Comprehensive Wedding Planning Checklist For A Big Day in 2023

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Planning a wedding can be daunting, but with the right tools and guidance, it can also be a fun and rewarding experience. One of the most important things to do when preparing for a big day is to create a checklist that outlines all the necessary tasks and timelines.

With so many details to consider, a comprehensive wedding planning checklist can help you stay organized and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Viva Wedding Photography has made a list of everything you need to do for the next 12 months, so you can feel confident it’s all written down.

11-12 Months To Go

Make A Budget Plan

It’s time to get down to the tedious business of crunching numbers. Before you can do anything else for your wedding, you must find out who is paying for what and how much the whole thing will cost. Then, you’ll want to prioritize within that budget and begin distributing dollars accordingly. (Some market analysis would be helpful at this point.)

In addition, given that these figures will evolve as you plan, it is prudent to initiate a comprehensive spreadsheet. You’ll be able to keep better tabs on your spending habits and easily make any adjustments.

>>> Read more: How Much is the Accurate Average Price Of A Wedding?

Employ The Services Of A Wedding Planner

Wedding To Do List - Hire A Wedding Planner
Wedding To Do List – Hire A Wedding Planner

Once again, this is subject to the constraints of your financial situation. To warn you, though, pretty much everything does. The moment to hire the wedding’s management is whether your budget permits or your calm depends on it.

This individual will be by your side at every step, advising you on everything from venue selection to budget management to logistics. So you should consider thoughtfully hiring a wedding planner because they will help you prepare for your big day at ease.

Create A List Of Expected Guests

You wish you could invite anyone, right? There needs to be a limit on invitations because it’s quite unlikely that you can invite everyone. So how many people should you invite to the wedding? Let’s consider your finances (how many people you can afford to invite) and the space available (how many people can fit) before settling on a final headcount. Who exactly is footing the bill for this, anyway? Work out how you’ll divide the list up after that.

Assume that you and your spouse will receive 70 percent of the invitations if you and your spouse are footing the expense and that the parents will divide the remaining 30 percent. If any parent is pitching in, the customary split is one-third each for the two sets of parents and the pair themselves. The next step is to narrow the range, negotiate, and make more reductions until a final figure is settled.

Set The Tone And Formality

Wedding Checklist: Set The Formality For Your Party
Wedding Checklist: Set The Formality For Your Party

It’s time for you and your partner to discuss the wedding planning checklist seriously. You and your spouse should decide together on the atmosphere you want to create for your wedding. Just pour yourself a cup of tea or wine & ask, “What’s important to me, and why?” to get the ball rolling. What do I genuinely care about? Remember that your venue (on which more below) will also have an impact.

Choose Your Venue

All right, you’ve decided on your future spouse. The only remaining mystery is where. Have faith in us: The most crucial choice you’ll have to make today is where to hold the event.

When planning a party, the location significantly impacts nearly every aspect, from the guest list to the centerpieces. Also, it’s probably the largest sum you’ve ever spent. That’s why it’s essential to research and choose a wedding venue that works for your crowd size, aesthetic preferences, and budget.

Purchase Insurance For Your Wedding

A wedding is costly, so it’s prudent to protect your investment with special events insurance in case of mishaps or lawsuits. Even on the day of your event, some insurance companies will offer you a policy if you apply early enough in the planning process or already have a venue booked.

Choose Your Caterer

The biggest and best dinner party you’ll ever have is your wedding. You want to impress 150 of your loved ones with delicious food. How do you find the best vendors for your big day? Check out our wedding planning tips to choose the perfect caterer, whether it’s from the venue, your planner, or your favorite taco truck. Plus, don’t be afraid to try something new with your wedding menu. Your guests will enjoy tasting your favorite wedding food and beverage.

Pick A Color Scheme And Think About The Overall Layout

Wedding Planning Checklist: Choose A Color Scheme
Wedding To Do List: Choose A Color Scheme

Go ahead and open up your boards on Pinterest. Inspiration has been found, a color scheme has been chosen, and a mood board is ready to be made. If you’re at a loss for ideas, stand back and look at the things already around you, such as how you’ve decorated your home, what you’re enjoying on Instagram, etc.

Initiate Vendor Reservations

It’s because of them that the evening will be memorable and enjoyable. Make sure you know what you’re getting into by doing your homework, asking pertinent questions, and even going on a date with your photographer before hiring them to take your engagement photos. In all seriousness, you two have the potential to form a lovely friendship.

