Best Wedding Checklist (2018) with a Free PDF
There’s a reason why people talk about the dreaded bridezilla. Planning a wedding can be enough to make you crazy! From choosing the dress to creating seating charts, the countdown to your dream wedding can feel overwhelming— but it doesn’t have to be.
Reign in the chaos with a detailed checklist that will cover every aspect of planning the awesome wedding. Getting it all down on paper means that you can stop worrying and move through the process without a hitch.
Ready for a whirlwind year? Here’s your step by step wedding checklist.
Ps: All images featured in this post were captured by Bruno Rosa
12+ Months Before the Big Day
- Choose the date: We would suggest up to 3 to avoid clashes and you can also be flexible.
- Create a budget: This is going to determine a lot about your wedding so start here.
- Establish a guest list: This goes hand in hand with creating a budget. Of course, the more people you invite, the more you will need to spend. Figure out what works best for you.
- Decide your wedding style: See image below to find what suits you best.
- Create a wedding website: That's awesome to share everything with your guests and keep them updated and excited for the Big day.
12 Months Before the Big Day
- Find and secure the venue: Once you have a size and budget, start shopping for venues. If you are getting married at a popular time of year (June, August, September, and October), one full year is really the minimum amount of time you’ll want to book in advance. Not sure where to start? Check out some of my favourite venues in Ireland.
- Book a celebrant: This needs to be done now.
- Start gathering guests addresses: There is a lot to do here and you will need all guests addresses to send the invitations later on.
- Research photographers and videographers: As a wedding photographer in Dublin, summer and autumn are incredibly busy for me. Book early!
- Plan your wedding party: If you’re going to have bridesmaids and groomsmen, pop the question to them now.
11 Months Before the Wedding
- Book your Photographer and Videographer: Good professionals always have the date booked in advance, secure your favourite one now.
- Research potential suppliers (cake, hair, flowers, makeup, etc.)
- Get engagement photos taken!
8-10 Months Before the Wedding
- Make a calendar: Create a shared calendar with everyone helping you to plan your wedding so that communication is easy and you never forget a step.
- Book your band: DJs and musicians tend to be very busy during the wedding season too so start planning as soon as you can.
- Find accommodation: If you have guests coming in from out of town, book hotel rooms as early as possible.
- Plan your décor: At this stage, you don’t need to worry about having every detail in place but you will want to have an idea of the aesthetic.
- Hire a florist: Once you have decided on your venue and have a general look in mind, it’s time to book the florist.
- Start a venue checklist: Yep, you are probably going to need a couple of checklists! Start early with a venue checklist so you can create one master list of absolutely everything that you want to have for the big day. Pinterest can be useful here. Save pictures of candles, signs, and other details, then start adding them to the list as you narrow it down to what you will have at your big day.
- Contact rental companies: With a venue and basic layout in mind, start hiring essentials like tables and chairs.
- Order wedding cake: This is the fun part! The two of you will have some very sweet taste-testing dates in your future.
- Organise transport: Book whatever planes, trains, or automobiles that you and your wedding party need for the big day.
- Book the honeymoon: After all the planning and excitement, you’re going to need some time to just unwind and get in some quality time together.
- Start dress shopping: You’ll want to have plenty of time to search and weigh your options so start early!
6-8 Months Before the Wedding
- Find your stationery: As a general rule, you’ll want to send out the “save the date” about four months before the wedding. If you’re having a destination wedding, plan to send these out at least eight months in advance. Your formal invites should go out two months before the ceremony.
- Order the dress: Guys get a little bit more time (order your tux around six months), while ladies will want to order their dress at the six- to eight-month point.
- Live it up: Hen and stag parties, anybody? Start putting your groomsmen and bridesmaids to work if you want a fiesta.
4-6 Months Before the Wedding
- Order the wedding gear: Now is the time to get all of the wedding party apparel ordered as well as the groom’s tux.
- Hire a stylist: If you want someone for hair and makeup, make that beautiful connection three to four months before the big day.
- Get your paperwork in order: In Ireland, you need to give three months' notification before you tie the knot. Read up on the requirements so you’ve got everything in order.
- Talk to the church: If you’re getting married in a church, they’ll give you a checklist too. Be sure to plan ample time for counselling, as well as prepping prayers, readings, and music.
2-3 Months Before the Wedding
- Send invitations to guests: Now is the time to send out the final reminders!
- Attend dress fittings: Ditch the diet! Make sure everything fits perfectly now and do any alternations. Your tailor will recommend a final fitting day so be sure to stick on their timeline.
- Put a ring on it: You’ve probably already had your eye on a few rings. Make a final decision on your new lifelong bling a couple months before your wedding.
- Order gifts: To say thanks to your parents, wedding party, and everyone else who has worked so hard to make your wedding dreams come true, find the perfect little trinket.
