You’re engaged! Congratulations! I can imagine that your mind might be running overtime right now, with venue ideas and seeking inspiration for your perfect dress, potentially deciding on your colour palette, not to mention the genuine excitement over marrying the love of your life. To say there’s a lot going on is an understatement!
It can definitely be an overwhelming process, but I promise you’re not alone. Personally, I would be lost without my planning lists and notebooks. They are a lifesaver! Especially now that I’m also planning my own wedding. I know the excitement and eagerness that the planning process can bring, but also that small voice in the back of my mind that I might be forgetting something. So, I decided to create this checklist for you of all the important milestones that may be relevant to your wedding day in the hopes of making your planning process that little bit easier!
It’s important to note, however, that everybody has different priorities when it comes to their special day. Therefore, this checklist is more so a guide than it is a mandatory checklist.
Now that you’re engaged – let the planning begin!
1) Announce your engagement to your loved ones:
Whether this is an organised dinner with your dearest and nearest, or a simple social media post, announcing your engagement is the perfect way to share the love and excitement with friends and family.
2) Book an engagement shoot:
This can also be a beautiful way to announce your engagement! Booking an engagement shoot with a photographer is a wonderful way to honour and celebrate your exciting news, as well as having gorgeous photos to reflect back on for years to come. It’s also an excellent way to have a preview of what it’s like being in front of a camera and becoming more comfortable for your wedding day!
3) Create a favourites board:
Start searching for inspiration to create your dream wedding. I recommend Pinterest or Canva as a means to compile all of your favourite finds. Do this as often as possible, as you never know what ideas you might find and fall in love with! This is a perfect way to see what kind of vibe you want your wedding to have.
4) Start discussing your budget:
Mapping out your budget will help immensely with your future planning. Discuss who will pay for what, whether you’re covering the entire wedding costs or maybe your families might contribute to the budget. Think about big-ticket items in this process too: venue, photographer, flowers etc. This is also a perfect time to start thinking about a savings plan if you haven’t already!
5) Plan your engagement party:
If you’re looking to have an engagement party, now is the perfect time to start planning it. Set a date, pick a venue and plan out a guest list to celebrate your engagement! Once you’ve secured all these details, be sure to send out your invites.
6) Start thinking about your bridal party:
You might already have people in mind, or you might not. But give some thought to those you’d like standing next to you on your big day, as well as those whom you will lean on during the planning process and lead up to your big day!
7) Draft your guest list:
Start with your immediate friends and family, then begin working your way down the list to those that you may or may not invite. It’s important to remember that sometimes not everyone can be invited, especially if you don’t have a flexible budget. Prioritise according to importance!
8) Start looking at potential seasons & availability:
It sounds unimportant, but the time of year you choose to wed can impact many different elements of your wedding. If you’re wanting those beautiful colours of autumn, you might have to consider an alternative wet-weather option if you have an outdoor ceremony. If you opt for a particular season in Australia, make sure to consider your options if you’re looking at having an overseas honeymoon. Overall costs will also vary based on your elected season too!
9) Begin researching venues & celebrants:
When searching for wedding venues, it’s important to consider how big your guest list will be, if you’ll have your ceremony on-site or elsewhere (and if so, the distance between the two) as well as taking your budget into consideration. Once you have found some places that tick those boxes for you, look into setting up venue tours!
It’s a date – Once you’ve set your wedding date!
10) Book your venue and/or ceremony site:
Once you’ve decided on your dream space, ensure your contracts are signed for your selected date and that your deposit has been paid. Now that you’ve got your space, you can begin envisioning how you’d like to decorate it!
11) Book your celebrant:
It’s important that you and your partner have a comfortable relationship with your celebrant, and that they’ve taken the time to get to know both of you as individuals and as a couple. Celebrants do set the tone of the day, therefore, you want to ensure that you have complete trust and faith in the celebrant you choose to book.
12) Consider hotel accommodation:
Ensure that your hotel room or accommodation for your wedding night is booked and ready to go. Also, look into booking block guest accommodation if that is something you’re interested in doing for your wedding guests.
13) The dress and suit:
If you haven’t already, begin looking for your dream look! Book appointments with stores and keep trying on different options until you find the perfect fit! Starting this process early ensures you have enough time to not only find your dream look but also allow for alterations and adjustments to be made.
14) Research and begin to book suppliers:
From your florist to the cake, to your makeup and hairstylist. Wedding vendors can book out very quickly in advance, so I’d recommend seeking enquires if you’ve found a supplier that you really like and would like to potentially have on your special day.