Because of the rising number of weddings and anniversaries, popular service providers are quickly filling up their calendars. It is best to “lockdown” your preferred professionals as soon as possible.

>>> Recommend reading: Top 37 Things To Know Before Getting Married from Expert

9-10 Months Before The Wedding

Get The Outfits Shopping Started!

Wedding Checklist: Shopping For The Wedding Outfit
Wedding Checklist: Shopping For The Wedding Outfit

As the outfit you choose on your special day is crucial, it is best to start looking for it as early as possible. If you want to take your time trying on dresses and tailoring your suit to your exact specifications, start your search for the appropriate wedding attire as early as possible. Wedding suits and tuxedo purchasing need the same care and attention.

Reserve Hotels In Prior

It’s a crucial part of the wedding planning checklist that you should consider thoughtfully. Wedding guests from out of town may travel considerable distances to be with you on your special day. It is customary for the happy couple to reserve a block of hotel rooms for their guests (or give rooms at the location itself, in the case of a destination wedding). It’s best to stay in the same place to relax and have fun together.

Certain hotels and resorts may not guarantee your room reservations until up to a year in advance. Still, the vast majority will discuss block possibilities with you when booking. As a result, it’s possible that a “soft hold” confirmation won’t be possible until after a year has passed, even if you begin the planning process immediately. Find out what services your venue or potential hotel offers, how they will work with your event schedule, and how to book a hotel block for the wedding.

Begin Evaluating Your Invites

You want your wedding invitation to be the first thing your guests see when planning their trip. A custom sneak peek is important for making a good first impression.

If you’re taking the custom route, now is the time to start brainstorming ideas with a designer or stationer for your perfect invitation suite. If you’d instead take the easy way out, you have until six months. Invitations will be sent out from six to eight weeks before the event.

Do A Picture Shoot For Your Engagement

Wedding Planning Checklist: Arrange An Engagement Photo Shoot
Wedding Planning Checklist: Arrange An Engagement Photo Shoot

Organize an engagement photo shoot if you haven’t already. If you’ve already booked a wedding photographer, spending time with them before the big day is fantastic to meet and feel comfortable with them. Having a good rapport with your photographer will help you relax before the camera, leading to more beautiful images.

Take lots of pictures because you’ll be glad you have them afterward. How’s this for multitasking: you can use the images you love most on your wedding website and invites.

7-8 Months Out

Create A Wedding Website With A Wish List And Gift Registry

Creating a wedding register is a thrilling part of the wedding planning checklist. You might be wondering why. As a newlywed, you get to shop for the presents others will give you. In our opinion, that is truly heroic.

Some common items on the wedding registry checklist include formal dinnerware and an abundance of bedsheets. Did you know that in addition to traditional wedding gifts for couples, such as china and silverware, you may now register for cash, gift cards, experiences, and truly unique items like high-tech espresso machines and funds to go toward the adoption of a pet? Indeed, it is true, yet it is also true that registries are greater now than ever.

Make sure your well-meaning friends and family don’t give you any awkward surprises by creating your registry early. Avoid having yet another set of cookware take up valuable storage space in your kitchen by creating a register.

On top of that, your loved ones are likely to start presenting you with gifts as soon as possible, and a registry will help them stay on schedule.

Visitors to your wedding website will appreciate having access to additional information you’ve provided. It’s a central location for all the information about your wedding day.

Also, it’s a lot more fun to play with design elements and make your site seem and feel like it’s part of your wedding’s overall concept. Turn your website into a creative (and useful) resource for your loved one by allocating some of your time from the beginning stages of wedding planning to this project.

You should have your wedding website and register fully functional before sending your save-the-dates this month.

Get The Accessories And Bridesmaid Dresses Picked Out

Wedding To Do List: Get The Bridesmaid Dresses
Wedding To-Do List: Get The Bridesmaid Dresses

After doing preliminary research online, invite the bridal party in person if they are around. Seeing them in the clothing will be useful, and you can even ask them how they feel about the items you’re considering. After all, they will be displaying it before hundreds of people. Accessories are something to think about as well.

