Things to remember when planning a wedding

You’re engaged! And now you’re ready to start planning your wedding. You’ve been browsing Pinterest, Instagram, and fashion websites, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you want your dream day to look like. But how do you go about making it a reality?

The truth is, planning a wedding can feel a bit overwhelming. Are you the type to jot down your to-do lists on post-it notes? Or wake up in the middle of the night full of inspiration? No worries, we have you covered with our complete countdown to everything you need before the big day!

The complete wedding planning timeline

It’s best to sort your checklist by date rather than categories. We’re starting our wedding planning checklist at 12 months before your special day.

12 months to go

  • Create your budget. Yes, this may be the least fun of your wedding to-dos, but it’s the most important. Getting your budget settled early on will help you decide on your biggest spending categories such as your venue and number of guests. You may find it helpful to create a spreadsheet and break down your spending by category. This makes it really easy if you need to adjust numbers later on.
  • Create the guest list. Now is the time to get a general idea of the number of guests. Sadly, you can’t invite everyone you know and still keep in your budget. It’s best to decide on your number early, as it may make a difference as to what venue you choose.
  • Select your venue. Are you having a church wedding? Or one outside? Do you want a cozy restaurant, an elegant ballroom, a wedding on the beach? Your choice reflects the personality of you and your fiance, so make the decision together. Don’t delay, these places usually book a year or more in advance.
  • Choose your caterer. Does the venue do its own catering or do you need to hire separately? The venue and the food will be your highest bills, once you’ve got them settled, you’ll know how much money you have for the rest of the planning.

11 months to go

  • Plan your theme. Do you want formal or informal? What will your colour scheme be? Now is the time to go over all those gorgeous images you found of weddings on Instagram and Pinterest and decide how you want your wedding to look.
  • Hire your vendors. They book a long way out, you want to start finalizing vendors such as the photographer, videographer, DJ or band, and the florist.

10 months to go

  • Book hotel rooms for guests. Make it easy on your out of town guests by reserving them a block of hotel rooms in advance.
  • Look at wedding invitations. Start gathering samples and thinking about what style of invitation you want.
  • Create your wedding website. Get your site going now, and you’ll be ready to direct guests to it when you send out save the dates next month.
  • Shop for your dress. This is the moment many brides have imagined for years, finding the perfect dress. Don’t expect to find it on your first go. Give yourself plenty of time, this is one step you don’t want to rush!

9 months to go

  • Buy your dress. Don’t delay, it takes some time to get a dress custom made and fitted.
  • Send your save the dates.

8 months to go

  • Gift registry. Time to shop! Decide on your stores and have fun creating your list. Don’t forget to add your registries to your wedding website.
  • Shop for bridesmaids gowns. Bring the bridesmaids. They will appreciate being in on the gown shopping.

7 months to go

  • Rehearsal dinner. Finalize your rehearsal dinner plans and book the restaurant.
  • Hire your officiant. Unless you’re getting married in a church, now is the time to hire your officiant.

5 months to go

  • Transportation. What will your transportation be getting from the church to the venue? And do you need to provide transportation for your guests as well?
  • Book your honeymoon.
  • Get the tuxedos. You can buy or rent, but now is the time to choose the groom’s and groomsmen’s tuxedos.

4 months to go

  • Buy wedding bands. Allow enough time to get the bands fitted if they need to be resized.
  • Choose your cake.
  • Meet with your hair and makeup stylist. Finalize how you want your hair and makeup to look on the big day.

3 months to go

  • Order the invitations.
  • Finalize your menu.
  • Write your vows.
  • Select your readings.

2 months to go

  • Send wedding invitations.
  • Buy the wedding party gifts.
  • Finalize your music.
  • Get your wedding dress fitted.
  • Remember the little things. This can include the cake topper, cake knife, guest book, ring bearer pillow, etc.

1 month to go

  • Create your seating chart.
  • Assemble gift bags.
  • Buy or make place cards. Only if you are planning on assigned seating.
  • Decide who you need to tip. You don’t need to tip anyone that owns their own business. But typically you do need to tip the DJ, hairstylist, servers, bartenders, etc. It will give you more time to enjoy your wedding if you aren’t worrying about who you need to tip. You can figure that all out ahead of time.

Last week to go

  • Time for some self-care. Relax and get your nails done, your hair colour freshened, and don’t forget a relaxing massage. In fact, a couple’s massage may be just what you need.
  • Have your final dress fitting. Bring your maid of honour with you if you have a dress that will need bustling.
  • Get your final headcount. Chase down any straggling RSVPs so you can tell the caterer how many plates.
  • Practice your vows. Do this out loud so you will feel confident on the day.

One day to go

  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Get rest and relax.

Final morning!

  • Eat a healthy breakfast.
  • Steam your dress and veil if needed.
  • Organize your wedding accessories.
  • Enjoy the time with your bridesmaids.
  • Relax! You are ready. Today you will make memories for a lifetime.

Wedding photos in this post are from the beautiful weddings of 

Rebecca And [email protected] View By Sydney

Michelle and Matthew @ The Grounds of Alexandria

Karla and Matt @ Bendooley Estate