4 Weeks Before the Wedding
- Confirm with vendors: In the world of weddings, one month is last minute. One month before the big day is the time to do a final check on everything to make sure there are no surprises as you are getting ready to walk down the aisle.
- Check for any missing RSVPs: If there are any guests that you haven’t heard back from, follow up.
- Create a seating chart: With a clear list of who is coming, you’re ready to set the atmosphere by creating a thoughtful seating chart.
- Write your vows: Don’t forget what your wedding day is all about! You might be feeling frazzled, but it’s time to try to pull out your inner poet.
2 Weeks Before the Wedding
- Confirm your guest count with your vendor: Let your caterer know the final guest count to make sure there are no hungry mouths at your wedding!
- Chat with your photographer: You’ve had time to get inspired by wedding photography online, now chat with your photographer (and videographer, if you have one) to talk about must-have pics that you want from your wedding.
- Do a final wedding dressing fitting: Make sure everything is still 100 per cent flawless with the dress.
- Review the venue checklist: Remember that list you made way back at the start of the year? Go back over everything to make sure that nothing has been forgotten along the way and update your list to include details on each item.
1 Week Before the Wedding
- Create a timetable: Check with all of your suppliers to see when each item is arriving so that you can create an exact timetable for the day. Pull out your venue checklist again to make sure that you’ve got a delivery time for each item.
- Update the venue: Give your venue a copy of the day’s schedule so they know exactly what to expect. Be sure to include contact phone numbers as well so that the venue and vendors can reach each other.
- Confirm with the suppliers: Do a final double check with each of the vendors and supplies to make sure that everything is in order and there are no last minute substitutions for anything.
- Provide every vendor with an emergency contact person too! You’ll be too busy on the big day so make sure they can talk to someone else if they need anything.
- Time for a makeover: Make those final plans for manicures, massages, waxing, and whatever else you need to feel like you’re at the top of your game.
- Try it all on: Put on your full head to toe look for the big day. From socks to underwear to the veil, make sure that everything is perfect and there are no cufflinks, nylons, or other little extras missing.
- Pack your bag: If you are staying overnight after the wedding or leaving straight for your honeymoon, pack your bags now. Again, a checklist is handy! Put together everything you’ll want to pack now because you’ll be too scatter-brained on the final few days of the countdown.
2-3 Days Before the Wedding
- Confirm pick-up times: Make sure you know exactly when you’re being picked up to go to the venue.
- Print a master list: Give your best man and maid of honour a copy of all of the essential wedding details if you haven’t already. Double check that they have all of the suppliers' contact info and a full schedule for the day.
- Make sure payments are ready: Figure out any final amounts due and make sure you have cash or whatever form of payment will be excepted on the big day.
The Day Before the Wedding
- Drop it all off: Look through everything from the venue checklist and drop it off with the venue coordinator.
- Get a good night sleep!
The Wedding Day!
- Treat your friends: Give out your bridal party gifts!
- Have a go-to man: Give the best man the wedding rings and any cash payments that need to be made on the big day.
- Put the wedding party to work: Introduce your reception coordinator to your maid of honour or best man so they can work together for any issues.
- Give a number two: Connect someone in your family or a member of the wedding party with the photographer so there’s a secondary contact point.
- Enjoy every secont: Time will fly, so don't get stressed with anything at all and if something goes wrong it happens weddings are very unpredictable, just pass it to the Bridesmaides and let them get sorted for you.
After the Wedding
- Return the rentals: Be sure that you have arranged for someone to return any of the rentals that you had for the wedding.
- Be grateful: Get on those thank-you notes!
- Make it official: Collect your marriage certificate.
Last, but certainly not least, breathe.
Now let’s do it! It’s easy to start with good intentions and get disorganised as things get crazy. That’s why you NEED a printed list. ''Grab my Free PDF HERE'' and hang this bad boy right on the front of the fridge.
Your Wedding Dress Checklist
It’s never too early to start searching for your wedding dress! Of course, many blushing brides confess to flipping through dress pics long before they even get a ring on their finger. It’s not all fun and fashion blogs though. Finding the perfect wedding dress can be hard work!
Here’s everything that you need to know to find the look of your dreams with my wedding dress checklist.
Step One: Find Inspiration
- This is the fun part! Start searching through pictures to see what catches your eye. Pinterest is good here, of course. Save looks that inspire you. Start with a vast array, then keep narrowing it down. It can actually be handy to make some notes here of what you don’t like too.
- Deciding on your venue will help you narrow down your dress options. Knowing if you’ll have an informal outdoor gathering or a traditional church wedding will go a long way in helping you pick out the perfect look.
