You’re about to compete in the Olympic sport known as wedding planning and like any athlete, you will need stamina, focus and the right training tools to get you to the finish line. Every bride will tell you that the key to a stress free wedding is a comprehensive wedding to do list. We’ve compiled everything you will need to handle in the year before your wedding in what is perhaps one of the most comprehensive wedding to lists you will find out there. Made by our team with love, here’s a guide to help you celebrate the joy and love in your own life <3
The Ultimate Wedding To Do List
Everything you need to do is outlined in this twelve month task list. We broke it down to the fine details so you can make sure everything is handled in a timely manner. You can also print this list using the print buttons at the top and bottom of this post, or have it added to your Any.do app by requesting a list share <here> (just remember to add scheduling dates as necessary to fit your own wedding timeline).
10 to 12 Months: Research & Browsing
Weddings are important because they celebrate life and possibility. – Anne Hathaway
What you should be doing: Basking in the glow of love and choices! Soon you’ll have to start making hard decisions and putting down real money, but for this early stage of your engagement you get to have some real fun considering all of your options on your wedding to do list. Keep your mind open and get into the habit of trying, testing, and considering everything while you have the luxury of time.
How to keep focus: Don’t get overwhelmed with all your options (it’s called the paradox of choice if you wanna get all scientific about it.) Instead, decide early on what general vibe and feeling you want for your wedding, and be brave enough to eliminate choices that don’t fit that image. Even a broad idea can help you stay on track with your wedding to do list.
- Decide on a budget and make some key decisions on where you’ll spend and where you’ll save. Here’s a very handy worksheet to help you decide.
- Make a digital planning/ inspiration folder if you haven’t already, and look for ideas on sites like Pinterest, The Knot, and Brides.com. Use the awesome Color Finder feature on The Perfect Palette for wedding color ideas, or get super creative on design site Colour Lovers.
- Make a wedding site yourself (yes, yourself.) There are numerous cheap and easy resources like our favorite, IM Creator, that let’s you simply drag-and-drop what you want into your site. They even have some great wedding templates to start with.
- If you’re sending out save-the-date cards (which you should do early on if you have a destination wedding) you can notify your guests on the site as well.
- Add your wedding registry info when you have it (in the 6-9 month window below)
- Add accommodation and travel info when you have it (in the 6-9 month window below)
- Find your venue and confirm/ book your date. This is the only big decision you have to make on your wedding to do list right now, and you should make sure to work out a payment schedule. Here’s a great list of questions every bride should ask in this step.
- Start looking for vendors and get all the details in writing (!):
- Photographer/ Videographer
- DJ/ music. For a fantastic list of questions to ask your wedding DJ before booking, check out this great post by j’adoreDJs on questions you should be asking
- …and if it proves to be too much, this is the time to consider a wedding planner
- Start looking for a dress. If you can’t decide, see if there’s a wedding dress trunk show near you.
- Guest list! Start making an initial list of invitees.
- Wedding party! Decide who will be an important part of your special day and invite them to join.
- Maid of honor and best man
- Bridesmaids and groomsmen
- Ring bearer, flower girl and ushers
6 to 9 Months: Decisions, Decisions
There’s a big difference between falling in love with someone and falling in love with someone and getting married. Usually, after you get married, you fall in love with the person even more. – Dave Grohl
What you should be doing: This is when you use your wedding to do list for booking vendors, committing to invitations, arranging travel and accommodations, and so on. Things are starting to become ‘final’ and you’ll really feel the big day approaching with excitement. What was an idea in your head is now taking shape, and it’s important to be organized with your wedding to do list.
How to keep focus: If you feel like you’re not getting anywhere with your wedding to do list during this period, try to remember the power 5. Resolve to make just 5 more phone calls, spend 5 more minutes crossing tasks off your wedding to do list or researching just 5 more websites. End a long day with this burst of productivity and you’ll feel much more in control.
- Start booking you vendors, and be sure to get everything spelled out in writing:
- DJ/ music
- Photographer/ Videographer
- Wedding cake designer (of course enjoy your tasting first 😉
- Book hair, makeup and make pre-wedding pampering arrangements
- Book wedding transportation for you and your guests, and be sure to add this info to your wedding site. Reserve blocks of hotel rooms for out of town guests if necessary.
- Purchase your wedding dress
- Finalize guest list and send out save-the-date cards
- Create your gift registry and add all relevant information to your wedding website
- Book and plan all details for your honeymoon
- Purchase wedding bands
- Choose the groom’s attire
- Shop for wedding party attire, and give everyone instructions on how/ where to purchase:
- Bridesmaids and groomsmen
- Flower girl and ring bearer
- Start planning the rehearsal dinner
- Decide who will be hosting it, and make sure the host finalizes venue details
- Create and finalize guest list
- Make sure to go over your bachelorette/ bridal shower details with the host you’ve chosen, and finalize your guest list
- Choose and order your wedding invitations, place cards, menus and announcements as needed. You may also want to order your thank-you cards at this time.
- Start designing/ making your party favors. There’s a world of wedding favors out there and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to give guests something meaningful. Start by seeing what some common favors are and then search places like Pinterest or Etsy for more DIY or handmade ideas
3 to 5 Months: The Nitty Gritty
Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale. – Unknown
What you should be doing: Here’s where your wedding to do list starts to get into the fine details of wedding planning. You should be zeroing in on finalizing most open tasks and tying up a lot of loose ends during this time. Make sure you’re regularly reviewing your tasks and confidently crossing things off your list.
