Wedding Planning Checklist


You’re getting married! Perhaps you’re eager to start dress shopping, go cake tasting, look at venues and complete all the other fun tasks that come with planning a wedding. There are plenty of details that go into planning a wedding, and staying organized is the best way to accomplish everything before you say “I do.”

This list of everything you’ll need for a wedding will help you follow a timeline of when to accomplish certain wedding tasks and ensure you remember even the smallest details of your big day. Use this ultimate wedding day checklist to learn how to plan your own wedding.

What to do 1 year before your wedding

Twelve Months Before Celebration

Time to start wedding planning! Month 12 is the beginning of your wedding planning timeline. Complete these tasks when you’re a year away from your wedding day.

1. Determine Your Budget

Once you determine your overall budget, you’ll start to get a sense of what venues, vendors, outfits and wedding accessories you’ll be able to afford. You can set budget limitations for every aspect of your wedding. This can help you avoid going over budget and spending time looking at venues or vendors that you can’t afford.

Make sure to keep track of your spending when it comes to wedding purchases, such as the wedding cake, the flowers, decorations and other vendors you hire. Following your wedding budget can help you, your partner and anyone financially contributing to your wedding stay in the loop of the costs of vendors and other expenses.

2. Find a Wedding Planner

Planning your wedding by yourself is possible, especially with this guide. If you choose to hire a wedding planner, it’s important to do your research. You want to find a wedding planner who gets your overall vision for your wedding and will respect your budget limitations.

3. Find the Perfect Wedding Venue

The wedding venue is the centerpiece of your day. Finding the perfect place that matches your vision, meets your budget and is in your ideal location is important. It might be worthwhile to look for blogs about the best wedding venues in your area. Check out Shutter and Sound’s blog for our take on the best wedding venues from California to New York City.

4. Write out Your Guest List

Your guest list is one of the most important parts of your wedding, so sit down with your partner and write it out. Be sure to consider how much space your venue will hold and how many of your guests will be able to make it to the venue location.

5. Pick an Overall Theme

This is your special day, and you can make your vision of the perfect wedding come to life. Every wedding is unique, whether it’s a classic big wedding or a small gathering of your closest loved ones. Some popular wedding themes couples use are:

  • Modern
  • Romantic
  • Rustic
  • Simplistic
  • Beach

You can find numerous wedding themes and color combinations ideas online.

11 months out from your wedding

Eleven Months Before Celebration

Look at these tasks when you’re 11 months away from your wedding day.

1. Choose a Color Theme

Choosing a color theme for your wedding is one of the more fun decisions you get to make. You don’t have to have anything set in stone before you do some research. It might be worth checking out your favorite social media sites to see what sort of wedding inspiration is available. For example, Pinterest and Instagram are great platforms for when you want to get a visual of color-themed events.

2. Hire Vendors

Some wedding vendors require bookings eleven months or more in advance, especially if they’re popular in the area. Vendors you’ll want to meet with and book during this month include your wedding photographer and videographer, and your DJ or band for entertainment.

If you’re interested in having a videographer turn your wedding day into a piece of art you can watch throughout the years, Shutter and Sound has locations across the United States. Contact us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

10 months out from your wedding

Ten Months Before Celebration

When you’re 10 months away from your wedding, work on these tasks from your wedding timeline checklist.

1. Shop Around for a Wedding Dress

If there’s going to be a wedding dress involved in your wedding, whether it be one or two, it can be fun to shop around for different designs you are interested in. You might do most of your shopping online, or you might make a weekend out of trying on dresses with your crew.

2. Shop for Invitations

Some people send out digital invitations, while others prefer handcrafted ones. If your wedding is small and you’re crafty, you might even hand-make or digitally design your own.

3. Look at Hotel Options Around Your Venue

If you’re having a big wedding, check for hotel options near your venue so your guests don’t have to scramble to find accommodations as the wedding approaches. If you have the budget, you might even pre-book these rooms and pay for some or all of your guests’ rooms ahead of time.

4. Draw up Your Wedding Website

A wedding website is a convenient place for your guests to find all the wedding information. If your guests lose their physical copies of their invitations, they can just pull up your website. Creating your own wedding website is simple. There are sites designed to help you create a wedding website.

5. Make Your Engagement Plans

If you want to have an engagement party or engagement photos, the tenth month before your wedding is a solid time to make those plans. Hosting your engagement party during month 10 allows you to celebrate with plenty of time left to plan your wedding.

