12 Month Wedding Planning Checklist

Twelve Months
  • Formally announce your engagement and introduce both families. Consider making the announcement in local newspapers.
  • Choose the wedding theme, style and color scheme for your big day. Check MODwedding Pinterest Boards for inspiration.
  • Look through wedding dress gallery for attire ideas.
  • Have engagement ring insured.
Eleven Months
  • Set the wedding budget and decide who will pay for what.
  • Determine number of wedding guests. Consider your budget when compiling the list.
  • Agree on a general time frame for your wedding date. You’ll want to ensure you pick a date on which all or most of your VIPs are available.
  • Decide whether you want to hire a wedding planner or a day-of coordinator; if you do, begin the interviews.
Ten Months
  • Set the wedding date.
  • Hire the full service wedding planner, if using one.
  • Choose and book your ceremony venue; schedule rehearsal time.
  • Choose and book your reception venue; negotiate contract and leave a deposit.
  • Choose and ask your bridal party: maid of honor and best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring bearer, flower girl and ushers. Discuss attendants’ duties with your maid of honor and bridesmaids.
  • Create your wedding website to post wedding news, event information and pictures, etc.
  • Research wedding vendors (photographers, officiant, florist, and caterer, etc.). Set up interview appointments and check portfolios and reviews. Click here to see which vendors you should book and when.
  • Start shopping for your wedding dress. Make appointments and visit local bridal stores.
Nine Months
  • Order your wedding gown. Most of wedding dresses are custom-made and typically take 6 to 9 months to arrive.
  • Book photographer.
  • Get your engagement pictures taken soon after you hire your photographer. Your engagement photos could be used for “Save the Date” cards.
  • Book officiant.
  • Meet with potential caterers; arrange for food tastings; select and book a caterer.
  • Book band or DJ for reception.
  • Conduct site inspections of ceremony and reception venues. Prepare walk-through checklist.
Eight Months
  • Finalize your guest list.
  • Reserve blocks of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. Negotiate group discounts with airline. Add accommodations and travel info to your wedding website.
  • Choose and order save-the-date cards. Include your wedding website address.
Seven Months
  • Send save-the-date cards.
  • Order thank-you cards for early gifts. If sent before the wedding, you still need to use stationery with your maiden-name monogram.
  • Set up your registries of shower and wedding gifts. Add registry page to your wedding website.
Six Months
  • Book your day-of wedding coordinator if needed.
  • Book florist.
  • Hire videographer.
  • Interview wedding cake makers. Schedule tastings.
  • Book your ceremony musician.
  • Arrange music or book musician for cocktail hour.
  • Book lighting company.
  • Book accommodation for your wedding night.
  • Rehearsal dinner host should select and book the venue/restaurant.
  • Book day-after brunch location/venue.
  • Select bridesmaid dresses and flower-girl dress, and have your attendants place their orders.
  • Plan and book your honeymoon, including travel, accommodations, spa, restaurant, and activities.
  • Get wedding insurance; it’s best to sign up soon after you start putting down vendor deposits. A basic insurance policy that covers loss of photos, videos, attire, presents, rings, and deposits usually costs anywhere between $150 and $550.
Five Months
  • Finalize the invitation wording. Order wedding invitation, rsvp and enclosure cards.
  • Book calligrapher.
  • Order wedding cake and groom’s cake.
  • Book hairstylist and makeup artist.
  • Book rental company for tent, dance floor, reception furniture and chairs etc.
  • Choose groom’s attire; decide on suit or tuxedo style; will you purchase or rent?
Four Months
  • Purchase accessories for your wedding gown, such as veil, headpiece, shoes, undergarments, and jewelry.
  • Book transportation to ceremony and reception for bridal party.
  • Order shuttles or other transportation for wedding guests if needed.
  • Provide guest lists to your maid of honor and best man for your bridal shower, bachelorette party, bachelor party, etc.
Three Months
  • Finalize the menu and service details with your caterer.
  • Schedule food tasting with caterer or hotel. It usually takes place six to eight weeks before wedding.
  • Confirm number of bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, etc. with your florist.
  • See sample centerpiece design from florist, see sketches or decor samples for ceremony area.
