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The Wedding Planning Checklist

Bridal Checklist


A wedding planning checklist like you've never seen! Logistics are one thing, but the emotional landmines couples fall into can derail the simplistic, linear wedding planning checklist agenda.

No matter whether parents are paying or not, our Principles for Parents will help.

  • how to clarify wedding plans and decisions between parent/child
  • reduce wedding planning conflict
  • prevent wedding planning conflict
  • avoid "assumptions" that cause problems down the road


Start with these two articles then move into the checklist:




Stage: Engagement


In The Hour of Bliss we discuss how you haven't yet had to deal with the messy new world where you are no longer a private couple but you've just made 'in-laws".



  • Wedding Budget
  • Wedding Vendor Quotes : How to get them, what are the averages by category?
  • Setting the wedding location and reception
  • Find an officiant
  • Select wedding party
  • Start shopping for dresses - most of us do! Keep in mind where you're location will be, the time of day, how hot/cold you normally get, how much footwear is important as you'll be standing all day - a long dress means you can wear ballerina slippers, shorter dresses mean nice, expensive, usually uncomfortable shoes

    Stage: 9-11 months before the wedding



    • Send Save the Dates, or just let people know when you see them, email them, or if you send a holiday card mention the date (and a website if you have one)
    • Find and book a caterer (if your reception spot doesn't have one)
    • Book entertainment (unless you're not having any, or just using an IPOD to save money!)
    • Find and book a florist (unless you're going to Sams Club or the farmers market a day or so before your wedding. Keep in mind DIY flowers take a lot of time and may cause a lot of stress. It would be best to have a friend dedicated to flower assembly if you go this route.) I also found a very cool DIY flower website, fresh farm flowers for a lower cost! Follow our link to support our website if you chose to buy them: FiftyFlowers - Wedding Flowers, Roses and Arrangements
    • Book the photographer and/or videographer


    Stage: 6-8 months before the wedding


    • Buy a wedding gown (most of us have probably done this earlier!)
    • Find and book a cake baker (or go to Sams Club if you're on a tight budget)
    • Find and book transportation (if you need this and it's in your budget)
    • Find and confirm ceremony music
    • Find and order bridesmaid dresses (especially important if you have procrastinating bridesmaids)
    • Start the wedding registry if you haven't already
    • Confirm the rehearsal dinner (almost like the wedding itself. Who is paying? Who is invited? Who is hosting?)


    Stage: 4-5 months before the wedding



    Stage: 3 months before the wedding


    • Finalize Guest List
      • Let everyone know "this is it", no more additions
      • Get updated addresses, confirm spellings
      • You may want to create a spreadsheet to track wedding gifts
    • Find all the other wedding helpers you may need
      • Ushers
      • Host/ess
      • Ceremony helpers
      • Perhaps a day-of wedding coordinator is a nice splurge at this point
    • Mail invitations
    • Find and book your hair and make up (if not doing yourself)
    • Work with the host of the rehearsal dinner to coordinate


    Stage: 1-2 months ahead


    • Work on your wedding vows (if not using traditional ones)
    • Find wedding readings if not using traditional ones
    • Figure out any gifts you're giving to bridal party, parents, attendants, others
    • If you want to do welcome baskets for out of towners start firming up details
    • Enjoy any bridal showers, get thank you notes done quickly!
    • Confirm marriage license details

    Stage: 1-2 weeks before wedding


    • Take the list of non-RSVP'ers, divide them by who they "belong to" and get calling or emailing!
      • Parents contact their guests
      • You each deal with your own friends
    • Walk through the flow of the entire event, preferably with someone who has been to a lot of weddings. The "flow" of the wedding can make or break the entire event.
    • Confirm seating chart if having one
    • Confirm all vendors


    Stage: 3-7 days before the wedding


    • Make sure the men all have their formal wear (or details on when/where/how to pick it up)
    • Confirm the rehearsal dinner details
    • Pack for honeymoon and your day-of gear for the wedding
    • Have all tips/payments in special envelopes for a trusted friend (often the best man) to deliver to the vendors on the wedding day


    Get married!


    Our goal is that you've balanced the American "My day, my way" philosophy with some pro-family and marriage friendly ways of working with your friends and family. Remember, everything that happens in the build up to the wedding day will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. The goal isn't to "survive" wedding planning to live happily ever after. The wedding planning "is" part of your happily ever after.