The Complete 12 Month Wedding-Planning Checklist

Weddings are surely a stressful time for the bride, groom as well as their family. Every person dreams of having a perfect fairytale wedding. To throw the perfect wedding, there is so much planning and thinking involved, right down to the little things. And yet, at times, certain things get left out. This may end up causing last-minute panic. Hence, having a wedding checklist planner can surely come in handy. Read to know more. 

Did You Know: The wedding industry generates in the United States over 60 billion dollars a year in wedding and ceremony related expenses. 

Wedding planning can be daunting. When it comes to weddings, one must start preparing and arranging stuff a year in advance. Yes, that's right, planning a perfect wedding can take up to one year at the least. Or more! This is because there are so many minute details to manage. You must research venues, themes, manage a budget, and work around it as well as plan and schedule everything. 

Image Source: Pixabay

We surely make a lot of mental or rough lists, only to forget them minutes later. It surely gets a lot difficult to balance our work life and family as well as plan out a wedding. And, amid all this storm, we have very little time left for ourselves at the end of the day. Many brides and grooms usually end up having anxiety attacks during the whole planning and preparation process. 

Did You Know: Every year an average of 2.4 million weddings are performed in the U.S. (approx. 150,000 per year in Canada). 

Hosting a perfect wedding can be expensive and hiring a wedding planner may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you want to have a smooth wedding planning process, you need to have a to-do checklist with you. Having a proper checklist can help you easily manage all the different factors involved in your wedding. 

A Handy Step-by-Step Timeline For Planning Your Wedding 

A step-by-step wedding planning timeline of all the main things you need to do can help you pull off a fabulous wedding day. And that’s exactly what I have for you in this post. Just like every person, every wedding is different too. Hence, 12 Month Wedding Planning Checklist has general guidelines that will be helpful to every couple. You can easily customize this list to fit your wedding needs.

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At the end of this post, you will also find a printable version of this list for you to easily print and use.

12 to 10 Months Before The Wedding 

1) Announce Your Engagement 

Once you are engaged, the first thing you need to do is officially announce your engagement to your families, relatives, and friends. If you wish you can throw an engagement party for your family and friends.

2) Set a Budget 

Sit down with your partner and both your families and plan out who pays for what. It is very important that you discuss the wedding budget well in advance. Keep a track of how much you want to spend on the different factors. Try your best not to cross your wedding budget. 

Did You Know: The average amount spent on a traditional American wedding is $22,000. 

4) Choose your Venue and Date 

Select a tentative date as well as look for possible wedding venues. By the end of the 10th month, you must finalize your wedding dates and book the venue.


5) Maintain A Binder 

Start a wedding folder or binder. Your binder can help you collect all your plans and ideas together in one place. Moreover, you may also keep a record of all the invoices and bills. 

6) Browse and Take Inspiration 

Begin leafing through bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design, and food magazines for inspiration. Pinterest is an amazing place to browse for wedding inspirations. Make sure you create your very own board on Pinterest. 

7) Create a tentative guest list 

Make a temporary list of the people you would like to invite to your wedding. This will help you to understand who should and shouldn’t be a part of your big day. Additionally, it will also help you get a rough estimate of how many people will be there. While doing so, keep your budget in mind.

8) Choose a theme. 

Your theme depends on the season, venue, possible weather conditions around the time of your wedding, your personalities, and your journey. I always advise choosing a theme well in advance, so that you can plan all the other factors around this theme.

9) Choose your entourage. 

Give your friends or family the honor to be your best man, maid of honor, and bridesmaids. They are going to be there with you and assist you through the rest of the wedding planning.

10) Share Your Wedding Updates 

If you wish, you can create your own wedding website or a blog to keep your family and friends updated and to share special moments.

Image by Igor Link from Pixabay 

11) Check Different Wedding Services 

Check out different caterers, photographers, and musicians for your wedding. Get quotations and compare them. Attend gigs to decide on a musician. You can hire a professional wedding planner or a wedding coordinator if you wish.

13) Pre-Wedding Counselling 

If you wish you can attend premarital courses or counseling. We recommend this. A wedding is just for a day; however, marriage lasts a lifetime. Attending pre-marital counseling or a course will help you understand each other in a much better way. Moreover, you will also learn to manage relationship conflicts in a better way.

