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Wedspiration > Advice > A Wedding Checklist: Tasks and Timings
A Wedding Checklist: Tasks and Timings
A question we get asked a lot is when to do what (book a celebrant, send out invites, start dress shopping etc). So we created a wedding checklist and timeline to help you keep everything on track.
wedding checklist
Words by Karina Lowndes
10 October 2023

First time you’ve planned a wedding? There’s a good chance that two things have crossed your mind at some point:

  1. What do we need to do?
  2. When do we need to do it?

Very, very valid questions. It can feel confusing to know where to begin, and at what point certain wedding planning tasks should be tackled.

Before we go any further, we’d like to point out that plenty of couples have successfully planned a wedding in only a few short weeks. So if this wedding checklist sends you into a bit of a spin, please take a deep breath and know this is only a guide and that everything will work out (cross our hearts).

Also, some or even many of the items below may not even apply to you. So take it all in with a grain (or shaker) of salt and only focus on what actually matters for your own wedding.

If sh*t feels like it’s really about to hit the fan, feel free to DM us or check out our Q+A Instagram highlights. You can also find plenty of advice and support over on our private Facebook group, Wedchat by Wedshed.

Righto. Here’s our (rough) wedding checklist on what you should be prioritising at each stage of the planning process. We’ve based this on an average timeframe of one year, so adjust the first phase of planning (the ’12 months’ category) to a different time schedule if appropriate – i.e. if you’re planning a wedding with 18 months up your sleeve, don’t wait until the 12 month-out mark to tackle these first big things.

Also, in our professional opinion jumping ahead if time permits is never a bad thing!

wedding planning checklist

12 months

  • Choose or narrow down the date: it’s helpful to come up with some tentative dates you can use when searching venues.
  • Start your guest list: Knowing how many guests you are likely to have will be helpful when choosing a venue, for example you may fall in love with a venue that can only accommodate 80 seated guests.
  • Find a venue: lock it in! Now you have a date and venue you can start searching for your key wedding vendors.
  • Gather some quotes and then work out a (realistic) budget. Things to consider include: what you can commit to spending, how much you can save, any family contributions, how many guests will be coming etc. Then you need to figure out what you are/aren’t willing to compromise on.
  • Start a working spreadsheet to help with venue and vendor comparisons, budget, RSVP’s etc. This spreadsheet has everything you need to save time and stay organised.
  • Find your vendors! Now you have a budget you need to book in the rest of your team; photographer, videographer, celebrant, band, caterer, stationery provider … If you are hiring a wedding planner this can be done before you lock in your venue and they can handle the bookings for you and sourcing the right suppliers. If you are doing this yourself this will take some time to get the right people to suit your style and budget. Once you find them – lock them in! Finer details will come later, for now focus on getting them locked in so you don’t miss out.
  • Set out your priorities.
  • Book your accommodation for the night before the wedding, ensuring it has good light for getting ready pics!
  • Pinterest and Instagram are now your friends – Create your wedding dress designer short list, start researching wedding day styling, colour palettes and weddings that have your vibe. Stalk and save.
  • Join Wedchat by Wedshed – our couple-only Facebook Group to surround yourself with a supportive community that are on the journey with you.

10 months

  • Start shopping for a wedding dress.
  • Send out save-the-dates.
  • Start pulling together your vision for the day from all your research. Furniture hire, florals, stationery – lock these details and items in. With this information create a floor plan (if you have a planner they will do this for you) for your florist and venue and for you to use later when working on your seating plan.
  • Select your bridal party.
  • Accessories! Earrings, headpieces, veils, jewellery and your perfume too!

6 months

  • Buy wedding shoes (you’ll need these before you can go and have your dress hemmed).
  • Create your digital wedding registry – you’ll want to include a link or QR code on your invitations. We recommend Gravy.
  • Order your cake, make sure you know how you will be serving it as this will assist your professional in how big your cake needs to be (Don’t forget you need a cake knife, and something to store any left over cake).
  • Send out invitations (if you have sent a save the date these can be sent as close as 3 months out). Also mention any pre/post-wedding activities.
  • Start creating Spotify playlists.
  • Song selections, especially if there are any you want your band to learn (be sure to pop the final song choices on your run sheet).
  • Start skincare regime.
  • Book any beauty appointments (hair colour, facials etc.).
  • Organise hair and makeup trial dates.
  • Start putting together your ceremony (your celebrant will guide you through this process).
  • Start working on floor plan, who will be sitting where. This is interim as it won’t be finalised until after everyone has RSVP’d but it’s a process that you need to allow plenty of time for.
  • Shop for bridesmaids dresses.
  • How are you and your partner/bridal parties, getting to the venue? How are you getting from the venue to your accomodation? How are your bags getting there? … things to start considering and sorting.