>>> Read more:

Reserve A Dinner Rehearsal Spot

Wedding Planning Checklist: Book A Dinner Rehearsal
Wedding Planning Checklist: Book A Dinner Rehearsal

The groom’s family typically hosts the rehearsal dinner, so if this is the case, consider it an occasion to show appreciation to your future mother-in-law. But, since you will be paying for this event on your own, you can choose the venue and theme. We think it’s great that you’re considering having a relaxed, family-style meal at your favorite restaurant or going with a more informal event, like a clambake or backyard barbecue.

Get Together With Prospective Florists

Connecting with your florist as you would with any other vendor you bring on board is essential. To that end, we advise asking for recommendations from friends, perusing Instagram for ideas, and consulting with your event planner or venue organizer. Choose a service that fits your needs and your budget.

>>> Further reading: Choosing The Perfect Wedding Flowers By Season

Seek Renting Equipment

We know that you may not see the need for things like a dance floor, lounge furniture, or even specialty chairs, but please reconsider. Good rentals will serve as the framework for the rest of your wedding decorations. If money is no object, invest in more comfortable chairs and lounge equipment (your guests will be grateful).

Find An Officiant

You will need to pay a third party to legally perform your marriage if you are not doing it in a place of worship. It’s up to the couple whether to hire a professional or go for a more personal touch by asking a family member or close friend to perform the ceremony.

>>> Recommend reading: 25 Essential Questions to Ask A Wedding Venue In 2023

5-6 Months To Go

Hire The Services Of A Lighting Technician

The lighting in a room is what most couples overlook in the wedding planning checklist. Once the sun goes down, the celebration continues thanks to the bulbs and candles you choose to illuminate the appropriate venue, enhance the images, and set the mood.

Provide Transportation For Visitors If Necessary

When will you know if it’s necessary? Think about how your guests will get to the location, whether they need cars or can take public transportation, and how much it will cost them. A decent rule of thumb is to consider a shuttle bus if it costs $20 or more per person, especially if you’ve already invited them to travel for a wedding. Or, you can arrange rides for other people using services like Uber.

Plan Your Honeymoon

Wedding Checklist: Arrange Your Honeymoon
Wedding Checklist: Arrange Your Honeymoon

It is customary for the groom to arrange a secret vacation for the bride as part of the wedding festivities. If you’re using the honeymoon approach in tandem, you should strive to have things mostly straightened out by this point.

Having a shared understanding of costs, departure and arrival times, and the general course of travel is essential. You don’t need to plan every second, but you should discuss what you hope to learn from this trip and do all you can to make that a reality.

Get Or Rent A Tuxedo For The Groom

To refresh your memory, the groom leaves first. You want your guests to have a positive initial impression of your home. The first actions in the wedding planning checklist include determining if to purchase or rent a tuxedo or suit, depending on the level of formality of the event.

Focus on form and function when making your final ensemble choice. Your groom can show off his most embarrassing dance steps without worrying about ripping his suit if it is well-made. Finally, don’t make the same blunders as other guys if you want to rent your tux or suit.

>>> Recommend reading: Wedding Checklist For Groom & No Need To Worry On The Big Day

Start A Premarital Therapy Session

Wedding To Do List: Having A Premarital Counseling
Wedding To-Do List: Having A Premarital Counseling

Premarital therapy has been a game-changer for many religious and nonreligious couples. (Both the professionals and the couples agree on this.) Having a neutral third party urge you to talk about things that haven’t come up in your relationship yet is quite beneficial. Counselors can also help you develop constructive strategies for dealing with disagreements so you’ll be prepared for when they inevitably arise.

>>> Recommend reading: A Stress-free For How To Plan a Wedding In 6 Months

3-4 Months Before Your Big Day

Select Your Wedding Cake

You and your significant other should now agree on a style and flavor profile you enjoy. Don’t worry if you can’t make everyone happy at your party. Enjoy this cake as a married couple. How about the cake(s)? A baker is essential at this time. Look for a dependable one who can meet you on your preferred date, is willing to work with you on your ideal design, and charges an acceptable fee.

Consult The Caterer For A Last Taste Before The Event

You’ve reached out to your caterer for an in-depth discussion at this stage. The time has come to discover what kind of stuff they are made of. Many couples are opting to personalize every wedding detail, from the trademark cocktails to the sweets, making the tasting more crucial than ever.

Take your planner or advisor if you’re worried that starry eyes will cloud your judgment. They’ve probably been to many tastings and can help you sort out any problems by watching for things like the quality of the ingredients and how attentive the staff is.

