Having a wedding planning checklist gets really overwhelming. But, if you can get into putting time into assigning tasks to the right people, it makes the job more easier and fun to deal with.
We have broken down the year plan on a month-by-month basis, this makes you take the process and wedding planning checklist in bits to make you not feel overwhelmed. Every couple has a different engagement time, even though the ideal length is 10 to 12 months. So this guide can be followed if yours is around 3-6 months still to stay right on track.
Let us dive straight into it, and if you feel we missed anything you can add that in the comment section. Here is a detailed wedding planning checklist to help you plan your big day 12 months in advance:
12 Months Before
Determine Your Budget & Guest List
When it comes to money, we have to get very calculative, and that is where most of the maths you had done in high school come to use. You have to start by knowing your ultimate budget for the wedding and identify who would be paying for what; then have the budget broken down. It will be advisable to do your own market research and have a detailed spreadsheet on the side to help you keep track of your spending and make it easy for any adjustments.
While considering your guest list, your budget comes into play as you won’t have the luxury to invite just everyone, so what you can afford determines the number of guests that will be present, and also your venue (how many people can it accommodate). If the case your parents are contributing at least 30-50% of the bills, it will be the normal protocol to give your partner’s parents, your parents and you as the couple at least one-third each.
This part of the wedding planning checklist is one of the most important decisions the couple has to make, as the venue gets to affect literally almost everything, from how many people would be on the guest list to what the decoration would be like. Your decision can make or break your big day, that’s why you need to explore all your options and pick one that fits your budget and style.
Hire A Wedding Planner
Also dependent on your budget, for your sanity and peace of mind it is important you pick the planner for your big day. When it comes to making decisions, making plans, and keeping track of your budget and logistics; he or she will always be available and make things happen.
Looking For Vendors
This is the perfect time to start finding the best wedding vendors around your city, such as caterers, photographers, DJs, etc, and book them on time. Identifying your wedding vendors early enough gives you more confidence that your guests and the couple are going to have a good time.
Shop For Wedding Dresses
12 months away, the couple needs to go for the wedding dress and attire shopping, if it would be rented or paid for in full. Getting this done also makes the couple a clear idea of the general theme for their wedding.
Make Honeymoon Plans
The honeymoon is the highlight for most couples, making early travel arrangements to your favorite honeymoon destination assures the couple will have their private time after the stress of the wedding. Picking the right country or city to explore and get to be with your favorite person in the world. If you are thinking of a proper wedding destination in African find it here.
Design Wedding Invitations
Having a first good impression on your guests really means a lot, that is where your wedding invitations come in. You can have a graphics designer create a custom wedding invite and stationery that suits your theme, or you can pick any good template you can find on the internet.
Plan Your Wedding Theme and Decor
Need inspiration? You can spend a good amount of time on Pinterest and pick a mood board with the different color palettes that you like to be your theme. You can bring out the minimalist in you, and go for something simple yet classy or you can get ideas from wedding profiles on Instagram.
9-11 Months Before
Order Your Wedding Dress
You obviously went shopping a few weeks ago, now is the perfect time to order your wedding dress and get them tested to be certain everything fits properly. Also getting to order it doesn’t mean it comes in immediately but best you secure it.
Book Accommodations For Out of Town Guests
There are going to be guests who won’t be living in the city you are getting married in, so it is important to book and make reservations for them, especially at a location close to the venue for ease of movement for your guests like parents of the couples, immediate family members and friends.
Take Engagement Photos
The best photographers are mostly always booked ahead of time, so this would be the best time to practice being in front of the camera as a couple. So we hope you aren’t camera shy.
Finalize Guest List and Send Out Save-The-Date Cards
At this point, you should have concluded on your final guest list, the next thing is to send out save-the-date invites to everyone and make it official.
Purchase Wedding Bands
Wedding bands are another essential the couple needs to get as they prepare for the wedding. You have to pick the right bands that resonate with your partner, and something you can actually afford, as it’s the thought that really matters.
6-8 Months Before
Plan Your Wedding Ceremony & Reception Details
You may think you have so much time, but having to get the details of the wedding ceremony, reception details, and how everything will play out on that day is essential. Details such as the kind of songs you want to be played by the Dj, the readings, possible entrance by the couple, etc.