4 months

  • Select food and drink menu (a lot of caterers and venues will not let you do this earlier as they provide seasonal offerings). Book in a menu tasting!
  • Drinks list – if you are supplying your own alcohol you can start buying here. Think about storage and quantities (here are some tips).
  • Once the above is finalised, send your menu and drinks details over to your graphic designer, stationer.
  • Wanting a guest book, order it now. Be sure to grab pens.
  • If you are opting for polaroid cameras, stock up on batteries and film now. You will need a little basket for the packaging/rubbish to keep it tidy on the day.
  • Start grabbing bits and bobs for the bathrooms in your everyday shopping, you wont even notice it this way 😉 .. you’re welcome.
  • Start working on your timings for the day, here is our fab template that will literally make this a cinch. Taking note of your venues bump in and out times and work within these. Start thinking about who will can do what so you can not give it a second thought on the night.


2 months

  • Organise any additional catering (eg. getting ready, pre/post wedding celebrations).
  • Order bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts.
  • Organise an outfit for your Hens/Bucks party.
  • Create your wedding run-sheet.
  • Finalise ceremony details.
  • Any further dress alterations.

1 month

  • Finalise your wedding run-sheet and send to your team to approve or tweak.
  • Ensure all your RSVP’s are in.
  • Finalise your seating plan and get your on the day stationery order finalised and printed.
  • Finalise and re-notify guests of any pre/post wedding activities.
  • Confirm any dietary requirements and pass them on to caterers with a copy of your floor plan, clearly marking where the person is sitting and what their requirement is, letting them know they will receive the final version 1 week out.
  • Write speech.
  • Write vows.
  • Final dress fittings.
  • Start packing for honeymoon.
  • Organise your parents to collect the wishing well, guest book, cameras etc from the venue at the end of the night.

1 week

  • Get rings cleaned / pick up wedding bands.
  • Attend / book any last minute beauty appointments (spray tans, nails, lip wax etc.).
  • Final deposits should all be paid here.
  • If you don’t have a wedding planner give all of the people above the phone number of someone you trust to make decisions for you and to be the main point of contact. You do not wanting to be getting calls while you are getting ready – even the control freaks need to let this go as the stress is not worth it.
  • Check in with your stylist/furniture hire/venue at this point to ensure placement, quantities, timings etc. are all understood so you can be as calm as possible on the day.
  • Confirm your final numbers and dietary requirements with your caterers.
  • Final check in with your florist to ensure button holes and bouquets are delivered to the right places at the right time. Double check the quantities, twice.

24 hours

  • Make sure your outfit is ready for tomorrow. Check that everything is accounted for and ideally, steamed / ironed.
  • Go over this wedding checklist.
  • If you’re gifting anything to your wedding party, write cards/wrap the gift.
  • Give your engagement ring a clean if you haven’t had it done professionally so it’s ultra sparkly when your wedding ring joins it tomorrow (a toothbrush and detergent is all you need).
  • Read over your vows – ensure they’re printed if your celebrant isn’t doing this for you.
  • (Try) to have an early night.
  • Pack your emergency bridal kit.

On the day

  • Have fun / get married! It’s really important there is nothing left for you or your family to do on the day other than to enjoy yourselves. Have a team or a designated person to ensure everything runs according to plan.
  • Find a moment during your wedding to have ten minutes alone with your partner – no photographer, no friends, no family – just the two of you. It will be one of your best memories.

1 month post-wedding

  • Send out thank-you cards.
  • Sell / recycle / store wedding props (Wedchat couples love this!).
  • Have your wedding dress professionally cleaned and stored (or sell).
  • Change your name (if applicable).
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