Wedding Planning Checklist

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Here is your wedding planning checklist to get you from proposal to your wedding day and beyond!

Once Engaged:

Celebrate! Take a moment to enjoy the engagement with your partner.

Announce Your Engagement: Share the news with close family and friends before making it public.
Decide on a Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend, and consider opening a separate savings account for wedding expenses.
Draft a Guest List: Create an initial list to have an idea about the size of your wedding.
Pick a Date: Choose a tentative date to plan around.

12 months before: 

Research & Book Venue:

This can dictate your wedding date, especially if a particular venue is popular.
Hire a Wedding Planner (if desired): A planner can help streamline the process and reduce stress. Here’s a couple to that you should consider.

Deviller Designs

Events by Jackie

Events by Pam

Research Vendors: Photographers, caterers, florists, etc. If you are looking for a fall New England wedding date you will want to book your wedding professionals a little farther out.
Choose Your Bridal Party: Decide on your best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.
Think About Dress Styles: Start looking at wedding dresses and considering what styles you like.

Wedding planning checklist

9 Months Before:

Order Wedding Dress:

Custom dresses can take months to make.

Here is a couple of recommended bridal shops: 

Bridal Corner

Pearl Bridal Boutique 

Aliber’s Bridal
Book Entertainment: Live band, DJ, etc.
Hire Photographer/Videographer: Some popular ones are booked far in advance (again, you may want to do this 12-14 months out if you are picking a fall date).

Have your engagement session. Check with your photographer to ensure you will receive your photos in time to send your save-the-date cards out.

Click here for tips for a spectacular engagement session
Start Registry: Decide where to register and what items you’d like to include.
Book Officiant: Ensure they’re available for your date.

Save the date Card

6 Months Before:

Choose Invitations & Save-the-Dates (I would consider sending the Save the dates a closer to 9-10 months): 

Consider designs and when you’ll send them out.
Plan Honeymoon: If you’re leaving right after the wedding, ensure passports and necessary documents are in order.
Order Bridesmaids’ Dresses: These can also take time to arrive and may need alterations.
Arrange Transportation: Consider how you’ll get to/from the venue.
Start Planning Ceremony: Discuss readings, music, and traditions you want to include.

3 Months Before:

Send Out Invitations:

  • Order Cake.
  • Hire a Day-of Coordinator (if your wedding planner or venue isn’t handling this).
  • Finalize Menu with Caterer.
  • Buy Wedding Bands.
Wedding couple portrait outside, fall in New England at the Salem Cross Inn

2 Months Before:

Write Vows (if personalized):

Finalize the Playlist with the band/DJ.
Final Fittings for wedding dress and bridal party attire.
Finalize the Schedule of the ceremony/reception.
Buy Gifts for the bridal party, parents, and each other.

1 Month Before:

RSVP Checks:

Chase down any outstanding RSVPs.
Apply for a Marriage License: Requirements vary by location.
Hair & Makeup Trials.
Final Vendor Checks: Ensure everyone is on the same page.

Schedule pre-wedding meeting with vendors

Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties.

Week of the Wedding:

Last-minute Errands:

Pick up attire, finalize seating chart, create a day-of itinerary, etc.
Rehearsal Dinner.
Pampering: Consider manicures, massages, etc.
Check-in with Vendors.
Pack for Honeymoon.

Day Before:


Hand over any last-minute items to your coordinator or trustworthy person.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep. (need help with this one? Click here for some tips on getting a good nights sleep)

Wedding Day:

Eat a Good Breakfast.

Hair and Makeup.
Stay Calm and Enjoy!

For more information on how to get the most out of your getting-ready photos on your wedding day, click here.

Wrapping it up: 

Make the wedding unique to you:

Remember, while this is a comprehensive list, your wedding is unique to you, and there may be specific traditions or requirements you want to include. Adjust as needed, and most importantly, enjoy this special time in your life!