14) Get Quotations 

Start looking for wedding tailors if you want custom made wedding clothes. Get a quotation from different tailors and compare them along with readymade wedding clothes found online. This will help you in getting a budget idea. You may also visit different boutiques to get an idea of what you like.

15) Check Honeymoon Locations 

Start checking out honeymoon locations and compare prices. Look for hotels to stay. Booking in advance can get you a discount too. 

Did You Know: Among couples who choose a traditional wedding, 99 percent take a honeymoon. Couples spend an average of $4,000 on their honeymoon. 

17) Wedding Insurance 

Review your wedding insurance or apply for one if you haven’t already. Weddings are an expensive affair and insurance can be a lifesaver during any unfortunate incident.

Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay 


1) Finalize Your Guest List 

Prepare a final guest list with the help of your tentative guest list. Talk to your parents and your partner while preparing a final guest list. Remember, its okay to not invite the people you don’t like or you aren’t close to.

2) Get Fit

Every person is perfect the way they are. However, many brides prefer to get in shape before their wedding. If you wish to, you may follow some simple exercises at home, go for a jog, join a gym, or follow a diet plan. This is totally optional and depends on each person’s personal choice.

3) Book All Your Wedding Services 

If you haven’t booked your wedding services yet, do it. Its high time. Book your wedding venue, your caterer, photographer, videographer, entertainment, florist, etc. 

Did You Know: 72% of all brides say they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment. 

If you wait any longer, you will be in serious trouble. Browse wedding cake designs and wedding flowers on the internet. Hire a choir and a compere. By the end of 6 months, you should have decided on what you want. Finalize your wedding transportation.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay 

4) Try Out Gowns, Hair, and Make-Up

This is also a good time to get your wedding gown ready. You may make appointments and try out dresses at your favorite boutique. Similarly, you may also take another route with your wedding gown by hiring a tailor to make a custom-made wedding gown. Start trying out wedding veils, shoes, hairstyles. Additionally, along with your gown, look for your bridesmaids and flower girl's dress too. 

Did You Know: Tuxedos are typically purchased 5-6 months after the wedding gown. Bridesmaids’ gowns are general purchased 3-4 months in advance of the event. 

5) Start Planning Your Honeymoon. 

In the coming months, the wedding preparations is surely going to take a lot of your time. Therefore, this is the best time to sit together with your spouse and plan your honeymoon. 

Photo by Trinity Kubassek from Pexels

6) Send Save-the-Date cards. 

Get your save-the-date cards ready and send them to all those who you wish to invite to the wedding. Try to reduce your expenses by sending out virtual save-the-date cards. You may design your own using Canva or any other photo editing app. This is a particularly good idea if you're getting married during a holiday season or having a destination wedding. 

7) Pre-Wedding Rituals 

In many traditional weddings, there are various pre-wedding rituals that take place. At most weddings, there is also a rehearsal dinner that takes place. This too needs planning. Hence, this is the perfect time to plan out your pre-wedding rituals and hire necessary services for the same. 

8) Gift Registry 

Register for gifts online and share the same on your wedding website with your guests.


1) Shop for wedding rings. 

Wedding bands signify your union as a couple. The smoothness and sturdy design make the wedding rings ideal for daily wear. Compare the wedding ring prices at different jewelers’ shops. Rings for men are usually broader than those which are designed for women. 

Image by mcmike from Pixabay 

2) Browse Through Wedding Invitations 

Check out your invitations. Get quotations and compare prices of different types of invitation cards. Make sure you place an order for your invitation cards by the end of this period.

3) Meet Your Caterer 

Take an appointment and meet up with your caterer to go through your wedding menu. Sample out various dishes and finalize your menu. Order liquor/beverages if it is not handled by the caterer. 

4) Follow Up 

Follow up with your dress tailor, entertainment, decorator, and other wedding services. This is also a perfect time to look for wedding favors. Also, follow up about the venue’s rental equipment such as chairs, tables, etc if you have not done it already. 

Did You Know: 65% of all couples that chose a band to entertain at their wedding, said, if they had it to do over again, they would have chosen a disc jockey. 

