The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist To Prepare For Your Dream Wedding
On behalf of the entire team at D’Vine Grace Vineyard we want to wish you a hearty congratulations on your engagement! If you’re reading this you are likely looking for wedding planning resources, and as such we’ve prepared the Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist we hope helps you through planning your forever adventure!
You’ll notice this checklist is geared towards planning your wedding at least 12 months out, however, we understand that engagement periods can vary for different couples. For couples with less planning time, we recommend you condense this schedule. For example, if you are getting married in six months, you’ll want to try to complete all checklist items designated for month 12 – 6 within your first month of engagement. With that said, let’s jump into all of the planning details leading up to your wedding day!
12 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Marketing Research & Number Crunching to Determine Your Wedding Budget
Let the fun begin! What takes priority on your list of musts for your wedding day? Begin researching your musts to get a rough idea of what your wedding budget will be. While numbers may change how you plan your dream wedding to make it a reality, it’s a great idea to make a detailed wedding planning spreadsheet early on so that you can easily keep track of your wedding spending, as well as make adjustments throughout planning your forever adventure.
Make Your Wedding Day VIP List
Once you’ve determined your wedding budget, now it’s time to jot down a list of everyone you want to attend your wedding day festivities. As a general rule of thumb you can divide 70 percent of your guest list between you and your significant other, while your family may split the other 30 percent if you would like for them to have input as to who’s attending your wedding. If family members are contributing financially to your wedding, best practice would be to allot 1/3 of your guest list to each contributing family member.
Find Your Wedding Venue
This is one of the most exciting decisions you can make when planning your wedding day, as this decision typically impacts everything you are planning from your wedding theme, to how many people can attend so that you can finalize your wedding guest list. At D’Vine Grace Vineyard we’ve prepared the Ultimate Wedding Venue Checklist to guide you as you tour wedding venues. You can download it here.
Wedding Theme, Formality, & Color Palette
What is your style as a couple? What wedding inspiration speaks to your heart and what wedding day details are most important to you? Our Pinterest and Instagram are jam-packed with inspiration from real D’Vine Grace Vineyard couples who have started their forever adventure at D’Vine Grace!
Hire a Wedding Planner or Day of Coordinator
If your wedding budget allows, we highly recommend hiring a wedding planner. Wedding planners offer all kinds of packages that range from 12+months out, to 6 months, 3 months, and even 1 month out. Your wedding planner can not only give you peace of mind leading up to your wedding day, but the day of your wedding as well. At D’Vine Grace Vineyard we offer month of wedding planning for couples. To find out more information about our month of wedding planning package contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
11 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Wedding Design & Decor
Begin building your mood board! Following local wedding vendors on social media for inspiration is a great way to get your feet wet to get an idea of planning your overall wedding design and decor to bring your wedding theme to life.
Hire Vendors Who Book Up Quickly, Including Your Wedding Videographer, Wedding Photographer, Band and/or DJ
These are the wedding vendors that make your wedding day memorable! Hiring experienced wedding vendors you can trust can take a lot of time and research. Thankfully, the team at D’Vine Grace Vineyard has put together a wonderful list of wedding vendors they have personally worked with over the years and recommend. Our preferred vendor list is not a requirement by any means, but it’s a great place to start your vendor search! To receive a copy of our preferred vendor list, contact us at email@example.com
10 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Say “Yes” to Your Wedding Dress
This is the moment most brides have been dreaming of – finding the perfect wedding dress! You may already have a Pinterest board filled with wedding dress styles you love. Ultimately, you won’t know for sure what style of dress works best until you start trying them on. So get your closest gal pals, mother, or grandmother and head to the local bridal boutiques. We recommend grabbing breakfast or lunch and making a day of it (or possibly more than one day).
Book Hotel-Room Blocks for Guests
Your wedding guests will so appreciate the thoughtful gesture of blocking out rooms as well as securing a discounted rate to make their stay to attend your wedding day as convenient as possible. At D’Vine Grace Vineyard our dedicated Venue Coordinator can make great recommendations on nearby hotel accommodations in McKinney, Texas as well as send you a list of attractions and restaurants.
Schedule Your Engagement Photo Session
If you have already booked your wedding photographer it’s likely that an engagement session is included in your package. When you book your wedding at D’Vine Grace Vineyard we allow couples to schedule a free two hour engagement session on our beautiful grounds! You’ll just want to make sure that you reach out to your dedicated Venue Coordinator to schedule at least two weeks in advance.