15) Research and book your photographer:
Are you looking for photo and video? Would you like your vows or speeches recorded so that you can rewatch them for years to come? It’s important to think about these questions when researching your photographers and potentially videographers. Send out enquires and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
16) Decide on your wedding theme:
Are you dreaming of a rustic day? Or potentially something classic and traditional? How can you make that vision come alive at your venue? Refer back to your favourites board and saved inspiration for guidance!
17) Wedding rings:
Start looking at potential ideas for wedding rings for your partner. Again, starting this process earlier will allow for any alterations to be made if the ring sizing is incorrect.
18) Finalise your guest list:
Once you’ve got your guest list finalised, you can begin planning your invitation stationery as well as sending out your save the dates.
19) Organise any parties:
Are you going to have a bachelor/bachelorette party? If so, what are you going to do? Now’s the time to organise one (or give a nudge to your bridal party to do so!)
6 – 3 Months Prior to Your Wedding
Send out your official invites and feel the excitement build as your start to get responses from your loved ones!
21) Confirm your suppliers:
Being in regular communication with your suppliers can ensure a smooth and easy process in the build-up to your wedding date.
Create a list of all of your accessories (jewellery, perfume, shoes etc.) and keep track of any required purchases you might need to make to complete your wedding-day look.
23) Organising timelines:
Begin organising your timeline with your photographer for your day, as well as confirming your ceremony schedule with your celebrant.
24) Book your honeymoon:
Ensure that your flights and accommodation are organised for your honeymoon. If you’re travelling overseas, also double-check that your passport is valid and ready for travel!
25) Confirm wardrobes:
It’s important that not only is the bride and groom organised, but also the bridesmaids’ dresses, as well as the groomsmen’s suits, are ready to go! Ensure that everything is covered, or is in the process of being confirmed.
26) Plan your big exit:
How are you going to leave your wedding? Are you going to drive off into the sunset, or have one final dance together before saying farewell to your guests? If your photographer and/or videographer will still be around for the conclusion, have a chat with them on how to make your final exit moments memorable!
8 – 3 Weeks Prior to Your Wedding
27) Final fittings:
Have one last final fitting with your entire wedding party and ensure any last-minute alterations are taken care of.
28) Make a packing list:
Create a packing list for your honeymoon to ensure that you’ve got everything you need to jet off on your romantic getaway!
29) Seating chart:
With your RSVP replies coming in, start confirming your seating arrangements for your reception. (If you still haven’t heard from some people, send out some reminders to get back to you ASAP.)
30) Prepare your speeches:
If you’ve got any intentions of doing a toast or a speech at your ceremony, start preparing your words now! Also, inform any guests or members of the bridal party to prepare some words if required.
31) Music + MC:
Confirm your music soundtrack for your ceremony and reception, including your first-dance song. Go through your running sheet with your MC and make any changes if needed.
32) Vendor payments:
Confirm all your pre-existing payments with your vendors and settle any outstanding fees. Provide them with the schedule or timeline set out for your day. This includes confirming guest numbers with your venue and/or caterers.
33) Clean rings:
Who doesn’t want that extra sparkly ring on their wedding day? Ensure that the rings have been cleaned and collected, ready for their time to shine!
34) Make your beauty appointments:
Whether that’s a hair appointment, or a little spa treatment for a mani-pedi and spray tan, ensure that you have booked these appointments in advance to avoid any last-minute rushing.
2 – 1 Weeks Prior to Your Wedding
35) Collect your attire:
If you haven’t already, ensure that you’ve collected the outfits for the bridal party and that everyone’s accessories have been organised.
Check in with your suppliers and confirm all details ahead of your big day.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast if you’re having an outdoor ceremony and/or reception. If the weather is looking a little uncertain, keep in contact with the venue as well as your photographer to discuss alternative ideas. Remember not to panic, there are always options!
38) To-do list:
Create a to-do list for the day before your wedding, as well as for the day after your wedding! It’s important to assign tasks to people prior to the day such as collecting leftover favours after the reception, and ensuring nothing gets left behind.
The Day Prior to Your Wedding
39) Attend any appointments:
If you’ve booked any beauty appointments, sit back and relax in preparation for your big day!
Attend any required wedding rehearsals (if any).
41) Get excited:
Feel the anticipation build, relax and get ready to have the wedding of your dreams! You’ve worked so hard for this, enjoy it!