Wedding Planning To-Do List (Free PDF!)

January 14th, 20249 min

FêteFone—the innovative and interactive audio guest book—was founded by award-winning international event planners. After helping thousands of couples capture their milestone moments, we’ve distilled our knowledge down into this ultimate wedding planning checklist. It’s available for free below in a printable PDF!

This easy-to-follow wedding planning to-do list covers everything you need to plan your big day. From selecting your venue to finding memorable details to remember your celebration for a lifetime, we’ve got you covered.

As you start your wedding planning journey, use this wedding planning timeline to help you tackle your to-do list. By breaking it down into bite-sized chunks, your wedding planning will be easier, less stressful and more fun overall!

Not ready to start checking things off your to-do list quite yet? No worries!

We’ve also put together the following summary of each stage of the wedding planning process so you know exactly what to expect along the way!

Wedding Planning To-Do List for FêteFone® / The Original Audio Guest Book

Stage 1 — Enjoy Your Engagement

Before you do anything, take some time to enjoy your engagement!

It can be tempting (and overwhelming) to jump feet first into wedding planning. But don’t miss your chance to celebrate this new stage of your relationship (and get used to saying fiancé…) first! So, show off that ring, enjoy a toast or two with your loved ones, and don’t miss this moment that you won’t get back.

If you’re thinking of having an engagement party, consider picking up a FêteFone now. Then, set it up at your engagement party, your bridal shower, your bachelor/bachelorette parties, your rehearsal dinner and your reception. Your audio guest book can become a time capsule of treasured voicemail messages.

Stage 2 — Initial Planning

Start your wedding planning journey by popping on our Wedding Planning Playlist: 20 Songs to Keep You Motivated.

Then, you’ll want to creating a rough guest list, set a general timeframe for your celebration, and figure out where in the world you might want to get married.

Don’t forget to check with close family and friends for any major conflicts. Also, be sure to check local events in your wedding destination. That way, you won’t accidentally pick a time of year when it’s hard to find venues or book hotel rooms.

Stage 3 — Budgeting

First, have some realistic and open conversations about money and marriage with your future spouse. How much can you afford (and do you want) to spend? How much time do you have to save between now and the big day? Will your families be helping? What are your financial priorities for after the wedding, like your honeymoon, your house, or your future family?

Start brainstorming the elements of a celebration that matter to you most. That way, you can get a sense of where you should splurge and where you might save.

Then, draft a preliminary budget that allocates what you can afford to the elements that matter most. Be sure to include a sizable buffer, too, to allow for unexpected cost overruns.

Adjust your budget regularly as you get firm quotes from vendors or start cutting checks. Then, reallocate any savings or cost overruns to other line items.

Stage 4 — Concept Creation To-Do List Items

This stage of our wedding planning to-do list will help you develop a unique concept for your wedding. Your unique design concept is the narrative thread that will hold all of the individual elements together.

Use tools like Pinterest to gather visual inspiration. But, be sure to search beyond the typical wedding boards for inspiration. Pull inspo from your favorite movies, magazines, artists, books, TV shows, fashion brands or anything else that inspires you.

Then, go beyond the visuals to start thinking about how to incorporate elements that appeal to all your senses to create a unique story that defines your wedding day. Think about taste, smell, touch and sound, too—not just what you see.

Whether you’re more classic, vintage, retro or a little bit tongue-in-cheek, you’ll want a clear design concept in mind before you get too far along in your planning. This design concept will help you narrow down the seemingly infinite world of choices to just a few on-concept options.

Wedding Planning To-Do List — Concept Development

Stage 5 — Venue Selection

In Stage 5 of your wedding planning to-do list, it’s time to book your venue. Your venue is one of the most important—and likely one of the most expensive—parts of your entire day.

Start by request preliminary proposals from the reception venues you like in your wedding location. Then, start narrowing down your list based on the proposals received.

Schedule site visits to venues on your short list, and work with your top two or three to revise their proposals until you’re happy. Pretty soon, you’ll have settled on the perfect match for you and your celebration.

Be sure to check out our article on “How Do I Find the Best Wedding Venues Near Me?” for even more helpful tips on finding the perfect wedding venue.

