The Ultimate Free Wedding Planning Checklist

Last Updated on December 9, 2022 by Project Party

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to planning a wedding. From booking the venue to hiring the catering company, there’s a lot to consider—and it can be tough to keep track of it all. That’s why we’ve put together this handy wedding planning checklist.

This guide includes everything you need to do to plan the perfect wedding, from 12 months out all the way to the big day itself. And at the end, we’ve even included a printable section so you can keep track of everything as you go. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

12 Months Before the Big Day

Step 1: Set a Budget

Before you can do anything else, it’s important to set a realistic budget. Look at your savings and decide how much you’re comfortable spending on the wedding.

Step 2: Start a Wedding File

Set up a physical or online folder to store all of your planning information and documents. This will make it easier to keep track of contracts, budgets and timelines.

Step 3: Choose Your Wedding Party

Your wedding party should consist of family and friends that are important to both you and your partner. Make sure it’s a mix of male and female, and keep in mind that there is no specific number of bridesmaids or groomsmen you have to have.

Step 4: Start Researching Vendors

Now is the time to start researching vendors. From florists and caterers to DJs and photographers, you’ll need to coordinate lots of different services to pull off the perfect event.

Step 5: Choose Your Wedding Date

When selecting your wedding date, consider the time of year and how long you have to plan. Also, keep in mind the availability of your preferred venues and vendors.

Step 6: Hire a Planner (Optional)

If you don’t feel comfortable planning the wedding on your own, hire a professional planner to help. They can recommend vendors and coordinate all the details.

9 Months Before the Big Day

Step 7: Reserve Your Venue

Book the venue for your ceremony and reception as soon as possible, since popular venues get booked up quickly.

Step 8: Send Save the Dates

Once it’s reserved, send out your save-the-dates so guests can plan accordingly.

Wedding planning checklist invites

Step 9: Finalize Your Guest List

Make sure to include your wedding party in the total count. Consider renting extra chairs if you don’t know the exact number yet.

Step 10: Book Your Vendors

Start booking the vendors you’ve researched. Make sure to get a contract and read it carefully before signing. This will include your officiant, photographer, entertainment, florist, caterer, and any specialty vendors.

6 Months Before the Big Day

Step 11: Choose Your Wedding Attire

Shop for your wedding dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses. If you’re having a tuxedo or suits for the groomsmen, choose those as well.

Step 12: Plan Your Honeymoon

Start researching and booking your honeymoon destinations. Make sure to take into account the seasons and any holidays that could make it more expensive.

Step 13: Shop for Wedding Rings

Shop around and find wedding bands or rings that best suit your partner’s style.

Step 14: Start Working on DIY Projects

If you’re making any of your own decorations or favours, this is the time to start.

3 Months Before the Big Day

Step 15: Hire Caterer and Finalize Your Menu

Let your caterer know your finalized menu. Make sure to consider any special dietary needs of your guests.

Step 16: Order Cakes and/or Desserts

Taste test a few cakes and decide on the perfect one for your special day.

Step 17: Start Writing Your Vows

Take time to write your own vows. This is a great way to personalize the ceremony and make it unique for you and your partner.

Step 18: Take Care of the Paperwork

Make sure to get all the necessary paperwork and permits done. These include a marriage license, liability waivers, permits for fireworks, etc.

2 Months Before the Big Day

Step 19: Plan Your Seating Chart

Plan your seating chart and make sure you have enough chairs for everyone.

Wedding planning checklist seating

Step 20: Purchase Wedding Favors

Purchase or make the wedding favours you plan to give your guests.

Step 21: Have Your Rehearsal Dinner

Host a rehearsal dinner for the wedding party and close family members.

Step 22: Set Up a Wedding Website

If you haven’t already, set up a wedding website with all the information about your big day.

1 Month Before the Big Day

Step 23: Finalise Details with Vendors

Give all the vendors a final call to confirm the details and make sure everything is running smoothly.

Step 24: Schedule Hair and Makeup Trials

Try on shoes and accessories with your dress to make sure everything looks perfect.

Step 25: Register for Gifts

If you haven’t already, create a list of all the items you’d like to receive as wedding gifts. Or, set up a registry with a store of your choice.

Step 26: Mail Invitations

Mail out the invitations to all your guests. Include a map and directions to the ceremony and reception.

Step 27: Prepare a Day-Of Emergency Kit

Put together an emergency kit with any items you may need on the day of. This could include snacks, hair pins, a sewing kit, etc.

4 Weeks Before the Big Day

Step 28: Confirm Transportation

Call the transportation company, double-check arrival times and confirm all details.

Step 29: Give Final Payments to Vendors

Confirm all final payments to your vendors. This will typically include a gratuity and any additional fees.

Step 30: Finalise Your Playlist

Create your playlist for the ceremony and reception. Make sure to include all your favourite songs.

Step 31: Send Out Reminders

Send out reminders to all of your guests about the date, time and location.

2 Weeks Before the Big Day

Step 32: Have Your Final Dress Fitting

Have your final dress fitting and make sure it fits perfectly.

Wedding planning checklist shoes

Step 33: Pack for the Honeymoon

Start packing for your honeymoon and make sure you have all the necessary travel documents.

Step 34: Rehearse with Your Wedding Party

Rehearse with your wedding party to ensure that everyone knows their roles.

Wedding planning checklist flowers

Step 35: Have a Manicure and Pedicure

Treat yourself to a spa day and get a manicure and pedicure.

1 Week Before the Big Day

Step 36: Reconfirm Details with Vendors

Call all your vendors one last time to make sure that everything is on track.

Step 37: Pick Up Your Dress

Pick up your dress and make sure to double-check that it fits perfectly.

Step 38: Finalize Your Seating Chart

Make any last-minute changes to your seating chart.

Step 39: Delegate Tasks for day-of coordinators, helpers, etc.

Delegate tasks to any day-of coordinators or helpers you have. Make sure they know what needs to be done and when.

1 Day Before the Big Day

Step 40: Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Make sure to get plenty of rest the night before your wedding.

Step 41: Enjoy Your Big Day!

Enjoy every minute of your big day and make sure to take some time to soak it all in. You’ve earned it! Congratulations!

Wedding planning checklist confetti

The end. Best of luck on your big day! Planning a wedding can be a daunting task—but it doesn’t have to be. With this comprehensive checklist, you can rest assured that you’re forgetting anything. From 12 months out to the big day itself, we’ve got you covered. So print out this guide and get started on making your dream wedding a reality!