Planning Checklist Guide

All Photography by the talented Life and Style Photography  

Woohoo! You just got engaged and you can actually use that Pinterest board titled "When the Time Comes". You might want to jump right into finding your color scheme and dress, but where should you actually start your planning process? Many new brides come to us feeling very lost as to when certain tasks should be completed. We offer our ultimate checklist to all of our planning clients and guide them along the process making sure all items are taken care of in a timely matter. This relieves a lot of that last minute rushing and provides a smooth and enjoyable planning process! If you are curious...below is a basic checklist of common items and when you should have them completed. As always, every wedding is different, so don't panic if you appear to be behind schedule.

12 to 9 Months

  • Select your wedding date
  • Hire a planner
  • Determine your budget and always add a cushion for those unplanned expenses like wedding party gifts and insurance
  • Get an idea of your guest count and start your guest list
  • Book your ceremony venue
  • Book your reception venue
  • Start shopping for a bridal gown and order at least 9 months before the wedding day to allow for a couple of fittings and alterations.  
  • Choose your bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Book your photographer and videographer
  • Figure out your color scheme

9 to 6 Months

  • Send out Save the Dates 6-8 months before the wedding date. Save the dates should be very basic with the couple's name and date of the wedding. Venue location, time, and other details are not necessary. If you are doing a destination wedding be sure to specify location though.
  • Choose all wedding party attire and accessories, so they can be ordered with time for tailoring if needed.
  • Book your ceremony and reception music (DJ, quartet, band, etc.)
  • Book your hair and makeup stylist
  • Book your florist
  • Book your caterer

6 to 4 Months

  • Reserve rental items like special tables, linens, and other décor rentals
  • Create your registry since people might start throwing you bridal showers around this time
  • Finalize your guest list
  • Order your invitations by 4 months
  • Set location and time for rehearsal and groom's dinner

4 to 2 Months

  • Mail invitations and include accommodations information, an RSVP card or website RSVP information, directions and addresses for your ceremony and reception venues. Be sure to provide an RSVP deadline of 3-4 weeks before the big day since catering will need final head count around 2-3 weeks out. This gives you time to contact those you have not heard from.
  • Order your marriage license
  • Order your cake
  • Order favors or create favors
  • Shop for wedding bands

2 Months to 6 Weeks

  • Record RSVPS
  • Order all other stationary (programs, menus, escrot cards, etc.)
  • Mail rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Schedule beauty appointments like a massage, facial, mani-pedis!
  • Have your hair and makeup trial done
  • Finalize food and beverage with catering. Most companies will require a final order 2-3 weeks before the big day.

6 to 2 Weeks

  • Have your final dress fitting
  • Start writing your vows
  • Finalize seating chart and place cards/escort cards
  • Have your final venue walk through and confirm floor plan
  • Finalize and confirm all details
  • Finish up your DIY projects around the two week mark, so you don't feel rushed

After 2 weeks you should be able to pick up wedding attire, start packing up all décor and nicely labeling it for your planner to set up, get ready for the rehearsal dinner, and enjoy some pampering with your girls! This is by no means a hard and fast checklist, but hopefully it helps keep you to a timeline that will provide a less stressful planning process.

Until next time...happy planning!

XOXO, Tamara

All Photography by the talented Life and Style Photography  

Floral: Ashley Fox Designs

Venue: Calhoun Beach Club and D'Amico Catering 

Dress: Posh Bridal Couture