With a wedding checklist, it is easy to stay on target with all of the planning that needs to be done to get married. With this wedding checklist, begin at least six months in advance of the proposed day and work up till the very last day of the event, which is usually two weeks before the reception. This checklist will only be compressed (and stretched) to fit however much time you have to plan your wedding, however for much shorter periods, check out free guides on how to design a wedding in just a few months and How to do the same thing in just a year, and even less time than that!
One of the first things you need to do when setting up your wedding checklist is to create an actual to-do list. That means dividing up your planning into specific tasks. Some of these will obviously be things you have to do a month or two before the actual wedding date. Such as deciding on the venue and contacting the appropriate people. Other tasks could be arranging for the photographer, florist, caterer, etc. Once these are taken care of, you then divide up the other items into categories such as deciding on the food, guest invitations, floral arrangements etc.
Most wedding planners start out with a generic to-do list – simply a long list of things that need to be taken care of for the big day. This can go on to include things like ordering flowers, booking a DJ, purchasing wedding invitations and even booking a photographer. It is vitally important that you make sure you keep this generic wedding planning list as up-to-date as possible, because it is likely that once the wedding planning is underway, this information will no longer be current. You need to make sure you are always well-informed so you don't end up with a lot of “fly-by-night” details on the big day.
The next part of any wedding planning is to start thinking about the engagement ring. Many couples tend to wait until at least the second week of the wedding planning to begin thinking about an engagement ring. For others, this may not even be an option. If you choose not to purchase an engagement ring during this period, then it is a good idea to start putting together your own. One thing to remember about an engagement ring is that it needs to be something special, and also fairly inexpensive. Something in common metal or gold should do the job, though if you are looking for something more unique, you may want to consider something like platinum.
The next item on any wedding planner's to-do list will be the bridal bouquet. A bridal bouquet is generally comprised of three things: the flowers, the ribbons, and the tuxedo. This can get a bit confusing, especially if you have never planned an elaborate wedding before. It is generally best to stick with a classic style, although some of the newer floral designs might be nice to add to the mix. It is always a good idea to make sure the bridesmaids know exactly what the bridal bouquet is ahead of time so they can bring a few choices to the table.
Next, there will probably be a section of the wedding checklist for the reception venue. This will most likely include details about the reception, such as seating arrangements. Reception venue expenses will depend on who is renting the space, and whether the venue is a restaurant or the bride's home. Another detail that can become confusing are the wedding suppliers. Sometimes it is easier to just pay the wedding suppliers directly, while other times it makes more sense to hire a wedding planner to deal with all of the details.
Finally, you will want to have a section for your wedding insurance. It is important for you to get married in as calm a financial state as possible and having wedding insurance to cover unexpected costs can help you do just that. Wedding insurance is generally charged to couples for twelve months from the day of the wedding, although it can be extended if both you and your partner sign up for a wedding plan. If you are planning to get married in the winter months, be sure to ask your wedding insurance company if they can extend your policy to give you additional time.
Your wedding checklist will also need to include any other details that aren't addressed on the previous bullet points. For example, if you are paying for a limo to transport your guest's ring bearer from the ceremony to the reception, be sure to include the cost of the limo in your budget. A wedding ring bearer must be paid for at least three months in advance, and can sometimes be required to stay with the bride until after the wedding. If you plan to rent a limo, be sure to include the rental amount in your budget. Finally, don't forget to account for the wedding favors you'll be giving out to your guests – this can add quite a bit onto your budget.