Your Wedding Planning Checklist
12 + Months
Determine your wedding budget. Talk with all of the people who are contributing financially to your wedding to decide how much you can spend on your wedding day. For example, sit down with your partner and decide what you'd like your wedding to look like and how much you two can afford to spend at this time. If your parents are contributing, speak with them if they are willing to pay a portion of your wedding, and if so, how much. Your budget will be the basis of the rest of the decisions you make about your wedding. Consider factors like how many guests you'd like to invite, what venue you desire, and what time of year you'd like to get married. This is also a good time to think about a destination wedding, if that is the direction you choose for your wedding day.
Decide what is the most important elements of your wedding day. Do you want an open bar and big party? Or would you prefer a low-key beachside wedding? These priorities will help guide the rest of your planning, as well as giving you direction about where you'd like to spend the majority of your budget. This is also a great time to start researching and touring potential wedding venues, as you'll need to lock in your wedding date as soon as possible. Almost 3/4 of weddings happen between May and October. However, Florida is a little different due to the seasons. In Florida, wedding venues tend to be in high demand from November until the end of May. Since the pandemic has increased shipping and delivery times throughout the world, we recommend to start shopping for your wedding dress now. You may need to have the dress altered upon its arrival, which also takes time.
It's time to lock in your wedding venue and your wedding date. Now that you've decided on a wedding venue and date, it's time to work on your guest list. Your guest list will largely be determined by the size of your wedding. It's also time to decide on your wedding party. Think about how many bridesmaids and groomsmen you'd like to have in your wedding party. Once decided, it's time to ask them to be by your side at your wedding. Now is also a good time to shop for the groom's tuxedo. Purchase your wedding dress now if it will be a custom design, to allow for shipping and potential alterations in advance of the big day.
Many couples reserve room blocks at hotels adjacent to their ceremony and reception. And sometimes guests can stay at the same hotel as the ceremony and reception, which is very convenient for everyone involved. Many venues recommend having friends and family all together at one central hotel, so everyone can enjoy the festivities together. Having your guests at the same hotel means that they can enjoy visiting with each other too. The entire experience will be more celebratory and fun for everyone. Now is also a good time to research and choose your wedding photographer. Your wedding photographer can capture your love with a fun engagement photo session, which you can use for your save-the-dates.
If you have your photos back from your engagement photo session, now it's time to send out your save-the-dates. Shutterfly, Snapfish, and The Knot all have beautiful stationary options for your save-the-dates, RSVP cards, and wedding invitations. It's also time to decide on music for the ceremony and reception. Do you want a DJ or live music at the ceremony and reception? What music do you want during all of the meaningful dances? These are important questions to answer at this time and then book a DJ or live musicians for your wedding date. Now is also the time to lock down other vendors, like lighting, tents, cutlery. There are event rental companies that can be a one stop shop for you, as they provide several wedding services under one umbrella company. Event rental companies are great if you want to take some stress out of your wedding planning.
This is the fun part; now you get to select your wedding registry and go shopping for you both. If you make your registry well ahead of time, then you will receive gifts you actually desire, instead of a burrito warmer that sits unused for a decade in your pantry (we may be speaking from experience on that one). You can also create a wedding website if you haven't already. Your wedding website can introduce guests to your wedding style and can house your registry, in addition to detail the guests need to know before they plan travel to your wedding. This is also a great time to plan the most relaxing part of this whole experience, your honeymoon. From a long weekend getaway to an extended Caribbean vacation, your honeymoon is a wonderful time to indulge and decompress after the big day. Finally the distractions will be gone and you can simply enjoy each other's company.
Now that you have your dress purchased and the groom's tuxedo secured, you can determine what you want the wedding party to wear on your big day. The bridesmaids' dresses and groomsmen's tuxedos should flatter the bride and groom's clothing style. Purchase these items now to allow for possible alterations in advance of the wedding. Decide where you want to have the rehearsal dinner and reserve that restaurant/event space. Decide on the type of cuisine you'd like and reserve a caterer if you are hosting the rehearsal dinner at an event space or home.
There's more shopping to do! And this time, it's for wedding rings. Your wedding ring will be worn on your finger every day for years, so you'll want to take the time to carefully choose a style that suits you both well. You'll need to order formal invitations at this time, so go over what type of wedding invitation you want to send to your guests. You'll also need to decide on your beauty team for your big day. Hair stylists and make up artists should be secured now.
If you haven't booked your honeymoon travel plans, now is the time to do so. When all the wedding planning and festivities are over, you'll still have a fabulous romantic getaway to enjoy. Now is the time to finalize your reception dinner, which can be tricky with different diets, food allergies, etc. Luckily most caterers are quite skilled at tailoring their menu to many diverse dietary needs, and you and your guests can be happily accommodated.
Shop for your bridal party outfit and send the bridal shower invitations. In addition, work with your DJ and/or musicians to decide on your wedding playlist. If you are having a wedding program at your ceremony, get those ordered and printed now. Many couple like have a wedding program to remember their ceremony and the loved ones in the wedding party.
After all of this planning, it's finally time to send out your wedding invitations. Oh and it's also time to start celebrating at your wedding shower. Wedding showers have become much more informal and diverse as of late. It's also a good time to think of the wedding party gifts. Wether it's engraved jewelry or fancy cufflinks, those gifts for the wedding party should be purchased now.
If you've decided to give each of your guests a wedding favor, this is a good time to purchase them. And if you're having bachelor/bachelorette parties, now is the time to enjoy them! Party, bond, and relax with your loved ones at this fun event in your honor.
Your RSVPs should be in now, so you can finalize your seating chart at your reception. Now is also the time to make any alterations to your wedding dress and the rest of the wedding party's outfits. It's also time to start making your marriage official by applying for a marriage license. Go over the wedding day schedule with your wedding photographer to ensure you'll have all the most important moments captured on camera.
Confirm, confirm, confirm! Make sure all your RSVPs are definitely confirmed, as well as your wedding vendors. It's also time to go over your vows for your ceremony. Click edit and enter your own text. You can make changes like making the text bold, underline or italic.
You're almost there! Now is the time to get a manicure, massage, or any pampering you have planned before the big day. Write your significant other a love note and prepare their gift for the wedding day. Get all of your vendor checks written out and sort out your vendor tips. Give your marriage license to the person officiating your wedding.
The Night Before
Practice the ceremony logistics and enjoy a fun rehearsal dinner with family and your wedding party. Make sure to go to bed early, you have a big day ahead of you.
Your Wedding Day
Eat a healthy breakfast and try to rest a little. Take your wedding dress out and have it steamed. In addition, carefully lay out all the meaningful items (such as rings, shoes, wedding dress and veil, wedding invitations, family heirlooms) for the wedding photographer. Make sure to thank everyone involved in your wedding and to give your partner a love note and/or wedding gift. Congratulations, you're married!