9 months out from your wedding

Nine Months Before Celebration

It’s time to let people know when your big day is. Complete these important tasks when you’re nine months out from your wedding.

1. Send out Save the Dates

Before you send invitations, it’s customary to send guests notification about when and where your wedding will take place. You’ll send out formal wedding invitations closer to your wedding day.

2. Buy Your Dream Dress

If you’re planning on wearing a wedding dress, now is the time to purchase one. Hopefully, by this point, you’ll have shopped around for dresses and found one that fits your personal style. If you’re buying it from a store, it’s helpful to do a dress fitting in-store before you finalize your purchase just in case your dress needs alterations.

8 months out from your wedding

Eight Months Before Celebration

Tackle these tasks on your wedding to-do list when you’re eight months out from your celebration.

1. Find a Florist

Flowers are typically a big part of weddings. Some people choose flowers based on their colors, and others choose flowers based on their cultural meanings. Whatever you decide, if you want flowers at your wedding, it’s time to find a florist.

2. Shop for Bridesmaid Dresses

If you’re choosing your bridesmaids’ dresses, the eighth month before the wedding is the time to start shopping for styles and colors you and your bridesmaids will be comfortable with. Schedule fittings for your bridesmaids, whether you schedule them all together or separately, so you can make sure the dresses fit and everyone is happy with them.

3. Create a Gift Registry

Who doesn’t like gifts? More importantly, who doesn’t like gifts they already know they’re going to like? The eighth month before your wedding is the perfect time to create your gift registry. You’ll have plenty of time to shop around for what you want, and your guests will have plenty of time to plan ahead when it comes to their budgets.

Many businesses have their own process for creating a wedding registry through them. For example, if you’re fond of Target, you can check out their registry program and find more information about their process.

what to do 7 months before your wedding

Seven Months Before Celebration

Remember to accomplish these important tasks when you’re seven months from your wedding day.

1. Find Musicians With the Same Style as Your Wedding

It’s ultimately up to you to decide whether you want a band for your ceremony or a DJ for your after-party. You might even want to use the same band for your ceremony and after-party. If you’re interested in hiring a band for your wedding, you might listen to them play first. You want to be sure they can play the songs you want in a style you’ll dig.

Many people hire DJs for their after-parties because it’s simple to hand a DJ a long list of songs you want them to play.

2. Hire an Officiant

Whether you’re religious or not, someone with the proper credentials has to be at your wedding to make your marriage official. Your wedding officiant can be your pastor or a friend that is ordained online.

3. Plan Rehearsal Dinner

Consider planning a rehearsal dinner for the night before your wedding. You can use this dinner as a way to thank the members of your wedding party and get them up to speed on how your wedding ceremony will play out.

4. Order Rental Items

Now’s the time to order any rental items you might need for your wedding, such as tables, chairs and dishware. Make sure they’ll be delivered to your wedding venue ahead of time so you have time to set everything up.

Six Months Before Celebration

There is always something to think about when it comes to your wedding day. Work on these tasks when you’re six months out from the big day.

1. Think About Lighting

Lighting can help set the mood for your wedding day. Consider the lighting for your ceremony and reception. You can use the lights that are at your venue or rent out lighting fixtures that will enhance the ambiance. String lights, lanterns, candles and other light fixtures are all popular wedding decor.

Five Months Before Celebration

You have five months before the wedding day. It’s time to think about travel plans and other tasks before the special day.

1. Find Your Tuxedo

If you or your partner are planning on wearing a tuxedo or another type of custom-made outfit, five months before your wedding is a good time to set up some fittings at businesses within your price range.

2. Plan Your Honeymoon

Planning your honeymoon now can help you receive good pricing on travel and find the perfect destination for you and your partner. Buy those plane tickets and book your hotel.

3. Figure out Transportation

Organizing wedding day transportation is helpful for out-of-town guests or guests who have too much fun at the reception. You can rent party buses or communicate with the hotel you blocked rooms at to see if they have shuttles that can transport guests to your venue and back.

4 months from your wedding

Four Months Before Celebration

Only four months until your big day. Complete the following tasks before your celebration.

1. Meet With Your Caterer

Schedule a meeting with your caterer, and taste their food and drink options. It’s okay to give yourself some time to think after this tasting.

