The Ultimate Wedding Checklist: A Wedding Planning Guide

A handy step-by-step timeline for planning your wedding

Planning your wedding, whether you have two years or three months to do it, can be stressful. If like us, you make endless lists in your head (or on a scrap of paper) only to forget them minutes later, then our Ultimate Wedding Checklist is for you. A step-by-step wedding planning timeline of all the main things you need to do to pull off a fabulous wedding day. Wedding planning can be daunting; doing research, managing a budget, and working out what to do when. So we created a full downloadable list of all the essential things you will need to do, from finding a wedding venue to going dress shopping, and planning a honeymoon to organising the RSVP list.

Photo by Darek Novak via One Fab Day

The One Fab Day Wedding Checklist and Planning Timeline...

The list is a basic timeline based on a 12 month engagement and planning time, running through the typical timeframes for researching and booking different elements. Although each wedding is different - we've shown brides who have organised their whole wedding in just 10 weeks, others take two years (me!) - this planning checklist has general guidelines that will be helpful to every couple. You can also get our three-month planning guide here.

Read through our handy guide, then download your own free printable at the bottom of the page, highlight which ones apply to you, your other half and your wedding, and can tick off the tasks as you go (there's nothing more satisfying!).

As soon as you get engaged/once you're ready to start wedding planning

  • Sit down with your other half and discuss your ideal wedding to make sure you're on the same page
  • Draw up a budget
  • Start planning the guest list. Decide on approximate number of guests - this may impact your choice of venues
  • Pick potential wedding dates - check with important guests to avoid clashes
  • Research potential wedding venues and ceremony locationsif separate (if you've no clue where to start, this might help)
  • Subscribe to the One Fab Day Wedding Podcast!
  • Optional: Have an engagement party!

12 Months Before The Wedding

8-10 Months Before the Wedding

  • Book band and/or DJ for reception
  • Research and reserve accommodations for guests
  • Contact decor hire companies if you need to rent anything for ceremony/reception, such as chairs, tables, or a tent
  • Book honeymoon - flights and accommodation
  • Order wedding cake
  • Book pre-marriage course - if required by your church or celebrant

Stationery by Keady Row

6-8 Months Before the Wedding

Photo by Into The Light via One Fab Day

4-6 Months Before the Wedding

2-3 Months Before the Wedding

  • Send invitations to guests
  • Attend dress fittings
  • Choose and order wedding rings
  • Organise gifts for parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen and each other
  • Buy shoes, accessories, hair-pieces, bow ties etc - allow for longer if you're ordering online
  • Organise outfits for flower girls or page boys
  • Have a menu tasting with your venue or caterer

Order of Service by House of Hannah

4 Weeks Before the Wedding

  • Have final wedding dress fitting
  • Make any last-minute adjustments with suppliers
  • Finalise details for, and order mass booklets/order of ceremony
  • Complete any wedding DIY or craft projects
  • Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet responded

2 Weeks Before the Wedding

  • Deliver must-have shot lists to photographer and videographer - include who should be in formal portraits and determine when portraits will be taken
  • Give venue/caterer final guest head count
  • Create your table plan

1 Week Before the Wedding

  • Supply wedding coordinator with a list of supplier requests such as a table for DJ or setup space needed by florist.
  • Print place cards
  • Call all wedding suppliers to confirm arrangements - create a timetable for day
  • Give ceremony and reception site managers a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times, plus contact numbers.
  • Get manicure, massage, waxing & all your preening and prep
  • Do full wedding dress rehearsal from underwear to veil
  • Pack an overnight bag for the reception
  • Pack for the honeymoon

2-3 Days Before the Wedding

  • Make last minute changes to table plan if necessary
  • Grooms: Go for final fitting and pick up your formalwear.
  • Grooms: Ask the best man to make sure all groomsmen attend fittings and pick up their outfits.
  • Confirm pick-up times with wedding car company
  • Reconfirm final details with all vendors. Discuss any necessary last-minute substitutions
  • Print off a sheet with the running order for the day, and the main suppliers' contact details, give copies to your best man and maid of honour

The Day Before the Wedding

  • Drop off place cards, table cards, menus, favours, table plan to reception coordinator
  • Provide all wedding professionals with an emergency phone number to call on the day of the wedding.
  • Sort out payment (write cheques/organise cash) for any final balances to be paid at the end of the reception.
  • Ensure the cake is on track to be delivered to reception venue - have someone else look after this one!
  • Rehearse ceremony with full wedding party ceremony readers your officiant at the ceremony site to rehearse and iron out details.
  • Get a good night’s rest!

Photo by Dasha Caffrey via One Fab Day

The Wedding Day!

  • Give the gifts for your parents to the best man/bridesmaid for after the speeches
  • Flowers delivered to where the bride is getting ready - buttonholes may need to be brought to the guys
  • Give wedding bands to the best man to hold during the ceremony
  • Give best man the officiant's fee envelope, to be given after the ceremony
  • Introduce your reception coordinator to your wedding planner (if you're having one), or bridesmaid/best man for questions or problems during the reception.
  • Assign a family member or attendant to be the photographer's contact so he knows who is who.

After the Wedding

  • Prearrange for someone to return any rentals
  • Pre-plan for someone to take the wedding dress and suit for cleaning or return a rented tux to the rental shop
  • Write and send thank-you notes to gift-bearing guests and vendors who were especially helpful.
  • Collect your marriage certificate

Download our super handy (free!) wedding planning checklist...

Ultimate Wedding Checklist

Feature Image: Megan Morales Photography via One Fab Day

Listen & Subscribe to The One Fab Day Wedding Podcast

You can listen to the One Fab Day Wedding Podcast wherever you get your podcasts, and search them on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.


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