Wedding Checklist: A Simple Guide To Planning Your Big Day

We know that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to planning a wedding, as every wedding depends on the couple’s preferences, their budget, and the type of wedding they desire. However, some tips to help plan a wedding are straightforward.

This article is a simple guide to planning your big day. Apart from getting you started with searching for wedding inspiration and ideas, it will also paint the picture of the things that need to be done and what you should consider before you take the plunge.

Simply follow our guidelines and answers to the most common questions brides and grooms are usually asking at the first stages of the wedding planning and personalise the answers depending on your case to meet your expectations for the big day.

From a to-do list draft to the final stages, this is the first step to making sure you have everything you need in place before you walk down the aisle.

Beach Wedding – IMG Source: Pexels – Asad

What are the stages of a wedding?

Every couple is different, and every wedding is unique, but the most common stages that couples go through during their wedding process are the following:

  • the pre-planning
  • the wedding day
  • and the post-wedding honeymoon which marks the beginning of their married life

Some couple choose to do the rehearsal dinner and participate in stag and hen dos, but these are up for you to decide at later stages on your wedding planning process. There are so many aspects to wedding planning, but with our guidance you’re off for a good start on your wedding planning journey.

What are the steps to planning a wedding?

There are many steps to planning that a coordinator can help you with down to every little detail. It all starts with putting together a few wedding ideas that you feel are suited for the wedding style you have envisioned. But if you are looking for the bigger picture, the outline of your wedding planning checklist should include the list below.

Simple Wedding Checklist

  • Set a budget
  • Pick a date
  • Get a marriage license
  • Research and choose a venue
  • Decide upon your ceremony and reception decor
  • Pick a caterer
  • Create your food and drinks menu
  • Choose a florist
  • Choose a DJ or band
  • Orchestrate your entertainment program
  • Think of transportation for you and your closest friends or family members
  • Choose a photographer and a videographer
  • Purchase your wedding invitations
  • Plan the ceremony details
  • Plan the wedding reception
  • Research and purchase your wedding attire
  • Register for the wedding
  • Create the wedding day timeline
Bridal Bouquet – IMG Source: Pexels – Irina Iriser

What is a wedding timeline?

A wedding timeline is a document that outlines the key events of a wedding and when they will take place. It can be helpful for couples to have a timeline to refer to as they plan their wedding.

The timeline should include things like when the invitations will be sent out, when the dress and tuxes will be rented, and when the wedding will take place. A wedding timeline is an outline that helps you plan month by month and what tasks need to be completed at each phase of the wedding.

How do I put my wedding timeline together?

A wedding coordinator can help you create a timeline for the wedding day and gather all data in a planner, as well as updating it with feedback from your vendors and wedding party members. However, some tips on putting together a wedding timeline by yourself include:

  • Start by figuring out your wedding date and working backwards from there
  • Decide on your wedding ceremony and reception venues and book them as soon as possible to confirm the date
  • Choose your wedding party venue and start planning the logistics
  • Get feedback from your vendors and wedding party members about how long things will take before you finalise your timeline
  • Make sure your wedding checklist covers all key moments of your big day

But what exactly is a wedding planning checklist?

It’s a list of the things you should have done before you walk down the aisle. It’s a simple way to make sure you have everything you need in place and that your wedding goes as planned for you and your partner.

Make sure that your wedding timeline and your wedding planning checklist are accessible from anywhere and can be checked off on your cell phone, tablet or laptop.

Wedding Day Schedule – IMG Source: Pexels – Aviz

How do I schedule my wedding day?

Planning your wedding ceremony is tricky, as it can be fun, yet also overwhelming. The best way to decide is to think about your wedding as a story. What are the important elements of the story for you? Start by writing a draft that you can work with and adjust along the way, and you can later go back and cover every little detail, too.

There are many elements that are important in a wedding, as the ceremony is also a time for celebration and togetherness. As such, you want to make sure you are able to include all of your guests in your ceremony and have enough time for them to get seated waiting for the bride and groom to walk down the aisle.

On another note, you don’t want your ceremony to be too long, you want to make sure the ceremony is true to you as a couple but also that your guests are entertained throughout the day and don’t spent too much time just waiting for key moment to happen.

How do you time a wedding ceremony?

There is no one answer to this question as it can vary depending on the couple’s preference, the location of the wedding, and the time of day. However, a typical wedding ceremony usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes.