Begin Researching Invitations
Going back to your style as a couple, and overall theme of your wedding day, your wedding invitation gives your guests a sneak preview into what to expect on your big day.
9 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Create Your Wedding Website
Mail Your Save the Dates
It’s official! Let your wedding guests know that its time to break out their calendars and officially save your wedding date. Don’t forget to include the URL to your wedding website!
8 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Create Your Gift Registry
Put your heads together and decide what you really want. Are you just now moving in together and need the basics? Are you planning an amazing honeymoon getaway and want to ask your guests to contribute towards your adventure? Or do you already have everything you need and prefer to receive gift cards or donations to your favorite charity? Feel free to get creative with your registry!
Select Your Bridesmaids’ Dresses & Schedule Fittings
After browsing social media and just about every bridal magazine for inspiration you can think of, feel free to ask your bridesmaids to weigh in on the color palette and style if you are unsure!
Begin Exploring Local Florists
It’s important that while searching for your wedding day florist that you can see examples of their work within your wedding florals budget. Feel free to schedule meetings with several florists and show them examples of what you are looking for to find out if they can bring your vision to life.
7 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Schedule Your Rehearsal Dinner
At D’Vine Grace Vineyard loads of couples have chosen to host their rehearsal dinner on the beautiful grounds of our mansion wedding venue. Our spacious patios and sprawling vineyard are two of several spots couples love to schedule their rehearsal dinner. Did we mention our gourmet chef can prepare plated or buffet menus to tempt any palette? Ask your dedicated Venue Coordinator about availability for planning your rehearsal dinner 30 days before your wedding day.
Hire Ceremony Musicians
Dreaming of walking down the aisle to your favorite jams performed by a string quartet? Hiring an opera singer or classical guitarist? Now is the time!
Reserve Rental Items, Such as Ceremony Chairs, Linens, Draping, Lounge Furniture, & Dance Floor.
Before you begin your search for rentals, you’ll want to make sure you know what comes with your wedding venue rental. At D’Vine Grace Vineyard, your dedicated Venue Coordinator can walk you through what tables, chairs, linens, flatware, glassware, decorations, and more are available for your wedding day.
Hire Your Wedding Ceremony Officiant
Going back to your wedding theme and traditions as a couple, you’ll want to find a ceremony officiant that you can trust to lead you through your heartfelt vows. Feel free to ask them for samples of their work so you can explore more than one ceremony in full to make sure you find the perfect match for your wedding ceremony.
6 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Start Planning Your Lighting to Set The Mood of Your Wedding Reception
There is no better way to set the mood than with lighting! At D’Vine Grace Vineyard our dedicated Venue Coordinator can lead you through everything you need to know about our fully customizable lighting options throughout our four unique event spaces.
5 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Book Transportation for Wedding Guests If Required
You’ll want to understand your wedding venue’s parking situation before you book your transportation. At D’Vine Grace Vineyard we offer complimentary valet on your wedding day for guests of 150+ as well as complimentary parking behind our estate. Additionally, a free shuttle is available to and from D’Vine Grace to our preferred hotel partners.
Reserve Your Getaway Car
Planning your grand exit is one of the most creative ways to represent your style as a couple. Whether you opt for a limousine, Rolls Royce, McLaren or antique vintage muscle car, the sky’s the limit when booking your getaway car as newlyweds.
Book Your Romantic Honeymoon Getaway
Whether you plan to surprise your significant other with a trip across the globe, or you decide to plan your honeymoon itinerary together, it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t over-schedule every moment of the day. After planning your dream wedding you will want plenty of time for rest and relaxation!
Find Your Groom’s Tux
You’ve already said “yes” to the dress, so now it’s the groom’s turn to find the ultimate wedding day wear to strut his stuff both down the aisle and on the dance floor.
Begin Premarital Counseling
While this step is completely optional, it may not be a bad idea to have a third party help prepare you before your big day.
4 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Schedule Your Gourmet Tasting & Finalize Menu Selections
If your wedding is at D’Vine Grace Vineyard you’ll have the opportunity to schedule your gourmet tasting with your dedicated Venue Coordinator who will walk you through menu selections so you can finalize your chef-prepared selections that are sure to impress your guests!
