WA Weddings

The Big Wedding Checklist

We know all about the time and work that goes into wedding planning. Here is a checklist to you plan a wedding that is truly an enjoyable event for everyone.


After the engagement:

  • If the family don’t know, be sure to tell them first.
  • Send engagement announcements to newspapers.
  • Organise a scrapbook and a diary and find a timeline plan that suits what you both have in mind for your wedding.
  • If your families are going to be part of the wedding organisation invite them to meet each other and start to discuss all aspects of the type of wedding you both would like. (budget, style, color scheme, size, etc.). Decide who will pay for what.
  • If you are having a church wedding, meet with your clergy member to schedule premarital counseling and to make a booking at your chosen church.
  • If you are having a garden wedding or less formal ceremony, start talking to various Marriage Celebrants for the person you can relate to easily.
  • Start checking out the various ceremony and reception sites. Go to view them as soon as possible as many will book months in advance. Now is the time to be thinking about the budget for your reception and collecting various suggestions for menus and their costings.
  • For the more casual reception, begin looking at caterers and ask for estimates from those your are considering.
  • Begin looking for your wedding cake and ask for estimates from those you are considering.
  • Begin discussing honeymoon plans. Make a final decision as soon as possible as booking months in advance will save you money over waiting.
  • Start thinking about your post-wedding living arrangements.

At Least 6 Months Before Wedding:

  • Set your budget… talk with the wedding professionals who are going to help you with all the aspects of your wedding and be sure that your budget is clear at the pricing for each area.
  • Make sure reservations are made for your guests traveling from out of town. Also book a room for you and your new spouse for your wedding night.
  • Select and order a wedding gown. Leave yourself time so that any needed alterations can be made in a timely fashion without rush charges.
  • Order wedding invitations and ‘thank you’ cards.
  • Choose bridesmaids and groomsmen. Choosing the gowns and suits now is going to save lots of headaches later when time is running out.
  • Take time out with your spouse to select the men’s suits or whatever you would like them to wear …have some fun ‘dressing up’ and making sure all the members of the bridal party feel comfortable in the outfits selected.
  • Be kind to your wedding party …choose styles that suit these important people in your life …and be flexible …change if one of the party does not look great and feel comfortable …remember your wedding party are all individuals and some freedom of choice can be a very wise decision at this time. People will always be much more relaxed if they feel confident they ‘look the part’!
  • If having a church wedding and you are going to have family and friends as ushers, ask those people you would like to have for this job …a rule of thumb is to use one usher for every 40-50 guests.
  • Choices need to be finalised for the catering and reception choices and book them as soon as possible.
  • Make your final honeymoon plans. Contact a travel agent to make reservations and purchase tickets.
  • Choose a musician/ DJ for your ceremony music – no doubt you are going to your friends weddings so be sure to take note as to the musician and music you both would like for your ceremony.
  • Start helping the ‘Mums’ with their choices of outfits for the wedding…this should be a lovely time for Mums and daughters and daughters in law to be!
  • If you are having all your gowns made be sure to ask your professional dressmaker to give you a ‘timeline’ for fittings for the whole party… and stick to it!
  • Book the kennels or find alternative arrangements for the dog, cat or other pets. Kennels can book up as quick as the hotels do! (thanks to Jen C for this tip)

At Least 4 Months Before Wedding:

  • If traveling outside Australia for your honeymoon, apply for your passports. These can take as long as 90 days to process. Take time to allow your passport photos to be done properly so you are happy with the likeness.
  • How is the budget going? on track?
  • Plan your rehearsal dinner (time, place, etc).
  • Book a limousine for transportation to and from both the ceremony and reception.
  • Contact florists and get estimates for floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception.
  • Reserve a DJ / MC for your reception.
  • Finalize your post-wedding living arrangements.

At Least 3 Months Before Wedding:

  • Mail your wedding invitations.
  • Complete your guest list. And now starting thinking about the seating arrangements if the reception is going to be formal.
  • Should your reception be at home, visit the local garden and check out the ‘potted colours’ – what is available and when they should be planted – then your home will be a picture for all the wedding photos too!
  • Make sure all pertinent documents (religious, legal, medical) are completed and sent in. Your chosen Minister of Religion or Marriage Celebrant should have this well in hand.
  • Choose wedding rings and select engravings.
  • Think about gifts for the bridesmaids and groomsmen….and don’t forget the Mums and Dads!
  • Book the florist…give your florist samples of colours for the wedding party – this will make her job a lot easier and guarantee that your bouquets will be a perfect match!
  • Choose and purchase decorations and if you are having ‘Boutonnieres’ now is the time to check out all the variations of these available. If you are making your own place cards / boutonnieres or table arrangements, now is the time to have all the ‘practices’ done, decisions made, various items purchased and begin a little each week to have the job completed.
  • It is a wonderfully personal touch for you and your wedding party to do something special for all the guests or for your own wedding arrangements…but do not leave it till the last minute – planning is absolutely essential at this point to ensure that you all enjoy the little tasks you are planning.
  • Check with newspapers on their requirements for submitting wedding announcements.