Plan Your Wedding Menu & Catering Details
Now is the time to talk to your caterer and ask all the questions you need to ask regarding the day, telling the caterer the number of guests you are expecting at the reception. The menu definitely should go the way you want it, and also listen to the professional advice they have to share. Do you want cocktails? jollof rice? or small chops…this depends on your budget and the guest in total.
Finalize Your Wedding Decor and Floral Arrangements
Just like hiring vendors, you want to be in communication with the florist and how the overall decoration would look like. Get in touch with one around the venue who is highly recommended. Make sure you get someone who is able to produce what you want around your budget.
Arrange For Hair & Makeup Trials
This is optional, some brides will want to do some makeup and hair trials and choose the look that matches their outfit and the vibe of the whole wedding ceremony. If this is you, then go ahead and get that hair and make-up trial done. Feel free to search through social media for inspiration, and be as specific as possible also. Beware of high-filtered Instagram photos.
Book Your Pre-Wedding Events
Pre-wedding events such as bachelorette parties and bridal showers for the couple. This is where there is bonding with the bridesmaids and groomsmen, where they take pictures, play games and just chill. So pick a suitable day and location that will be perfect for this. NO GOING OVERBOARD.
3-5 Months Before
Arrange For Necessary Rentals
Rentals such as chairs, lighting, and lounge furniture are the bones of a wedding day decoration. If you miss out on getting this rented early enough from a reliable rental vendor, you would be in for a big problem. Do the needful and make your guests relaxed on the furniture you choose.
Finalize Your Honeymoon Arrangements
A few months out you were checking out the best honeymoon destinations, now it is time for the couple to make a final decision on the location. The groom normally gets to plan this trip as a surprise for the bride, but these days it’s more of a tag team plan, based on the budget and itinerary. This honeymoon should be filled with lots of fun activities, do not get holed up in your apartment or hotel.
Schedule Your Final Dress Fittings
The bride, can go along with her friends shopping, and do live fittings of the dresses and make a choice, same with the groom who won’t have to go through the drama of picking one as the lady. You should also keep accessories in mind while you are making your decision.
Purchase Wedding Day Accessories
This includes shoes, pieces of jewelry, and every other accessory you would need to go with your perfect outfit. The groom needs his watch, hair grooming kits, etc to look sharp on that day.
Start Premarital Counseling
Premarital counseling has worked wonders for thousands of couples, and this has nothing to do with being religious or not. This counselor gets to speak with you about questions or issues that haven’t come up yet in your marriage or relationship. They provide you with a healthy solution to any foreseeable problems that may arise.
1-2 Months Before
Obtain Your Marriage License
When you are about to get your marriage license, it is important you know how much it costs, how long it will take, and who to meet. Each country has its different laws and requirements for a marriage license. If you are having a destination wedding, then you have to research the required paperwork. You need to have the officiant, your witness, and couples there to sign it.
Get Gifts For Your Wedding Party
Don’t go overboard when getting the gifts for your wedding party, but they should be personalized and thoughtful as possible.
Write Your Wedding Vows
This should come from the heart, as you are writing a promise to one another. Take your time and make this special.
Confirm All Details With Vendors and Venues
This will be the opportunity to make all the final decisions, and make sure all vendors are on the check, and also the venue is sorted out. Your wedding planner would be the one making sure that the weeks leading up to the D-day are flawless so nothing is forgotten. This also includes making full payments to these vendors.
Pack For Your Honeymoon
Most couples get to go on their honeymoon just immediately after the wedding day. If this is the case, then you have to pack all the essentials you need depending on how long you are looking to stay during the honeymoon. Make this a priority in your wedding planning checklist.
1 Week Before
- Confirm all details with vendors and venues one last time.
- Pack for your wedding day.
- Provide your wedding coordinator or planner with a final timeline and list of vendor contacts.
- Arrange for the transportation of any necessary wedding days items, such as decor or favors.
- Have a final dress fitting and ensure that everything fits perfectly.
- Practice your vows and wedding day speeches.
- Relax and enjoy the final days leading up to your wedding day.
With this Xclusive wedding planning checklist, you should be having a stress-free wedding day and make beautiful memories. Do not forget to enjoy every moment and best of luck to you.