- DOWNLOAD YOUR (FREE) WEDDING DRESS CHECKLIST NOW -
Step Two: Start Trying on Dresses
- Ideally, you’ll want to start trying on dresses about ten months before your wedding day. You need ample time to get through the fittings and, of course, you don’t want to feel rushed in the shopping process.
- Take your time looking around and keep an open mind. Things that you loved online might fall flat in person, while dresses that you didn’t like online might look gorgeous on you in person. Enlist some brutally honest friends and ask them to take shots of the dress so you can look at the pictures later and compare them all in one big line-up.
- When you need to book appointments, go by the “rule of three” for wedding dresses. Book three appointments and see how it goes. If you aren’t already in love, book three more.
Step Three: Buy that Dress!
- As soon as you’ve found “The One” you’ll want to have a detailed chat with the shop. Figure out exactly what the fitting schedule is and make a plan so you know that you’ll have ample time to get everything done.
- Generally speaking, bridal shops with made to order dresses expect you to order six months in advance so don’t put it off too long!
Step Four: Start Looking at Accessories
- You’ll want to have your full look put together for your first fitting so come prepared. This means picking out the shapewear, underwear, and shoes that you are going to wear on the big day.
- This is one of the easiest steps, but just make sure that you don’t forget anything! Checklists are priceless every step of the way, so as put together your full look, write it all down to make sure that you don’t forget anything on the big day.
Step Five: Get Fit!
- Six to eight weeks before the big day is generally when you’ll want to go in for your first fitting. Of course, this is something that your tailor or dress shop will help you plan more exactly.
- If you haven’t already created a master calendar for wedding planning, do it now! Write down all of your fitting dates and every other essential item on your to-do list.
Step Six: Get Those Details
- Need something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue? Find ‘em now! While you need your undergarments and shoes early on, you can pick out your jewellery and other little details six weeks or so before the big day (just make sure you allow ample time for online orders).
Step Seven: Make Time for All of Those Fittings
- Generally speaking, you’ll want to plan on doing the second fitting about a month before you say “I do” and have your final fitting two weeks before the big day.
Step Eight: Bring Her Home!
- Make sure that your gorgeous new dress is ready to come home about a week before the wedding. Store your dress in a breathable opaque garment bag and, of course, keep it somewhere dry, cool, and safe!
Step Nine: Create an Emergency Kit
- In the days leading up to the big day, start prepping a wedding-day emergency kit. Grab fashion tape, safety pins, as well as a needle and thread so that you can deal with any last minute surprises.
- DOWNLOAD YOUR (FREE) WEDDING DRESS CHECKLIST NOW -
Your Beauty ChecklistWho doesn’t want to look flawless on their wedding day? From styling the perfect ‘do to getting a manicure worthy of your new bling, you have got to start planning early if you want to have a fairy tale look for your fairy tale day.
Ready to get started? Here’s everything you need to know to start the ultimate beauty countdown before your wedding day.
6 Months Before Your Wedding
- De-stress: It’s easy to let the wedding start to consume your life. Now is the time for a relaxing, revitalising hobby. I know you’re probably feeling overwhelmed with things to do, but even just setting aside an hour here and there will make a huge difference in the way that you look and feel.
- Look into meditation classes, yoga, or even just making a commitment to grab a bike once a week and go for a distraction-free ride will help you reduce stress. Exercise is so important for staying sane on the countdown to your wedding!
- Change It Up (or Don’t): If you’re thinking about changing your hair colour or cut, do it now. If you end up not liking your look, you want ample time to let your hair grow out or get processed again.
- Don’t feel like you have to change things up though! You want to look like yourself for your wedding photographs so hold back when it comes to major changes.
- Start a Skincare Routine: Change takes time. If you are going to switch things up and start a new routine, now is the time to start. It takes a few months to see a results from any product so plan ahead.
- Get Healthy: A lot of couples commit to upgrading their diet before the big day. While losing a few kilos could be a good thing, be sure to keep your focus on eating healthy. Whole grains, fruits, and veg will go a long way in keeping you energised through the wedding planning process.
3 Months Before Your Wedding
- Find Your Stylist: If you are going to go with a new hair stylist, start making consultation appointments now. Bring in shots of styles that you like as well as your veil or headpiece. Do some trials and be sure to take pics so you can look at them later and see how they photograph.
- Find Your Makeup Artist: Again, bring pics and take pics! In addition to showing your stylist photos of celebrities and models that you like, bring in shots of you that you like and don’t like to find the perfect look. Keep in mind that some makeup styles photograph better than others so do some experimentation.
- When you’re planning a look with your makeup artist, discuss the full picture. If you want to use a self-tanner, talk to your stylist about it. If you’re going to be trying new products, start experimenting now (and make sure that it doesn’t stain your dress!).
