Wedding Planning Checklist and Step-By-Step Timeline (with PDF Download)

There is no getting around the fact that wedding planning involves a lot of details and follow-up. It is easier, however, to think of the process in terms of steps. As time passes and the wedding day approaches, the types of activities change. With that in mind, to help preserve your sanity, I’ve compiled this 7-step wedding planning checklist (PDF is through this link. The list is also below).

Wedding Planning Checklist and Timeline with PDF Download

I have tried to include all of the major decisions you will make. Plus, for each line item, added a place for you to note whether you are using a vendor, buying, doing it yourself (DIY), renting, already have an item, or if it does not apply to your wedding. My hope is this will be a comprehensive checklist to help you keep an overview of what has been done and which projects need to be completed.

  • You will find that, while steps one and two are likely to take the least time, they lay the foundation for later decisions.
  • Step three is where “who is doing what” takes shape, and you delegate.
  • Step four involves sourcing and ordering the myriad products that will make your event a success.
  • Step five is where you begin to “dot the i’s and cross the t’s” as you complete all the important planning activities.
  • Step six, in the week before the wedding, involves the last-minute follow ups and details.
  • Step seven is the day-of tasks.

In general, you can complete the steps in order, beginning with step one. And you can adjust this schedule to accommodate any timeframe.

  • A long engagement means you will have the luxury of spreading the steps out over time, completing each sequentially and including all or most of the line items.
  • If you have a short engagement, you will need to compress the steps and decide to forgo more line items. Complete steps one and two as soon as possible, then work on three and four at the same time, choosing vendors and ordering items and supplies quickly after you make their related decisions.

Step 1: Formalize Engagement.

__ Announce it to all.
__ Buy engagement ring(s) if not already done.
__ Set a date.
__ Get engagement photos taken.
__ Send Save the Dates.

Step 2: Make Early Decisions.

__ Set number of guests.
__ Discuss budget. Who is contributing and how much?
__ Decide wedding-party asks: bride and groom attendants, flower girl, ring bearer, ushers.
__ Explore ceremony and reception venues. Quickly make choices and pay deposit(s) to secure date.

Step 3: Decide Service Vendors and DIY.

V=Hiring Vendor; DIY=Making or doing it yourself; NA=Not applicable

__ Officiant
__ Planner: V / DIY
__ Photos:

  • Before Ceremony: V / DIY / NA
  • During Ceremony: V / DIY / NA
  • After Ceremony: V / DIY / NA
  • At Reception: V / DIY / NA

_ Video:

  • Before Ceremony: V / DIY / NA
  • During Ceremony: V / DIY / NA
  • After Ceremony: V / DIY / NA
  • At Reception: V / DIY / NA

__ Flowers and Other Decorations:

  • Wedding Party Bouquets, Boutonnieres, Corsages: V / DIY / NA
  • Ceremony Decorations: V / DIY / NA
  • Reception Decorations: V / DIY / NA

__ Entertainment:

  • Ceremony Music, Musician(s), or Vocalist(s): V / DIY / NA
  • Reception Music, DJ, or Band: V / DIY / NA
  • Other Reception Performer(s): V / NA
  • Photo Booth: V / DIY / NA
  • Other Games or Activities: V / DIY / NA

__ Beauty:

  • Hair Styling: V / DIY
  • Makeup: V / DIY
  • Manicure and Pedicure: V / DIY

__ Transportation:

  • Wedding Couple: V / DIY
  • Wedding Party: V / DIY
  • Wedding Guests: V / DIY

__ Cake: V / DIY / NA

__ Food:

  • Appetizers: V / DIY / NA
  • Entree(s): V / DIY / NA
  • Side Dishes: V / DIY / NA
  • Additional Desserts: V / DIY / NA

__ Drink:

  • Bar: V / DIY / NA
  • Meal Beverages: V / DIY / NA
  • Dessert Beverages: V / DIY / NA
  • Toasting Beverage: V / DIY / NA

Step 4: Choose and Buy Wedding Items.

V=A service vendor from step 3 is taking care of it; B=Buying it; DIY=Making it; HAVE=Have or borrowing it; RENT=Renting it; NA=Not applicable.




__ Wedding Bands:

  • Hers: B / HAVE / NA
  • His: B / HAVE / NA

__ Invitations: V / B / DIY / NA

__ Wedding Programs: V / B / DIY / NA

__ Thank You Notes: V / B / DIY

Wedding Party Attire:

__ Bride:

  • Gown: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Lingerie and Hosiery: B / HAVE
  • Petticoat/Slip: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Veil: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Headpiece: B / HAVE / RENT / NA
  • Shoes: B / HAVE
  • Jewelry: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Garter: B / HAVE / DIY / NA

__ Bridesmaids:

  • Dresses: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Shoes: B / HAVE
  • Hair Décor: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Jewelry: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA

__ Groom and Groomsmen:

  • Tuxedos or Suits: B / HAVE / DIY / NA
  • Shirts: B / HAVE / DIY
  • Non-Suit Pants: B / HAVE / NA
  • Cummerbunds or Vests: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Ties: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Cuff Links: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Shoes: B / HAVE / RENT

__ Flower Girl:

  • Gown: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Shoes: B / HAVE
  • Tiara: B / HAVE / DIY / NA

__ Ring Bearer:

  • Suit or Tuxedo: B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Shoes: B / HAVE / RENT

