If you’re planning your own wedding or trying to figure out how to plan a wedding during Covid, you’re not alone. Whether you’re trying to find the best wedding venue, or if you’re trying to book your wedding vendors, we’re here to help. So, enjoy our super thorough wedding planning checklist.
Planning your own wedding can be super fun, so don’t panic. There is a lot to think about right now and I’m sure it can seem a little overwhelming or daunting but trust us – you can do it. And we want to help! Let’s get right to it.
The wedding planning checklist starts right…NOW.
1. Wedding budget: Arguably one of the more boring (and scary) parts, so it is best to just get it out of the way. Make a list: WANT & NEED. Separate your vendors into those two categories, and then determine how much you’d be willing to spend for the necessities.
2. Wedding party: A few headaches later, it’s time for something a bit more fun – picking your wedding party! Send out those cute gift baskets (or send a quick text to your friends/siblings – super casual) and decide who you want in your wedding party.
3. Making the wedding guest list: From what I’ve seen in movies & tv shows, it seems like this next step is pretty much the worst thing ever but I have faith in you: wedding guest list. I’m not entirely sure why this is seen as such a stressful step, but I suppose the advice would be: do NOT overthink this. At the end of the night, everyone will be a few drinks in, on the dance floor, missing shoes and accessories and bonding like it’s the last day of summer camp. It’ll be fine.
….. Yeah you’ll be fine.
4. Should you hire a wedding planner?: From here on out you can choose to hire a planner – they may have connections with venues, vendors etc. If you hire a planner, cool. But you’re going to miss some top-notch light-hearted advice in the rest of this blog post so.. you weigh the cost.
5. Delegate the tasks: If you chose NOT to hire a planner: keep on trekking, friend! And don’t forget to definitely take a break once in a while. Take turns with your partner planning different parts of the day, maybe make a twitter poll and have the people of the internet make decisions for you. To each his/her own really.
6. Picking a wedding date: Each season has its own set of challenges for planning a wedding. It all comes down to preference, though. Especially now, people will likely feel most comfortable outside; do you live in an area where a winter wedding can be done outside? If you want to know the PERFECT date, click here.
7. Booking a wedding officiant: This way there’s a ceremony and not just a bunch of people staring at you and your partner holding hands. I mean, in theory: adorable, avant garde, modern art. In reality: awkward.
8. Book (most of) your wedding vendors: Photographers & videographers, florists, caterers, bands/djs etc. Do some research before making any decisions (you’ll want them booked at least 8 months in advance)! (book your engagement shoot too if you’re into that!)
9. Pick your wedding flowers and colors: Design your bouquet and pick your wedding colors!
10. Buying your wedding attire: Go shopping for a few low-key things, like your wedding dress or tux. No big deal.
11. Hotel suites for wedding guests: If you have guests coming in from out of town or if you want to ensure there is a kick ass after party at your local holiday inn: reserve a block of hotel suites for your guests!
12. Wedding registry: Register for all of your super cool gifts at your fav retailers. By the way does anyone know if it’s okay to just register for gifts you want on an every day basis. Please let me know because I need a new blender thanks.
13. Wedding invitations: Purchase your invitations – but save them for sending until about 2 months before the big day.
14. Plan your honeymoon: Start brainstorming your honeymoon! And make sure your flights/car rides are way after your hangover has subsided.
15. Bridal party outfits: Help your bridesmaids pick their dresses! Give them your colors and find something that looks great on everyone (or go with the mismatched/complimentary colors route!)
16. Save the dates: Send out your save the date cards with your ultra cute engagement photos all over those bad boys.
17. Pick your wedding florist: If you didn’t commit to a florist earlier – pick one now. You’re a little more confident in what your colors are + florists are able to serve multiple clients in one day, so you can wait a bit longer to book.
18. Wedding transportation: Book any & all transportation you and your guests might need. Limos, busses, bikes, scooters, boats, etc.
19. Should you have a rehearsal dinner?: Book your rehearsal dinner venues and make sure to practice your lines. Break a leg.
