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The Definitive Wedding Checklist For DIY Brides

day-of-services-wedding ideas- wedding planning services - Wedding planning schedule - Wedding Soiree Blog by K’Mich, Philadelphia’s premier resource for wedding planning and inspiration

The Valuable Timeline Schedule - HOW SOON TO START

The following timeline/checklist is designed with the (ideal) timetable of twelve months. If you’re planning your own wedding on a shorter schedule, just start at the beginning of the list and try to catch up as quickly as possible.

 Timeline Checklist: Things to Start Doing After You Are Engaged 

day-of-services-wedding ideas- wedding planning services - Wedding planning schedule - Wedding Soiree Blog by K’Mich, Philadelphia’s premier resource for wedding planning and inspiration
9 to 12 months before
  • Arrange a gathering for you and your parents.
  • Determine your budget and how expenses will be shared.
  • Discuss the size, style, location, and scope of the wedding you want.
  • Choose a target wedding date and time. (The actual date will depend on venue availability.)
  • Create a binder to store and organize ideas, worksheets, receipts, brochures, or start a Pinterest board, etc.
  • Visit and reserve wedding and reception sites.
  • Meet with your officiant.
  • Start compiling your guest list to estimate headcount. Consider your budget when thinking about “must-invites” versus “nice-to-invites.”
  • Begin shopping for the wedding gown.
6 to 9 months before
  • Choose the members of your wedding party.
  • Enroll in wedding/shower gift registries.
  • Hire a photographer and a videographer.
  • Book an engagement photo session, especially if you plan to include a professional engagement picture with Save-the-Date cards.
  • Hire a wedding planner philadelphia for full coordination or day of service or even A-la-Carte service
  • Hire a florist and a caterer.
  • Make arrangements for music to be played at the ceremony and reception. (Tasks might include booking a band or solo musician, hiring a DJ, choosing significant musical selections, and so on.).
  • Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town
  • guests. (Ask about group rates.)
  • Send out Save-the-Date cards. (Include lodging and maps, as possible.)
  • Shop for wedding rings.
  • Select and order wedding gown, leaving ample time for delivery and alterations.
  • Shop for bridesmaids’ dresses.
  • Schedule wedding cake design appointments and tastings.
  • Start planning your honeymoon.
4 to 6 months before
  • Finalize the guest list.
  • Order invitations (25 extra) and other wedding stationery (i.e., place cards and thank-you notes).
  • Plan wedding-day beauty preparations; ask your stylist how far in advance they book wedding parties, and whether they are willing to work on the wedding site.
  • Finalize all honeymoon plans. If traveling outside the country, arrange for visas, passports, and inoculations.
  • Hire your wedding day transportation (carriage, limousine service, etc.).
  • Plan the rehearsal dinner.
2 to 4 months before
  • Obtain a marriage license. Bring all the necessary documents.
  • Order tuxedos for the groom and groomsmen.
  • Meet with the caterer to go over menus, wine selections, etc.
  • ***Order the wedding cake.
  • Order your wedding rings.
  • Confirm wedding ceremony and reception music.
  • Book a hotel room for the wedding night.
  • If you plan on writing your own vows, start writing them now.
4 to 8 weeks before
  • Mail the wedding invitations 8 weeks before your wedding date.
  • Do a hair and makeup run-through (including wedding veil, if applicable).
  • Confirm all transportation plans.

2 to 4 weeks before
  • Work on seating arrangements for the reception.
  • Finalize arrangements for out of town attendants and guests.
  • Confirm details with the photographer, florist, and other vendors.
  • Have final fitting for your bridal gown and bridesmaids’ dresses.
  • Write your rehearsal dinner toast.
  • Purchase gifts for the wedding attendants.
  • Compile a list of all of the wedding vendors and wedding party, with contact information. Carry this list with you everywhere you go (just in case).
  • Communicate rehearsal dinner details to those who will attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Look into where the bride, groom, and attendants will dress for the ceremony.
1 week before
  • Enclose any fees due on the wedding day in envelopes for easy distribution.
  • Give the caterer a final headcount.
  • Appoint a trustworthy person to bring important items (cake knife, toasting glasses, etc.) to the reception.
  • Appoint someone to act as an “organizer” to handle any last-minute problems.
  • Review final details for those in the wedding party.
  • Get final beauty treatments (manicure, facial, massage, waxing, brow shaping, etc.)

The day before the wedding: 

** Gather together the following:

  • Something old - Symbolizing continuity with family and heritage
  • Something new - Symbolizing optimism and hope for the new life ahead
  • Something borrowed - An item from a happily married friend or family member
  • Something blue - Symbolizing love and fidelity
  • Confirm honeymoon arrangements.
  • Pack for the honeymoon.
  • Enjoy a relaxing day with family and friends.
  • Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner; give gifts to attendants.
  • Give the rings, and officiant’s fee, to the best man.
  • Try to get some rest

Wedding Day

  • Relax and remain calm.
  • Remember to eat something.
  • Allow at least two hours for getting dressed.

If you still have pressing questions for wedding coordinator, schedule a FREE 30-min phone consult with us.
Posted January 1, 2017 | Updated: 8/6/2022

day-of-services-wedding ideas- wedding planning services - Wedding planning schedule - Wedding Soiree Blog by K’Mich, Philadelphia’s premier resource for wedding planning and inspiration


  1. It always amazes me, how much goes into a wedding. Ours was so small and simple. It only took two weeks to plan.

    1. Congrats on your wedding and I am glad it went smoothly for you both. Thanks for visiting and reading this article. Please share if you know of anyone who needs this.

  2. That is a seriously comprehensive check list! A very valuable resource. We didn't have a grand wedding though, just small - very DIY with upcycled outfits.

    1. Thanks for visiting and reading this article. I am glad you had a wonderful wedding. I consider your "upcycled outfits" as personalizing/vintage.

  3. My dear friend is getting married next year and I guess this would a perfect article for her. Time to prepare as early as possible.

    1. Tell her congrats on her engagement and her upcoming nuptial. Yes, this checklist will be very useful for her. Thanks for visiting and sharing your feedback. Please share.

  4. This is a great checklist. It does take me back to all the things I needed to remember for getting married. So many different things to balance and think about.

    1. Thank you! Thanks for visiting and sharing your feedback. Please share.

  5. Bindu Thomas04:28

    This is really great and amazing. For my wedding we only had 2 month before planning. It will be good if we got more days to plan for the important day in our life.

  6. Congrats! I hope it went well and you both had a great day. Thanks for visiting and sharing your feedback. Please share.

  7. A wedding can be very hectic to get all planned for and it is quite common to see people forgetting a couple of things ere and there, or even worse, falling into money crisis. Well, I'd prefer getting a wedding planner.

    1. Weddings are very hectic and can be stressful, especially,if you don't have the right people around you to help you with saving and planning. Thanks for visiting and sharing your feedback. Please share.

  8. 25 years ago my wife created a similar checklist before our wedding. It was the only (and best) way to keep things organized!

    1. Great. This is the best way to go. It helps you get and stay organized and on point with everything you need to do. So, not having one, you puts you in tremendous stress, especially, if you are a DIY planner. Thanks for sharing and visiting. Please share.

  9. What an amazing post! This could definitely help some people out. Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Thank you. Thanks for visiting and sharing your feedback. Please share

  10. This is a great timeline. We've been married for almost 13 years and I remember how hard it was to get through a couple of years of planning.

  11. Yes, indeed it's hard to plan your wedding, especially, if you are planning it on your own. Congrats on your 13 years of marriage. Do you plan on doing a vow renewal? Thanks for visiting and sharing your feedback. Please share


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