The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist

Image by Kuenzli Photography. See more of this styled shoot here.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re newly engaged. First off, congratulations! We understand just how exciting and overwhelming that can be. Here at Junebug Weddings, we care about providing our couples with the most thoughtful wedding planning advice available to make the process as easy as possible. You’ll find expert advice to turn to when you need help deciding on things like where to buy your bridesmaids dresses or how to create your wedding website, but more importantly, we’ll help you find solid, yet flexible, recommendations for every kind of situation.

No two weddings are alike, and because of that, we encourage you to color outside the lines, do things differently, and follow your hearts while planning your wedding. We want to be a resource that doesn’t tell you how to plan a wedding, but instead shows you all of the possibilities that exist for your big day.

Image by Henry Tieu Photography. See more of this elopement here.

Determine What’s Most Important

You’re engaged, you’re excited, you just followed about 10,000 wedding vendors on Instagram, and…now what? We know it may be easy to rush into wedding planning in an unorganized manner. Unfortunately, sometimes it can come back to haunt you. That vendor you booked the day after you were engaged might not be the same one you fall in love with after taking some time to prioritize what’s most important for your day.

Before you make any big decisions, take a little time to breathe with your partner. Enjoy sitting down for dinner together and write down some things that are important to the both of you when it comes to your wedding. Make a vision board with your favorite color palettes, floral arrangements, etc. Then move onto your date, guest list, venue “must-haves,” and go from there.

Image by Mo Speer Photography. See more of this real wedding here.

Evaluate Your Resources

Some of you might be wondering why we didn’t start with budget, but it’s important to dream. Dream your wildest dreams and then figure out how to make them happen. Since you have already sat down and prioritized what is most important to you, it should be easy to figure out what aspects you can sacrifice within your budget to make your priorities a reality.

We’ve also created a free interactive budget tool that allows you to input your entire wedding budget so that you can track quotes, vendor deposits, and unexpected wedding expenses, so you can feel confident about your wedding planning!

Assemble A Rockstar Team of Vendors

Now we’re getting to the fun part. We know it’s exciting to start “following” and dreaming of all the vendors your heart desires, but if you have room in your budget for a wedding planner, we highly recommend you start there. Your wedding planner will not only be able to help you allocate your budget to your priority list, but they also have the insider scoop on the best vendors and probably know what it’s like to personally work with them.

After choosing a planner, start your venue search. Then it’s time for finding your photographer and videographer match. From there, you can focus on your catering, florist, DJ, and so on.

Image by May Iosotaluno. See more of this wedding here.

Enjoy The Wedding Planning Journey

You’ve determined what’s important, set your budget, and started to assemble your vendor team. Take a moment to pour a glass of wine and relax. No one said wedding planning would be easy, but it’s as fun as you make it and you’ve made it this far already! Enjoy asking your bridesmaids and groomsmen–if you’re having them–to be a part of the day, go shopping for the dress, take your engagement photos, and head to the mall to scan everything you see for your registry.

These things should be your highlights and they can be sprinkled in throughout the wedding planning process as it makes sense for you. Take time to remember them and soak it all in. You’re only engaged once.

Image by Aga Sokol Photography. See more of this real wedding here.

Purchase Your Wedding Attire

When it comes to thinking about what you’re going to wear on your wedding day, we know this can be both fun and daunting. Luckily, you’ve already determined your vision for the day and budget for these things, so you have some parameters to work with. Whether you’re looking for a long-sleeve gown ideal for a fall or winter wedding, a casual dress for a backyard wedding, or a jumpsuit, take your vision board to your local bridal boutique and ask for their help or do some searching online. Once you’ve found the dress of your dream, think bridesmaid dresses and accessories.

And of course, we can’t forget about the groom and groomsmen! We’re currently crushing on colored suits, but if you’re looking for something that’s not quite as bold, these unique groom style ideas are sure to have you looking spiffy.

Image by Corey Lynn Tucker Photography. See more of this styled shoot here.

Iron Out The Logistical Details

Logistics are what make your day actually work. These are the things you can’t skip and should make yourself aware of so they don’t come as a surprise. We’re talking about lighting, stationery, and timeline. Your vendor team may be able to–and want to–help with some of these things. Pro tip–before you decide on your ceremony time, make sure you consult with your venue, planner, photographer, and videographer.

Image by Nikk Nguyen Photo. See more of this real wedding here.

Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony

Once your timeline is set and all the logistical details are figured out, you’ll be in the best headspace to start thinking about your ceremony on a more personal level. We highly recommend adding touches to your ceremony that make it uniquely you. These are the little moments that will make your parents cry and that you’ll remember forever. You may want to incorporate a unique unity ceremony or incorporate readings into the program. Whatever you do, make it true to you as a couple.

Image by Jordan Voth. See more of this real wedding here.

