Everything You Need To Know About Preparing A Wedding Planning Checklist

Cover all aspects of your dream wedding and manage your expectations effortlessly.

Reviewed by Melanie Levin, Event Planner Melanie Levin Melanie LevinEvent Planner facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature), Certified Relationship Coach Shivani Chandel MA (English Literature), Certified Relationship Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years

While getting married is one of the most enticing moments of one’s life, planning one can be overwhelming. You have to manage decorations, caterers, guests, dresses, and venues – and the list only gets longer. If you don’t have a full-proof plan, there will always be a thing or two you will find missing on the big day.

So, how do you avoid that? What is the best way to plan a wedding? Well, we have the answers to your questions. The best way to go forward is to prepare a wedding planning checklist.

This article is your ultimate BFF who will take away your stress and give you a proper wedding timeline and planning checklist. So stop worrying and start reading!

P.S: Get a pen and paper to jot down things or just bookmark the article.

Why Is Wedding Planning Important?

If you have ever been to a wedding, you probably have seen only the final result. Behind the scenes, the making of a wedding can be quite cumbersome and mind-boggling. If you feel the task is simple and wait till the end, chances are you would end up finding it all too difficult to process. You may even have to let go of some elements of your dream wedding.

Hence, by planning in advance, you can break down the whole process into bite-size pieces. This will ensure you will complete each task in peace.

What Should Be Included In Your Wedding Planning Checklist?

Professionals suggest you begin chalking out the wedding planning checklist at least 12 to 16 months in advance. You may think it’s too early, but honestly, it’s not. Read the checklist and you’ll know why:

6 To 12 Months Before The Wedding

1. Set The Budget

Plan a budget once the wedding date is finalized. This will ensure the whole wedding process does not burn a hole in your pocket. Break down the essential expenses and decide on the final budget.

2. Prepare Guest List

Sit down with the partner or parents and decide whom to invite. This will also help decide the venue and other catering-related expenses.

3. Choose A Venue

Once you know the budget and guest count, it’s time to find a venue. Choosing the perfect venue is one of the most important parts of a wedding arrangement. If you have a special venue in mind, planning at least 10 to 11 months in advance can help.

4. Book The Caterer

Wedding catering is an important part of planning a wedding
Image: IStock

Wedding venues usually offer catering. If that is not happening, you must get your own caterer. You can even ask your relatives or friends for references.

5. Try Hiring A Wedding Planner

If you have a good budget and don’t want stress, hire a wedding planner. They will take care of your wedding planning checklist – right from booking the venue to selecting the bridal makeup artists. But again, you have to hire them in advance. The wedding planner will help you send ‘Save the Dates’ cards to guests along with the appointments of a professional photographer and a florist.

3 To 5 Months Before The Wedding

6. The Invitation Selection

This is the time to decide whether you want a traditional invitation or wish to bring a twist with a video wedding invitation. Talk to the partner and get something designed that matches your vibe.

7. Hire A Photographer And A Videographer

Wedding photographer is a part of wedding planning and needs to be booked in advance
Image: IStock

You just cannot miss this step to capture D-day perfectly! Hire an experienced professional photographer about 6-12 months in advance and a videographer before 3-5 months of the D-day. Moreover, if you want an engagement pre-wedding shoot, take the step for that too.

8. Entertainment Preparations

Good music and entertainment – this combination can bring life to your wedding. You can book DJs or a band if you want. You can also book dance performers to impress your guests!

9. Find A Makeup Artist

You just cannot afford to skip or delay makeup artists as the best ones get booked so fast. We suggest you buy a whole package where they also include a trial bridal or groom package too.

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Make an appointment with the makeup artist before booking them and let them know your concerns and preferences. Check their social media accounts to gather customer reviews too.

10. Honeymoon Planning?

We are sure the honeymoon was on your mind when you were planning your wedding checklist. But if it wasn’t, hurry up. Check the destinations and prepare an itinerary. If possible, go ahead and book it.

11. Start The Shopping Spree

From the wedding dress to jewelry, indulge in buying everything you have on your shopping list. The process will take a lot of time and patience – and that is why you need at least 3 months. This also helps you grab the best discounts and try all options before it’s too late.

Tip: Get your friends who know all about fashion and bargaining. They can be of great help.

12. Book Guest Accommodation

With just 3 months to go, we are sure you will have the final guest list ready. So, you should also plan on their accommodation and transportation, especially for those coming from other cities. The transportation plan may also include traveling back and forth from the venue to the hotel block during the event days.

2 Months Before The Wedding

13. Invite People

This is the best time to finally send out the wedding invitation and tick off an important task from your wedding planning checklist. You can also mail or WhatsApp the invitation.

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Put together a list of things you have to print (like save-the-date cards, invitations, reception cards, etc.). This will help you stay within budget and determine the essential pieces required for the wedding.

14. Schedule The Pre-Wedding Shoot

Many couples include pre-wedding photoshoots in the wedding plan
Image: IStock

With most of the tasks done, you can now plan for a pre-wedding shoot. If you are planning for a destination pre-wedding, you still have a lot of time. Also, if you haven’t prepared invitations yet, you can use your pre-wedding pictures or videos for a stunning and personalized invitation.

15. Plan The Bachelorette

Before getting hitched, one must plan a bachelorette. Go Bollywood style and get your besties on a trip! After all, you will not remain single for long.

