This Wedding Planning Checklist is a Must-Read For The Newly Engaged

A bride wearing a wedding gown tied around her neck and a bow in the back.
Photo: Amelia Soegijono Photography | Venue: Chateau de Santeny | LXE Moments | Gown: Vivienne Paris Bride | Makeup + Hair: Reina Kim Artirsty

You’ve said yes or popped the question, the ring is sparkling, and the excitement of a lifetime with your partner is just beginning. But what comes next? It’s time to plan the big day, and while it might seem overwhelming, don’t fret. We’re here to help with our comprehensive wedding planning timeline and checklist, featured in the 2023 issue of Weddings in Houston Magazine.

Many dream about a fairytale wedding their whole lives, and now it’s time to make it a reality. You’ve got to pick the perfect venue, send out those gorgeous invitations, choose your aisle-worthy attire, and ensure you’ve booked the best of the best vendors.

Before you know it, you’ll be ticking off tasks and counting down to the days till you say “I Do”. Remember, this is your love story, your celebration…let’s make it enjoyable, shall we?

12+ Months Before

A couple smiling as the man holds a champagne bottle and the woman holds a champagne glass.
Photo: Stephania Campos
  • Get engaged!
  • Start envisioning your wedding theme/design
  • Pick a wedding date
  • Draw up a budget
  • Hire a wedding planner
  • Book your venue

8-10 Months Before

A colorful tabletop with purple and green china and linens, gold flatware and pink and green colored-glasses.
Photo: Kate Robinson Photography | Tabletop + Gift Registry: Bering’s
  • Create your gift registry
  • Shop for and order your gown
  • Work with your wedding planner to narrow down your design
  • Choose and invite your wedding party
  • Choose and book your wedding vendors (photographer, videographer, florist, wedding entertainer)
  • Reserve guest accommodations

6-8 Months Before

Two envelopes with a name written in cursive and white, blush and gold flowers decorating the envelope.
Photo: Courtesy of L’atelier de Veronica Halim
  • Send out save-the-dates
  • Order your invitations
  • Order your wedding party attire
  • Meet with your officiant
  • Start planning your honeymoon; get or renew passports if needed

4-6 Months Before

A four-tier white wedding cake with white roses garnishing the front and a gold monogram on the third tier.
Photo: Mackenzie Reiter Photography | Cake: Susie’s Cakes

3-4 Months Before

A bouquet with white, orange and pink florals and trailing greenery.
Photo: Kate Elizabeth Photography
  • Finalize your flowers
  • Finalize your menu
  • Rent or purchase formalwear
  • Order wedding favors
  • Make your toast list
  • Attend your shower

1-2 Months Before

A white wedding program with a gold design that resembles "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen.
Photo: Amy Maddox Photography | Venue: Julia Ideson Library | Wedding Entertainment: Danny Ray and the Atlantic Street Band
  • Print your wedding program
  • Mail your invitations
  • Do your final wedding gown fittings
  • Confirm all of your vendors
  • Meet with your photographer
  • Finalize your music and give the playlist to DJ or wedding band

1-2 Weeks Before

A clear sign with "Our Favorite People" etched in white with all the guests names written below and their table number.
Photo: Kacie Q Photography | Venue: Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa
  • Review the RSVP list and do last follow-ups
  • Finalize your seating chart (or do without!)
  • Give caterer a final headcount
  • Salon visit or spa day
  • Print place cards
  • Give a must-have shot list to photographer

1-3 Days Before

A wedding gown with floral appliques hanging on a brown door with greenery on the walls.
Photo: Amy Maddox Photography | Venue: The Bell Tower on 34th | Wedding Entertainment: Danny Ray and the Atlantic Street Band
  • Press wedding gown
  • Pick up formalwear
  • Make sure every member of your wedding party have attire ready
  • Arrange for guests to be picked up from airport and brought to hotel
  • Give marriage license to officiant
  • Write checks to vendors

Wedding Day

A bride and groom standing at an altar lined with white florals and a mirrored aisle.
Photo: Wandering Woo Photography | Planning + Decor: The Events Company
  • Present gifts to parents, wedding party and each other
  • Give wedding bands to maid of honor and best man
  • Give MOH or best man the check to give officiant after the ceremony
  • Make sure the photographer knows who are family members and members of the wedding party
  • Get married!

Post Wedding

A smiling man sits on the edge of a pool while a laughing woman sunbathes aside him at a villa on the Amalfi Coast.
Photo: Bottega 53
  • Write thank-you notes
  • Return any attire rentals
  • Pack for your honeymoon
  • Check-in for your flight
  • Rest, relax and enjoy your first newlywed adventure together!

“The Wedding Planning Timeline & Checklist Every Couple Needs” Spotlight WiH Partners- Photography: Kate Elizabeth Photography | Amy Maddox Photography | Venues: Julia Ideson Library | Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa | The Bell Tower on 34th | Tabletop + Registry: Bering’s | Cake: Susie’s Cakes | Wedding Entertainment: Danny Ray and the Atlantic Street Band | Planning + Design: The Events Company

Contributing Vendors- Photography: Amelia Soegijono Photography / Stephania Campos  / Kate Robinson Photography / Mackenzie Reiter Photography / Kacie Q Photography / Wandering Woo Photography / Bottega 53 / L’atelier de Veronica Halim / Chateau de Santeny / LXE Moments / Vivienne Paris Bride / Reina Kim Artistry

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