5) Pre-Wedding Photoshoot 

You can have a pre-wedding photoshoot. It is not necessary that you need to hire a professional photographer to do this. You can take the help of any of your friend and use any digital cam or smartphone to have your pre-wedding photoshoot.

Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

6) Bachelor or Bachelorette party 

Now, I am aware this is not in your hands. However, if you have a hint that your friends or loved ones are going to throw you a bachelorette/bachelor party, get the dates confirmed from them.


1) Assign Duties 

Notify any family members or friends whom you would like to read something at the ceremony, or perform something during the ceremony or reception. Also, follow up with the people who will be raising the wedding toast. 

Photo by Min An from Pexels

2) Small Purchases 

This is the perfect time to make any small purchases that were pending. This includes your personal accessories like jewelry, cufflinks, tie, etc. 

3) Prepare for Your First Dance 

First dances are my favorite part of a wedding reception. Every couple wants their first dance to be perfect. If you too want it to be perfect, start practicing well in advance. You may join a dance class, hire an instructor, or simply take help from the internet.

4) Have a check on your honeymoon planning. 

Have a glance through your honeymoon planning and details. Call and confirm your airline tickets, hotel reservations, etc. Go through the honeymoon itinerary.

5) Send out your invitations 

Start putting your invitations into envelopes. Address them to each of your guests. Mail invitations to out of town guests. Keep updating your blog and website.


1) Gown Fitting 

Have your first bridal gown fitting. Remember to bring stockings, shoes, the appropriate bra, hair accessories, jewelry, etc. Also, don’t forget to include the four somethings in your wedding preparations.

Image Source: Pixabay

2) Finalize the ceremony and reception details 

Finalize ceremony readings, hymns, and review the readers. Finalize the performance for the reception. Finalize your music, first dance songs, etc. Meet your officiant to finalize the ceremony including formations. Get your thank you notes ready. Also, apply for a marriage license from the court.

3) Wedding announcements 

In Catholic weddings, the wedding banns are announced in the respective churches of the bride and groom. In many other communities, the wedding announcement is sent across in community newsletters.

Did You Know:  Only 33% of weddings take place in a religious institution, and that number continues to decline.


1) Finalize your jewelry which may include your four somethings. 

2) Make your advance payments to all those providing services.

3) Get your vows ready.

4) Get the bouquet ready. 

5) Talk to your wedding reception host and finalize things. 



1) Have your final gown fitting. Have a dress fitting for your bridesmaids.

2) Confirm all your beauty appointments. Get your hair styled.

3) Pick up all the dresses and other wedding clothes and make sure all of your accessories are together.

4) Finalize your vows.

5) Confirm the final headcount.

6) Pack for your wedding night and honeymoon.

7) Make sure the wedding toast and thank you speech is ready.


1) Prepare a list of payment envelopes.

2) Hand out the necessary things to the people you have assigned them too. (Like wedding rings to your bridesmaid or parents)

3) Give your family members some responsibilities like for e.g. make someone in-charge of distributing wedding favors.

4) Get manicure, pedicure, beauty treatments.

5) Whatever last minute things are to be done do it now itself. 

6) Rehearse your vows.



It's a big day. You may be a little nervous but don't worry. The most special day of your life has just begun. Relax. Have a relaxing bath. Be sure to wear a button-down shirt for your hair and makeup appointments. Also, don't stress about anything. Just relax and enjoy each second of this day. Don't be late. 


1) Get your wedding dress dry cleaned and preserved.

2) Preserve your bouquet.

3) Meet your photographer and videographer to finalize the albums and video.

4) Make any leftover payments. Return any rentals.

5) Collect your marriage certificate. 

6) Go to your honeymoon and enjoy a happily married life. 



Wedding planning doesn’t need to be a stressful process if you are well organized. The year leading up to the wedding can be fun and exciting. Use our planner to have a stress-free and fun wedding planning process. And most importantly, remember to spend as much quality time with your better half during this whole process. 

Did you find this wedding planning checklist useful? Have I missed out anything? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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  1. Seems like a perfect checklist. Now that I recall, I never really had a checklist for my wedding though.

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  2. Very nice wedding planning checklist. Very helpful.

  3. Very useful post. This checklist is very detailed and informative.


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