12-Month Wedding Planning Guide [With a Freebie]

Congratulations on your engagement! We are very excited for your journey!

Here’s a 12-month wedding planning guide to help you plan and organize your big day. Since there’s no rulebook when it comes to wedding must-haves and to-dos, you are welcome to personalize this wedding planning checklist to your own needs and wants.

Feel free to cross-out what you think you don’t need and keep those that really matter to you. If you are planning for a shorter period, don’t worry, the order of planning is still the same. You can print it, save it on your tablet or any of your mobile devices. You may also keep it online so you can track and make sure that you are on schedule.


wedding planning


12+ Months Before Your Wedding

  • Announce your engagement to family and friends.
  • Sit down with your partner and discuss your wedding budget.
  • Decide on your wedding date.
  • What is your wedding theme? This will help shape the type of wedding you’ll be having.
  • Start a wedding inspiration board.
  • Begin researching wedding venues that will suit your wedding theme.
  • Start researching for wedding vendors. List it down and schedule a meeting to discuss what they can offer. Check My Kiwi Wedding Wedding Directory and find the best wedding vendors in your area.
  • Do you need a wedding planner? Now is the best time to find one.
  • Draft your wedding guest list.
  • Have the idea of who’s going to be on your bridal party? Discuss it with your future spouse.
  • Start searching for your dream wedding dress. Talk to a bridal dress consultant to know the right style that will flatter your body type.


8 to 10 Months Before Your Wedding

  • Start sending out your Save-the-Date invites, either via mail or electronic mail. This is best if you are expecting family members, relatives, or friends from out-of-town that needed time to schedule their flights and book accommodations in advance.
  • Do you need to hire chairs, tables, table linens, or tents? Start looking for vendors to book. You can start here. [insert MKW directory link]
  • Talk over and plan your honeymoon with your future spouse. Will it be out-of-town? Out-of-the-country?


wedding planning


6 to 8 Months Before Your Wedding

  • Start looking for bridesmaids’ dresses. It can be from a physical store or online. Buying early means you have plenty of time for alterations and other changes you may need to make for these dresses.
  • While you are shopping for your bridesmaids’ dresses, take some time too to buy your wedding lingerie.
  • Look for a hair and makeup artists that you can work on your wedding day.
  • Book hair and makeup trial from the shortlisted artists you made.
  • Now that you know what kind of wedding you’ll be having, it is best to book the celebrant that will bring more meaning to your wedding ceremony.
  • More or less, you have an idea of how many in your bridal party needs transportation, whether rental or borrowed, it is best to cover this as early as now.
  • Start searching for stationery inspiration for your wedding invitation, menu cards, thank you cards, etc.
  • When your ideas for your wedding invitation is ready, search and hire a calligrapher to design and work it for you.
  • Research and start looking around for wedding florists. It is best to always bring a photo of a floral arrangement you desire for your centerpiece or bridal bouquet.
  • Research and shop around for your wedding cake. It is best to do a cake tasting and consultation first before booking your cake designer.
  • Start thinking about your wedding entertainment. Make a shortlist of vendors and decide whether you’ll have a live band or a DJ to entertain your guests.


3+ Months Before Your Wedding

  • If it is required, attend your pre-wedding counseling.
  • Start discussing to your celebrant how you want your ceremony to go.
  • Send out your wedding invitation.
  • Together with your future spouse, shop for your wedding band. This way, you have more time to decide on the design and to resize if needed.
  • Apply for a marriage license.
  • Planning for an out-of-the-country honeymoon? Secure the validity of your passport.
  • Start drafting the seating arrangement for your wedding reception.
  • Discuss the flow of your wedding program with your wedding planner (If you have one).
  • Find the best wedding favor that matches your wedding theme.
  • Decide whether you’ll rent a suit or buy suits for the groom and his groomsmen.
  • Want to take your first dance to the next level? Hire a dance instructor.
  • Do you have out-of-town guests? Secure their accommodations.
  • Have a run through with your wedding planner regarding vendor update and other wedding details.


wedding planning


1 Month Before Your Wedding

  • Finalize the menu with the caterer.
  • Finalize seating arrangement.
  • Finalize the wedding guests list.
  • Finalize the wedding ceremony.
  • Finalize and provide a list of songs to your wedding singer or band or DJ.
  • Schedule a final fitting for the wedding dress.
  • Schedule a final fitting for the bridal party.
  • Shop around and buy gifts for parents, bridal party, groomsmen, and for the groom/ bride.
  • Re-visit your wedding guests, track RSVPs.
  • Finalize arrangements with your major service providers (venue, caterer, florist, etc.).


2 Weeks Before Your Wedding

  • Draft your wedding speech.
  • If you wish to cut or color your hair, schedule your appointment with a trusted hair colorist/stylist.
  • Discuss with your wedding photographer the shots you’d like to have on your wedding day.
  • Go after late RSVPs.


wedding planning


1 Week Before Your Wedding

  • Provide the final count to your caterer.
  • Attend your hen/stag party with closest friends and relatives.
  • Confirm, together with your wedding planner, final arrangements with your wedding vendors.
  • Schedule a rehearsal with your celebrant at the venue.
  • Pack for your honeymoon.


2 to 3 Days Before Your Wedding

  • For your rentals, call and confirm the schedule of pick up times.
  • Hand over wedding favors, table menus, place cards, and other items to your wedding planner.
  • Write checks and/or prepare payments for any balances to be paid.
  • Has your wedding dress pressed or steamed?


1 Day Before Your Wedding

  • Attend your rehearsal dinner with wedding guests.
  • Make sure to bring all the ceremony accessories and hand it over to your wedding planner.
  • Prepare a wedding kit where you can put all your wedding essentials.
  • Have as much beauty sleep as possible.


wedding planning


Wedding Day

  • Eat a hearty and healthy breakfast.
  • Wear a bridal robe for your hair and makeup.
  • Hand your wedding bands to the best man.
  • Assign a family member or a friend to assist the wedding photographer of who’s who.
  • Smile and enjoy your wedding day!


Post-Wedding (2 to 3 days after your wedding)

  • Send thank-you notes to those who attended your wedding.
  • Ask and schedule someone to have the bridal dress professionally cleaned.
  • Ask and schedule someone to return any rented items to the vendors.


wedding planning

Images are by Avodah Photo + Cinema


Preparing, planning, and organizing a wedding can be challenging. But with the right tools and people to help you stick to the plan, wedding planning can be easy and stress-free. Take things one step at a time so you won’t overwhelm yourself. Be open to accepting help from family and friends. It’ll make things uncomplicated and smooth, plus, a great memory to look back to.

Check out our extensive MKW Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist that you can use as you plan your wedding. You can download it on your mobile phone or on your laptop for easy tracking. We also have our MKW Budget Tool to help track down your wedding budget and the MKW Seating Arrangement Tool for your wedding guests.


Do you have anything to add to this checklist? We’d love to hear it! Share your thoughts and suggestions on the comment section below.

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