Wedding Planning Checklist

Congratulations on your recent engagement. This is an exciting time and you need to relax and enjoy the process. When it comes to planning a wedding there are many things to think about. Some are legal requirements and others are just those little things that make the day more special.

The Bare Minimum

1+ month before

This is part of the legal requirements to get married in Queensland.

  • Organise a registered marriage celebrant to carry out your wedding ceremony
  • Complete a Notice of Intended Marriage form
  • Ask two people over the age of 18 to be witnesses on your wedding day

For more information, see the Queensland Government website and talk to your celebrant.

Comprehensive Wedding Timeline

The aim of this wedding timeline is to cover EVERYTHING, but it doesn’t mean you have to do everything on the list. If you decide you don’t need something, cross it off and move onto the next thing.

12+ months before

  • Get organised. Work out what will be the easiest way for you to keep organised. There are apps, books, websites and much more. Some find getting a folder and notebook the easiest way, we found a spreadsheet worked for us. Record important information such as deposits paid, supplier contacts and when payments need to be made.
  • Start planning what you want your wedding theme and style to be – traditional church, casual beach, garden, rustic country – this choice will decide many of your details.
  • Set a budget, and try to stick to it. Work out where you can save and where to splurge. Discuss with your fiancé and family who will contribute.
  • Set a wedding date and time. Finalise the date once you have checked with important guests, and your first choice of ceremony and reception sites, celebrant and photographer. If you have many guests travelling, consider a long weekend, but check surcharges.
  • Start researching. Get supplier recommendations. Look at photos to narrow down your choice of dream dress. Visit wedding expos for lots of ideas. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration.
  • Apply for (or renew) a passport if you intend to travel overseas for your honeymoon.
  • Organise your birth certificates and any other documents needed for Notice of intention to Marry Form.
  • Start a sensible get into shape plan. Don’t procrastinate and try to loose weight quickly at the last minute. Join a gym or organise a trainer, or just start together as a couple.

11 months before

  • Consider hiring a wedding coordinator if you are feeling stressed at this point and are not the most organised person.
  • Create a preliminary guest list to determine an approximate size for your wedding. Consult with your families. You don’t need to invite every friend and relative in the family. Include people that you would be sad if they missed your day, not just people because you went to their wedding.
  • Book critical vendors and pay deposits if you haven’t already
    • The ceremony site
    • The reception venue
    • The celebrant
    • The photographer and videographer
  • Register for gifts at a bridal registry. Do we even do this is Australia?

9-10 months before

  • Choose your wedding party remembering the more people you have, the more difficult it will be to coordinate schedules and cars on the day.
  • Finalise the guest list and get everyone’s mailing address.
  • Book and pay deposits for:
    • The florist
    • The decorator
    • The DJ/band
    • The caterer (if needed) and work on creating the menu

8 months before

  • Order your dress and schedule dress fitting appointments as required.
  • Order bridesmaid dresses.
  • Decide on the flower girl dress and page boy outfit.
  • Book and pay a deposit for the cake decorator. Sample your cake, choose your cake design and keep an eye out for a cake topper.

6-7 months before

  • Schedule an engagement shoot if desired.
  • Send Save the Date cards if you have people travelling from interstate or overseas.
  • Book and pay a deposit for ceremony musicians.
  • Organise for someone to be your Master of Ceremonies (MC).
  • Organise invitations. Work out a design and wording and place an order. Remember each couple only needs one invitation.
  • Buy lingerie and shoes for you and shop for the bridesmaids’ shoes.

4-5 months before

  • Organise the Groom. Help him decide what he and his groomsmen will wear.
  • Buy your wedding rings and get them engraved if needed.
  • Decide where you will stay on your wedding night. Book a hotel room if required. Some venue may include a night in your booking.
  • Finalise your honeymoon and travel arrangements.
  • Book your wedding dance lessons.
  • Launch your wedding website if you are having one.
  • Attend pre-marriage counselling suggested by your church official or celebrant

2-3 months before

  • Establish a beauty routine. If you are changing makeup, self tanners, or facials, don’t leave this to the last minute.
  • Send your invitations.
  • Organise bomboniere. If you are having custom made favours, allow extra time.
  • Arrange transport to the ceremony for you, your wedding party and special guests.
  • Hen’s Party and Buck’s Night. Talk to your maid of honour and the best man about arrangements.
  • Bridal Shower. Talk to your maid of honour about arrangements.
  • Visit your dentist for a check up and clean.
  • Visit you doctor if you plan to travel overseas for your honeymoon. Have any injections you need and make sure you have a doctor’s letter for any prescription medicines you are taking.