20. Wedding cakes: We are heading into my favorite portion of the planning: cake tasting. Just go absolutely crazy with cake tastings. Cake is amazing and you should have some every day because you’re getting married and you deserve it.
21. Wedding shoes: Buy your shoes and make sure they are comfortable enough to spend almost all day in – and if they’re not, make sure they’re cheap enough to not feel bad about having to take them off at 4pm.
22. Wedding hair and makeup: Schedule time to meet with hair & makeup artists! Watch some youtube videos and look at pinterest to have a solid idea of what you want. It would also be helpful to schedule your hair and makeup trial on a date that coincides with your engagement shoot.
23. Make your wedding reception playlist: My second favorite part of planning: making your playlist. Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I think one of my one true sources of happiness is making playlists (for myself & others). I LOVE discovering new music and predicting what I think other people will enjoy listening to. Pick some classics that everyone can sing and dance to, pick your favs (hello, it’s your day) & pick Bohemian Rhapsody. Just trust me.
24. Make your wedding menu: Finalize your dinner menu and make it something GOOD. And definitely give yourself time to eat it!
25. Plan your reception speeches: Figure out who’s giving toasts. Next, place bets on who is going to act out that scene from Bridesmaids when Kristen Wiig & Rose Byrne are giving their respective toasts.
26. Make your wedding day timeline — we’ll help you with that: Make sure you know what’s happening when throughout the day – as in figure out when prep is, when photos should start, if there’s a first look, when the ceremony starts, cocktail hour & reception. This will also help the photographer BIG time since we operate on the same schedule that day. (Also very helpful: make a list of all family members you want in photos and dedicate a time block to that).
27. Wedding rings: Purchase & resize the rings if need be! Those are kind of important!
28. Check in with your wedding vendors: Touch base with all your vendors, send them their respective schedules & meet with your photographer to establish a definite timeline and checklist of photos you want.
29. Invitations: Send out the RSVPS!
30. Bachelor/Bachelorette/Pre-wedding party: Have your bachelor/bachelorette party and definitely don’t say it’s your “last night of freedom”. Tacky.
31. Double check the guest list: Track down any stragglers that didn’t RSVP and ask them why they are the way that they are.
32. Marriage legalities: Oh, get your marriage license.
33. Rehearsal dinner?: Mail out any invites to your rehearsal dinner
34. Get your outfit fitted: Make an alteration appointment in case you did too much cake tasting
35. Pay your vendors: Be sure everyone is paid up to what their respective contact states!
36. Wedding day timeline: Go over your timeline with hair, makeup, photographers etc
37. Wedding day seating chart: Make the seating arrangements – ok maybe THIS is the part everyone dreads. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, refer back to step #3.
38. Should you write your own vows?: Make everyone want to laugh with your comedic wit or cry with your beautiful sentiments. Good luck!
39. Give your friends something to do: Delegate the small/nothing tasks to get any unnecessary stress off of your shoulders and onto the shoulders of whoever is in your way that week.
40. Wedding day timeline: Text the group chat about your timeline so everyone is on the same page
41. Wedding outfits: Don’t forget to pick up your dress or tux!
42. Wedding day finances: Set aside any lingering checks/payments for your vendors
43. Guest list: Send the final guest list to your caterer/venue
44. Get comfy: Break in your shoes especially if they look like they hurt
45. Honeymoon logistics: Pack for your honeymoon
That’s it! You did it! You made it to your wedding day! And only 45 things?? Piece of cake! And you have over a YEAR to do all of that? Guys, do you know how many times in over a year you can do 45 things? You got this.
Good luck & happy planning xx
We're Sava, a small studio of photographers who bonded over our similar educational background, love of art, & general affinity for timeless wedding photos. Based in NYC, will travel, will pick up your coffee order on the way.
When we work together, I'll do everything I can to get to know you and your partner, ensuring your photos feel authentic to your personalities. Our relationship will be collaborative, not one-sided. We'll share ideas, inspiration, and I'll answer all your burning wedding related (or not) questions.