Planning a wedding is an exciting undertaking. But the experience can also be stressful, especially if the couple has never planned a large-scale event before.

Only 30 percent of couples hire a wedding planner. That means that at least 70 percent plan their nuptials themselves. It’s easy to forget an important detail, but the slightest mishap can cause major interruptions during the wedding day.

If you’re in the wedding planning process, you might be worried about forgetting something. Thankfully, we have you covered. 

In this guide, we’ll share seven items that will make or break your wedding day. You can create a wedding planning checklist you can rely on and feel confident you are planning the wedding day of your dreams!

1. Create a Budget for Your Wedding Plans

Before you and your partner can begin planning a wedding, you will need to create a budget together. 

Be as detailed as possible. Determine what your priorities are for the big day. Create a budget for each expense on your wedding planning checklist.

By creating a budget, you can avoid overspending as much as possible, and keep track of your expenditures. This will ensure there are no surprises, and that you are both comfortable with what is being spent on your big day.

2. Build a Guest List

Once you’ve created a budget, it’s time to think about the size of your wedding. The average guest costs well over $200 now. Each time someone is added to the guest list, you will be increasing your costs.

It’s important to be on the same page about your guest list from the early stages of planning. This will prevent any unexpected additions, so you can better prepare for your wedding day.

Make sure you consider if you will be allowing for plus ones, and if your guests will be attending your wedding with their children. 

You will also need to consider how many guests will be traveling from out of town. You may need to think about providing transportation to and from the venue or reserving a block of hotel rooms nearby.

3. Choose Venues for Your Ceremony and Reception

Any wedding planning guide will tell you to think about booking your venue early. Nowadays, there is a good chance you will need to book multiple venues—one for the ceremony and another for the reception. 

You may also need to consider where you will be having your pictures done throughout the day. If you are planning to use another location for photos, you may need to reserve that space as well.

Most cities offer limited venues. By booking early, you will ensure you have an available location for your wedding. However, you will also be able to provide more information about the space to other vendors you book.

4. Select a Color Palette and Design for Wedding Planning

You should select a color palette and design themes early in your wedding planning process. 

By understanding the colors and themes of your big day, you will be better prepared to make other wedding planning choices. Having a color palette picked will help you decide on wedding party attire, a cake, flowers, and other decor.

You may also find it helpful to have a design in mind when you are creating other details like your seating chart or when you are planning your ceremony.

When choosing a color palette, it’s best to choose colors that are complementary. Many brides and grooms select colors that coordinate with the season, but there are no hard and fast rules.

5. Buy Wedding Rings and Insurance

Take time to browse together and determine what kind of wedding rings you’re looking for. There are several styles of rings available—from rings made of wood or meteorite to men’s ceramic wedding rings. But confirm that the rings arrive in time if you are ordering them.

Make sure your wedding rings fit properly before your wedding day. You will want to make sure the rings slide on easily but remain tight enough that they won’t fall off.

You should also get your rings insured. While you are not planning on losing your wedding band, especially on your wedding night, accidents do happen. Purchasing insurance is a way to make sure your ring is covered if something goes wrong.

6. Find Clothing 

Most brides know they should order their wedding dress months in advance. But few realize their bridal party needs to order ahead as well. 

Make this process fun by organizing brunch with your girls, or a day of golf with the boys followed by a trip to the bridal shop or a suit rental.

Consider allowing your wedding party to wear different styles, but try to keep everyone unified by choosing clothing with the hues of your color palette. 

Grooms also need to be fitted for a suit or tuxedo well in advance. This will help the suit business confirm that the rental will be ready and available for your big day.

7. Hire a Wedding Photographer

Wedding photographers might be a dime a dozen, but the ones with the best reputation book up quickly. Do yourselves a favor and book a wedding photographer soon after you announce your engagement.

This is one of the most important wedding planning tips out there. It’s important that you’re happy with photos from your wedding day.

Most wedding photographers will meet with you and invite you to do an engagement shoot. This will get you accustomed to posing for them, and allow them to get used to shooting you. Plus, engagement shoots are a lot of fun!

Don’t Miss Important Wedding Details

Wedding planning is a huge undertaking for couples. There are a lot of details to consider, and if you forget something, it can really impact your day. 

By making sure the seven items listed here are included on your wedding planning checklist, you can feel confident that you’ve thought of everything. 

Follow the Marriage and Weddings section under the Family tab of our website for more helpful wedding planning tips like this. And start planning the wedding of your dreams!