return Unwanted Gifts

While not the most exciting of tasks, but it is necessary. Even if you have created a registry, you may receive gifts that don't match your preferences or that someone else has already given you. It's important to take quick action to either return or exchange these items before it is too late to do so.


107. Wedding Day Emergency Kit

Pack items such as safety pins, a sewing kit, stain remover, phone chargers, extra makeup, hairpins etc, for a well-prepared wedding day emergency kit.

Wedding day emergency kit box

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