Select Your Wedding Cake
At this point in the wedding planning process you have probably scoured the internet for all of the wedding cake inspiration you can find! Now it’s time to schedule tastings and find the perfect baker to make your dream cake a reality. Not fond of cake and want to break out of the age-old cake cutting tradition? Find a bakery that can offer several options for the dessert tower of your choice. From bon-bons to macaroons, donuts and churros, there are all kinds of creative ways to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Find Your Wedding Bands
It’s that time again! If you already went to look at rings together before he or she popped the question, it’s time to visit your favorite jeweler to find the perfect pair of wedding bands to exchange after you walk down the aisle.
Schedule Fittings for the Groomsmen
Schedule Your Wedding Hair & Makeup Trial
Back to Pinterest and Instagram! You’ll want to go armed with photos of wedding hair and makeup inspiration you love to make sure your Hair and Makeup artist can do exactly what dreaming of on your wedding day.
3 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Hire a Calligrapher & Order Your Wedding Invitations
Make sure you have your eagle eye ready for this one! It’s always helpful to have a second and third pair of eyes help you ensure your invites are ready to go. And it doesn’t hurt to order a sample to know the look and feel of your invitations before they go out. Whether you are ordering online or you have chosen a local vendor to design custom heirloom invitations, you’ll also want to make sure your calligrapher understands the look and feel of your wedding to keep everything cohesive.
Brainstorm Guest Favors and Gift Bags
Are you planning custom goodies for your guests? While it’s not a requirement, it’s always a nice touch to think about favors your guests will actually enjoy and use when brainstorming gift bags.
Book a Photo Booth
Sure, you’ll have a photographer to capture all of those album worthy posed and candid moments throughout your big day. However, photo booths are a super fun way to allow your guests to get creative behind the photo booth camera. Silly, quirky, and hilarious moments captured that you and your significant will enjoy for years to come!
Write Your Vows
Again, writing your own vows is completely optional but adds a personal touch to your wedding ceremony. If you’d rather opt for traditional vows, then you may want to consider writing wedding day letters instead.
Decide if You’d Like to Include Readings, Traditions, & Prayers in Your Wedding Ceremony
This step is pretty straightforward but definitely worth considering! Whether you come from a religious background, or you’d like to have loved ones recite a line from your favorite poem or literature, it’s time to sit down and outline what you want, and which loved ones you’d like to ask to recite the readings for your ceremony.
Meet with Your Ceremony Officiant
Before your big day, you’ll want to meet with your ceremony officiant to make sure you understand the game plan and what he or she plans to say, as well as that they have a full rundown of your wedding ceremony timeline. And should you choose to have a rehearsal dinner you will want to invite your officiant.
DIY Brides it’s Time to Get Crafty
If you’ve decided to craft DIY items for your wedding, you’ll want to make sure you get started ASAP to complete them well before your wedding day so you can relax and unwind.
3 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Mail Wedding Invitations & Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
Time to assemble and mail your invites! Don’t forget to ask guests to RSVP no later than 1 month before you say “I Do.”
Schedule Your First Wedding Dress Fitting
Buy Wedding Party Gifts
What is the best way you can show your bride tribe how much you appreciate them? Your gifts don’t have to break the bank by any means but should be both thoughtful and practical (i.e. something they can actually use and enjoy for years to come)!
Schedule To View Samples of Your Wedding Florals
It’s time to finalize your florals and decor! Most florists will put together a mock-up of your centerpiece and head table so you can make any last minute tweaks before your wedding day.
Give Wedding Day Song Selections to Your Band or DJ
Buy All Small Items
From guests books, to bridal party hangers, to flower girl accessories, to custom champagne flutes for your first toast as newlyweds, you’ll want to order all of these final details ahead of time so it’s one less thing to think about before your wedding day.
2 MONTHS BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO”
Assemble Gift Bags
Create a Seating Chart
At D’Vine Grace Vineyard your dedicated Venue Coordinator can assist you with creating a custom floor plan for your wedding ceremony and reception. From that point you’ll want to sit down with your significant other or wedding planner to create the perfect seating chart.