  • Meet with officiant to plan ceremony. Finalize any special preferences, readings, or other ceremony details with your officiant.
  • Place orders for tabletop rentals such as chargers, glassware, dishes, silverware, table linens and napkins.
  • Book valet parking service if needed.
  • Schedule dance lessons.
  • Deliver invitation envelopes and one invitation sample to calligrapher for envelope addressing.
  • Buy stamps for invitations. Weigh one completely stuffed invitation at post office to determine correct postage.
  • Order wedding favors; It takes at least eight weeks to deliver personalized favors.
  • Check your gift registry to make sure enough gifts remain at different price levels. If items on your list have been discontinued, you may want to update the registry. Check every few days up until the wedding.
  • Confirm party plans with maid of honor and best man for bachelor, bachelorette parties, and bridal shower.
  • Purchase wedding rings. Have them sized before engraving. Check the inscriptions before you leave the store.
  • Choose groomsmen’s and ring bearer’s attire. Send them the information to purchase or rent.
  • Choose accessories for bridesmaids (shoes, jewelry, etc.). Purchase or pass along the purchasing information.
  • Buy accessories for groom, such as cuff links, shirt, tie, and shoes.
  • Shop for outfits for bride and groom to wear to shower, rehearsal dinner, and day after brunch.
  • Shop for gifts for the wedding party. Don’t forget ushers, flower girls, ring bearers, and shower hostesses! For personalized gifts, allow eight weeks for special orders of engraving.
  • Research marriage license requirements in where your marriage will take place; schedule a blood test appointment if needed; Don’t forget to check when the license expires and if there is a waiting period.
  • Apply for passport (or renewal), and visa for international honeymoon. Be aware that there is a six months passport validity rule for most of countries.
Two Months
  • Mail out wedding invitations.
  • If you have a DJ or band, Start choosing songs and compiling a list of ‘must-play’ and ‘do-not play’ songs. Be sure you also send them selections for your introductions, first dance, cake cutting, father/daughter dance, and last dance etc.
  • Confirm rehearsal time and rehearsal dinner time.
  • Alert your wedding party to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal-dinner host should send the dinner invitations.
  • Attend food tasting and wine tasting. Make sure to try the wine selection with the meal.
  • Order the day of wedding stationery if needed: ceremony program, seating cards, place cards, table numbers, menu card, cocktail napkins etc.
  • Order thank-you notes for after the wedding (especially if using married name).
  • Order wedding announcements if needed.
  • Start wearing your wedding shoes around the house to break them in. Bring wedding shoes to your first gown fitting so your dress will be tailored to the right length, and wear them to dance lessons, you will want to practice moving around in them before you are in front of all of your guests.
  • Order welcome gifts for out-of-towners.
  • Send thank-you cards for shower gifts within 1~2 weeks after the bridal shower.
  • Create your ‘must-take’ photo list for photographer.
  • Make list of moments and guests you want to capture on video for videographer;
  • Purchase wedding day accessories: guest book and pen set, ring pillow, flower girl baskets, unity candle, cake cutting knife set and toasting flutes etc.
  • Make appointment for your dress fitting. You’ll schedule at least 2 fittings before the dress is perfect.
One Month
  • Plan and finalize the wedding day schedule. Send the information to your wedding party and vendors (photographer, videographer, musicians, deejay, caterer, florist, cake maker, venue manager, and other vendors who will need it).
  • Call wedding guests who have not yet RSVP’d for the wedding and rehearsal dinner to get a final head count.
  • Create your seating chart. Give the seating chart to your caterer, reception venue manager, and wedding planner/coordinator.
  • Give final head count to the caterer or hotel, check your contract for actual deadline. Confirm set-up instructions, food and bar menu details with caterer.
  • Order alcohol (wine, champagne, liquor) for cocktail hour and reception if they are not included in the catering contract. Discuss with your caterer to determine how it will be transported to the wedding.
  • Confirm with your reception venue coordinator about wedding day schedule to make sure your vendors will have access to the site when they need it.
  • Give final head count, confirm delivery time, and location with your wedding cake vendor.
