Planning your wedding has the potential to be one of the most daunting things you’ll ever do, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. With the right planning, tools, and attitude, this period could actually turn out to be one of the most special times in your life, as it should.
Samairah’s complete wedding planning checklist will help you schedule the most important milestones while making sure you haven’t forgotten any of the smaller details either.
12- 9 MONTHS
- Start a Pinterest board.
Begin leafing through magazines, browsing bridal websites, adding bridal inspiration to your Instagram feed, and pinning your favorite photos.
- Figure out your budget.
Discuss this with your groom-to-be and both your families.
- Start drafting your guest list.
Prepare a few lists: “Must Invite”, “Might Invite”, “Will Only Invite if I Have Room”. Include columns for RSVPs, contact information, dietary requirements, and any other variables. It’s important to get a rough idea of numbers at this stage as it will help you choose the right location and could influence your budget.
- Choose your wedding planner.
Spend time researching this carefully. Different wedding-planning agencies will have different styles, so choose one that suits you best. If you’re throwing a destination wedding, consider an agency with strong contacts in your destination of choice.
- Choose your date and reserve your venue.
Venue Report is a great resource to find some of the dreamiest destinations around the world. If you’re getting married during high season, you might need to be flexible about either your date or your venue, so decide which one is more important to you.
- Start researching suppliers and vendors.
This includes photographers, florists, bakers, caterers, videographers, and photographers.
- Try on some dresses.
Visit as many bridal showrooms as you can and try on as many dresses as possible to get a clear idea of what you like and dislike. Bring your bridesmaids along for hours of fun and laughter.
8 MONTHS BEFORE
- Meet with caterers.
If you’re getting married in a hotel, you’ll need to sit down with the events and F&B teams to go through the different available options. If your venue doesn’t offer catering, reach out to external suppliers.
- Hire the entertainment.
Good acts will get booked up months in advance, so don’t waste any time to avoid being disappointed.
- Book the photographer and videographer.
Before you do so, examine their previous work carefully and make sure their style is in line with what you’re looking for, whether that’s something traditional or more alternative.
- Order or purchase your dress.
You can leave the accessories shopping for later, but your dress will need to be altered, so allow time for three to four fittings.
6 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Book an appointment with your dermatologist.
If you have skin problems that you’d like to tackle ahead of your wedding, consulting a dermatologist early on will give the treatments enough time to work and your body enough time to adjust to any new medication.
- Choose and order your invitations.
The things to consider here are endless, from colors to fabrics and textures. Rely on your wedding planner to help you narrow down the options and recommend text ideas. Consider creating a monogram for your wedding stationery as well.
- Meet with your florist of choice and book a date.
You’ll need to communicate your wedding date to the florist and give them a rough idea of the size of your wedding to make sure they can book you in.
- Meet with the officiant.
Make sure you have all of your paperwork in order. Some religious denominations will also require you to take a short course. Check your country’s laws to make sure you have all the necessary documents.
- Draw up a rough timeline for your wedding day.
Take into consideration things like arrivals, speeches, cake cutting, first dance, and the throwing of the bouquet.
- Start working out.
Get a gym membership or hire a personal trainer if you don’t have one already. This will prove to be a great stress-handling mechanism, get you closer to the physique you want for your wedding day, and help burn off extra calories that might result from stress eating!
5 TO 4 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Order your wedding cake.
But first, try as many different flavors and bakers as you can – joy!
- Buy your wedding shoes and attend your first dress
Preferably after the cake tastings! If you’re working with a personal trainer, make sure they’re aware of the cut and style of your dress. These might influence how and what parts of your body you train. Make sure you bring your shoes to the fittings, so that the dress is tailored to the correct length.
- Book your hair and makeup artists.
Try a few different stylists and styles before you make up your mind.
- Start thinking about the music.
Create and share a Google Docs spreadsheet with your beau so you can both keep track of all the songs you want played at your party. Also include the music you definitely want to leave out.
- Start planning your honeymoon.
Book your flights and hotels and don’t forget to check that your passports are up to date. Your destination of choice might require a travel visa, which could take up to a couple of months.
3 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Attend your second dress fitting.
This would also be the time to start purchasing your bridal accessories and lingerie.
- Finalize with suppliers.
Confirm what food and flowers you’ll want on your wedding day. It’s best to wait this long because you will probably change your mind and tastes multiple times between your engagement and your wedding day.
- Order wedding favors.
A wedding favor is a beautiful way to let your guests take home a little part of your wedding. Whether you opt for welcome baskets in the hotel rooms of out-of-town guests or a beautiful monogrammed souvenir to take home at the end of the night, make sure it’s personal.
- Finalize the wedding schedule.
From ceremony to reception and toasts to entertainment, this will help the wedding coordinator ensure that your big day runs smoothly. Share this schedule with your suppliers.
- Print all of your wedding stationery.
Again, a good wedding planner will take care of this. Make sure you print some extra menus and blank place cards to account for any last-minute additions.
2 MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Send out the invitations.
Are plus ones invited? What about kids? You’ll need to make that clear to guests. Make sure you ask those who confirmed their attendance for their dietary requirements.
- Touch base with the photographer and videographer.