At Least 2 Months Before Wedding:

  • Talk with all the wedding professionals who are providing services for your wedding. Discuss if there are any items that they may not be providing. Make arrangements to purchase these. Be sure that you have not changed your mind on things. If you have had a change of plans, be sure that everyone concerned understands the new arrangements.
  • If you are going to have any Bridal Showers, now is the time for these, and don’t forget the handmade ‘thank you’ cards for that special personal touch.
  • Make an appointment with a hairdresser for the bride and bridesmaids. Organise the trials for both hair and make up – make your decisions and then do not worry about it any more.
  • Be sure to take your camera to the hairdresser and take a photo of the style chosen. Remember even the most professional hairdresser has more than one client, and a photograph will ensure styles on the day are as chosen.
  • Send wedding announcement to newspapers.

At Least 1 Month Before Wedding:

  • Finalize plans for your rehearsal for the church and be sure that the reception venue is comfortable with the timetable chosen.
  • Be sure that your photographer understand exactly the time allowed for the photos and the venue(s) chosen for your pictures.
  • Do not spoil your guests enjoyment of your wedding by arriving late to the reception – and the chef will not be happy if you spoil his mea!!!
  • Finalize choices for all bridal gown accessories (shoes, lingerie, earrings, etc.).
  • Have final fitting for bridal gown & headpiece, as well as the bridesmaids dresses.
  • Are you going to have a bridesmaid’s lunch? This is a great time for the bride to say ‘thank you’ for all their help and gives them their gifts.
  • Confirm hotel reservations for all guests and for you and your spouse.
  • Check with Minister of Religion / Marriage Celebrant that all licences etc are in place.
  • Stay current with “thank you” cards for shower gifts and early wedding presents.
  • Finalise seating arrangements for the reception.
  • How is the budget going? right on track?!
  • Don’t forget about your scrapbook either…

At Least 2 Weeks Before:

  • Complete change of address cards and take them to the post office.
  • Confirm all plans and details with all wedding professionals providing services for your wedding. Final payments should be made for all their services.
  • Confirm all honeymoon arrangements.
  • If going overseas …purchase traveler’s cheques for the honeymoon. These are better than carrying cash because if you lose them they can be cancelled and replaced. Be sure that your credit cards, passports etc. are all ready.
  • Have you had a trial ‘pack’ to be sure that what you wish to take on your honeymoon fits the suitcases you are planning to take.
  • Make arrangements with a member of the family to have your honeymoon cases in a safe place for you to collect after your wedding.
  • When making the final arrangements with the Limousine company, be sure there is some proper food and lots of water available. Wedding days can be very busy and the bridal party often does not take time to have something to eat… and a glass of Champagne can be a disaster on an empty tummy!! Look after the sobriety of all the bridal party… care for each other and do not let anyone embarrass themselves later by being too tipsy!
  • Start breaking in your wedding shoes. Wear them around the house or where you can be sure they won’t get dirty.

At Least 1 Week Before:

  • Give a final head count, seating arrangements, and place cards to the caterer.
  • Review wedding ceremony details and procedures with your wedding party.
  • Pack for your honeymoon.
  • Pick out the clothes you’ll wear after you leave the reception.
  • Assign a trusted person to act as ‘troubleshooter’ for all last minute problems and details. Rely on this person to help you as you get closer to the final day.
  • Reception Songs and entertainment and the music for the ceremony should all be in place by now.
  • Plan a fun, relaxing day shared with family or friends. Take Mum and Dad out for a meal.

The Day Before:

  • Give wedding rings to the Best Man.
  • Place the fees for the limousine driver and the clergy or celebrant into sealed envelopes. Give these to the Best Man to be handed out by him on the wedding day.
  • If hairdresser and make up have not been paid, do the same, be sure the money is in envelopes to be given to them.
  • Go through your budget checklist and make sure all the wedding professionals have been paid, and that their timing etc. is all organised.
  • GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP!!!! You’ve got an important day ahead of you tomorrow…

Your Wedding Day:

You are now in the hands of your chosen wedding professionals – have confidence in your choices, and allow them to carry out their jobs unhindered.

Be flexible … you are all human, and many times funny little things that happen on the day that will be the talking point for years to come!

Relax and enjoy this wonderfully special day that marks the beginning of your lives together!

By WA Weddings

WA Weddings is a fresh new blog showcasing original photography and inspirational ideas from beautiful west coast weddings and the most creative local suppliers who made them possible.