Order or Make Your Escort Cards & Place Cards
Pay Your Vendors in Full
While most vendors require payment 30 days before your event date, it’s always a good idea to pay them in full earlier if possible to save yourself the added stress of having one more thing to do the month of your wedding. If there are some vendors who must be paid the day-of, or if you’re distributing tips you give your most trusted bridesmaid or relative a heads-up that come wedding day, you’ll be counting on them to handle the labeled envelopes you’re going to put together.
Schedule A Planning Meeting with Your Photographer and Videographer
By this time you should have some semblance of an outline for your wedding day. It may not be finalized by any means, but you’ll want to think through all of the must-have moments you want captured on your wedding day. And if your wedding videographer and photographer have never worked together before, make sure they have each other’s contact info to schedule a call to get acquainted and understand how they will share time to capture your cherished moments.
Schedule a Final Venue Walk-Through
At D’Vine Grace Vineyard you will schedule your final walk-through with your dedicated Venue Coordinator. Please feel free to bring your maid of honor or mother, as well as your wedding planner or day-of coordinator!
Put Cash in Tip Envelopes for Your Planner or Delegate to Distribute
While completely optional it is customary to tip your wedding planner, musicians, DJs, hair and makeup artist, drivers, bartenders, and servers. Some couples also opt to tip their photographer and videographer as well and any other vendors they feel have gone above and beyond leading up to and on their wedding day.
Break in Your Wedding Shoes
The last thing you want on your wedding day is to suffer from blisters or cramping feet. Make sure you wear your wedding shoes without overdoing it of course so that they still look photo and video ready during bridal party prep.
Schedule A Video Conference or Meeting with Your Videographer & Photographer to Finalize Details
Your wedding timeline is a lifeline to your wedding vendors, including your wedding videographer and photographer. You’ll want to make sure that you not only send them your timeline in advance, but schedule a time to go over all of the details together well before your wedding day so that they can plan accordingly to capture all of the moments that are most important to you. If they haven’t worked together before you’ll also want to make sure they have each other’s contact information so that they can schedule a call before your wedding day to get acquainted as well as understand how they will share time capturing your cherished moments.
You made it! Your wedding day is just a few days away and it’s time for a few last minute details like:
Ensure your wedding planner / day of coordinator finalizes your wedding day timeline and distributes any changes to wedding vendors no later than 48 hours before your wedding day
Write Bride & Groom Letters (if applicable) & any other letters for the bridal party and loved ones
Pamper yourself and take it easy
Refresh your hair color
Schedule time for a manicure, pedicure, and time to get your eyebrows done
Schedule a massage or even make it a couples massage if you wish
Schedule your final dress fitting and make sure you have a friend or loved one present to learn how to bustle your wedding dress if your dress requires it
Confirm travel, finalize your itinerary if necessary, and pack well before the night before the wedding
Get your wedding ring cleaned so it looks extra sparkly for photo and video
Alert your wedding venue of any last minute changes to headcount
Take off from work if possible
Practice your vows and speeches out loud
NIGHT BEFORE YOUR WEDDING & WEDDING DAY
The Night Before:
Stay hydrated and pack snacks if needed
Go to bed early
Load your car with bags and personal items you need to take to your wedding venue
The Morning Of:
Relax and take it easy
Eat a hearty, healthy breakfast
Unpack your wedding dress and veil out as soon as you arrive at your wedding venue and have someone steam them if needed
Lay out family heirlooms, rings, invitations, jewelry, shoes, perfume, and any other details that you want your videographer and photographer to capture
Exchange wedding day letters with your partner
Remember to stay calm and enjoy yourself – your wedding day is finally here and this is literally one of the best days of your life finally coming to fruition
Don’t sweat the small stuff – even if you are running slightly behind on your timeline or things don’t go exactly as planned, everything will be OK
Make sure to have a point of contact for your wedding vendors besides your wedding planner or day of coordinator
AFTER YOUR WEDDING DAY
Now that your dream wedding has already taken place and you are likely headed to some gorgeous remote location for your honeymoon adventure, you may be wondering what’s next.
While there are several to-dos like getting your wedding dress and florals preserved, sending thank you cards, changing your name, and writing vendor reviews, we’ll save that for a future blog post!
Thank you again for taking the time to read our recommendations for the Ultimate Wedding Day Checklist. We wish you all the best of luck planning your wedding day! Please let us know how we can be a resource in the meantime. Again, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sending love and positive vibes from the entire team at D’Vine Grace Vineyard!