8 Steps to a Perfect Wedding with Our Wedding Checklist
Congratulations on your new engagement! Starting a new life together is perhaps one of life’s happiest events. There’s no more doubt or insecurity, only happiness, hope, and excitement ahead.
Many couples choose to have a large wedding celebration to share their special day with friends, family, and colleagues. But unlike planning a Saturday night party, you must take the time to plan a wedding that goes seamlessly from booking all suppliers, to staying on schedule on the actual wedding day.
Many couples have heard of things going wrong on the wedding day. The cake falls on the floor, or the photographer doesn’t show up. The wedding dress alterations aren’t ready, or the church’s power goes out. While you can’t prevent everything from going wrong, you can certainly make backup plans for common things that do go wrong.
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes couples make is failing to book a wedding at least one year in advance. While the smaller items—such as purchasing a wedding album or a ring cushion—can be done at any time, failing to book a church or hall at least a year in advance can lead to disappointment.
That wonderful wedding you had planned since you were a child now won’t happen the way you imagined. Just think how you could end up with a cake from Safeway instead of your favourite wedding cake designer. Of course, no one at the wedding will notice, but you will certainly experience disappointment.
Often it’s the little aggrievances that can lead to stress and anxiety. While there’s going to be some stress at the back of your mind as you stand in that aisle and give your vows, you don’t want to be so overwhelmed that you can think of nothing else.
It’s your special wedding day and you want to enjoy life to the fullest.
The best way to have the most wonderful and magical wedding of your life is to plan out the minute details. But it helps to have some sort of tracking system so that you’re able to keep track of all the details of your wedding. This idea begins with a comprehensive wedding checklist.
How to Use a Wedding Checklist
You can download the wedding checklist here. But it also helps to have some comprehension of what goes into a wedding. Many people may read an item on the checklist, then wonder what it is, how it’s applicable to them, and what’s involved in doing it.
Don’t panic when you go through this checklist. It’s not meant to be done in only one day! Each task has been broken down into 8 different steps. Each step is related to a certain timeframe in the wedding schedule.
Most people find that planning a wedding one year in advance gives them enough time to book the major suppliers, then they can focus on the small tasks in the months ahead.
While this list is quite long, it’s only meant as a guide. You don’t have to 100% adhere to it. Some couples may want to do less, while others may wish to do more.
The checklist is also contingent on how big your wedding is going to be. If you’re exchanging vows in the backyard of the house you bought together, you’re not going to need to book a church or a reception hall. But if you plan on a big themed wedding, you’re going to need to do more work than the average engaged couple.
Please let this checklist be a guide for the year ahead. As you complete each task in our downloadable guide, check it off your list. It’s a great feeling knowing that at the end of each month of your engagement that you’re getting things done.
Soon it will lead up to a momentous occasion!
Here are your 8 steps to a perfect wedding when using our wedding checklist.
1. 12 Months Before the Wedding
It’s important around this time to decide on a budget. There’s no point in booking a big fancy church and hall if you can’t afford it. Likewise, if you want to have 1200+ guests, you’ll need to book a ballroom at a large hotel. Create your budget and stick to it.
Before you book your facilities you need to decide if you want to have a themed wedding. This is because the theme can also impact the size and budget. Themed weddings are becoming more popular this decade. The bride can choose to be the queen in her own fairytale. Fantasy themes are perhaps the most popular.
Many couples even love to dress up as their favourite television characters from popular fantasy or science fiction TV shows. A themed wedding is something that can be a ton of fun for both wedding party and the guests.
Perhaps the most important task is to book your church or town hall, because without that, there will be no wedding. It’s important to do this task at least one year before your wedding, but in some instances, you may have to book one and a half years in advance for highly desirable venues.
Booking a location involves putting down a 50% deposit, which is often non-refundable. In some instances it’s negotiable to move the date ahead, but expect to stick firm to your date.
Once the date is booked, you need to book your minister, priest, marriage commissioner, or marriage official to officiate at the wedding. Don’t take this task lightly, particularly if a friend says they can do it. Ask to see licences first. A person who does it for a living is going to be more likely to show up on time and on date, rather than a friend who may have to cancel at the last minute due to a family emergency.
The next step is to book your reception venue. Does your church have a reception hall? If not, you can book a ballroom at the local hotel, or a community room from the city. Other options include booking a room at a large restaurant. There may also be private reception facilities in your city.