16. Book A Wedding Officiant

This is one of the simplest yet extremely crucial tasks of any wedding planning checklist. Based on the type of wedding you want, hire a wedding officiant. If you don’t have any references, you can book one online too.

1 Month Before The Wedding

17. Do A Follow Up

Just to be on the safe side, call up the wedding venue management, florists, DJ, makeup artists, and the other people you have hired to just confirm if everything is all set for the wedding day.

18. Get A Choreographer

To make sure your moves during wedding performances are the best, get a choreographer and start practicing! If you are following a smaller wedding planning checklist, you also can get your relative or friend who is the rockstar of your group and ask them to choreograph.

19. Try The Wedding Outfits

Even when you have bought the dresses quite early, there’s no harm in trying them out and see if they need any alteration at all. In case there is any trouble, you still have a month.

2 Weeks Before The Wedding

20. Follow Up With The Guests

Following up with the guests as part of the wedding planning checklist
Image: Shutterstock

To make sure there are no last-minute emergencies or cancellations, prepare a final guest list. You can then work on how to make their stay comfortable and fun.

21. Grooming Time!

Makeup on the D-day is not enough. To feel and look special, the bride and groom should start self-care and pampering soon. Get a haircut or a facial or waxing. It’s your wedding, so make sure you enjoy all sorts of grooming!

1 Week Before The Wedding

22. Lay Out The Wedding Outfits

To be 100% sure of your wedding outfits, check them again. Also, don’t forget to get them ironed and conditioned.

23. Prepare The Payment Receipts

Wedding is just right around the corner, so it may be the right time to check your expenditure. Prepare a spreadsheet and a folder where you can keep all the payment receipts or bills. Trust us, clear calculations are going to be of great help in preparing gratuities for vendors per day.

Best Tips For Preparing A Wedding Planning Checklist

Preparing A Wedding Planning Checklist
Image: IStock

While we have covered a lot, it doesn’t hurt to share a few more trips and ticks. Check them out.

  • When planning a wedding date or choosing a venue, keep the weather and climate in mind. You don’t want to book an outdoor venue during the rainy season.
  • Take advantage of all the deals and rewards on your credit card to accumulate bonus points and save your bucks.
  • Don’t invite unnecessary guests. That can be expensive and troublesome. So, trim your guest list.
  • Be ready for rejections as things can go haywire during weddings. Always have a plan B, even when it comes to the venue or the wedding officiant.
  • Understand the legalities of getting married since you would want an official wedding.

Najlaa, a beauty blogger, recounts her wedding checklist and how she went about planning the whole event. She writes, “I had 5 months between my engagement day and my wedding day (oh! read here about my engagement if you haven’t already hehe), so, it was quite a short time to prepare considering I was working full time and I only have weekends to go back to Melaka and do preparation (i).” She also mentions the whole process of selecting the venue, getting hold of the official documents, makeup, photographers, and other little things that make a wedding.


Wedding is a grand affair. It demands a lot of planning and we are sure the above-mentioned wedding to-do list and tips have covered it all. By following this wedding planning checklist, you can ensure that your wedding preparation goes smoothly. Remember, wedding coordination is key to making your big day unforgettable! Also, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Happy wedding planning!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a realistic budget for a wedding?

The average wedding budget is around $28,000, and may have increased a bit post-COVID.

What should you not forget on your wedding day?

Your wedding ring is the most important thing that you should bring on your wedding day. Make sure you do not forget it, along with your marriage license.

What time of year is the cheapest to plan a wedding?

It depends on the area/country you live in. Typically, January, March, April, and November are the months when wedding planning is affordable.

Where can I find a good wedding planning checklist?

You can find a customized wedding planning checklist on apps and websites like The Big Day, Wedding Planner by MyWed, and Zola.

How often should I refer to my wedding planning checklist?

You can refer to it every couple of weeks or every month to be ahead of your planning. Finalize your wedding planning checklist at least six months to a year before your wedding to ensure everything goes according to plan.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when using a wedding planning checklist?

Not finalizing a budget before planning, not going through all arrangement documents, and not fixing a venue before finalizing the guest list are some common mistakes people should avoid to ensure a stress-free wedding planning

What should I do if I fall behind on my wedding planning checklist?

Delegate the work to your most trusted friends and family. Focus on and finalize the venue and catering. If planning a wedding on your own seems overwhelming, hire a professional wedding planner to help you take care of the planning.

How can I make my wedding planning checklist more efficient?

Take the help of wedding planning apps and services. Plan out all the details with backup plans in place. Visit the venue yourself and try the food. Do not leave grand things for last on your checklist. You can also talk to your married friends to get an idea as to how to go about planning your wedding efficiently.

Key Takeaways

  • A wedding planning checklist reduces stress, helps manage time, and ensures proper planning.
  • Major elements like budget, guest list, venue, and caterers, should be planned at least before 6 to 12 months.
  • Invitation selection, photographers, and makeup artists can be chosen before 3 months.
  • Dividing the wedding checklist as per the duration helps in proper planning.

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming. From the outfits to the venue to the catering – the list is just never-ending. Watch this video for some helpful tips and hacks to plan the perfect wedding.

Personal Experience: Source

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Melanie Levin

Melanie LevinEvent Planner

Melanie Levin is a successful event planner in Southern California with 5 years of experience. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2014 with a BA in Communications and opened her business immediately. Melanie brings her clients' visions to life in authentic, detailed, and personalized ways. She loves educating others on the wedding industry and making friends with other vendors...read full bio

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