Whether you’re a spreadsheet stickler or pen and paper precisionist, I’ve got your fully revisable 12-month wedding planning checklist ready to go! A printable wedding checklist will guide you through the wedding planning process and help you stay on track with everything from the big-ticket items to the intricate details. But first, here are a few wedding planning FAQs:
How long does it take to plan a wedding?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to that. It totally depends on your wedding vision, preferences, priorities, and guest count. Of course, you could go with a nontraditional civil ceremony and celebrate with friends and family your own way or even book an intimate destination elopement. But for those planning a traditional ceremony and reception at local wedding venues, a year is a good rule of thumb for a wedding planning timeline. If you have a unique or exclusive wedding venue in mind or want a specific wedding photographer during peak season, I recommend booking 18 months to 2 years in advance. The rest of the planning can follow the checklist.
What if we’re planning a wedding in less than a year?
Want to tie the knot sooner? While you may have to get creative, you can plan a wedding in less than a year. The key is to be flexible. First, prioritize your bigger items. Keep a flexible date and time so you can get your preferred venue, vendors, and photographer. A weekday or Sunday wedding may open up some options for you.
To use this printable wedding checklist, simply condense the months to fit your timeline while keeping the task order about the same. Or, you could “catch up” by doing several months at one time. Then, follow along with the regular schedule. For example, if you’re on an 8-month wedding planning timeline instead of 12 months, you’d fit months 8-12 all into month eight (which is doable!) Then resume the planning schedule from there.
More Tips on Planning a Wedding in Less than a Year
- Skip the bridal boutiques—most bridal boutiques require extra time to order the dress, wait for shipping, and provide alterations. If possible, try to find a dress already available here locally, so you only need time for alterations if necessary.
- Book a weekday or Sunday wedding—see notes above.
- Consider a micro wedding—it has almost all of the same parts of a large traditional wedding, just condensed: fewer guests, smaller setup, hors d‘oeuvres and cocktails instead of a full-course meal, shorter timeline, etc. Micro weddings are great because you can spend more on what matters most to you, such as your location, décor, entertainment, signature drinks, delicious food, etc. Plus, you get more quality time with your nearest and dearest (instead of trying to make time for hundreds of guests).
- Delegate tasks—if you have a large wedding party or friends and family willing to help, ask them to help you with some of the legwork. Maybe they could research vendor options and provide a list for you to choose from, or the maid or matron of honor could take the reins on wedding party attire.
- Send virtual invitations—instead of ordering invitation suites, collecting addresses, and mailing it all out, put together a wedding website and send out digital invitations. Personalize them with a short video message from the two of you.
*If you’re planning a traditional wedding on a shorter timeline, I highly recommend hiring a wedding planner, designer, or coordinator to make the process easier for you.
Do I need a wedding planning checklist if I have a wedding planner or coordinator?
Your wedding planner will likely already have planning materials for you; however, this checklist can give you an overview of what to expect. This printable wedding checklist is also helpful if you haven’t hired a planner or coordinator yet. Use it as a brainstorming template to make notes and share your ideas so you can find and book the best wedding planner or coordinator for your wedding. Providing your planner with notes is a great way to help them catch onto your vision, and it allows you to sort out your ideas before you begin planning together.
Directions for Downloading the Printable Wedding Checklist
To use your 12-month wedding checklist, follow these steps:
1. Open the shared spreadsheet here (public via Google Sheets)
2. In the top left-hand corner, click (‘File’ > ‘Make a Copy’).
*You will not be able to use or edit the checklist without making a copy first.
3. Rename your wedding planning checklist
4. Start planning your wedding!