Choose Groomsmen’s Clothes And Set Days For Fittings

Wedding Planning Checklist: Choose Groomsmen's Clothes
Wedding Planning Checklist: Choose Groomsmen’s Clothes

Do you want everyone at the wedding party to coordinate perfectly? With group members scattered around the country, how can you coordinate a timely fitting for everyone? Is there anything else that could go wrong? Breathe. Have confidence, and don’t be shy about involving the groom. He might establish an excellent, ordered, well-dressed line among his people.

Tryouts For Hair And Makeup

The following essential part of the wedding planning checklist is trying hair and makeup layouts. You can help the experts help you by doing some background reading prior you beginning your trials. Examine past photographs of yourself to discover a tried-and-true method of looking your best but being recognizably you.

You can then look to other social media platforms for ideas, but don’t let the filtered photos on Instagram fool you. Bring the pictures and be as detailed as possible when describing your preferences to the stylist.

Employ A Calligrapher And Place Your Order For Invites

While placing an order for wedding invitations, it’s essential to remember a few guidelines: Be sure they will arrive in time, validate all addresses, and double-check any spelling issues before ordering.

Though there may be a limited number of templates, the design and phrasing possibilities are vast. Remember that your invitations should have a theme that reflects who you are as a couple and your wedding style.

Create Or Arrange Your Menu

Wedding Planning Checklist: Plan Your Menu
Wedding Checklist: Plan Your Menu

After a successful taste, you’ll know exactly what to expect from a caterer regarding style and menu options and may move forward confidently. Perhaps you and your partner are the types to have meticulously planned the menu down to the last appetizer, side dish, and cocktail. Alternatively, you could have just asked the chef to “handle it” and walked away. In any case, the time has come to provide final approval to a menu that considers your needs, wants, and schedule.

>>> Recommend reading: 16 Best Signature Drinks For Weddings We Recommend in 2023

1-2 Months To Go

Send Wedding invitations To Guests

Traditional wedding invites are sent two to three months before a big day. In case the destination wedding location is determined, invitations should be issued even earlier (between four and six months before the wedding is recommended).

We recommend sending out invitations and other stationery early to allow for possible postal service delays and guarantee they reach guests in plenty of time.

Prepare Your Wedding Vows

Wedding Planning Checklist: Prepare The Wedding Vows
Wedding Planning Checklist: Prepare The Wedding Vows

We strongly recommend planning ahead of time and putting your vows in writing. Those vows you make in front of a loved one are quite significant. When you start your writing project early, you give yourself plenty of time to refine your ideas and avoid distractions, which can lead to headaches and writer’s block.

Get The Underwear For The Wedding Gown

The undergarments you must wear beneath the dress can be purchased after the initial fitting. The initial fitting is where you want to be because that’s when you’ll get a clear picture of the shapewear or lingerie foundation your design will need.

Get Your Marriage License!

Wedding To Do List: Obtain A Marriage License
Wedding To-Do List: Obtain A Marriage License

What about the most crucial part of the wedding planning checklist? It is vital to know the specifics of obtaining a marriage license, including where to go, what to prepare, how much it will cost, how long it will take, and how long it will be valid.

If you want to know the specifics of the law in your state, you should do some research. You should also look into the documentation needs for your wedding’s location, domestic or overseas. Then, have the witnesses and the officiant sign it as well.

Create A Floral Mockup With Your Florist

Floral examples may or may not include a faux reception table setting, centerpiece, and bouquet based on the florist and the wedding decor you’ve selected. Discussing and settling on the last details of your birth and care strategy is especially important right now.

Prepare The Goodie Bags And Party Favors

Wedding Checklist: Prepare Party Favors
Wedding Checklist: Prepare Party Favors

You should buy wedding favors and welcome packages for your guests now if you plan on surprising them with these thoughtful gestures. These optional extras are like icing on the cake if they can be worked into your budget. Around two months before the event, your presents should be wrapped and ready. Although favors are appreciated, they do come at an extra cost. Place it at the bottom of the wedding planning checklist and only investigate if money is left over.

Purchase All The Little Items

We can think of a few off the top of our heads: table number, toasting flutes, a cake topper, a cake stand, a cake knife, a guest book, a card box, ring bearer accessories, flower girl accessories, a nice hanger for your outfit, and a garter.  Likewise, consider purchasing baskets and pashminas, flip-flops, or/and glasses for guests to use throughout the reception. Then, don’t forget the signage (“Welcome,” “Guest Book,” “Dancing Shoes,” etc.).