  • Confirm delivery locations, times, and final arrangements with your florist, discuss what flowers are actually available. Make a list of who will get bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres, and appoint someone to oversee this on the wedding day.
  • Confirm the rehearsal details and wedding day schedule with your ceremony officiant. If you’re having a receiving line at the ceremony, determine the order everyone will stand in.
  • Confirm wedding day assignments with members of your wedding party and make sure they’re aware of their duties.
  • Call transportation vendor to confirm reservations, pickup times and addresses. Prepare a call sheet with all pickup and drop-off times, addresses, names, and contact phone numbers for the wedding day. Send detailed directions to the driver.
  • Confirm location, date, and time with your photographer. Go over wedding day schedule, must-take photo list and seating chart to go with the must-take list.
  • Confirm location, date, and time with your videographer. Go over wedding day schedule, list of moments and guests you want to capture on video. Review seating chart to go with the must-take list.
  • Finalize all final payment amounts with your vendors. Mail your payment checks or make arrangements for the wedding day.
  • Confirm all honeymoon travel plans. Don’t forget to make reservations for restaurants, spa, and activities etc. Give someone a copy of your itinerary and contact information in case of an emergency. Shop and pack for the honeymoon.
  • Prepare your speeches and vows. Send a copy of your vows to your officiant.
  • Deliver escort cards, place cards, and table numbers to calligrapher if needed.
  • Obtain marriage license; follow your state’s guidelines and make sure it’s valid through the wedding day.
  • Do hair and make-up trial runs, complete with your veil or headpiece.
  • The rehearsal-dinner host should send rehearsal dinner invitations.
  • Book manicure and pedicure appointments for the day before the wedding.
  • Enjoy the your bachelor/bachelorette party.
  • Arrange for people to hand out escort cards and accept gifts at reception.
  • Have final dress fitting. Pick up wedding dress. Bring a friend or family to learn how the bustle will be tied.
  • Pick up tuxedo/suit. and try it on at the shop. See if there are any additional alterations to be made.
  • Check in with any one scheduled to make a toast at rehearsal dinner or reception.
  • Prepare tip envelopes for vendors by putting cash into marked envelopes. The envelopes can be distributed to the appropriate vendors during or at the conclusion of services on the wedding day.
  • Have final meeting with your band or DJ to discuss schedule of events, special dances, and playlist. Review Do-No-Play list and musicians’ attire. Find out what time they need to set up the sound system, microphones, and instruments, coordinate with reception venue manager.
Two Days
  • Deliver wedding welcome gifts to out-of-towners on the day they arrive.
  • Give ceremony programs, and anything else you’re handing out at ceremony to person who will distribute them.
  • Drop off wedding favors, guestbook, cake knife, toasting glasses, escort card and place cards at reception venue or to person who will put them in place.
  • Pack for wedding day, pull together wedding gown, veil, headpiece, shoes, undergarments, jewelry, and a last-minute emergency kit, prepare a pair of comfy shoes for late-night dancing.
  • Make sure that bridesmaids and groomsmen have their outfits, shoes and accessories completely put together.
  • Reconfirm wedding night hotel reservation.
One Day
  • Get manicure and pedicure.
  • Practice speeches and vows.
  • Reconfirm pickup times and addresses with limo company; reconfirm any transportation you’ve arranged for wedding guests.
  • Give tip envelopes to person assigned to distribute them.
  • Give gifts to members of bridal party.
  • Go over any specific tasks with bridal party such as manning guest book and managing the gifts.
  • Rehearse the ceremony with your officiant and wedding party.
  • Enjoy rehearsal dinner.
Wedding Day
  • Attend hairstyle and makeup appointments. We suggest having hair done first followed by makeup.
  • Arrange enough time for photography.
  • Relax and enjoy the day!
After Wedding Day
  • Enjoy the day-after brunch.
  • Send thank-you notes to parents and bridal party.
  • Send thank-you notes to wedding guests. Traditional etiquette gives you an 8~10 week grace period.
  • Return rental tuxedos.
  • Check and make sure all your vendors have been paid in full.
  • Have family or maid of honor mail wedding announcements
  • Arrange for the wedding gown and veil to be cleaned and preserved.

Featured Photographer (top image): Rebekah J. Murray Photography