Skip to main content
The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

Wedding Planning: Checklist & Timeline

Fri, 12/28/2018

If you are reading this, chances are that you may be recently engaged. CONGRATULATIONS! After the excitement of being asked the BIG QUESTION, we know that jumping into all the wedding planning can be overwhelming at first. So we have compiled a list of big and small details to help you along the way and hope that we can be an inspirational and valuable resource for you during this very exciting time.

It’s time to grab a cocktail along with your best friends to get organized and start PLANNING for your big day!

Checklist1

(Picture by Sharon Ashley Photography)

10-12 Months To Go…

  • Start a wedding binder or folder. If physically writing things down isn’t your cup of tea, check out some wedding planning apps that you can download and keep all of your details and ideas together in one place!
  • Consider your wedding date. Ask yourself “what is more important – my dream venue or a special, specific date?” Choose your venue based on the answer to the question.
  • Work out your BUDGET and establish your top priorities – where to save/where to splurge.
  • Pick your wedding party – now your bridesmaids can help with the rest of the planning details!
  • Compile your preliminary guest list (you’ll need that number once you start reaching out to your vendors!)
  • Find a venue for your ceremony and reception and RESERVE YOUR DATE!
  • Say yes to your dress (or tux!) and begin assembling the perfect accessories.
  • Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Consider hiring a wedding planner.
  • Start researching your list of wedding professionals. We’d start with:  
    • Caterer
    • Photographer / Videographer
    • Officiant

Checklist2

(Picture by Jessica Hunt Photography)

6-9 Months To Go…

  • Continue researching, meeting and booking your all-star wedding professional team.  
    • Arrangements with your florist.
    • Tasting and choosing your wedding cake and desserts with your cake designer.
    • DJ/Entertainment for your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception.
    • Rental company – think about any structural or electrical components you may need, furniture (tables, chairs, tents, linens), to generators and more.
    • Any necessary transportation (limo for moving bridal party from ceremony to reception, shuttle for hotel guests, get away vehicle, etc.). 
  • Pin down details for your bridesmaids/flower girl dresses.
  • Arrange hotel room blocks for your out of town guests and book your own suite for the wedding night.
  • Send out Save The Dates – it’s a good idea to send these out 6 months before your wedding. If you’re planning a destination wedding or have a lot of out-of-town guests, consider sending them 8 months before to be courteous.
  • Start planning your honeymoon – same some energy from your wedding planning to arrange a wonderful trip for you and your new spouse!

4-6 Months To Go…

  • Create your Rehearsal Dinner guest list.
  • Book your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner venue(s) – if you’re including entertainment or specialty details like a groom’s cake, now’s the time to lock in these elements.
  • Order wedding favors for your guests.
  • Shop for and reserve your groomsmen’ attire.
  • Concentrate on finalizing: 
    • Guest list. Get everyone’s mailing address.
    • Invitation wording. Confirm invitation text, and colors. Consider additional stationary (ceremony programs, menu cards, place cards, thank-you cards, etc.).
    • Menu, beverage and catering details.
    • Day of timeline (ceremony and reception).
  • Shop for your rings.
  • Continue with Honey Moon plans – don’t forget important documents like flight information and passports!

Checklist3

(Picture by Ryan & Alyssa Photography)

3 Months To Go… 

  • Finalize ceremony and reception music playlists.
  • Finalize wedding rentals (tents, lighting, chairs, tables, linens)
  • Order your wedding cake!
  • Finalize your flower selection.
  • Review details with your officiant.

2 Months To Go…

  • Send out those invitations – it’s recommended to send out 8 weeks in advance, with an RSVP deadline of 3 weeks.
  • Check in and confirm details with all wedding professionals, including any payments and deadlines.
  • Meet with your photographer – it’s a good idea to meet at your venue, so you can discuss photo opportunities.
  • Write your vows.
  • Research marriage license requirements and name-change paperwork.
  • Get your dress fitted.
  • Give your wedding party a budge – make sure they’ve ordered all necessary attire.
  • Do a hair + makeup trial and book your stylist – don’t forget a beauty and fitness regimen to be camera-ready for the big day!

6-8 Weeks To Go…

  • Let your vendors know final guest numbers and send completed wedding day timeline.
  • Obtain marriage license and complete name-change documents.
  • If you’re the traditional type – do you have some old, new, borrowed & blue?
  • Purchase guest book, toasting flukes, cake server, unity candle, and all that good stuff.
  • Finalize and confirm any last details with wedding professionals.
  • Buy gifts for your wedding party.
  • Do a final walk through at your venue. Include your planner and caterer!

3-5 Weeks To Go…

  • Have your final dress fitting. Bring your shoes and accessories for the full impact!
  • Organize details for rehearsal time and location with your wedding party.
  • Hunt down those who haven’t RSVP’d yet and confirm if they’re coming.
  • Mail out your Rehearsal Dinner invitations.
  • Arrange reception seating chart.
  • Discuss set up/tear down details for your reception. Delegate tasks!

Checklist4

(Picture by Clark Berry Photography)

1-2 Weeks To Go…

  • Finish making final payments to wedding professionals including officiant.
  • Give your caterer/venue a final headcount.
  • Confirm arrival times and finalize wedding timeline with wedding professionals and wedding party – make sure your MOH has a copy too.
  • Put together a Bridal Emergency Kit, just in case! *fingers crossed*
  • Get your hair cut and colored.
  • Book a Spa Day – enjoy a mimosa, massage and facial to decompress!
  • Start packing for your honey moon.
  • Make sure your wedding dressed is steamed or pressed.
  • Check in with wedding party and make sure everyone is aware of expectations for the big day (duties, required photos, wedding day timeline).
  • Make sure all vendors including venue and officiant have a day of contact.​​​​​​​

The Day Before…

  • Write final checks for wedding professionals – don’t forget to separate tip envelopes and label them. Let your planner or wedding party handle the distribution.
  • Get a mani + pedi
  • Make sure all wedding-day items are packed/laid out and ready to go.
  • Assign someone to pack up gifts/belongings after reception – don’t forget the top tier of your cake!
  • Give marriage license to officiant.
  • Rehearse the ceremony.
  • Attend your Rehearsal Dinner – you can present gifts to your bridal party at this time.
  • Go to bed early and enjoy some much needed beauty sleep!

Checklist5

(Picture by Rebecca Hicks Photography)

For questions regarding booking the Lace House or contact information for the fabulous photographers mentioned in this blog, please reach out to us at lacehouse@scprt.com or 803-737-2235.