1 Month Before Your Wedding
- Get Your Brows Done: Your brows go back faster than the hair on your head so you don’t need to plan too far in advance. If you want to try a new shape, go in now then you’ll be able to just do maintenance afterwards.
- Whiten Up: If you’re getting your teeth whitened, do it about one month in advance. Afterwards, lay off the red wine, tea, and coffee to keep your pearly whites sparkling in the lead up to the big day.
2 Weeks Before Your Wedding
- Back to the Hair Stylist: The usual, please! Freshen up your look without making any major changes.
- Simplify Your Diet: Now is the time to cut back on salt, sugar, and carbs. Don’t go too crazy cutting calories (you won’t have time to get your dress fitted again anyway!) but do stay away from food that’ll leave you bloated. And drink those eight glasses of water per day!
- Confirm Your Appointments: Check back with your hair and makeup people to make sure that everything is set in stone.
1 Week Before Your Wedding
- Get a Wax: The final week before your wedding is the time to wax your brows and whatever else you want to have smooth and shiny for the big day.
- Treat Yourself: Get a massage and facial to help you unwind and glow.
1 Day Before Your Wedding
- Make an Emergency Kit: Put together a pack of everything that you can’t live without on the big day. While your makeup artist will leave you looking gorgeous, this is the day to smudge your lipstick and make your mascara run so be ready for it.
- Do a Deep Conditioner: Give your hair a bit of TLC before the big day so it’s glossy and shining as you walk down the aisle.
- Mani and Pedi: Go for a professional pedicure and manicure. Of course, your hands will be the centre of attention so spend some time picking out the right nail colour.
On Your Wedding Day
- Have Breakfast: Start your day right to keep your energy going and, for that perfect glow, keep sipping water!
- Come Stylist Ready: Make sure that you have a robe ready so that you can have your hair and makeup done without worrying about messing it up when you change clothes.
- Last, but certainly not least, breathe.
Now let’s do it! It’s easy to start with good intentions and get disorganised as things get crazy. That’s why you NEED a printed list to get it all down on paper, so grab my FREE WEDDING PLANNING CHECKLIST PDF HERE and hang this bad boy right on the front of the fridge.
12+ Months Before the Big Day
- Chose the date (or up to 3 to avoid clashes and you can be flexible)
- Create a budget
- Establish a guest list
- Decide your wedding style
- Create a wedding website
12 Months Before
- Start gathering guests addresses
- Find and secure the venue and ceremony location
- Book a celebrant
- Research photographers and videographers
- Choose your wedding party and pop the question
11 Months Before
- Book your Photographer and Videographer
- Research potential suppliers (cake, hair, flowers, makeup, etc.)
- Get engagement photos taken
8-10 Months Before
- Create a calendar and share with bridesmaids and groomsmen
- Book your band and/or DJ
- Find accommodation for guests who come from out of town
- Plan your décor
- Hire a florist
- Start a venue checklist
- Rent tables and chairs
- Order wedding cake
- Organise transport
- Book the honeymoon
- Start dress shopping
6-8 Months Before
- Send your “save the date”
- Order the dress
- Organize Hen and stag parties
4-6 Months Before
- Shop for bridesmaid’s dresses
- Shop for Groom and Groomsmen’s suit
- Hire a makeup artist and hair stylist
- Get your paperwork in order
- Check passports and visas
2-3 Months Before
- Send invitations to guests
- Attend dress fittings
- Find and order your perfect ring
- Order gifts for important family members, bridesmaids and groomsmen
- Create a Weather Plan ‘' B ''
- Chose your wedding songs
- Talk to the church
4 Weeks Before
- Confirm with vendors and send day-of schedule
- Check for any missing RSVPs
- Create a seating chart
- Write your vows
2 Weeks Before
- Confirm your guest count with your vendor or caterer
- Chat with your photographer
- Do a final wedding dressing fitting
- Review the venue checklist
1 Week Before
- Create a timetable with all of your suppliers
- Give your venue a copy of the day’s schedule
- Confirm with the suppliers
- Give to every vendor an emergency contact person for the big day
- Plan for a makeover
- Try it all on, put on your full head to toe look for the big day
- Pack your bag for the big day and honeymoon
2-3 Days Before
- Confirm pick-up times
- Print a master list and give to your best man and maid of honour a copy
- Make sure payments are ready
The Day Before the Wedding
- Look through everything from the venue checklist and drop it off with the venue coordinator
- Get a good night sleep
The Wedding Day!
- Treat your friends, give out your bridal party gifts!
- Give the best man the wedding rings and any cash payments that need to be made on the big day.
- Introduce your reception coordinator to your maid of honour or best man
- Connect someone in your family or a member of the wedding party with the photographer
- Enjoy every second!
After the Wedding
- Return the rentals
- Get on those thank-you notes!
- Collect your marriage certificate.