wedding planning checklist
Planning & Advice

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist

You’re about to start planning a wedding! How exciting! When planning a wedding, it’s so handy to have a wedding planning checklist to help you make sure you remember everything and do it all in an order that makes sense.

planning a wedding checklist

We’ve put together a wedding planning checklist for you to download and print so you can tick off all the wedding planning tasks on your to-do list as you go!

 

Make sure you download our free wedding planning to-do list, and also check out our step-by-step guide to planning a wedding for even more wedding planning advice.

Your Free Wedding Planning Checklist

Here is your free wedding planning checklist, designed to help you plan your wedding across the space of a year.

Print off this wedding planning checklist and tick off each task as you go!

Wedding planning checklist
second page of wedding planning checklist

Wedding Planning Stages

Here are each of the stages of the wedding planning checklist broken down by task, to make sure nothing is missed:

12-18 Months to Go

With 12-18 months to go before your preferred time to get married, there’s lots of stuff to tick off on your wedding planning checklist. On average, most couples start planning in earnest with a year and a half to go, but all of this can be done in the space of a year.

• Set the date
Start your wedding planning a year or more in advance to ensure you get to book the venues and suppliers of your choice at best prices. You could save money by booking a mid-week wedding instead of a Saturday.

• Where are you getting married?
Decide if you’re getting married at home or abroad. It’s a little easier to handle the planning yourself if you’re marrying in the UK, but planning a wedding abroad might require a specialist planner.

• Decide whether to plan your own wedding
Or enlist the help of a professional wedding planner. You could plan the wedding yourself and call on the expertise of a wedding planner or stylist their experience is often worth its weight in gold.

Read more: Our favourite wedding planners and books

• Attend a wedding show 
For all the wedding inspiration you need under one roof, book tickets to The National Wedding Show; not only is it a great place to find loads of unique wedding ideas, it’s a fun day out to celebrate your engagement with your nearest and dearest, complete with the latest fashion shows and interactive sessions.

• Send save-the-date cards
To make sure your guests don’t book their summer holiday and miss your special day.

• Set your budget
Make it realistic without going into debt whilst wedding planning and add in a contingency just in case. Here are 23 savvy ways to save on your wedding.

• Draw up your guest list(s)
Try to make it equal and keep both families happy. Have a separate evening reception guest list if you want some work colleagues or friends of the family to come but you don’t know them well enough to invite them to the ceremony and the wedding breakfast.

• Book your venue(s)
The sooner you book your venues, the easier everything else will be to plan. You’ll need to choose a venue for your ceremony (either a church, registry office or other licensed civil wedding venue) and a venue for your reception, for your wedding breakfast and party or other after-dinner entertainment.

Take into account seating capacity, room hire costs, catering options, indoor and outdoor settings for photographs. You could save thousands of pounds by booking out of season – many venues have fantastic winter wedding offers too.

• Appoint bridesmaids, a best man and ushers
This is a great way to let your friends be part of your special day. Here are the best ‘will you be my bridesmaid’ cards, and the best ways to ask ‘will you be my best man’.

 Book your photographer and videographer
Find a wedding photographer who offers the style of photos you are looking for (traditional, contemporary, reportage style or a combination), meet them personally, ask to see their portfolio and also a whole album from one wedding.

• Meet your minister/registrar
They’ll be able to answer all your questions about the ceremony, and help you find suitable readings and music.

• Book a DJ/band/entertainers
You might want to book a DJ to dance the night away, or hire a live band or classical musicians for your reception. We’ve got the most amazing ways to entertain your wedding guests here.

• Book caterers if needed
If the reception venue you have booked is not doing your catering then you’ll need to consider hiring outside caterers. Decide if you want unusual wedding catering, such as street food at your wedding, or if you want something more traditional.  

• Book your transport
Are you having wedding cars? You’ll need to book these now. Consider whether you need to organise transport for your guests too.