__ Ceremony Supplies and Decorations:

  • Guest Book or Alternative and Pen: V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA
  • Ring Bearer Carry: V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA
  • Flower Girl Carry: V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA
  • Aisle Runner: V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA
  • Pew and Alter Decorations: V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA
  • Sand, Unity Candle, or Handfasting Ceremony Set: V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA
  • Ceremony Exit (rose petals, bubbles, ribbon wands, etc.): V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA

__ Reception Decorations:

  • Entrance Arch or Other Decoration: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Backdrops: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Lighting: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Wall Décor: V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA
  • Ceiling Drape or Other Décor: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Floor Sticker or Other Décor: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Table Décor:
    Gift/Card Table: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
    Head Table: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
    Guest Tables: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
    Buffet Table: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
    Dessert Station: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
    Drink Station: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Chair Covers and Sashes: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA

__ Reception Supplies:

  • Chairs: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT
  • Tables: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT
  • Tablecloths: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Napkins: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Table Numbers: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Place Cards or Escort Cards: V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA
  • Card Box: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Favors: V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA
  • Menus: V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA
  • Silverware or Plastic Cutlery: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Cake Stand: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Cake Serving Set: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Plates:
    Salad: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
    Luncheon/Dinner: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
    Cake/Dessert: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Beverage Glasses:
    Bar: V / B / HAVE / RENT / NA
    Meal: V / B / HAVE / RENT / NA
    Toasting: V / B / HAVE / RENT / NA
    Drink Station: V / B / HAVE / RENT / NA
  • Serving Supplies:
    Serving Utensils: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
    Serving Bowls and Trays: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
    Buffet Pans and Warmers: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
    Dessert Stands: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
    Bar Set Ups: V / B / HAVE / DIY / RENT / NA
  • Send Off (sparklers, etc.): V / B / HAVE / DIY / NA

Step 5: Complete Important Details.

__ Secure venue permits and insurance, if required.

__ Register for gifts.

__ Finalize guest list, preferably in time to send invites six weeks before the wedding.

__ Schedule dress alterations for bride and bridesmaids.

__ Research and meet wedding license requirements.

__ Get wedding license.

__ Arrange accommodations:

  • For out-of-town guests.
  • For honeymoon.

__ Plan rehearsal dinner.

__ Get wedding party gifts:

  • Fiancé: B / DIY
  • Parents/Grandparents: B / DIY
  • Bridesmaids/Groomsmen: B / DIY
  • Flower Girl/Ring Bearer: B / DIY

__ Make a seating plan.

__ Create a “must have” shot list for photographer.

__ Fill out name change kit.

__ Write vows, if applicable.

Step 6: Follow Up and Get Ready in the Week and Day Before Nuptials.

WEEK BEFORE

__ Create a day-of timeline for vendors, wedding party, and other helpers.

__ Review details with all vendors, helpers, and rental services.

  • Venues’ In and Out Times
  • Photo List and Schedule
  • Floral Placement and Care
  • Beauty Appointments
  • Bar Menu
  • Food Menus
  • Song Choices and Order of Dances
  • Rental Arrivals or Pick Up Times

__ Assure wedding party has complete ensembles:

  • Bride
  • Groom
  • Bridesmaids
  • Groomsmen
  • Flower Girl
  • Ring Bearer
  • Moms and/or Stepmoms
  • Dads and/or Stepdads

__ Organize cash fees and tips into envelopes:

  • Clergy/Officiant
  • Driver(s)
  • Bartender
  • Musicians
  • Other

__ Pack for wedding night and honeymoon.

__ Arrange for mail to be held.

__ Gather everything for rehearsal and ceremony.

__ Put together an emergency kit (examples are here).

DAY BEFORE

__ Give maid of honor and best man wedding bands.

__ Assign people to important wedding-day tasks:

  • Give marriage license to officiant/clergy.
  • Transport miscellaneous items to ceremony and reception sites.
  • Oversee reception set-up and take down.
  • Clean up after reception (if not provided by venue).
  • Coordinate wedding party transportation.
  • Pay tips and remaining payments, plus collect paid-in-full receipts.
  • Move gifts after reception.
  • Return rentals.

__ Put extra cash in wallet for unexpected needs.

__ Email or post day-of timeline to vendors, wedding party, and other helpers. Include contact numbers for all.

__ Print copies of day-of timeline and share as needed on wedding day.

__ Complete final review of seating chart to accommodate last-minute changes.

__ Get manicure and last minute beauty treatments.

__ Attend rehearsal and dinner.

__ Go to bed early.

Step 7: Be Wed!

__ Confirm vendor and helper arrival times and field last-minute questions.

__ Don’t forget phone charger or extra battery.

__ Don’t forget to bring vows, if written.

__ Don’t forget emergency kit.

__ Keep energy snacks and water close by throughout the day.

__ Put daily meds in handbag.

__ Give wedding party gifts.

__ Hair Styling:

  • One hour for bride.
  • 30 minutes for each bridesmaid.

__ Make Up Application:

  • One hour for bride.
  • 45 minutes to one hour for each bridesmaid.

__ Get dressed.

  • Gown first.
  • Followed by headpiece/veil.

__ Follow day-of timeline throughout the ceremony and reception.

April 6, 2016 | By | Reply More

Category: DIY Weddings, Free Printables

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