Things Needed for Planning a Wedding: A Complete Checklist
Everything You Need to Plan a Wedding
Almost everyone has a dream wedding plan in their head: white dress, smart tuxedo, that first dance, leaving for your honeymoon in a beautiful vintage car.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the romance of it all, there are a lot of things big and small that you may not think to consider when preparing for a wedding. With a wedding, the details—whether it’s gifts for your groomsmen or having a repair kit handy—can make or break the day.
Below, you can find a checklist to help you make sure that you’ve thought about and planned for every part of your wedding: from the earrings worn by the flower girls to the ribbons on your car.
Some items also have recommended places to source them. Hopefully this guide and checklist will help you have a happy wedding day!
Wedding Planning Timeline
- Place Cards
- Thank You Notes
- Cake Bags
Wedding Venue and Reception Checklist
When choosing the location for your wedding and reception, you need to take quite a few things into consideration. Here are some things you should ask about when choosing a venue:
♥ Disabled Access. Particularly important if you have elderly relatives or friends with walkers or wheelchairs.
♥ Maximum Capacity. You'll probably book the wedding & reception venue before deciding on final numbers. Check that they can accommodate the number of people you wish to invite. The last thing you want is a venue that’s too small for your guests to fit comfortably.
♥ Safety Measures. Many venues require the wedding party to take out liability insurance in the event of injury or property damage. Make sure you ask about any insurance requirements, or any other safety-related information .
♥ Alcohol and Bar. Most venues allow you to pay a flat rate fee for a bartender and then either have an “open bar” for guests, meaning that you pay for all the alcohol, or have a “cash bar,” meaning that guests buy the alcohol themselves. Make sure to ask the venue manager what options you will have and what kind of alcohol you want to serve. Will it just be wine? Or will you also include hard alcohol as well?
♥ Meal Choices. These days, everyone seems to have one dietary restriction or another. Whether they’re gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, kosher, or allergic, you will want to speak with the caterers to make sure that your guests with special dietary needs are taken care of.
Bride and Bridesmaids: Things to Remember
There's more than meets the eye when dressing up several ladies for the big day. Here are some things you should make sure not to forget.
♥ Hair and Makeup. Make sure you have a hair and makeup professional and that you've had some planning appointments to check what hairstyles will work best for your wedding theme. Since things will inevitably go wrong, you’ll want to make sure that you schedule the hair and makeup person to come early. That way you’re not rushing to finish before the ceremony starts.
♥ Dresses. Some people prefer that their bridesmaids dress identically. Others give bridesmaids more flexibility, allowing them to choose the cut and style or even allowing them to wear any dress they’d like of a certain color.
♥ Underwear. If your bridesmaid or bridal dresses are low cut, tight, or have high splits, will you need any special underwear that won't peek out? Make sure that you let your bridesmaids ahead of time if that will be an issue so they can plan ahead.
♥ Shoes. As with the dresses, there are a number of different approaches to selecting a bridesmaid’s shoes. If you aren't too picky, you can ask your bridesmaids to bring their own shoes, just specify the type and color such as silver stilettos.
♥ Garter. For the bride.
♥ Earrings. Remember to check whether all bridesmaids have their ears pierced before purchasing the required amount.
♥ Necklaces. Some accent jewelry for the bride can often be a lovely addition.
Groom & Groomsmen
When shopping for wedding suits, it's important to send along a woman, as most men think that just any old suit will do. Here are some things to check for:
♥ Hiring or Buying? Sometimes it can cost nearly as much to hire as to buy a suit. However, you may be able to hire a nicer suit for the same money hiring as you can buying.
♥ Cummerbunds. If you're hiring suits you'll need to either have them made to match or hire a set in addition to the suits.
The cake is the centrepiece of the reception. But like everything else it requires some work!
♥ Type. Decide if you want the whole cake to be the same flavor or whether you’d like different flavors on each tier. A three tier cake with chocolate, fruit and carrot cake caters for all guests.
♥ Knives. For cutting the cake. You can use just any knife or you can buy specific wedding knives for the occasion and photos. Just make sure that the knife is easily accessible once it’s time to cut the cake.
When picking flowers there is a lot to take into consideration including the color of the flowers, the size of the bouquet, and the price. Here are some of the more common areas where people areas where people things to remember:
♥ Bouquets. For the bride and bridesmaids.
♥ Corsages and Boutonnieres. For the groom, the groomsmen, and the mother of the bride.
♥ Centerpieces. For reception decoration. People typically use flowers as centerpieces on the table for the reception. If the wedding ceremony is taking place under a canopy or trellis, people often will decorate those as well.
♥ Extra Bouquet. If you plan to throw the bouquet at the end of the reception, you should think about whether you want to toss the one used in your ceremony or have a second one made up especially for the bouquet tossing.
When preparing the church, hall, garden or other location for the wedding you need to make sure everything's organized and suitable.
♥ Chairs. If you plan to wed outdoors or in a hall you may need to hire seats. You may also want to make sure there are cushions, particularly if it will be a long ceremony. If you’re getting married outside, you’ll also likely want to avoid metal chairs, which can get very hot under the sun.
♥ Flowers. Decorations at the front of the venue or at the trellis or canopy where the couple are to be wed.
♥ Chair Decorations. Either on the pews or on the backs of chairs. Some also prefer to string ribbon or tulle along the chairs next to the aisle to mark the aisle off as well.
♥ Cushions. Particularly if the bride and groom will be kneeling at any stage. If it’s a Jewish wedding, you’ll want to make sure you have something glass for the groom to break at the very end.
Once you've chosen and paid for the reception venue you'll need to make sure everything's arranged and ready:
♥ Table Decorations. Whether it’s a floral centerpiece or some artfully arranged stones, you’ll want to have some decorative item on your guests’ tables.