• Book your florist
Decide how many flowers you would like and where. If you want something different, consider embracing the trend for dried wedding flowers.

• Book a toastmaster
If you want to have a toastmaster at your wedding, now is the time to book one.

This is what a toastmaster does, but if it’s not right for you, you can always ask a friend to perform the role of ‘master of ceremonies’.

• Book your honeymoon
Make sure you book your honeymoon in the correct name – your name needs to match the one in your passport, so be mindful of that if you’re planning on changing your name.

• Take out wedding insurance
It’s not costly and could save you thousands if a supplier suddenly lets you down, or if anything happens to prevent your wedding from going ahead. It’s worth it just for peace of mind when wedding planning!

• Decide what kind of wedding dress you want
If you’re having a custom wedding dress made for you then you’ll need to start this process now. If you’re buying your wedding dress from a bridalwear shop, make sure you allow yourself at least six to eight months for it to arrive and be altered.

If you want to buy a vintage wedding dress or shop for one that is pre-loved, you need less time for alterations, but still be mindful of this when shopping.

• Start your well-being regime
You might decide to use your wedding as an opportunity to improve your health. You could try practising yoga and embarking on a healthy eating plan to ensure you’re feeling your best for your wedding day.

Six Months to Go

With six months to go until the big day, it’s time to focus on details and to start any DIY you plan on doing.

• Order/make your wedding invitations
Don’t forget all the other wedding stationery including: orders of service, place cards and thank you cards

• Order the wedding cake
Now is the time to choose your wedding cake. Think about what flavours you’d like and what style of cake. If you’re not fans of sweet food, you could always have a cheese wedding cake.

• Buy your wedding shoes and accessories
Get your shoes in good time for your first dress fitting, and your veil in time for your make up and hair trial. Choose what jewellery and any other bridal accessories you will wear. Don’t forget to break your wedding shoes in – that’s not something to leave until the day before your wedding!

• Book your makeup artist and hairdresser
Speak to several to find the one that’s right for you, then book a hair and makeup trial complete with your tiara and veil if possible. It’s a good idea to time the trial with your hen do or engagement shoot so you can take advantage of having full hair and makeup!

• Buy your bridal party outfits
Get together with your bridal party to try on and buy their outfits. Be sure to be very clear about who is paying for them – it’s traditional for the couple to pay, but if you plan on asking your bridal party to foot the bill, make sure they get the final say in what they wear.

• Book the honeymoon suite
You might have already booked your honeymoon, but if not, now is the time to make sure you don’t miss out on securing the best bridal suite!

Three Months to Go

• Book your final dress fitting
Arrange with your bridal shop or seamstress for your final dress fitting

• Start a skincare regime
If you haven’t already, start making sure you’re drinking plenty of water and make sure you cleanse your face properly every day

• Buy your wedding rings
Make sure they are both the right size and that your wedding ring will sit comfortably alongside your engagement ring if you plan to wear them together.

• Send your wedding invitations
Traditionally they are sent out 6-12 weeks before the wedding, if you are sending save the dates, but if you’re not it’s best to send them sooner. Include information for your guests on overnight accommodation, transport, parking and any dress code if appropriate.

Include reply cards to ensure they all RSVP and ask your guests if they have any specific dietary requirements.

• Order your venue décor and table decorations
If your florist is providing your centrepieces, order them along with your wedding flowers, but if you’re hiring props or making your own centrepieces, now is the time to start. Don’t forget to provide favours for your guests to show them your appreciation – even a cheap wedding favour will be greatly appreciated!

• Decide on a gift list
Make it available to all your wedding guests (through your invitations) and your wedding website if you have one. If you don’t want a gift list, here’s how to ask for cash instead of wedding gifts.

• Choose wedding music and readings
Your minister/registrar will be able to advise further.

• Buy gifts for the best man, ushers and bridesmaids
It’s important to thank those that have helped you with your wedding planning. Getting gifts for them is a great way to show your appreciation.

