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Ultimate List of What to Do for a Wedding | 6 Checklists and Timeline | 2024 Reveals


Leah Nguyen 22 April, 2024 13 min read

The engagement ring is shining, but now the wedded bliss brings wedding planning.

Where do you even start with all the details and decisions?

Planning for a wedding is no easy task. But if you start breaking down and prep ahead with a thorough checklist, you will eventually enjoy and devour every moment of it!

Keep on reading to find out the list of what to do for a wedding and how to plan a wedding step-by-step.

When should you start planning for a wedding?It's recommended to plan your wedding one year in advance.
What are the first things to do for a wedding?· Set budget · Pick the date · Update guest list · Book the venue · Hire a wedding planner (optional)
What are the 5 things for a wedding ceremony?The 5 essentials for a wedding ceremony are the vows, rings, readings, music, and speakers (if applicable)
List of What to Do for a Wedding

Table of Contents

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12-Month Wedding Checklist

12-Month Wedding Checklist - List of What to Do for a Wedding
12-Month Wedding Checklist -List of What to Do for a Wedding

You are at the very first stage of wedding planning, which means everything starts from scratch. How can you get a list of everything you need for a wedding when you don't even know what will happen? Before getting carried away by dozens of small tasks, consider this step-by-step wedding planning checklist to save a lot of headaches later:

Brainstorming ideas and storing them virtually - take a moment, breathe in, and put every possible idea of the wedding aspects you could think of on a brainstorming board.

We recommend creating the brainstorming board online so you can share it with other important personnel, such as your bridesmaids or parents, so they could also contribute to the wedding plan.

And, are there any things needed for a wedding checklist?

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Set date and budget - Establish the key details of when and how much you have to spend.

Create a guest list - Make a preliminary list of guests you want to invite and set an estimated guest count.

Book venue - See different venues and pick the location for your ceremony and reception.

Book photographer and videographer - Two of the most important vendors to book early.

Send save the dates - Mail physical or electronic save the dates to notify people of the date.

Book caterer and other key vendors (DJ, florist, bakery) - Secure the essential professionals to provide food, entertainment, and decor.

Look for wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses inspiration - Start shopping for gowns and order dresses 6-9 months before the wedding.

Select wedding party - Choose your maid of honour, bridesmaids, best man, and groomsmen.

Look for wedding rings - Choose and customise your wedding rings 4-6 months before the big day.

Apply for a marriage license - Start the application process for your official marriage license.

Send wedding website link - Share the link to your wedding website where guests can RSVP, find accommodation options, etc.

Address wedding showers and bachelorette party - Plan or allow those in charge of these events time to organise.

Oversee ceremony details - Work with your officiant to solidify readings, music, and the ceremony's flow.

Focus on booking the major vendors by the 12-month mark, then turn to other planning tasks while continuing to nail down ceremony and reception details. Having a general timeline and checklist is crucial to keeping wedding planning on track!

4-Month Wedding Checklist

4-Month Wedding Checklist -List of What to Do for a Wedding

You are halfway through. What vital points will you need to remember and finished up around this time? Here is the bridal list of things to do about 4 months in advance 👇:

☐ Finalise the guest list and save the dates. If you haven't already, finalise your guest list and mail out physical or email save the dates to let people know the wedding is coming.

☐ Book wedding vendors. If you haven't already booked key vendors like your photographer, caterer, venue, musicians, etc., make securing these popular professionals a top priority so you don't miss out.

☐ Order wedding rings. If you haven't chosen wedding rings yet, now is the time to select, customise and order them so you have them in time for the wedding day.

☐ Send wedding website links. Share the link to your wedding website via your Save the Dates. This is where you can post details like hotel booking info, wedding registry and wedding party bios.

☐ Shop for bridesmaid dresses. Choose bridesmaid dresses and have your bridal party shop and order their dresses, giving plenty of time for alterations.

☐ Finalise ceremony details. Work with your officiant to finalise your wedding ceremony timeline, write your vows and choose readings.

☐ Order wedding invitations. Once you have all the key details finalised, it's time to order your wedding invitations and any other stationery like programs, menus, place cards, etc.

