The Only Checklist You Need to Plan Your Wedding

For all newly engaged couples looking to have the wedding of their dreams, planning is going to be the single most important element to hitting all the high marks and ensuring your big day is just as great as you’ve always imagined it.

Once the dust settles and the news it out, it’s time to start thinking about the major pieces to the puzzle: What day will you get married? Where? When should you start dress shopping?

With all of these questions swirling around in your mind, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But you don’t have to!

Follow along with our master checklist below when planning your wedding. Developed from our years of experience working alongside couples, we’ve laid out everything you need to do from start to finish to plan a successful wedding day.

Not all weddings are the same so take from the list what you can and feel free to skip over anything that’s not applicable to your event.

Remember, your wedding is one of the most special days of your life. Everything you’ve ever dreamed it to be is possible with the right planning and a team you trust behind you.

  • Browse and save ideas: Do some research online and use sites like Pinterest for inspiration on the colors, dress, scenery and floral arrangements that are desirable to you.
  • Pick a theme: Choose your wedding colors, theme or other ideas to make your day unique.
  • Choose the bridal party: Select the people you’d like standing by your sides as you exchange vows.
  • Establish a budget: Create an estimated dollar amount you’d like to stick to as you set plans in place for your big day.
  • Create a guest list: Begin listing out all of the people (and their plus ones) you’d like to invite to get a headcount.
  • Decide if you want to use a wedding planner: If you’d prefer to use someone else’s expertise to make your visions come to life, contract with a wedding planner.
  • Locate a venue for the ceremony and reception: Take time to evaluate and meet with various venues for your ceremony and reception and choose one that best meets your needs.
  • Choose a wedding date: Select the day you’d like to get married and ensure it’s available with the venue to book it.
  • Send out “Save the Dates”: Make guests aware that you’ve picked a solid date for your wedding so they can make plans to attend far in advance.
  • Find your dress: Begin visiting dress shops and trying on dresses until you find the one you like most.
  • Decide on the menu: Picking the right food and drinks to make the night memorable is important. Spend time deciding what meals you’d like to delight your guests with.
  • Contract with vendors: Contract with DJs, photographers, officiants, caterers and any other entertainment or services you’ll need for the big day.
  • Set-up your registry: Selecting the items you’d like to receive as gifts help guests know what to buy you if they prefer to provide a physical gift.
  • Purchase favors & other décor: If you’ll be handing out favors or have other special touches of décor at your wedding purchase them in advance to check these off the list early.
  • Shop for all other dresses and outfits for the day: It’s important that bridesmaids, flower girls, and groomsmen have their attire ready to go.
  • Book hotel rooms for guests: If you’ll have guests traveling from far locations, offering accommodations at a local hotel makes sense. Block off rooms early to offer special rates.
  • Buy invitations: Purchase invitations for your wedding.
  • Plan your honeymoon: Choose your honeymoon destination and book it.
  • Book transportation for the day: Come up with a plan for how you and your bridal party will get around for the day. If you’re going to be using limousines or buses you’ll need to book them in advance.
  • Order the cake: If your cake is not included with the meal package, you’ll need to go to a cake tasting and order the one you’ve selected.
  • Set-up hair and make-up trials: It’ important to do a trial run for your hair and makeup to ensure you’re pleased with the outcome before the big day.
  • Plan for rehearsal and dinner: You’ll need to choose a rehearsal dinner location and set a time for the bridal party to practice before the big day. Choose a day close to the event so whatever is instructed will be remembered.
  • Purchase the Rings: The rings are a key part of the ceremony. Choose the ones you like in advance so they are fitted and ready on time for exchanging of vows.
  • Provide vendors with a schedule of the day’s events:
  • Send out the invitations: Once you’re happy with the look of them, it’s time to get the invitations out to allow guest’s time to RSVP back. Remember to include meal selection cards if needed and driving directions to the venue.
  • Get your marriage license: You’ll need an official marriage license to make the big day valid.
  • Create table and seating charts: This is an important aspect of your day. Arranging where people sit can take some time, so be sure to leave ample time to complete the task.
  • Provide a final headcount: Closer to the big day, you’ll need to provide a final headcount to the venue so it’s important to track in a spreadsheet. A good tip is to do it along with your seating charts to make sure everyone is accounted for.
  • Delegate wedding day tasks: You can’t do everything alone on this busy day. Pick people you trust and delegate tasks where you can to provide you with some relief.
  • Check-in with all vendors: Be sure that all vendors are confirmed to arrive on time for the event.
  • Pick up your dress: Pick your dress up fully completed, pressed and fluffed and ready for you to wear.
  • Pack for your honeymoon: If you’ll be heading out right after your wedding, pack all the honeymoon essentials in advance so you’re ready to leave.
  • Relax and enjoy your magical day: The big day is here and it’s time to enjoy it to the fullest, relax and get ready to meet your partner at the end of the aisle!

Ready to start planning your wedding? We’d love to help!

Riverhouse Hospitality is where “elegance meets excellence.” We are committed to helping you have a wedding that exceeds your expectations. Choose from our award-winning wedding and event facilities in Connecticut— The Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station, located in Haddam, CT, and The Society Room of Hartford, located in Hartford, CT or, with Riverhouse Catering, our separate off-site catering company, we can bring the same sophistication to a location of your choice. 

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