• Arrange to have any vaccinations done
If required for your honeymoon.

• Be ready for your hen and stag parties
Traditionally the maid of honour plans the hen do and the best man duties include planning the stag. Going on your hen or stag do with a month or two to go before your wedding allows you to let any bruises heal and may also allow you to get a better deal or weather, particularly if it takes place in a different season to your wedding.

One Month to Go

• Attend the final fitting of your wedding dress
And bring along your mum, sister or best friend too!

• Reconfirm the wedding arrangements with all your suppliers
Speak to them personally and make sure you have confirmation of dates, places and times in writing from them.

• Have your hen and stag do
If you haven’t already – now is the time!

• Finalise the seating plan
Leave this as late as you can without getting stressed to allow for any last minute changes!

• Arrange the wedding rehearsal
Not everyone has these – they’re more common if you’re having a church wedding. They allow you to know what will happen in what order. You could follow the American tradition and turn it into a proper event with a celebratory dinner with the bridal party, if you wanted.

• Contact any guests who have not replied to your invitation
This is so you can be absolutely sure of you final numbers before you give them to your wedding.

• Arrange a date to pick up any hired clothing
And make a note of when they need to be returned – this is a role the best man can carry out for you.

• Write the wedding speeches and vows
Whether you’ve got a groom’s speech or you’re planning on giving a bride’s speech, make sure it’s written and prepared with time to spare. Writing your own wedding vows also takes time.

• Have a facial
Treat yourself to a bit of pampering to make sure your skin is glowing – but have a patch test if you have sensitive skin!

One Week to Go

• Have your hair trimmed and/or coloured
Make sure it’s looking fresh for the big day – but now is NOT the time to change the colour or style.

• Pack for your honeymoon
Pack now so you’re not cramming it in quickly after your wedding.

• Wear-in your wedding shoes
If you’ve not been doing this already, make sure you wear your shoes around the house a few times to break them in so they don’t hurt you on the big day.

• Create a wedding essentials kit
Include make up, a compact mirror and powder, lipstick, tissues and anything else you might need on your big day. One of your bridesmaids can look after it for you.

• Order your foreign currency for your honeymoon
Again – not something you want to be faffing around with at the last minute!

• Have your beauty treatments
Go for pre-wedding and honeymoon waxing or fake tanning in good time before the big day. Get eyebrows shaped and anything else that needs attention done the week before, not the day before.

 Find your ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’
If you haven’t already sorted this, now is the time. Why not have blue wedding shoes?

• Hand over the supplier list of contacts to a designated person
Give the list of all the wedding suppliers involved in your wedding day with their contact details and times they are meant to arrive, in case they need to be contacted, to your best man and/or chief bridesmaid – they can keep an eye on that for you.

One Day to Go

• Have the day off to relax
Book the day off work so you don’t have any extra stress – and read up on what to do the night before your wedding.

• Have your nails manicured
Leave this to the last possible moment so they stay fresh and will be good for your honeymoon too!

• Try to get an early night
Easier said than done, we know…

Wedding Planning FAQs

What are the steps to planning a wedding?

Our ultimate 11 step guide has everything you could need to know about planning a wedding. The steps are straightforward – simply follow our wedding checklist and you’ll have the steps to planning a wedding mastered.

How long before a wedding should you start planning?

Following the guidance of our wedding planning checklist, it’s best to leave yourself at least 12 months to plan everything. However, that’s not to say it can’t be done sooner. You just need to be super organised!

Make sure you give yourself a bit of time to just enjoy being engaged too!

Why is wedding planning so hard?

It really doesn’t have to be! Wedding planning can and should be fun – if it all feels a bit much, read our guide to remaining calm whilst wedding planning. Don’t let it take over your life, simply follow the plan on the checklist and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. At the end of the day, as long as you get married, that’s all that matters.

Need more advice and ideas? Check out our guide to planning a wedding on a £10k budget.

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