☐ Book honeymoon. If you plan to take a honeymoon right after the wedding, book travel now while there are still options available.

☐ Get a marriage license. In some areas, you'll need to obtain your marriage license weeks or even months in advance, so check the requirements where you live.

☐ Shop for wedding attire. Start shopping for your wedding dress, groom's attire and accessories if you haven't already. Allow enough time for alterations and hemming.

Many of the logistical details should be finalised and vendors booked by the 4-month mark. Now it's just putting the finishing touches on the guest experience and preparing yourself for the big day!

3-Month Wedding Checklist

3-Month Wedding Checklist - List of What to Do for a Wedding
3-Month Wedding Checklist -List of What to Do for a Wedding

Most of the "big picture" planning should be finalised at this point. Now it's about nailing down specifics with your vendors and laying the groundwork for a seamless wedding day experience. Refer to this 3-month wedding planning list of things to do:

☐ Finalise menu - Work with your caterer to choose the wedding menu, including any dietary restrictions or allergen information for your guests.

☐ Book hair and makeup trial - Schedule trial runs for your wedding day hair and makeup to ensure you're happy with the results before the big day.

☐ Approve wedding day timeline - Work with your wedding planner, officiant, and other vendors to approve a detailed schedule of events for the day.

☐ Choose a first dance song - Select the perfect song for your first dance as husband and wife. Practice dancing to it if needed!

☐ Book honeymoon flights - If you haven't already, make reservations for your honeymoon travels. Flights book up quickly.

☐ Send online RSVP form - For guests receiving e-invites, set up an online RSVP form and include the link in the invitation.

☐ Pick up wedding rings - Make sure to pick up your wedding bands in time to engrave them if desired.

☐ Compile playlists - Create custom playlists for your ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, and any other wedding events with music.

☐ Finalise bridal shower and bachelor/bachelorette party - Work with your wedding planner and vendors to keep things in check.

Bridal Shower To-Do List

Bridal Shower To-Do List - List of What to Do for a Wedding
Bridal Shower To-Do List -List of What to Do for a Wedding

It's two-month until your big day. It's time to host an intimate bridal shower event with your loved ones.

☐ Send invitations - Mail or email invitations 6 to 8 weeks before the event. Include details like date, time, location, dress code, and any items the bride would like as gifts.

☐ Choose a venue - Book a space large enough to comfortably fit all your guests. Popular options include homes, banquet halls, restaurants, and event spaces.

☐ Create a menu - Plan appetisers, desserts, and beverages for your guests. Keep it simple but delicious. Consider your favourite foods for inspiration.

☐ Send a reminder - Send a quick email or text a few days before the event to remind guests of important details and confirm their attendance.

☐ Set the scene - Decorate the venue with the bridal shower theme in mind. Use things like table centrepieces, balloons, banners and signage.

☐ Plan activities - Include some classic bridal shower games and activities for guests to participate in. Trivia is an easy and fun option suitable for all ages, from your clueless grandma to your besties.

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☐ Prepare a guest book - Have an elegant guest book or notebook for guests to share messages and well wishes for the bride and groom.

☐ Buy a card box - Gather cards from guests so the bride can open and read them after the event. Provide a decorative box for the cards.

☐ Organise the gifts - Designate a gift table for presents. Have tissue paper, bags, and gift tags available for guests to wrap their gifts.

☐ Consider favours - Optional: Small thank-you gifts for each guest. See this wedding favour list for inspiration.

☐ Take photos - Be sure to document the special day with photos of the bride opening gifts, celebrating with friends, and enjoying the spread you prepared.

1-Week Wedding Preparation Checklist

1-Week Wedding Preparation Checklist - List of What to Do for a Wedding
1-Week Wedding Preparation Checklist -List of What to Do for a Wedding

This covers the key tasks to complete the week before your wedding! Check items off your list one by one, and sooner than you know it, you'll be walking down the aisle. Good luck and congratulations!

☐ Confirm all details with your vendors - This is your last chance to double-check that everything is in order with your photographer, caterer, venue coordinator, DJ, etc.