♥ Tablecloth and Chair Covers. Sometimes supplied by venue. If not, you’ll need to coordinate with the vendor who will be supplying these items.
♥ Music. You can go the traditional route and hire a band or DJ or you can use your own music and put together the wedding playlist of your choice. Don't forget to choose a special song for the first wedding dance.
♥ Cake. Some venues will charge an extra fee for storing the cake before the wedding as well as cutting and bagging it after the official "bride and groom cutting".
♥ Favors. Will you provide bomboniere or wedding favors to guests? Favors can often by a small piece of fancy chocolate or a packet of seeds they can plant when they come back home.
♥ Wedding Photo Album. Do you want your wedding album or some sort of picture of the two of you available for guests to sign?
♥ Gifts. Do you want to have a wedding registry? Do you have any preference in gifts you do or do not receive? Would you prefer guests to pay for their meal in lieu of gifts? Where will the gifts be placed?
♥ Table Plans. Do you know where everyone will sit? You could decide to let people sit wherever they would like or you could arrange the tables in a way you think would be best.
♥ Place Cards. So guests can easily find their seats.
♥ Location. You need to decide if you'll have the official wedding portraits taken before or after the ceremony, where you will take the official photos, and whether you’ll also want more casual or candid pictures taken during the reception as well.
♥ Video. Will you have a professional wedding video? If not, you could also recruit a friend to be the videographer for you.
♥ Props. Are you planning to have any special keepsakes, memorabilia, or other items in the photo shoots?
♥ Payment. Make sure you've got money with you if required for payment, or have arranged to pay either before or after.
Cars & Transport
♥ Bridal Car. For transporting the bride and the father of the bride to the wedding ceremony and then the bride and groom to their honeymoon.
♥ Bridesmaids’ Car. For transporting bridesmaids and flower girls.
♥ Groom’s Transport. For taking the groom and groomsmen to the wedding before the start of the ceremony.
♥ Honeymoon Car. Usually the couple or man's car. Remember that it's traditional in many places to decorate the vehicle in various ways including painting "Just Married" on the back windscreen or attaching tin cans to the bumper.
♥ Guests Without Transport. Elderly relatives or those without transport may need transport and/or accommodation arranged. If the reception is far from the ceremony venue, you may also want to consider arranging transportation for all the guests just to cut down on confusion and make sure everyone gets there on time.
♥ Car Ribbon. These can be sourced from sewing shops or bridal shops or even online.
♥ Officiant or Priest. This is one person you better not forget! You should check with them first, some will wish to join you at the reception while others consider it more professional not to.
♥ Wedding Planner. Many people hire a wedding planner to take some of the stress out of dealing with all the details of preparation. Wedding planners have contacts in the business and often know the best and cheapest places to go to make arrangements for your ceremony.
♥ The Emcee. The Master of Ceremonies plays an important role in most weddings. His or her job is to make sure everything runs smoothly on the day (you'll be too busy!) and introduce the couple and wedding party at the reception, as well as introducing guest speakers and telling a few anecdotes.
♥ The Photographer. You'll have choices when you choose what photographer and what price you pay for wedding photos. You can start out with basic photos or buy a wedding package with certain items in it. Depending on how much you wish to pay, you can have the photographer take photos during wedding preparation, at the wedding, reception and when leaving for the honeymoon as well as a wedding video. If you wish to go the cheapest way possible, simply arrange for one set of wedding photos at a park or nice location.
♥ Ushers and Organisers. You'll need people to do any last minute setups (while you're busy getting dressed for the wedding), organise last minute details, make sure things run smoothly and also ushers ready to help people get to their seats, both at wedding and reception.
The Bridal Bag
On the special day chances are you'll need all sorts of little things. Pack a small bag that contains all the little extras just in case. Give the bag to someone who'll be nearby most of the day and carry it discreetly. Here's an idea of what to put in it:
- Mobile Phones for members of the bridal party
- White Chalk is great for covering up stains on white dresses
- Needle and Thread for little mishaps
- Colored and White Ribbon for patching up, covering, and fixing any hair problems
- Tampons or softcups
- Safety Pins
- Double-Sided Tape
- Extra Makeup
- Antihistamines and Tylenol
- Dental Floss/Breath Mints
- Wet Wipes
- Bobby Pins
- Perfume or Deodorant
♥ Transport. Do you have a honeymoon car ready to whisk you from the wedding to your destination?
♥ Clothing. Do you have a suitcase packed for both bride and groom with everything you'll need on the honeymoon?
♥ Tickets and Travel Arrangements. Have you booked your holiday?
Other Things To Remember
♥ Wishing Well. For guests to place money or cards.
♥ Gifts. For bridesmaids, groomsmen and people such as the parents of the bride and groom.
♥ Wedding Rings. Keep them in their original boxes so they're harder to lose or smudge.
♥ Ring Cushion. For the page boy or ring bearer.
♥ Thank You Cards. To send out after you get back from the honeymoon and sort through the gifts.
♥ Cleanup, Gift Pickup & Payment. Will any bar tabs or reception costs need to be paid following the wedding? Who will take the gifts home from the reception? Will anyone need to clean up or pack up once the bride and groom leave the wedding reception to start their honeymoon?
♥ Rentals. Do you need to rent any chairs or other items, especially if you are having an outdoor wedding?
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Questions & Answers
What are Wedding Banns?
Wedding Banns are the public announcement of a Wedding in a Church or local community. In some countries, they're a legal requirement before marriage, so the congregation and locals can pray over the couple, and also announce any legal reason they cannot wed. Wedding Banns do not occur in every country or every church, so it's best to talk to your Priest or the person performing your wedding to find out if they're a requirement for your wedding.Helpful 31