Once these tasks are done it’s important for both bride and groom to book the day off from work. If there is no one to take on your job during this time, you will still have one year to hire a replacement.
Next, you’ll need to decide on the guest list. By now you’ll know your budget and what things are going to cost. Are you going to have 12 guests, 120 guests, or 1200 guests?
This is also the time to book those other big wedding providers and suppliers. You want to avoid disappointment so book well in advance of the wedding date.
Hiring a good wedding photographer is important. You’re going to want to ask to see their portfolio. If you’re a mature couple, as to see similar photographs so you can see if they do a good job at making you look good in your mature years.
Hairdressers, makeup artists, and stylists will work their magic on the day of the wedding. But you only want to hire the best, not an apprentice. So don’t wait until the last minute to book these businesses.
If you want to lose weight, begin your weight loss plan a year in advance. Often both bride and groom want to look their best.
If you plan on doing more than recorded music, you’ll want to book the music and the entertainment for the wedding now. The better entertainers are going to book out first. This may also include a professional emcee that you want to hire, so unless you want your Uncle Joe to emcee at your wedding, ensure you fill out this part of your wedding checklist too.
Once you have chosen your reception hall you’ve want to book a caterer. You’ll need to sit down with them and sample delicacies from a menu. They’ll assist you in choosing your menu. You’ll then need to book the waiting staff if they don’t, and ensure that the rental of tables, chairs, and dishes is included.
If you have a themed wedding, you may need to make additional arrangements for specific coloured or patterned table coverings and hall decorations.
You’ll need to consider your transportation to and from the hall. Will you be responsible for decorating the vehicles, or will the limo company you hire decorate their cars? This is also the time to consider where you’ll go on your wedding. Travel costs are less expensive when you book a year in advance. If you aren’t travelling immediately after the wedding, you’ll need to book accommodation for the wedding night.
Now it’s time to find a wedding gown and book the tuxedos for the men’s part of the wedding party. You’ll need to decide on bridesmaid and matron-of-honour outfits too. If they’re not purchased, you’ll need to give the clothing designer plenty of time to sew them.
By the end of the first month of engagement you should already be looking at wedding invitations and choosing flowers and bouquets.
2. 6 Months Before the Wedding
The first year of a wedding is full of work. By now you’re probably getting exhausted from completing the first set of instructions from your wedding checklist. Now that you’re at the six month point in planning, you can breathe a bit. But wait, there’s still a few items to get done.
The six month point is a good time to book a wedding cake. Most bakeries find this is a good lead time.
If you haven’t already firmed up details for your wedding gown, then this is the time to order it and prepare for alteration. The outfits also need to be finalized for the rest of the wedding party, or the rentals booked.
If the groom hasn’t already bought all the rings, you’ll need to make your choices. This also gives enough time to have your rings sized to fit. If your engagement ring is not the right size, this is the perfect time to get it to fit correctly.
Once you have your outfits, you can show them to your hairstylist and makeup artist, and book appointments to test out ideas. Be sure to bring photographs with you.
By now your guest list should be complete. You should also complete the list of current addresses. At this point, you should have your invitations chosen and ordered, so once they arrive you can address them and get them into the mail.
If you haven’t hired an emcee or a toastmaster, now is the best time to do it. By now, the wedding party should also be selected: best man, bridesmaids, and matron of honour.
3. 4 Months Before the Wedding
The wedding is getting closer, but you shouldn’t be experiencing as much stress as long as you’ve kept up-to-date on completing tasks on your wedding checklist.
This is around the time that a prenuptial agreement should be drawn up. You’ll need to book an appointment with your lawyer.
Even though you’ve booked music for the reception you’ll still need to book music at the church. Will you hire their organ master, or will you play recorded music?
This is also the time to order your decorations for the church. These can include decorations for church and reception hall, flowers, bouquets, buttonholes, and the bridal bouquet.
You’ll also want to purchase a guestbook and photograph albums.
4. 3 Months Before the Wedding
The four month point for your wedding checklist probably looks much easier than starting out at the beginning of the year. But there is still a lot to do at the three month point before a wedding. Most of these tasks have already begun, but now you must follow up to ensure they’ll be delivered on time.
By now your invitations should have arrived from the printer and be ready to send out in the mail. You’ll need to check if your passports are up-to-date and get visas if your destination country requires them.