5-6 weeks before

  • Start working on vows, especially if you are writing your own.
  • Start working on timetables for the wedding day. Start working on the ceremony program.
  • Start thinking about your seating chart. This will probably take longer than you expect.
  • Buy gifts for the wedding party.
  • Lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant if you haven’t already done so.

3-4 weeks before

  • Discuss songs with your music providers for the ceremony and reception.
  • Talk to your MC about the wedding timetable.
  • Speeches. Let people know if you want them to give a speech and who they’ll be toasting.
  • Have a final dress fitting wearing the lingerie and shoes you will be wearing on the wedding day.
  • Pick up your wedding rings. Check they fit and proofread any engraving.
  • Shop for accessories including your:
    • Veil
    • Jewellery
    • Guest Book
    • Toasting Flutes
    • Cake Servers
    • Candles
    • Your something old, new, borrowed and blue
  • Enjoy your bridal shower.

2 weeks before

  • Chase up guests who haven’t RSVP’d for the wedding.
  • Give a final head count to the reception venue coordinator and/or caterer including any extras like the DJ and photographer.
  • Give your seating chart to reception venue coordinator and/or the caterer.
  • Confirm setup and final payments with all suppliers.
  • Organise rehearsal details and the ceremony order with your celebrant.
  • Finish ceremony programs. Ask someone who hasn’t been working on them to give them a final proofread before printing.
  • Pick up your dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses.
  • Pack for your honeymoon. Confirm reservations and obtain foreign currency if required.
  • Nominate people to do last minute jobs on your wedding day and to take items from the ceremony venue to the reception venue if required.
  • Have hair and make-up trials. Go out afterwards – remember your hairstyle and makeup have to last all day.
  • Book your manicure, pedicure, massage and spray tan.
  • Check deliver/pick up time of suit hire.
  • Enjoy your hens’ night.

1 week before

  • Confirm:
    • that all your suppliers will have access to the site.
    • the day’s plan with the emcee.
    • delivery of flowers to you, the reception and the groom.
    • the list of pictures you want with the photographer and videographer.
    • your wedding dress still fits.
    • your transport times.
    • delivery date if using a gift registry.
  • Meet with your reception venue coordinator or wedding planner. Finalise timetable, menu, drinks, delivery of decorations, flowers, guest numbers, seating plan and pay final money payments.
  • Practise walking in your wedding shoes in thick socks to wear them in.
  • Pick up suits for the groom and groomsmen and try them on to ensure correct sizes provided.
  • Prepare your toasts and thanks to family and friends.
  • Give instructions to ushers for the ceremony.
  • Put together an emergency kit. Include a list of suppliers’ phone numbers.
  • Check the weather forecast. If you are having an outdoor ceremony and it looks like rain, talk to your reception venue coordinator to make sure a contingency plan is in place.

1 day before

  • Drop off bomboniere, guest book and pen at the reception site.
  • Have your nails done.
  • Rehearse the ceremony and stay calm.
  • Organise your wedding attire – dress, veil, shoes, lingerie etc., and stay calm.
  • Organise an esky with plenty of water and nibbles to take with you to the photo shoot and stay calm.
  • Pack a bag for the wedding night and finish packing for the honeymoon and stay calm.
  • Organise a friend or family member to:
    • deliver your luggage to the hotel if required.
    • pick up your wedding dress from the hotel the day after the wedding and have it dry cleaned.
    • return the hired suits after the wedding day. Don’t forget the bond.
  • Ensure your emergency kit is ready and you or your fiancé have some money for any unexpected expenses on the day and stay calm.
  • Have an early night’s sleep.

The Wedding Day

  • Eat breakfast and lunch.
  • Allow plenty of time to get ready. Don’t leave your hair and makeup until last if you have one hairdresser and makeup artist.
  • Relax and enjoy the day. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Post honeymoon

  • Have gifts delivered.
  • Send out thank you cards within two months.
  • Book appointments to see your photographer and videographer.
  • Pick up your wedding dress from dry cleaner.
  • Change your name if required.