The Essential Wedding Planning Checklist


First, a personal story. My wedding day was a disaster. We planned absolutely nothing. We asked our bridesmaids and groomsmen to show up. We invited guests and then… well, that was pretty much it. This is not the way to do things if you want your wedding to run smoothly. Moments before everyone was to go out to the stage for the wedding, I was deciding what bridesmaid would walk with which groomsman and in what order. We had no idea who would stand where. They sorted themselves out once they got to the stage and my mother walked me down the aisle. As I stood in front of my beaming soon to be husband, I realized that I’d done about the worst thing possible. I left the vows I’d so carefully written in my purse which was very, very far out of reach. In a panic, I looked at him and blurted out my mistake. “Mark, I forgot my vows in my purse.” He looked relieved for a moment before he laughed and confessed, “I forgot my vows in the glove compartment of the car.” And so began our life together and in a weird way, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

The wedding is not what’s important no matter what anyone says. The wedding will be beautiful and wonderful as long as you love the person you are about to marry. You are committing yourself to your bride or groom. My best piece of advice before we get into the checklist is to plan as much as you can but remember that things will always go wrong. You can’t do everything yourself or you’ll drive yourself crazy. Instead, you need to take care of what you can, ask people you trust for help with what you can’t and then just roll with the punches on the actual day. Things go wrong. It’s just a part of life. Being prepared will help make the little hiccups that pop up a lot easier to handle.


It’s been five years since my wedding. My husband and I celebrated our fifth anniversary by… well, we didn’t. We both completely forgot it was our anniversary. I probably wouldn’t have figured it out until the day had completely slipped passed had a friend of mine not offered her congratulations. We forget each other’s birthdays. We’re just not all that hung up on the typical things. All the same, I understand we’re pretty weird. There’s nothing typical about us. I’m offering the advice I’m going to offer in this article from personal experience as both a wedding guest and a bride. This article’s for those brides out there who want their wedding day to, well, not go as badly as mine did. This wedding day checklist will help.

source: Janine Russell

05: Relax!

Weddings are stressful. That’s all there is to it. No matter how carefully you plan, something will go wrong and it will feel like the end of the world. Find a way to relax. Make a relaxation playlist and find a quiet place to listen to it. Sit alone, listen to your music and look at the problem in context. Is it really a big deal? Is your husband to be still planning to show up? Do either of you have any broken bones? If everyone is healthy and intact, I promise you it’s not really a huge deal. So what if the flowers are wrong or the cake isn’t exactly what you ordered? When you look back on your wedding day, you’re not going to be thinking about the cake or flowers.


04: Have Back Up Plans for Your Back Up Plans.

Yes some things are bound to go wrong so having a plan B is important. Sometimes, though, something will go wrong with your B plan so have a plan C ready to go. Life often presents us with those little (or big) problems that are completely out of our control but that doesn’t mean we can’t help ourselves be more prepared for the unforeseen. Have backup options for transportation in case a car breaks down. If you’re relying on a friend or relative to transport you and your wedding party to the wedding location or to the reception have someone else ready to step in just in case.


Having alternates in mind for your wedding party might seem like overkill but it’s not a terrible idea at all. One of the men my husband asked to be a groomsmen wasn’t able to make it to the wedding at the last second and he had to ask someone else to step in. It can happen, especially if you’ve asked people who aren’t known to be the most reliable people in the world. You want to think they’ll come through for you on your wedding day but sometimes that just isn’t the case. Be prepared for that.


03: Have a little extra money on you for emergency expenses.

A lot of little things could come up that may require having a little extra cash on hand. You’ve likely taken a lot of time to choose your makeup. If you forget that makeup at home, the chances that someone else at the wedding will have the shade you’re looking for are pretty slim. It is sometimes easier to send someone to the store (or go on your own as I did) to pick up what you need than it would be to run home. This can apply to hair products, pantyhose, food items, memory cards for the camera, batteries for the camera or any number of things. If you have that little additional cash, you’ll be able to get what you need.


02: Lay off the booze!

I know a lot of brides who have had a ‘few’ glasses of wine or a beer or two to calm their nerves before walking down the aisle. That’s fine. If a little nip helps you relax than that’s fine but don’t go overboard with it. Having too much to drink before your big moment turns your walk down the aisle into a stumble down the aisle. You don’t want that.


01: Make sure you have everything you’re going to need.

This checklist will definitely come in handy for your wedding day. Make sure you keep it close and only check things off if you’ve physically put them in the car. That is so incredibly important. Don’t just check off an item you have put in a bag or set aside to be taken with you. You need to make sure you have it with you. It won’t do you much good sitting at home next to the door. The checklist is pretty simple:

  • Wedding gown
  • Veil
  • Shoes
  • Jewelry
  • Garter
  • Reception attire (shoes, dress etc)
  • Camera
  • Batteries for the camera
  • Memory card or stick for the camera (or film)
  • Wedding license and all necessary paperwork
  • Copy of your vows (even if you’re sure you have them memorized)
  • Money to pay for services (keep in separate, labeled envelopes)

Feel free to add any additional things you want to have with your on your wedding day. This is essentially a guideline and you can tweak it to suit your needs. The important part of this one is that you have a checklist that includes any and all items you would need to leave your wedding hall (or wherever your wedding is being held) to retrieve.