Wedding Planning Checklist
Published July 23, 2013 | Updated May 5, 2019
You just got engaged. Now what? The first thing you should do is celebrate. Congratulations! Getting engaged is an awesome and fun next step in a relationship. If you’re wondering what you should do next, check out the five major things you should do to plan your wedding. By the way, track all of these steps under your free Bridal Team account.
Phase One: Think about your vision.
The first thing to do is to figure out what you want for your big day. Will you be a summer-time bride or a winter-white groom? Do you prefer to spend money on a new home, new baby, or a grand wedding? Setting these goals will help you plan the details.
Pick a date
You won’t be able to finalize the wedding date until you’ve found a location. However, you can narrow down the dates that may not work for you, such as:
Black-out days for work
Set a budget
Figure out how you are going to pay for the wedding. Do you plan to dip into a savings account or start saving now? Would you consider taking out a loan or paying for some things with a credit card? Will your families contribute? Things to remember: be sure to set aside money for the honeymoon and pre-wedding events.
Use the Wedding Budget Calculator to estimate your expenses.
Build your guest list
Once you know how you are going to pay for the wedding, you have to figure out how many people you can afford to feed! Track your guests using the Guest List Planner. And don’t forget to include your parents’ desired guests, coworkers, and yourselves!
Phase Two: Do research.
Now that you know what you want and what you can afford, now you have to go out and find it. This is where a wedding planner or a wedding coordinator can be helpful. Experienced planners may know other wedding professionals that fit your budget. If you decide to do it on your own, you can use a tracker to manage all of details and keep everyone on the same page. Your wedding planner can also use the tracker to keep YOU updated on the progress of each task.
Find a venue
Will your ceremony and reception be at the same location? Does the venue serve food, or will you have to hire a caterer? Does the venue provide tables and chairs, or will you have to bring your own? There are many things to consider when looking for a venue, so be sure to ask these questions when negotiating your contract.
Send save the dates
Once you’ve secured the venue, you must inform your guests to secure the date. If you plan to mail your save-the-dates, be sure to figure in costs for stamps and envelopes.
Wedding vendors are professionals that provide a service for a wedding. Be sure to ask specific questions when negotiating your contract. Depending on the vision for your wedding, you may want any of the following vendors:
Musician or Band
In addition, you may need to find:
A bridal shop to buy your tux, wedding dress, or shoes
A baker for your wedding cake
A jeweler for the wedding bands
A rental shop for Chiavari chairs or centerpieces
And of course, you can’t forget wedding invitations, the wedding program, the registry, and wedding favors.
Phase Three: Plan!
This is when the details really matter, because now is when you start making some big decisions, paying off balances, and holding pre-wedding events. It is suggested that you enlist the help of a best man, maid-of-honor, or a wedding planner to help take over some responsibilities.
What time will the ceremony begin? At what time is the first dance? If your venue set an “end time” for your event, you have to make sure you have time to do important activities, such as taking official wedding photos after the ceremony and cutting the cake. Plan out when the important activities should occur using a reception and ceremony timeline.
Hold pre-wedding events
There are many events held before a wedding, such as an engagement party, a wedding shower, or a rehearsal dinner. Be sure to budget for these events.
Phase Four: Finalize.
At this point, you’ll be nearing the wedding day, and you’ve still got some major things to tackle. Use a tracker to manage it all and ask for help as you coordinate the finishing touches, such as:
Sending out the wedding invitations two months in advance
Obtaining your marriage license
Buying the wedding bands, guestbook, and favors
Holding a wedding rehearsal
Deciding where to honeymoon
Phase Five: Say “I Do”!
Before you know it, the Big Day will have arrived. Use the Wedding Day Schedule to plan the day. Create an account for the ultimate wedding planning checklist. Lastly, HAVE FUN. And don’t forget your guestbook in your car like I did 🙂