Wedding Planning Checklist for the Realists

Let’s be real, there are so many wedding planning check lists out there. Type in ‘wedding checklist’ into Pinterest and you will get thousands of options. Printable versions, over the top pretty ones, ones that are clearly for elaborate Hollywood style weddings. I am here today to give you a basic checklist, one you won’t say ‘oh that doesn’t apply to me’, ‘wow I didn’t think that was expected of me!’.

This is basically a rough checklist I followed for my wedding day last year  – I had every intention of downloading a printable check list off Pinterest however, I ended up just doing it my way!

18-12 months before

  • Announce your engagement to family and friends/have engagement party
  • Sign up for a wedding website to keep your guests informed about details
    • I highly suggest this especially when your guest list includes any interstate or international  – providing handy information regarding accommodation, transport is really important for these people
  • Work on your budget – be flexible and realistic. I say be flexible as being too strict can lead to disagreements, disappointments and stress
  • Purchase a folder/planner/online software to keep all your paper trail, booking confirmation, ideas, dress fittings, appoinments – helps to write things down and have everything in the one place
  • Choose a wedding date – again be flexible – your first choice may be already taken at your dream venue
  • Decide on your bridal party and ask the chosen people – handy hints on this will be in another blog post
  • Choose both ceremony and reception venue – if they are at different sites think about transport and timings
  • Begin a rough guest list and compile addresses
  • Start shopping around for dresses/suit/both
  • Research local bridal expos – plan to attend at least one in the area it is a great chance to check out vendors, styles and just a fun day out

9 months before

  • Finalise your guest list and send out save the dates –  I recommend doing this early particularly if you have interstate/international guests – attending a wedding can be costly for your guests!
  • Order your wedding gown and purchase undergarments – take the under garments along to all fittings – you do not want to get to the day and realise you have an undie line or bra showing
  • Order other bridal accessories – shoes, veil
  • Begin shopping for bridesmaid dresses – be kind, not every style suits every persons shape, colour and style
  • Find a celebrant – choose one that suits you and your partner’s personality and relationship, there are so many out there so don’t be scared to browse
  • Research local vendors -ask your venue for their recommended suppliers, often they have a list of vendors who know the space and the venues regulations in regards to bump in times, set ups etc.

6 months before

  • Select and order stationary (invitations, thank you cards) – if you are going with a particular styling choose stationary to compliment this
  • Select and purchase bonbonnieres – only if doing this, it is not something everyone does anymore – as you are providing all guests with food and beverage, guests appreciate it however do not expect it
  • Decide on ceremony and reception styling – if DIY, start purchasing, making etc. Do not leave until the last minute. Make it a fortnightly activity for you and your partner or you and friends  – craft and wine night!
  • Research cake styles and local cake makers – again, there are so many out there so shop around
  • Book your honeymoon – decide whether you will go straight after the wedding or wait a few weeks or months, or even go on one at all. There is no right or wrong for this
  • Book accommodation for you and your partner for the wedding night. If you have children, organise a babysitter
  • Speak with accommodations in the area about group bookings for your guests. Add all this information (along with area information, directions to ceremony and reception) to your online website your guests have access to. Do not focus too much on arranging accommodation for your guests – they are all adults, they know where you are getting married, you have supplied them with the right information. They can book themselves
  • Arrange transport for your guests if needed. One or two coaches with a few pick up an drop off points. Again, do not let their arrangements stress you out.
  • Choose hair and make up stylists for you and bridal party. They do book out in advance. Also any other appointments – nails, spray tan, teeth whitening.

2 – 4 months before

  • Order suits if needed
  • Meet the venue/caterer to discuss menu (taste the menu if possible) and beverage needs
  • Meet with your celebrant to discuss ceremony details, wording and vows. Check if they apply and manage the marriage license for you
  • Order your wedding cake
  • Select and purchase wedding rings
  • Decide and book any extra services (photobooths, lolly bars, videographer)
  • Purchase or organise any honeymoon needs (passport renewals, luggage, insurance etc)
  • Mail out invitations including any accommodation information, directions and your wedding website if have one
  • Complete name change documents if necessary
  • Have all stationary (menus, ceremony programs, place cards, seating charts etc) printed –  some venues provide menus, check this – it can save you $$$
  • Purchase / organise guest book, pen, toasting glasses, wishing well, cake knife etc

1 month before

  • Create a seating chart for the reception
  • Inform venue on final numbers, dietary requirements, layout plan and timeline
  • Print out time line of events for all vendors and wedding party
  • Meet with your photographer to go over any must have photo lists you and your partner would like
  • Finalise with your florist in terms or bouquets, styling.
  • Finalise all music with you partner and inform the DJ/AV/musician
  • Pick up wedding rings and ensure they fit
  • Schedule final wedding dress fitting for no earlier than 2 weeks from wedding date

1 week before

  • Pay final amounts for venue, vendors – make sure everything is pre paid, there is less stress post wedding that way
  • Take a yoga class, get a massage – de stress, this week should not be stressful!

Wedding Day!

  • Wake up early, do some easy exercise/go for a walk.. its your wedding day!
  • Eat a healthy breakfast for energy – it will be a long, emotional, amazing day
  • Enjoy! It is finally here and everything will be wonderful

Happy Wedding Planning!!

red rose on brown wooden surface
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

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