Make Complete Payments To Vendors

You don’t want to deal with a vendor pursuing money right before the wedding. Prevent it from happening by keeping meticulous records of all payments made to suppliers. Let your most reliable friend or relative know that on the wedding day, you’ll depend on them to distribute the labeled envelopes containing payments to vendors who require same-day payments or tips.

Make An Arrangement For Seats

You thought making the guest list was difficult; now comes the seating chart, which is its own formidable careful balance of relationships, ego, potential, and crisis management. Consider the layout of the location, whether or not there will be a head table, who will be seated at it, and the invitation’s cool design.

Prepare Escort And Place Cards

Wedding Planning Checklist: Prepare Escort And Place Cards
Wedding Planning Checklist: Prepare Escort And Place Cards

You need to recognize the distinction first. Place cards are more formal and specific than escort cards, which indicate where guests will be sitting at a celebration but not their actual location. In addition to indicating the table each guest will be seated at, a place card will also provide the guest’s specific seat. Whatever you decide, the cards should coordinate with the wedding’s overall aesthetic. However, the design options are almost limitless.

Go Around The Venue One Last Time

Prepare your questions in advance, and bring a planner or a close friend or relative if you forget any.

Verify Your Dress Fits and Begin Wearing Wedding Shoes

You should also check in with the other wedding party members to ensure they’re all dressed and ready to go. If any alterations or hemming need to be done, do them now.

About your wedding shoes, go briskly down the hall, or kitchen dancing is encouraged. Try not to risk getting painful blisters on your wedding night by taking any unnecessary precautions.

Wedding Planning Checklist For Final Weeks

Wedding To Do List For Final Weeks
Wedding To-Do List For Final Weeks

You are now in the final phase of wedding preparations. Take a few deep breaths; you’ve completed most of the task. Now, all that’s left to do is iron out the specifics. Things to take care of include:

  • RSVPs must be confirmed. Lastly, double-check your guest list to ensure you have included everyone who has responded. Next week, you must provide your location with a final headcount.
  • Meeting with your wedding planner or day-of coordinator for a final review and modifications is necessary.
  • Maintain communication with your vendors. Checking in and ensuring everything is ready for your wedding day is not bad.
  • Finalize your beauty appointments now. Coloring your hair and brows, getting a manicure and pedicure, and having a massage are all great ways to treat yourself before your big day.
  • Tidy up your ring. If you want your engagement ring to shine even brighter on your wedding day, take it in to get it professionally cleaned.
  • Finish your wedding vows. Please verify that the vows have been through their last rounds of editing. As soon as this week is possible, you should begin your practice!
  • Get Your Outfits Ironed. Steam and press your wedding attire. You’ll be glad you spent effort maintaining a polished appearance when you review old pictures. In the end, nobody wants to walk down the aisle with wrinkles.
  • Ready yourself for the honeymoon. If you are leaving the nation, have your passport with you and confirm your travel plans.

>>> Recommend reading: The Ultimate Last-minute Wedding Checklist for Perfect Planning

The Evening Before The Wedding And The Big Day

Wedding Day Checklist For A Happy Couple
Wedding Day Checklist For A Happy Couple

The big day is here. Your hard work and innovative ideas have paid off, and now you can relax and enjoy the wedding. Follow these steps:

On the evening before:

  • Fill up on nutritious food.
  • Put your essentials in a clutch or other tiny bag.
  • Hydrate yourself.
  • Rest up and load up the car with all the boxes, luggage, bags, and emergency supplies you’ll need for the wedding and reception.

On the day of the wedding:

  • Start the day off well and hydrate thoroughly.
  • Wear your veil early; have someone steam it if needed.
  • Prepare an arrangement of the objects (rings, invites, etc.) you wish to have photographed by the photographer.
  • Share your thoughts with your partner by trading notes.
  • Give thanks to those around you.

>>> Recommend reading:

Creating a wedding planning checklist can help you stay organized and on track throughout the planning process. Use this Viva Wedding Photography‘s step-by-step guide to ensure you don’t miss details and create a flawless celebration that reflects your unique style and personality. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can enjoy a wedding day you’ll treasure forever.

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