If you’re changing your name, you can collect together the paperwork for this task.
You should have a firm idea of what the wedding schedule will be by now. It’s important to send out copies to everyone in the wedding party, and to all affected suppliers, including the emcee or toastmaster.
Around this time you can commence practices for the ceremony and giving your vows. If you have written special vows, you’ll want to memorize and practice them.
If your dancing skills are rusty, this is a good time to practice. You’ll want to finalize your playlist and share it with your musicians or DJ, if you have one.
Any accessories or last-minute additions to the outfits should be made at this time.
The bride may wish to book times for a manicure and a pedicure, and facial, or for a trim at the hairstylist for a two days in advance of the wedding.
There are many other tiny things you may wish to do in advance. If you’re planning on taking out the wedding party the night before, you may wish to book a room at your favourite restaurant now, to ensure that the tables will be available.
You can also register for gifts at your favourite stores and share them with the guests.
5. 2 Months Before the Wedding
At the two month point there will be many tasks that you have been able to cross off your wedding checklist. But now is the time to ensure that everything that needs to be done, has been done, because you don’t want to rush at the last minute.
Ensure your wedding invitations have all been sent. You’ll need to figure out the table plan and decide on the final menu with your caterer. You’ll need to hire a calligrapher to create the place cards.
If there are any other items that need to be printed, make arrangements to get these done. This includes song booklets, menus, programmes, and more.
You’ll need to figure out a spot in the reception hall for your gifts, the wedding register or guestbook, and any photographs.
If there are any food or beverages not provided by the caterer, make arrangements to purchase these too.
This is also a good time to book a babysitter for younger children.
6. 1 Month Before the Wedding
Now is the time crunch. This last month will zoom past! By now you should have a good indication of the Yes RSPVs and complete your table plan.
Your outfits and rings should be ready. If not, there should only be final sizing done, just in case you lost or put on weight over the past year. Your shoe wear should be purchased. This is a good time to break in your shoes. You may also wish to pack a spare pair in your bag.
You’ll want to buy currency for your wedding, begin packing, and purchase travel insurance.
Don’t forget to buy nice pens to go with that guestbook you bought earlier.
Check your appointments and times and dates with all caterers and suppliers to ensure everyone is on schedule.
7. The Wedding Day
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the big day! By now most items should have been crossed off your wedding checklist. You’ll want to hand in the schedule to your venues and the staff.
Your bags should be packed and ready to go for the wedding night and the next day. Don’t forget to pack a small emergency kit that includes all essentials.
If you’re responsible for table decorations, set them up, and don’t forget the place cards. The flowers should have been delivered by now, and placed on tables or set up in the church. The wedding party should have their flowers ready to go.
You should make a call first thing in the morning to ensure the cake is ready to go. If you have cake insurance, there should be two cakes ready to go. It should be delivered right before the reception starts. The caterer should have the food preparation started.
Your clothes and accessories should be packed and ready to take to the hairdresser.
Finally, your limo will show up and you’ll be taken to your big day.
Your bridal party will help keep the wedding on track, while you relax and enjoy your big day. Afterwards, you’ll finally enjoy that big reception that you have been planning for an entire year.
8. After the Wedding
Even though the wedding has ended, there are still a few more items to cross off your wedding checklist. You’ll want to hand out gifts to everyone who helped you in the wedding party. You’ll need to send final payments to all your suppliers.
Once your photographs have arrived, you’ll assemble your wedding photo album of your special day.
Send out thank you notes to everyone who has provided gifts or helped you in some way. Many couples choose to have a wedding announcement printed in their local paper announcing their marriage.
Start Planning Your Wedding Today!
If you’ve been recently engaged, it’s never too early to start planning your wedding. Give yourself at least a year in advance to make preparations. Do download the convenient Wedbox Wedding Checklist here as it contains many more tasks than are listed in our article.
With some special care and attention you’ll be able to plan the best wedding that your friends or relatives have ever attended. Your wedding checklist will help to keep you on track with your tasks, and help to prevent you from forgetting anything. The last thing you want on wedding day is to have to rush out to the store because you forgot to purchase something.
It’s also important to have a clear understanding of what your caterer and your wedding venue provide, so you’re not stuck without plates for the wedding cake, for instance.
Congratulations! Now get out there and have a fantastic life together!