When you choose a location for your wedding, it is important to consider the amount of time and space you have available. If you are not sure how to time your ceremony, you can always consult a professional to help with the most important decisions and ensure everything will run smoothly on your big day.

At Arches you have a two hour window for your ceremony, so there is more than enough time for you to exchange vows, cut the cake, cheer and take pictures to make the most of this amazing beach wedding location for your ceremony.

Arches Wedding Venue – IMG Source: Arches Beach Weddings

When should I start wedding planning?

Next weekend? The next week? Next month? How long before a wedding should you start planning?

When it comes to wedding planning, there are two main strategies that are frequently discussed. Some couples start wedding planning as soon as they can, while others wait until they know their priorities and budget before they start.

Once you’ve set up the date, it’s probably a good idea to planning your wedding sooner rather than later. You may want to begin looking for wedding venues and venues for your reception, even before you have a guest list and a budget.

Most couples kickoff at least 9 to 12 months before the wedding date. This way there is plenty of time to make decisions, book vendors, and plan the big day.

Whatever you choose, keep in mind that the earliest, the better. Once you’ve said “yes”, you can start on writing down how you picture your dream wedding and adjust as you go along. Postponing planning will leave room for the unpredictable, and putting a brief checklist together is better than having none. So start small, take baby steps, and you’ll get there!

Do I need a wedding coordinator?

Wedding planning can be fun, but it’s also stressful. Too often people say that they don’t need a wedding planner, as they can arrange everything DIY. And while it’s true, it is also noteworthy that wedding planning is a lot of work. In fact, we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface. No matter how much you know about planning your own wedding, it’s best to have a wedding planner who can help you go through the process and organise your wedding.

If you are planning a small wedding, you can try and do it by yourself and the help you can get from your closest. However, if you are planning a large wedding, then you should probably consider hiring a wedding coordinator to help you plan your wedding down to every little detail to meet your expectations and make sure everything goes as planned. They can help you choose vendors, keep track of expenses, provide support before, during, and after your big day, but most importantly, they can help you incorporate touches into your ceremony that makes it uniquely yours.

At the end of the day, the most important aspect is that you should be able to enjoy your ceremony, reception, and party without worrying too much if everything goes according to the plan, so don’t take responsibility for more tasks than you can handle.

Wedding Day – IMG Source: Pexels – Logan Rhoads

How much money should I expect to spend on wedding planning?

The wedding planning budget can depend on many things. For example, do you want a wedding that’s both easy and convenient? Do you want a wedding that’s quick and intimate or an extravagant wedding with hundreds of guests?

Start by factoring in your budget and then find creative solutions that work within your parameters. It’s important to do your research ahead of time so you know what’s affordable and what will really make your wedding stand out.

Why is wedding planning so hard?

There are many reasons wedding planning can be hard. Some couples have very different ideas about what they want, others have complicated family dynamics to navigate, and still others struggle with the cost of weddings. Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember to be flexible and open with regards to your decisions, and that it’s okay to ask for help from professional wedding planners. Alternatively, you can ask family members and friends to get some load off your back, most people would be excited to be part of the planning process.

Do I need a wedding website?

When planning your wedding, you may be wondering if you need to create a website, but it all depends on you. If your event is small, you may not need a website. However, if you want to make sure that all of your guests can find information about the wedding and contribute to your wedding in any way, then a website makes it easier to organise everything.

Creating a wedding website has many benefits. For starters, you can keep all your guests updated, and it allows them to connect with each other online. This can be especially helpful for out-of-town guests who may not know many people at the wedding. Additionally, a website provides all of the necessary information about the event, from the date and time to directions and hotel information.

Wedding Party – IMG Source: Pexels – Soner

What is the order of events in a ceremony and wedding party?

There is no definitive answer to this question as each wedding is unique. The order of events at a wedding party may vary depending on the couple, but there are some traditions that always hold true. Most weddings commence with the bride and groom’s arrival, followed by the processional. The processional is typically led by the bridal party, who walk down the aisle to meet the wedded pair. After exchanging vows, rings, and a kiss, it’s time for photos! Then everyone heads to the reception for dinner, speeches, cake-cutting, and dancing. Finally, it’s time for goodbyes as newlyweds leave for their honeymoon.

What are the first things you should do on your wedding day?

