Wedding Planning Breakdown

On social media lately, I have noticed a lot of stressed out bride-to-be's and it makes me both grateful and reminiscent.  Planning a wedding is a lot of work.  And depending on your personality and your organization skills, I feel like it can go either way.  I am super grateful that while planning a wedding I wasn't teaching or counseling.  I was able to get so many wedding tasks done while the babies napped and throughout the work days.  I am an over drives many people close to me a little bit crazy.  I like to fill up my calendar months in advance and have daily, weekly, monthly, and long term to do lists all always going at the same time.  It keeps me sane (even though Ryan is convinced it does the opposite).  Rather than becoming more relaxed as a planner over time, I definitely became even more rigid and type A as the wedding planning process went on.  One thing that really saved me was my master to do list. 

Right when we got engaged, I created a to do list in a google doc that my mom and Ryan were attached on.  I broke the wedding planning down month by month and as it got closer, week by week.  I included EVERYTHING on the list.  And it was my ultimate life line throughout the entire process.  I removed or adjusted some of the details that pertained just to Ryan and I's big day but, below is the breakdown!  Please use it or take from it like I did when piecing my list together!  Ultimately, I took every detail from every pinterest list I could find to make sure I wasn't missing anything.  Then I removed things that didn't relate and added as things came up.

The months on the list below coordinate with our October date.  We also planned our wedding that was in Milwaukee from I had to be extra detailed!  I made three trips to Milwaukee during the planning and had as many appointments as possible, but had to do a lot of the decision making over the phone.

As much as I love planning and loved planning my wedding, I was not one of those brides that is sad the big day is over while flying off to the honeymoon!
 January (12-10 months):
  • Plan for families to meet
  • Go for engagement photo sitting
  • Create website
  • Discuss budget
  • Pinterest page
  • Select a date
  • Choose and ask attendants
  • Put together guest list
  • Book site for ceremony
  • Book site for reception
  • Book officiant
  • Book caterer
  • Hire musicians
  • Hire DJ
  • Order dress and veil
February, March, April (8-6 months):
  • Book photographer
  • Book florist
  • Start online shopping for vendors/dresses
  • Meet with caterer to plan menu and schedule tasting
  • Send ALL save the dates
  • Book room for wedding night
  • Register for gifts
  • Select bridesmaid dresses/accessories
  • Order invitations and wedding stationers
  • Make arrangements with hotel
  • Hire hair people for hair trial
  • Make list of flowers needed
  • Investigate honeymoon destinations
  • Update passports
April, May, June (6-4 months):
  • Look for make up person/book
  • Schedule time for rehearsal
  • Book videographer
  • Buy and tie on ribbon for chair signs
  • Order and frame guest book
  • Print water bottle labels
  • Make honeymoon reservations
  • Plan rehearsal dinner
  • Reserve rentals for groom and groomsmen
  • Meet with florist to discuss arrangements
  • Order wedding cake
  • Purchase bridal shoes and other accessories
  • Have invitations addressed
June, July, August (4-2 months):
  • Vows
  • Add hotel/transportation information to wedding website
  • Research requirements for marriage license
  • Book/arrange for transportation for bride/groom/attendants and immediate family on wedding day
  • Order bubbles
  • Order cocktail napkins
  • Basket for bubbles
  • Buy banner for back of trolley
  • Select readings and songs for ceremony
  • Ask readers
  • Purchase box for wedding cards
  • Select songs for major highlights of reception
  • Purchase appropriate undergarments for under the gown
  • Purchase Ryan’s wedding ring
  • Have wedding rings sized
  • Select thank you gifts for parents
  • Purchase honeymoon clothes
  • Mail invitations
  • Print wedding hashtag signs
  • Buy and frame 2 hashtag signs
  • Hair and make up trial
  • Bridesmaids gifts
  • Groomsman gifts
  • Flower girl gift
  • Ring bearer gifts
  • Usher gifts
  • Personal attendants gifts
  • Table numbers
  • Write shower thank you notes
September (1 month):
  • Submit all required documents to church
  • Create/order ceremony programs (send to church one month before)
  • Basket for bubbles
  • Write welcome letter
  • List of songs to DJ
  • Find babysitter (we provided a babysitter in the hotel for guests with small children)
  • Have final dress fitting
  • Write petitions
  • Start arranging seating plan
  • Purchase hostess gifts for friends
  • Plan honeymoon
  • Pick up wedding rings
  • Contact all vendors (and have them contact event coordinator)
Two weeks:
  • Make nail appointments for friday morning
  • Let wedding party know about any last minute "day of" updates
  • Type up and print petitions
  • Obtain marriage license
  • Figure out something special for birthday guests (our wedding day was also the birthday of multiple wedding guests)
  • Write bridal shower thank you notes
  • Finalize seating plan (write place cards or give material)
  • Make cute bags for groomsmen gifts
  • Frame and wrap mom and dad’s gift
  • Wrap ring bearer and flower girl gifts
  • Make detailed schedule of wedding reception events to give to all applicable service providers
  • Timeline for bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Break in shoes and scuff bottoms :)
  • Get hair highlighted
  • Print copies of welcome letter
  • Groom haircut
  • Print programs
  • Tissue paper for groomsmen gifts (see how detailed I mean?)
One week before:
  • Confirm honeymoon reservations
  • Cash for honeymoon
  • Get crisp bills from bank for gratuities
  • Put tips in labeled and sealed envelopes
  • Organize final payments that need to be delivered on wedding day
  • Pack for honeymoon
  • Make list of everything we need to bring to the wedding
  • Confirm final details with all service providers
  • Rent movies on ipad for flight
  • Copy of petitions and readings
  • Compile honeymoon folder (flight itineraries and excursions)
  • Write letters to each other
  • Practice kissing and dancing
Day before/thursday:
  • Write in priest's card
  • Drop off welcome bags
  • Pick up marriage license
  • Get manicure and pedicure
  • Hand out wedding gifts
  • Pick up tuxes
  • Buy champagne for salon/trolley
  • Best man fill cooler for trolley(champagne, beer, water)

Let me know what saved you during your planning! 


  1. Starting my own spreadsheet now! Thank you for the detailed breakdown : )

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  4. Oh wow, I am impressed to have this list of the wedding planning tasks. Thanks for sharing planning breakdown here. It will be helpful for us. We too are tying the knot and will celebrate this special day with all our loved ones so just finding suitable and spacious event space San Francisco for that.

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