2. Shop for Your Wedding Cake

Since wedding cakes are typically larger than the average cake, you’ll have to give a heads up to the business you want to make your wedding cake. You might even schedule a cake tasting with different businesses. Get a sense of what flavor options they have and what cake decorating skills their team has.

3. Plan Hair and Makeup

Professional hairstylists and makeup artists can book up fast, so make sure to schedule them for anyone who wants their makeup and hair done for the wedding.

4. Pick Outfits for Your Groomsmen

If you want your groomsmen to wear coordinating outfits, this would be the time to take them to a tuxedo shop or wherever fits the style of your wedding. It’s important for you and your groomsmen to be happy and comfortable with their wedding day outfits.

Three Months Before Celebration

Your wedding day is getting closer. As your excitement grows, remember to complete these tasks around the three-month mark.

1. Write Invitations

You can write your invitations by hand or create them online. You can find plenty of template styles online that will match your wedding day colors and theme.

2. Ask Your Caterer About a Menu

Hopefully, you’ll have had time to think about the tasting you had with your caterer, and you can help them draw up a more complete menu for your wedding.

3. Pick Guest Favors

Consider leaving your guests with a unique favor to let them know how much you appreciate them attending your wedding. Examples of guest favors include wine glasses, candles and custom items.

4. Write Your Vows

If you’re choosing to write your own vows, now is the time to start. You can communicate with your officiant for vow ideas or write what comes to mind.

Two Months Before Celebration

Two months before your big day, make sure you complete the following tasks.

1. Send Invitations

Send out your immaculately designed invitations. It might be helpful to create a checklist of all the people you need to send invites to.

2. Try on Your Wedding Attire

Make sure the dress or tux you bought still fits you. If you think it may need alterations, you still have time to get them done.

3. Get Your Marriage License

Before your officiant can officiate your wedding, you need a marriage license, so head down to your local courthouse. You might even be able to start your application online before you go in person so the process doesn’t take as long.

4. Buy Accessories

The kind of accessories you add to your wedding is up to you. The following is a list of small accessories you might take this month to consider:

  • Flowers for your bridesmaids to hold
  • Jewelry for yourself and your partner
  • Frames for any pictures you might display
  • Guest book
  • Cake topper
  • Comfortable dancing shoes

5. Pick the Perfect Playlist

Sit down with your partner and create a playlist that embodies your relationship, or a playlist that’s just fun. Think about if you want some songs to be played at a certain time during your wedding to help create a certain mood.

1 month before your wedding checklist

One Month Before Celebration

You’re getting closer to your special day! Make sure you accomplish the following tasks.

1. Pay Your Vendors

Make sure you pay all your vendors in full before your wedding day. Also, be sure your caterers know when and where to bring the food and drinks you’ve ordered and how you’d like everything to be set up.

2. Draw up a Seating Chart and Place Cards

If there are a lot of people at your wedding, consider drawing up a seating chart and making place cards. You can find great seating chart ideas online that look nice and match your theme.

3. Clear Your Schedule

If you can clear your schedule for the week of the wedding, that’s great! If not, consider planning ahead so your workload is lighter during that week.

4. Take Care of Your Body and Mind

You want to look and feel your best on your wedding day, whatever that means to you personally. If you want to get your hair professionally colored, go for it. If you want to hit up more relaxing yoga classes, go for it. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself.

5. Practice Your Vows

If you and your partner have written your own vows, practicing saying them out loud ahead of time might help you feel less nervous when the time comes to read them for real.

6. Do a Walk-Through

You’re almost at the end of your wedding planning guide! You’ll want to think through all the final touches of your big day. Things you can do to ensure you have everything completed for your wedding day include:

  • Make a list of any personal items and things you need for your wedding day.
  • Write down a schedule for the wedding proceedings that you can keep with you.
  • Make sure everyone you want to come to the wedding is still planning on coming.
  • Meet with vendors one last time before the big day and go over a wedding vendor checklist.

Contact Shutter and Sound to Turn Your Wedding Into Lasting Art

This 12-month wedding checklist can help you remember all the things you need for a wedding. If you’re planning on having a videographer at your wedding, start your research early to find a business that understands and emanates the vibe of your wedding. Check out Shutter and Sound’s video gallery to get a feel for the kind of art we create.

Our small group of experienced videographers is standing by to answer any questions you might have about pricing or what we can do to help make your wedding uniquely beautiful. Check out the locations we serve, and contact us today with any questions!

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