☐ Prepare welcome bags for out-of-town guests (if providing them) - Fill the bags with maps, recommendations for restaurants and sights to see, toiletries, snacks, etc.

☐ Make a plan for your wedding day beauty routine - Figure out your hair and makeup style and book appointments if needed. Also, get a trial run done in advance.

☐ Set up timeline and payments for wedding day vendors - Provide a detailed schedule of the day's events to all vendors and make final payments if needed.

☐ Pack a bag for the wedding day and night - Include anything you'll need the day of the wedding and overnight, like a change of clothes, toiletries, accessories, medication, etc.

☐ Confirm transportation - If using a hired vehicle, confirm pick-up times and locations with the company.

☐ Prepare emergency kit - Assemble a small kit with safety pins, a sewing kit, stain remover, pain relievers, bandages, and such to have on hand.

☐ Write thank-you notes for gifts received so far - Get a head start on your appreciation for wedding gifts to avoid a backlog later.

☐ Get a manicure and pedicure - Indulge in a little pampering to look and feel your best on the big day!

☐ Rehearse your activities - If you're planning some fun games for guests to break the ice, consider rehearsing them on the big screen to ensure all the technical problems are not there.

☐ Confirm honeymoon details - Double check travel arrangements, itineraries, and reservations for your honeymoon.

Last Minute Wedding Checklist

Last Minute Wedding Checklist - List of What to Do for a Wedding
Last Minute Wedding Checklist -List of What to Do for a Wedding

The morning of your wedding, focus on taking care of yourself, following your timeline, and confirming final logistics so the actual ceremony and celebrations can flow smoothly and you can fully be present in the moment!

☐ Pack an overnight bag for your honeymoon - Include clothes, toiletries, and any essential items. Have a trusted friend or family member keep it safe.

☐ Sleep! - Get a good night's rest the night before your wedding to be well-rested for all the celebrations.

☐ Set multiple alarms - Set multiple loud alarms to ensure you wake up in time for your big day.

☐ Eat a nutritious breakfast - Fuel up with a healthy breakfast to keep your energy up all day.

☐ Make a timeline - Print out a detailed list of what to do for a wedding to stay on schedule.

☐ Pin cash to your dress - Tuck some cash in an envelope and pin it inside your dress for emergencies.

☐ Bring medicine and personal items - Pack any prescription medications, contact lens solution, bandages and other necessities.

☐ Charge devices fully - Make sure your phone and camera are fully charged for the day. Consider a backup battery pack.

☐ Create a shot list - Provide your photographer with a list of "must-have" shots to ensure you capture all the important moments.

☐ Confirm vendors - Call or text all your vendors to confirm arrival times and any final details.

☐ Confirm transport - Confirm pick-up times and locations with your transportation providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you need to include in a wedding?

The essential elements of a wedding include:

#1 - The ceremony - where vows are exchanged and you're officially wed. This includes:

• Readings
• Vows
• Exchange of rings
• Music
• Officiant

#2 - The reception - the party to celebrate with guests. This includes:

• Food and drinks
• First dance
• Toasts
• Cake cutting
• Dancing

#3 - Wedding party - close friends and family who stand with you:

• Bridesmaids/Groomsmen
• Maid/Matron of Honour
• Best Man
• Flower girl(s)/Ring bearer(s)

#4 - Guests - the people you want to celebrate your marriage:

• Friends and family
• Co-workers
• Others you choose

What should I plan for wedding?

The key things to plan for your wedding:

  • Budget - Plan your wedding expenses based on how much you can spend.
  • Venue - Book your ceremony and reception location early.
  • Guest list- Create the list of guests you want to invite.
  • Vendors - Hire important vendors like photographers and caterers in advance.
  • Food and drinks - Plan your reception menu with the caterer.
  • Attire - Shop for your wedding gown and tux 6 to 12 months early.
  • Wedding party - Ask close friends and family to be bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.
  • Ceremony details - Plan readings, vows and music with your officiant.
  • Reception - Develop a timeline for key events like dances and toasts.
  • Transportation - Arrange transportation for your wedding party and guests.
  • Legalities - Get your marriage license and file legal name changes after.