WEDDING PLANNING CHECKLIST
Whether you’re getting married, or you are a wedding planner or friend assisting the couple, you can use this checklist as your guide to planning a wedding. It’s suitable for all Australian weddings — even those scheduled to happen in a matter of weeks (with some adjustments, of course)!
What’s important is, with this checklist, you get to cover all the major details. So when your wedding day comes, you can focus on enjoying one of the most memorable days of your life.
TWELVE MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
Planning a wedding can be a daunting, stressful affair, so ironing out the details early on is crucial. About a year or more prior to the wedding, make sure you cover the following tasks:
- Set a wedding budget
- Identify who pays for what (or you could also decide to pool your resources together)
- Allocate specific amounts to certain expected expenses
- Put together a draft of your wedding guest list
- Research possible wedding ceremony and reception venues and start making phone calls or sending enquiries
- Decide if you’ll be using the services of a wedding planner
- Create a list of must-haves, negotiables and optional items
ELEVEN MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
After going over important preliminary concerns, you can start taking care of the following items for your wedding night:
- Finalise the wedding date and book in your ceremony and reception venue
- Review your guest headcount and make a final list
- Decide on the people who will make up your bridal party
- Send save the date cards
- Book vendors and rentals (celebrant, photographer etc.)
When finalising your wedding guests, consider how much you can afford and how many can fit in comfortably in your venue. Aside from your and your partner’s invitees, you may also need to accommodate your parents’ and soon-to-be parents-in-law’s guests. In any case, putting together your final guest list will involve some negotiation and compromise. Also Covid regulations may have restrictions of numbers at your event, be sure to check if they have any in place before booking.
While autumn and spring are considered the best seasons to get married, October, November, and March are Australia’s most popular wedding months. Of course, if you want to be a June bride, it’s your call. You can also choose a date that’s significant to your relationship — like the day you first met or the date of your first romantic date or engagement — what’s important is you have ample time to prepare.
If you want to get married in a popular wedding venue, you need to ensure it’s available on your chosen date. Places like Quat Quatta, St Andrews Conservatory, Gunners’ Barracks, Curzon Hall, Walkabout Creek, Mulberry on Swan, Mount Lofty House or Barilla Bay Oysters are usually booked months ahead. So the earlier you book your wedding venue, the better.
NINE TO TEN MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
At this stage, you should focus on decisions concerning your wedding style including the theme and colour scheme.
Do you want a nature-inspired beach or garden wedding? Or would you prefer a formal wedding with all the bells and whistles? How about the dominant colour for your wedding?
Popular wedding palettes include:
- Ivory or champagne
- Gold and white
- White with lots of greenery
- Light pink or old rose
- Light green and dark blue
However, the theme of your wedding and the season it’ll take place in would usually determine what colours will look best. Of course, you and your partner are free to make a personal choice by selecting a colour that’s significant to both of you.
The theme and colour of your wedding would help you decide on the predominant style of your wedding clothes, flowers, décor and wedding invitations.
Once you’ve finalised this aspect of the wedding, you can:
- Shop for your wedding attire
- Select your wedding invitation design, material, size, quantity, etc
- Book hotel room blocks, if required, and arrange for transportation
- Plan for wedding entertainment
- Have your pre-nuptial or engagement photoshoot
You can avoid costly rush fees by setting a date for choosing a wedding dress and the groom’s attire, measurement-taking and fitting early on. If you’re planning to wear an heirloom wedding gown, you’ll need to set a date for alterations, too.
FIVE TO EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
Now, it’s time to move on to the following items:
- Shop for your groomsmen attire and bridesmaids dresses and schedule fittings
- Finalise all wedding vendors (music, lighting, band, etc.)
- Choose and meet with your wedding celebrant
- Meet potential wedding florists
- Plan your honeymoon and make the required bookings
- If needed, arrange wedding transportation (for the guests and the wedding party)
- Attend premarital counselling
Your vendor hires could include a wedding photographer, videographer, hair stylist, makeup artist, band, DJ, florist and so on. With the pros around to take care of their crucial tasks, you can focus on yourself and the ceremony ahead. Do your research before you start hiring anyone. Make sure you ask questions — the more details you iron out early on, the better.
THREE TO FOUR MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
During this time, your primary concern would be choosing a caterer.
Most wedding venues offer in-house catering services. However, you’re also free to choose a caterer you know or who is recommended by a friend. If you’re holding your wedding on your family farm or beach house, you could also include some home-cooked dishes as well as your nana’s famous lamingtons.
Now, you can check these items off your list:
- Beverages, i.e. cocktails and spirits
- Wedding cake
Aside from catering-related matters, you can also do the following:
- Finalise and purchase wedding bands
- Send out your wedding invitations
- Select your hair and makeup style
TWO TO THREE MONTHS BEFORE THE WEDDING
While these can be done closer to your wedding date, it’s always good to be organised! Either way, make sure to include them on your checklist to plan a wedding:
- Ensure you have filled in and given your celebrant a Notice of Intended Marriage form
- Make your song selection – view our blog on The Best Wedding Songs Guaranteed to Keep Your Guests on the Dance Floor
- Arrange for your final dress fitting
- Review and take care of miscellaneous items like your honeymoon attire, wedding party gifts, thank you cards, etc.
ONE MONTH BEFORE THE WEDDING
Just a month to go! Time to finish off these tasks:
- Make full vendor payments
- Finalise guest seating chart
- Break-in your wedding shoes
- Make all your final payments
- Have your engagement ring professionally cleaned
ONE WEEK BEFORE THE WEDDING
You’ll be getting hitched in a few days! Here are a few things you need to do for a stress-free wedding day:
- Get all grooming tasks done, including hair colouring, eyebrow shaping, mani-pedi, etc.
- Book a massage
- Have your final dress fitting
- Pack your honeymoon bags
- Get the final headcount for catering
- Have a wedding rehearsal dinner
- Practise reading your vows out loud
ON YOUR WEDDING DAY
Finally, it’s your big day. Minimise your stress by doing the following:
- Eat a light, healthy breakfast
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- Try to stay off your feet as much as possible
Now that you’ve covered all the major tasks on your wedding checklist, you can focus on looking radiant on your wedding day. Plus, you will have your bridal party there to help out, so all you have to worry about is looking amazing.
There are other details to consider, like the ceremony or programme and more.
With this checklist, you have a guide to planning your wedding, so you’re unlikely to miss the most important items.
So, good luck and best wishes – the planning process is complete! Everyone from The Wedding Society hopes you have a fabulous wedding day!
For some wedding inspiration take a look at some of our amazing real weddings here.