You’ve finally gotten engaged - congratulations! You’re about to embark on the most exciting part of your life - one filled with anticipation, romance, and a lifetime of happiness. And if you want to make it even more special, why not try DIY wedding planning? Immerse yourself in the experience and plan the wedding of your dreams with the love of your life. To help you prepare, we’ve collected a list of must-haves in your wedding planning list so you get an idea of what to do.
Things to Prepare
Before you go ahead and fill out your checklist, you will need to organise your plans in one place so you can keep track of all the things you need for a wedding.
Get a Binder
First, you’ll need a trusty binder to keep your checklist organised. Apart from a binder, don’t forget to buy tab dividers, sticky notes, highlighters and colourful pens. You should also add a calendar and a printable wedding planning checklist (you’ll find many of them online).
Create Binder Categories
Divide your binder into different sections so you can find things quickly when you need them. Doing so will make it easier for you to remember the things you need to organise for a wedding. You can create the following categories:
Budget - Your budget section should include a full breakdown of your budget. Do this to keep track of your expenses. With this, you can divide your funds better and allocate more or less where it is needed.
Guests & Invites - Make a list of guests you want to invite and include their addresses. Divide the list into your wedding party, family and other guests so you know your priorities. You can also add hotel or venue information to keep everything you need in your invitations in one section. Lastly, add any other information you need for making invitations (suppliers and the like).
Ceremony - Write down your venue, decor or rental information here. Jot down details of your wedding program, such as the order of proceedings, the officiant, etc. Don’t forget to include details of your contract.
Reception - If your reception is in a different location, write down the venue, decor or rental information. Include your preferred music playlists and which DJ or band you will hire. Don’t forget to include their contact information. You should also note down caterer information and your menu choices. Lastly, add seating charts and any contract details.
Wedding Favors - Wedding favours will give your guests something to remind them of your special day. So, choose wedding favours unique to you and make a list of ideas. When you’ve settled on a final choice, add all the details you need for it.
Wedding Looks - List down shops you want to visit. After buying a gown or a suit for the groom:
- Make a note of where you purchased it.
- Include details on your wedding party attire.
- List down hair and makeup artist information, accessories you’ll need, and everything related to your wedding attire and looks for the day.
Photographer - Make a list of photographers you want to hire. And if you want a specific photography style or theme, try looking for inspiration on Pinterest and print off some pictures to show your chosen photographer. Once you’ve finalised the contract with your photographer, keep the details in this section.
Florist - Print off pictures of inspiration and write down the colours you like. List down vendor information, contracts, and the like.
Honeymoon Plans - Write all of your honeymoon plans in this section. Choose a location, plan an itinerary and enjoy your newly wedded bliss.
Miscellaneous - List down other wedding plans that don’t need dedicated categories in this section. For instance, you can include your registry or rehearsal dinner information, etc.
The Ultimate DIY Wedding Checklist
We understand how overwhelming planning a wedding can be. But if you do it right, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable experience that brings you and your partner closer than ever, even before you say your “I do’s”. So, take a deep breath and follow our wedding list of things to do.
Set Your Deadlines
Planning involves a lot of deadlines, and it’s best to set them a little earlier than when you need to complete them so that you can stay on top of things. Most importantly, don’t set all of your deadlines on the same day because you will get overwhelmed towards the end.
Book some vendors immediately because some tend to get fully booked a year in advance. You will also need to order your attires months ahead to account for alterations and production time.
Do you need a more detailed timeline of things? Check out our list below:
Right after Getting Engaged
- Settle your budget and break down how much you can afford to allot to each category mentioned above.
- Look up Pinterest for wedding inspiration.
- Narrow down your potential wedding dates.
- Research wedding venues, pricing information, and available dates. Book a tour to see the place.
- Discuss financial expectations with your family. Are you and your fiancé going to cover everything? Is your family paying for the wedding? Or are you splitting the costs?
- If you want, you can celebrate your engagement with a small party.
A Year before the Wedding
- Put together your guest list and gather their contact information.
- Look for potential photographers and book appointments with them. Once you’ve decided on a photographer, book them immediately so you don’t miss the chance.
- Schedule your engagement shoot about eight to nine months before the wedding.
- Start shopping for wedding dresses, but don’t feel pressured to buy one immediately.
- Once you’ve chosen a venue and a photographer and confirmed their availability, finalise your wedding date.
- Book hotel rooms at a nearby hotel for guests who live far away.
- Think of the people special to you and decide on your wedding party.
10-11 Months Before
- Plan your decorations and contact vendors to start purchasing the supplies you need.
- Choose your florist and decide on your wedding florals.
- Book your caterer and select your menu.
- Set up your registries, and make sure there are enough for your guests.
- Book an officiant.
- Don’t forget about the entertainment. Book a band or DJ, and get referrals from those you know.
8-9 Months Before
- Order your bridal gown and book your hair and makeup artists. Decide whether they’re going on-site or you’ll go to them. Do a test run as well about four to six months before your wedding.
- Discuss hair and makeup preparations with your bridal party. Are you going to have your looks done by the same people or not? Of course, you’ll also need to decide on the type of hair and makeup looks you want.
- Order accessories like jewellery, hair accessories and shoes.
- Book your honeymoon venue if you’re going abroad. But if you’re going local, book about four months before your wedding.
6-7 Months Before
- Finalise your invitations and have them printed.
- Ensure the bridesmaids have ordered their wedding attires. Ordering in advance helps you avoid extra fees and allows enough time for alterations.
4-5 Months Before
- Start renting things you need for your wedding day and reception.
- Ask your DJ or band if you need to prepare additional sound equipment.
- Time to go cake tasting.
- Choose wedding attires for the groom and groomsmen.
- Send out your Save the Date cards.
2-3 Months Before
- Book accommodations for your wedding night.
- Send out your invitations.
- Finalise your menu with your caterer.
- Buy your wedding bands.
- Confirm your florals with your florist.
- Draft your seating chart but wait until all RSVPs have arrived before finalising.
1 Month Before
- Finish any DIY projects you have so that you won’t stress over them in the next few weeks. Double-check and ensure that all your decorations are ready to go at this point.
2 Weeks Before
- Ensure your marriage license is ready.
- Create a schedule for your big day and send them out to all vendors that need to be there at a specific time. Send them out to your wedding party as well.
- Finalise your guest count and inform your caterer.
- Finalise your seating chart.
- Confirm all arrival times with your vendors.
Your Wedding Day
- Ensure your vendors are paid on time by giving a trusted friend or family member all the checks.
- Enjoy your big day and make wonderful, unforgettable memories!
We understand that everybody’s wedding planning timeline may look different. As such, tweak the checklist however you want so it fits your preferences. Then again, always plan in advance and don’t cram a few months before the wedding so you can enjoy the process.
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