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 monthly wedding planning 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

• Make a guest list

• Hire a wedding consultant

• Determine a budget

• Find your ceremony and reception venues

Hire your photographer/videographer

• Hire your band or DJ

• Research marriage license requirements (regulations on when to get this vary based on state and county)

• Book your officiant

• Select wedding party attendants

• Hire your caterer

• Order the wedding gown

• Establish wedding colors and/or theme

• Decide on décor (floral, lighting, draping, china, linens, etc.)

• Send “save-the-date” notices

• Secure hotel rooms for out-of-town guests

9-6 months before

• Look at men’s attire, whether custom-made or rented

• Pick out and order invitations

• Decide menu

• Look into hair, makeup and accessories

• Think about wedding cake

• Start dance lessons

• Plan your honeymoon

• Figure out transportation

• Plan your rehearsal dinner

• Take engagement photos

RELATED: Tips to get the most out of your party bus or limo rental experience

6-4 months before

• Get wedding rings

• Finalize your menu and do a tasting

• Finalize music selections for ceremony and reception

• Meet with your officiant to finalize ceremony

• Choose readings and music

• Address wedding invitations: hire calligrapher, or do by hand or on computer

• Register for gifts

• Create formal photography list

4-2 months before

• Mail invitations

• Do a trial-run on hair and makeup

• Design and print ceremony programs

• Start recording RSVPs

• Plan seating arrangements for the wedding reception

RELATED: 5 ways to save on wedding invitations

1 month before

• Change name and address, determine other changes required (driver’s license, Social Security Card, credit cards, etc.)

• Make a wedding day timeline

• Make sure you know arrival and delivery times for vendors

• Have final dress fitting

• Finalize all accessory purchases: guestbook, bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts, favors, etc.

CHECK OUT: Alterations showcase skill of seamstresses and tailors

1 week before

• Pick up dress or have it delivered

• Confirm honeymoon details

• Write your toast

• Make individual itineraries for wedding party

• Send timetable to vendors and confirm details with them

• Compile a list of important cell phone numbers to give to people involved in wedding

• Pack for honeymoon

1 day before

• Have giftbags for out-of-town guests delivered to hotel

• Get massage and mani/pedi

• Go to rehearsal and rehearsal dinner

• Put tips and final payments in individual envelopes

The big wedding day

• Eat breakfast

• Do hair and makeup

• Switch engagement ring to your other hand

• Rip the seam of the ring finger in your glove, if wearing gloves

• Relax and enjoy the day

• Breathe

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on March 13, 2014

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