Stage 6 — Wedding Dress Shopping

If one or both of you will be wearing a gown, it’s time to start shopping. Wedding dresses can take six to nine months (or even longer) to produce. Leave plenty of time to select the perfect style, and give yourself room to enjoy the experience.

Dress shopping is often one of the most memorable moments of the entire wedding planning process. Bring a parent and one or two close friends along, but keep the posse small. After all, the only opinion that matters at the end of the day is yours!

Stage 7 — Initial Guest Management

During this stage of our wedding planning checklist, you’ll design save-the-date cards and your wedding website. These items help you share both your wedding story and the logistical details of your wedding celebration.

Go “shopping” with your future spouse to build your wedding registry. If you haven’t purchased one already, consider adding your favorite FêteFone style or a FêteFone gift card when you do. Then, add your registry details to your wedding website.

Finalize your guest list based on your venue’s capacity, and create a system for tracking your RSVPs and gifts received (so you can send thank you notes later). Once that’s done, get those save the dates out to your loved ones!

Stage 8 — Build Your Vendor Team

Now it’s time to start assembling your wedding dream team.

Revisit your budget priorities and start reaching out to your key vendors. Use vendor databases like The Knot, Wedding Wire or Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book to find wedding vendors near you. Be sure to read lots of reviews on multiple platforms. And, always make sure the vendors you select align with your creative vision and budget.

For even more great tips from trusted industry colleagues, be sure to check out our The Top Wedding Planning Podcasts for 2024. These seasoned pros have lots of incredible insights to share on picking the best vendors for your celebration.

Stage 9 — Attire and Grooming

Select your accessories and any remaining attire. Begin your search for the perfect suits, tuxedos, bridesmaids dresses, jewelry and more. Consider the season and venue when selecting your attire for comfort and practicality.

Schedule dress fittings and book appointments for any pre-wedding pampering. Start your facial regimen and book appointments for hair and makeup trials. And feel free to experiment with different styles, but make sure you settle on the look that makes you feel your best and feels most like “you”!

Wedding Planning Checklist — Accessories and Attire

Stage 10 — Ceremony & Reception Details

Focus in on the meaningful experiences and unique customizations that will make your reception memorable.

Elements like a FêteFone audio guest book can help you create an interactive experience for your guests they’re sure to enjoy. Plus, you’ll be left with dozens of hilarious and heartfelt messages. Just lift the receiver whenever you want to relive the incredible celebration you spent months planning!

Then, work with your officiant to personalize your ceremony. Search for and select any readings, songs or other unique elements that you’d like to incorporate.

If you’ll be personalizing your vows, start writing them now. You can also start writing any welcome or thank you toasts for your rehearsal or reception, too.

Stage 11 — Final Preparations on Your Wedding Planning To-Do List

Draft a detailed wedding timeline to share with those responsible for making sure your wedding goes off without a hitch.

Confirm final details with each of your vendors. Make sure they’ve received their final payments, prepare tips, and create packing lists of items you’ll be bringing.

Record the outgoing greeting your guests will hear before leaving their message on your FêteFone. Then, frame the included sign. Or, customize one of our 40+ free printable signage templates to make it truly your own.

Stage 12 — The Big Day

You have one job on your big day—to enjoy yourself. Remember, your guests take their cue from you. Make sure you’re setting the right tone by savoring every minute and letting the little things slide.

Find a special moment with your new spouse to soak it all in. Then, sneak away to leave them a message on your FêteFone to capture all the joy you’re feeling before the night slips away.

Wedding Planning To-Do List — Couple with Audio Guest Book

Wedding Planning Checklist Items for After the Celebration

Send your wedding attire to be cleaned and preserved. Write thank-you notes to anyone who sent you a gift or made your day extra special. Leave reviews for the vendors that really went above and beyond.

If you’re changing your name(s), begin the legal process to start getting them updated. Be sure to also update any beneficiary designations, wills, powers of attorney and other legal documents.

Tick Every Box with this Free, Printable Wedding Planning To-Do List

Download and print our comprehensive PDF guide to every step of planning your wedding. And, don’t forget to include FêteFone—the original audio guest book—as a unique way to capture messages from your loved ones.

Download our free Wedding Planning To-Do List PDF now to get started. Then, keep following our Audio Guest Book Insider’s Guide for more tips on how to make your special day unforgettable with FêteFone:

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