Create Your Food And Drink Menu

If your mouth has been watering thinking about trying your wedding cake and meal options, now is the time. If you’re not going with a traditional caterer, it may also be fun to go on dates at local spots around town to determine if they might be a good vendor for your day. Hello, food trucks! When considering your catering and bar options, it’s also important to think about utensils. Remember to allocate a budget for either dinnerware and drinkware rentals or paper goods. We recommend researching compostable materials for a no-waste wedding day.

Once you’ve sorted out your food and drink options, you can finalize your seating chart and menus that you will be displaying. You’re getting so close we can taste it–literally!

Image by Cristina Civallero. See more of this real wedding here.

Coordinate Your Decor

Got your Pinterest board on hand? When it’s time to plan the pretty decor details, you’re going to need a few points of reference to share with planners, stylists, and florists. This is the one time where the more inspo photos, the better. Make sure your vision is clear—with what you like and what you don’t like—so you’re 100% satisfied when you see everything put together on your big day.

When you do start buying decor pieces, try not to go too crazy. You don’t have to spend your entire wedding budget on decor. In fact, you don’t have to sacrifice style because of money. You can find incredibly budget-friendly decor pieces on sites like Amazon. You can also repurpose your decor from your ceremony to your reception! A sustainable way to save money–talk about a win/win.

Image by Let’s Frolic Together. See more of this real wedding here.

Orchestrate Your Entertainment

Weddings mean dancing and entertainment all night long. If there’s one thing we can’t stress enough, it’s the importance of an awesome DJ or band to help keep the party going. Make sure you’ve thought about the personalities of you and your guests. No matter who is in attendance, this wedding reception playlist is sure to get your guests on the dance floor. And we can’t forget about the first dance and the mother-son dance that will have everyone in the room crying. We’ve got your playlist needs covered.

Image by Logan Cole. See more of this real wedding here.

Planning Wedding Party Festivities

We realize you’ve probably already asked the gang to be a part of your day, but nows the time to decide how you’ll celebrate with them. From bachelor and bachelorette parties to wedding party gifts and more, take a little time to make sure you’re sticking to your budget when it comes to these things. We know you want to pamper your crew, but this is an easy area to overspend in. If you need a little help or want to drop a hint, send this blog link to your MOH and ask for some help pulling it all off.

Image by Heather Purdy. See more of this real wedding here.

Don’t Forget The Last Minute Details

If wedding week is getting close, you’ve made it! Not only are you so close to spending forever with your significant other, but you’re also almost done with the stress of wedding planning. Before you stop planning altogether, there are always last-minute loose ends to tie off. From packing your getting-ready bag to writing your vows to prepping for your rehearsal dinner, make sure you have everything crossed off your list so you can remain stress-free on wedding week.

Celebrate Your Love On Your Honeymoon

This is it–you did it! First thing’s first, take some time to enjoy being married and honeymoon. If you’re not jet-setting right away, now might be the perfect time to start dreaming of a future vacay with your person while enjoying a staycation honeymoon. And while you’re anxiously awaiting your photo gallery and video sneak peek, be sure to tie up these loose ends with this post-wedding checklist.

If you’d like to download a printable version of our wedding planning checklist, click here!


  1. I dont have much time or money, i would love to plain for my up coming wedding in May 1st 2016. I need a wedding planner to help me plain out with my expences, and bugget.! Thank you!

  2. Congrats on your engagement and we want you to enjoy all that life has to offer in your up and coming pre-marriage ceremony! You should look at our suggestions for organizers:

  3. Thanks for sharing wedding planning checklist. FYI, you missed one product in your checklist. It’s a personalized wedding bags.

  4. Awesome tips, thanks for sharing!

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  13. This is such a useful blog! One thing to add is some guests may not be able to make it to the wedding in person, and we are seeing a growing number of couples using live streams to include all their guests.

  14. Wow! Great Tips! Thank you so much!

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  16. The wedding pics are really cool. I wanna get married soon. Cheers..

  17. This is super awesome. I want to plan my wedding which is about to happen in Sept. I’m really excited..

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  30. Thanks for sharing this. It is very informative and I can share this to couples who are looking to get married soon. I have to highly agree with enjoying the process. I often see couples overloaded with information and possibilities after they get engaged, so checklists like these are incredibly valuable. Great post!

    • Hi Arnel, We’re so happy to hear that this checklist is helpful. We agree, sometimes it’s easier for couples to be able to cross things off a list instead of working through lots of text advice or making them on their own. Thanks for sharing!

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  56. Those are fantastic wedding pictures. I especially love the colors.

  57. The checklist is great!

  58. Thanks for sharing the wedding planning checklist. Awesome tips!

  59. Beautiful photos <3

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  61. Lots of cool photos :)

  62. Great wedding checklist, very helpful not only for brides.

  63. love colors ,beautiful photos and great shots

  64. Amazing checklist! I really liked that you have used checkbox feature. It amazing. Sending invitations to everyone in your list on time is the most important work, which should be done without any delay.

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  69. Whoa! Great advice for the bride-to-be, groom, wedding planners and more. Besides, nice pictures!

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