12-Month Wedding Planning Checklist

So you’re getting married? Congratulations! You probably want your special day to be picture perfect — but there are a lot of things to do before the wedding bells ring. This checklist, made with the help of highly rated wedding planners, outlines the steps from getting the ring to saying, “I do.”  You can download the checklist as a PDF to carry with you.

Compiled with the help of:

  • Frank J. Andonoplas, MBC, owner of highly rated Frank Event Design in Chicago
  • Heidi Vail, owner of Heidi’s Events & Catering in Tempe, Ariz.
  • Marie Frey, owner of highly rated FCCI Weddings in Indianapolis

Can't read the graphic?

Here's the text below.  You can also download it as a PDF.  Read more about how to plan your wedding at the Angie's List Guide to Wedding Planning.

12-9 months before the wedding

  1. Make a guest list
  2. Hire a wedding consultant
  3. Determine a budget
  4. Find your ceremony and reception venues
  5. Hire your photographer/videographer
  6. Hire your band or DJ
  7. Research marriage license requirements (regulations on when to get this vary based on state and county)
  8. Book your officiant
  9. Select wedding party attendants
  10. Hire your caterer
  11. Order the wedding gown
  12. Establish wedding colors and/or theme
  13. Decide on décor (floral, lighting, draping, china, linens, etc.)
  14. Send “save-the-date” notices
  15. Secure hotel rooms for out-of-town guests

9-6 months before

  1. Look at men’s attire, whether custom-made or rented
  2. Pick out and order invitations
  3. Decide menu
  4. Look into hair, makeup and accessories
  5. Think about wedding cake
  6. Start dance lessons
  7. Plan your honeymoon
  8. Figure out transportation
  9. Plan your rehearsal dinner
  10. Take engagement photos

6-4 months before

  1. Finalize music selections for ceremony and reception
  2. Get wedding rings
  3. Finalize your menu and do a tasting
  4. Meet with your officiant to finalize ceremony
  5. Choose readings and music
  6. Address wedding invitations: hire calligrapher, or do by hand or on computer
  7. Register for gifts
  8. Create formal photography list

4-2 months before

  1. Mail invitations
  2. Do a trial-run on hair and makeup
  3. Design and print ceremony programs
  4. Start recording RSVPs
  5. Plan seating arrangements for reception

1 month before

  1. Change name and address, determine other changes required (driver’s license, Social Security Card, credit cards, etc.)
  2. Make a wedding day timeline
  3. Make sure you know arrival and delivery times for vendors
  4. Have final dress fitting
  5. Finalize all accessory purchases: guestbook, bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts, favors, etc.

1 week before

  1. Pick up dress or have it delivered
  2. Confirm honeymoon details
  3. Write your toast
  4. Make individual itineraries for wedding party
  5. Send timetable to vendors and confirm details with them
  6. Compile a list of important cell phone numbers to give to people involved in wedding
  7. Pack for honeymoon

1 day before

  1. Have giftbags for out-of-town guests delivered to hotel
  2. Get massage and mani/pedi
  3. Go to rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  4. Put tips and final payments in individual envelopes

The big day

  1. Eat breakfast
  2. Do hair and makeup
  3. Switch engagement ring to your other hand
  4. Rip the seam of the ring finger in your glove, if wearing gloves
  5. Relax and enjoy the day
  6. Breathe

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Wedding planning

The road between engagement and “I do” is paved with as much effort and expense as your time and budget allow. Angie’s List offers tips to get you started on planning a wedding, and tells how pros can help you pull off your big day without a hitch.

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