  • The first thing you do at a wedding is usually greet the guests and take some pictures
  • Check the wedding checklist to make sure everything is in order
  • Keep a record of what was done, and what needs to happen next
  • You might also want toasts or speeches

A template for your wedding day timeline

Here are the main steps to your wedding day schedule started. Use it as a first draft, adjust it to your preference, and make sure you add to the list all the key moments you would like to include in your wedding:

  • The bridal party usually arrives before the guests and takes their seats at the front of the ceremony room
  • After everyone has arrived, the ceremony begins with an introduction by the master of ceremonies
  • The bride and groom then make their way down the aisle, accompanied by their parents
  • Following the ceremony, there is usually a receiving line so that guests can congratulate the newlyweds
  • Then it’s time for photos!
  • After photos, it’s off to find your seat at the wedding breakfast or lunch
  • The speeches usually take place after dessert. The best man usually goes first, followed by father of the bride and mother of groom speeches
  • Wedding dances typically begin once all speeches have been made. First dance take place, and next anyone can join in!
Wedding Beach Venue – IMG Source: Pexels Quang

What are some common mistakes couples make when planning their wedding?

There are many things to consider when planning a wedding, and it’s easy to make errors. Wedding planning mistakes are common, but they’re usually not the end of the world. It’s important to be aware of general pitfalls to avoid them.

Finally, here is a list of wedding shortcomings that you might want to avoid when planning your wedding:

Not ordering wedding invitations in time

Make sure you order your invitations well in advance, and allow plenty of time for them to be delivered to you and then to your guests.

Not getting a list of what the photographer should capture

Make sure to exchange notes with your partner and ask your photographer for a list of all the shots they’ll need to capture the best moments of your wedding.

Forgetting to buy thank-you cards

This is a small gesture with a big impact, so take the time to thank everyone who helped make your day special with a handwritten note.

Not giving yourself enough time to prepare

Start planning well in advance, and give yourself plenty of time to make decisions and take care of everything that needs doing.

Not getting wedding planning advice

Try not to take responsibility for everything, even if it is your wedding! Remember, it is ok to ask for help from your closest friends and family, especially if you have decided not to have a wedding coordinator.

Not planning the honeymoon itinerary

In the excitement of getting married, couples often don’t always think about what happens after they say “I do”, and forget to put together their honeymoon itinerary in advance, and this can interfere with your plans down the road, especially budget-wise.

Not having a rehearsal dinner

The rehearsal dinner takes place before the wedding ceremony as it is an opportunity for guests to share a meal with each other in celebration of the couple’s union. It is also a chance for the bride and groom to thank their family, friends, and wedding party, and for them to practice walking down the aisle together before they do it for real.

Not picking their wedding outfit in time

If you need to have a dress custom made, then it is best to leave plenty of time for alterations. If you are buying off the rack from a bridal shop with an extensive selection, you may need to try on a few dresses before you find the one. The same is true for your groom and his groomsmen, so allow yourselves enough time to make sure you have the wedding attire that you are most happy and comfortable to be wearing.

Not doing the final dress fitting

The wedding shoes and dress need to be tried on before the wedding to make sure everything fits just right. It’s not uncommon that your feet might swell, and if the shoes are not comfortable, this little problem can ruin your mood on your big day.

A dress that is too tight can cause backaches, plus, wedding planning can be stressful, so there can be weight loss or gain that you might need to take into consideration. So allow yourself the time to try on the wedding outfit and make the necessary adjustments to make sure all goes as planned.

Not having wedding favours

You should have favours at your wedding because it is a nice way to say thank you to your guests for coming and supporting you. It will also make them feel special that they are getting a little something from you. You can give out small gifts like candy or mints, or even make it a more personal touch by having them match your wedding theme.

Not having the engagement ring insured

It is not a must, and it surely depends on your financial situation, but it would definitely help to have your engagement ring insured because if anything happens to it, it will be both an emotional and a financial loss that might interfere with the budget you had planned to spend on your wedding.

Wedding Planning Tips

We hope you found our guide on wedding planning useful, and we wish you good luck organising your wedding. If you are on the lookout for more ideas, why not check out other practical guides for more inspiration on:

Before you go, don’t forget to check out our Bridal Suite, which is perfect for you and your partner to expand your celebration by spending the first night here as a married couple in one of the best beach wedding locations in Devon.