How to keep focus: Sometimes you just have to plow through the work to get it done. One of our favorite productivity tips from expert Gretchen Rubin who suggests a ‘Power Hour’ to finish off a block of non-priority tasks that need to get done, but are continuously pushed aside. This is a good time to put her tip to use as there’ll be a lot of little things adding up over the weeks.
- Finalize or order your wedding favors
- Make sure all documents and passports are in order for your honeymoon, and confirm all final details
- Reserve all necessary party rentals, linens, etc.
- Finalize your guest list and get all current addresses
- Stuff and send out wedding invitations. (Tip: Create a spreadsheet to track all RSVPs, and in the same spreadsheet keep track of wedding gifts as they arrive so you can be sure to send everyone an appropriate thank you letter without forgetting anyone.)
- Obtain a marriage license
- Talk to your DJ/ band about what songs to play (and not play)
- Make a schedule for the big day, and forward it to your wedding party and vendors
- Choose and buy a guest book
- Make sure rehearsal dinner invites go out (they should be sent out by your host)
- Get gifts for your wedding party, and also be sure to remember ushers, flower girls, and readers
- Design and print ceremony programs, if necessary
- Start thinking about your vows
- Find readers for your ceremony. Search for readings and coordinate with your officiant.
6 to 8 Weeks: Confirmations
You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. – Dr. Seuss
What you should be doing: You’ve done the bulk of the hard work and planning. Now it’s time to go back over the major items on your wedding to do list and make sure that everything is confirmed and in order one more time. Better safe than sorry.
How to keep focus: You’ve got two months before the big day, so start turning your focus toward yourself now. Think about your fitness and beauty routine in these critical last few weeks and how you can step it up to look your best on the big day. Fact is, you also deserve some ‘me’ time after taking care of so many items on your wedding to do list. Look at spa treatments, massages, invigorating workout sessions and home-cooked healthy meals as well deserved rewards, and you’ll fly through your other tasks refreshed and alert.
- Confirm all final details, times, schedule and dates with your vendors:
- Florist (make sure they have delivery times set, and that they know who will get bouquets, corsages, etc.)
- DJ/ music
- Photographer (prepare a list of must have photos)
- Confirm all honeymoon details one last time, and make sure everyone has the details they need
- Prepare purchases and packing for the honeymoon. Honeymoons.com has a wonderful list of what you should pack for your romantic getaway, so you may want to start there.
- Follow up with the members of your wedding party to make sure everyone has everything they need
- Pick up the groom’s tuxedo and make sure all alterations are satisfactory
- If you plan on taking dance lessons in preparation for the big day, this is the time to start!
3 to 5 weeks: Vows and Documents
When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. – Nora Ephron
What you should be doing: It’s a smaller wedding to do list, and the most important things to focus on are your vows and important documents.
How to keep focus: Be realistic about what you can complete in a day. In our productivity research, we’ve found that people who focus on 3-5 primary tasks at the top of every morning are usually more successful in getting everything done by the end of the day. You’re closer to the wedding day, but you can still afford to pace yourself.
- Finalize and share the timeline for your reception and who will be giving toasts. Your Maid Of Honor’s speech will be of particular importance, and we recommend visiting Ultimate Bridesmaid‘s site for their tips on the Ultimate Maid Of Honor Speech. You can pass it on to your Maid Of Honor as a step-by-step guide on how to write a great toast. We’re sure she’ll appreciate the help.
- You should already have your marriage license in order, and if you need to handle any name change documents, now is the time
- Pick up wedding bands and check the inscriptions
- Follow up with anyone who has yet to RSVP
- Figure out childcare care accommodations for out of town guests bringing children
- If you’re personalizing your vows, get them written and finalized. No need to tell you that it’s important to make them personal and meaningful (not to add any pressure here 😉 But luckily there are some very good online resources for wedding vow ideas. Check out Inspired Bride‘s wonderful collection of Hilarious Wedding Vows. We promise you’ll be inspired and entertained.
- Prepare any toasts you will be giving
- Make your seating chart and have place cards made
- Confirm all final payments to your vendors
- Don’t forget to gather something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue
1 to 2 weeks: Start Packing
Love is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
What you should be doing: Get your things in order because this train is leaving the station.
How to keep focus: If you’ve handled everything else on time in your wedding to do list, things should be relatively easy breezy now. Save your energy for unexpected hiccups like corralling extended family members and pre-wedding jitters. Nothing a little meditation can’t help.
- Give the final guest count to your caterer and venue organizer
- Pick up your gown!
- Put together and pack a wedding emergency kit. For some great ideas, we recommend checking out Pinch Provisions. They even have a bride kit you might love.
- Pack for the honeymoon
- Check the weather for your wedding day and honeymoon, and make any contingency plans if necessary
- Drop off guest book, party favors, cake knife, toasting flutes, etc at the reception venue
Day Before and Day Of The Wedding
Where there is love there is life. – Mahatma Gandhi
What you should be doing: Remember that all of the preparation up until this point was for one reason – so you can now focus on the joy of getting married.
How to keep focus: Take mental pictures. This wedding to do list tip is our favorite, and it comes straight from The Office. Jim and Pam get married in Season 6 of the show, and in one scene Pam suggests the couple take “mental pictures” of special moments leading up to the wedding because the day will undoubtedly pass by so quickly that you’ll wish you had slowed down to appreciate them. It’s a fantastic idea and you can watch the clip here.
- Make sure everything is packed one last time (don’t forget your wedding license and rings)
- Parse out vendor tips into individual envelopes and give them to someone you trust to hand them out at the reception
- Give out wedding party gifts at your rehearsal dinner
- Get your beauty sleep and allow for plenty of time for pampering, hair and makeup
All of us at Any.do wish you a happy, stress-free wedding. Congratulations on your special day.
– Any.do Team