The Essential Planning Checklist

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Planning your big-day can be a little overwhelming. With what seems like 1001 things to do, getting on top of it all can be a headache. Of course, the key to wedding planning success is creating a checklist of priorities and keeping to it. By concentrating on each area, one at a time, and checking it off as you go, you’ll feel much more in control of the process.  Remember, it’s much more satisfying to have organised five things properly, instead of having half-organised 10 things!

With this in mind, we’ve created our very own wedding planning checklist, based on a typical 12-month planning period, giving you a handy timeline of all the things you need to do…

12 months before

  • Decide upon a wedding date
  • Decide on your budget and create a spreadsheet to remain on top of it!
  • If you’re getting married in church, begin making arrangements with your local minister
  • Take out wedding insurance
  • Decide on the number of guests – this will impact your budget and venue choices
  • Book the wedding venue / reception
  • Book the photographer – these get booked up quickly!
  • Pop the question to your bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Start looking for your wedding dress


9 months before

  • Book your musicians, band and/or DJ for the wedding reception
  • Book the caterers and attend a food tasting to help you decide on your menu
  • Book the wedding transport
  • Book the florist
  • Think about booking the honeymoon (6-9 months before)
  • Order the wedding cake
  • Book an overnight stay in a hotel room/honeymoon suite
  • Order stationery from Paper Bliss
  • Send out Save the Date cards. It’s also wise to include local accommodation information with the Save the Date cards as this tends to get booked up quickly.


6 months before

  • Attend initial fitting for the wedding dress (4-6 months before)
  • Choose your wedding shoes and accessories
  • Choose the wedding attire for the groom, best man, bridesmaids, fathers, mothers and ushers
  • Choose the wedding rings
  • Book a hair and make-up trial
  • Select your wedding readings
  • Organise your wedding initiations and order of service booklets


3 months before

  • Finalise payment for your marriage licence from the registrar
  • Send out the wedding invitations
  • Decide upon your wedding gift list and make it available to all your wedding guests (Usually sent out with invite)
  • Confirm your ceremony details with either the registrar or the minister
  • Order wedding favours
  • Decide upon your chosen wedding music or hymns
  • Buy gifts for the best man, ushers and bridesmaids
  • Discuss the seating plan with the caterer and venue
  • Plan your hen and stag party - aim to hold it 4-6 weeks before your wedding


1 month before

  • Arrange for a final fitting of your wedding dress and any amendments as necessary
  • Reconfirm the wedding arrangements with the reception venue
  • Reconfirm the wedding arrangements with all suppliers
  • Finalise the seating plan with the caterer and venue
  • Create a proposed timeline for your day – this can usually be done with the help of your wedding venue
  • Write official seat placement cards, table plan and names/numbers
  • Arrange a date for a wedding rehearsal, if required.
  • Chase up guests who have not yet responded to your invitation
  • Begin thinking about / writing the wedding speeches. This applies to the groom, best man and father of the bride.


7 days before

  • Pop on your out of office ahead of your break away – whoopee!
  • Have the wedding rehearsal
  • Pack for your honeymoon
  • Reconfirm final guest numbers and amend seating plan if necessary
  • Organise with a close friend to have an emergency wedding kit, just for the bride, containing makeup and a repair kit for the wedding dress. This way you can be sure you’ll be ready should any minor hiccups occur through the day.
  • Give your order of service sheets to the minister
  • Order your foreign currency
  • Give the rings to the best man
  • Give the best man a list of all the wedding suppliers involved in your wedding day, in case they need to be contacted


The day before

  • Help decorate the venue if there are no other weddings on that day and / or drop off the final bits like place names, table plan and favours
  • Ensure passports / luggage are at your hotel to leave for your honeymoon – if you’re planning on leaving right away
  • Sort out all those last minute beauty needs – like a manicure and pedicure
  • Have an early night and try to get some sleep
  • Relax!


After the wedding

  • Arrange for friends and family to help clear up / collect personal belongings the morning after the big-day
  • Pre-plan for one of the wedding party to return any hired items on your behalf
  • Write and send thank-you notes for all the family and friends who sent gifts, and the wedding suppliers who’ve been extra helpful.

What have you loved most about the planning process so far? Let us know your wedding planning favourites over on Facebook or Twitter!

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