Share a mood board and any examples you can find to make sure you’re on the same page and supply them with a list of moments you want captured. Take them to see your wedding venue(s); this will help them determine whether or not they’ll need additional lighting or equipment on the day.
- Share your dream playlist with the DJ.
Even if they don’t play every song on your list, it will give them a great feel for the kind of music you and your fiancé like – and dislike. Prioritize a wish list of 20 songs that you absolutely want to hear on the night.
1 MONTH BEFORE THE WEDDING
- Count your RSVPs.
Call anyone who has yet to reply. Once you have a final headcount, communicate this number to your F&B suppliers.
- Attend your third dress fitting.
This gives you enough time to come back one more time should the dress need any more alterations. To be on the safe side, you could always schedule another fitting one week before your wedding.
- Confirm timings.
Touch base with your hair and makeup stylists, your photographer and videographer, and all other suppliers to ensure everyone is aware of their own schedule.
- Assign seating.
It’s probably the least fun you’ll have all month, but this task can’t be left up to the planner. Instead of assigning specific seats, consider creating “zones” – one for your family, one for your school friends, one for his colleagues, and so on – within which people can choose their own seats. If you want to go the way of assigned seating, use Post-its that you can move around easily.
- Send directions to your drivers.
The last thing you want is to be shouting directions at your driver on your way to the ceremony.
- Apply for your marriage license.
The process will differ depending on the country in which you’re getting married.
- Give your hair some TLC.
Introduce foods rich in Vitamin B and healthy fats to your diet, such as fish, eggs, and nuts, to start repairing your hair from the inside out, especially if you have a tendency to dye and blow-dry regularly. Add weekly hair masks to your pre-wedding routine, alternating between salon treatments and homemade DIY remedies.
- Cut and color your hair.
This will allow enough time for your hair to grow out slightly or be re-dyed should you be unhappy with the results.
- Get a facial.
Whatever you do, don’t get a facial after the two-week mark as there’s no telling how your skin will react to the treatment. If you want to whiten your teeth, now would be the best time to do it.
3 WEEKS TO THE WEDDING
- Go for a trim.
Do this at the very start of the week to rid your hair of any split ends. Make sure you don’t try a new cut or even a new salon to avoid ending up with a style you’re not happy with so close to your big day.
- Share your wedding schedule with your wedding party.
Clarify exactly where they should be and when.
- Check in one last time with all of your suppliers.
Do so in the presence of your wedding coordinator to make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Prepare envelopes with tips.
Give these to your wedding coordinator to be distributed to the staff and suppliers at the end of the night.
- Bring your dress home.
Make sure your dress and veil are hung high off the ground to avoid any wrinkling. Should that happen anyway, hang your dress on the door of your bathroom and run a very hot shower, allowing steam to fill up the room. Then, run a soft towel down the length of the gown to smooth it out.
- Pack for your honeymoon.
If you’re leaving town the morning after your wedding, pack your suitcase in advance and have it sent to your hotel suite.
- Break in your shoes.
Wear them around the house and use a sharp knife or scissors to scuff the bottom to avoid any accidents on slippery surfaces. You can also look into having a non-slip rubber pad added to the bottom of your shoes. The Cobbler in Dubai’s Level Shoe District offers this service.
- Book a waxing appointment.
Schedule this in a day or two before your wedding as your skin might be slightly irritated and red right after.
- Get your nails done.
- Also book this in for the day before your wedding. Any earlier and they might start chipping; any later and you’ll run the risk of smudging the color as you get ready.
- Head to a spa.
Now that everything’s been taken care of, all that’s left to do is R.E.L.A.X. A full body scrub is also a great way to get your skin smooth and glowing.
THE DAY TO THE WEDDING
- Eat a filling and healthy breakfast.
Ask any bride and chances are she’ll tell you that she forgot to eat one or more meals on her wedding day. Make sure you start your day off with a breakfast that is filling but not bloating by staying away from gluten and dairy.
- Moisturize your skin.
Before you sit down to get your hair and makeup done, apply a rich moisturizer to your skin and give it time to sink in before you put on your dress.
- Have fun!
AFTER YOUR HONEYMOON
- Pick up your dress from the dry cleaner.
Before you leave for your honeymoon, assign the task of taking your wedding dress to the dry cleaner to someone in your wedding party, whether it’s your mother, sister, or bridesmaids. It should be ready just in time for your return. Make sure you wrap the dress in unbleached muslin before laying it to rest in a box for storage. Alternatively, you can choose to redesign your gown by having it shortened or dyed a different color, which means you’ll be able to wear it again and again.
- Send out thank-you notes.
Taking the time to plot all the gifts you’ve received into a detailed Excel sheet will make this task so much easier. Choose thank-you notes that recall your wedding theme, invite, or stationery to transport your guests back to your magical night.
- Contact your photographer and videographer.
Follow up on your wedding albums and video and work with your supplier to choose the photos for your wedding album.
- Fill out the paperwork.
Whether you’ll be taking your new husband’s name or not, there is plenty of paperwork to be filled out to make sure you’re listed as his spouse in your countries of origin and residence. Your passport might need to be updated too.
- Furnish your home.
Now that you live together, it’s time to get to work on your love nest. Start by selling off his old La-Z-Boy and finish by adding all the gifts you received on your wedding. Don’t forget to exchange or return any unwanted gifts as well.
Live happily ever after.