Keep your wedding budget and planning on track with this definitive guide to all the things you may need to pay for and do...

photo of a married couple's hands

The Wedding Essentials

  • Hire a wedding planner
  • Ceremony location
  • Reception venue
  • Guest list
  • Engagement photos
  • Register on wedding planner website (The Knot, mywedding, WeddingWire)
  • Set a wedding budget
  • Form a spending plan

photo of a married couple dancingWedding Detail

Stationery

  • Save-the-date cards
  • Invitations
  • Map/direction cards
  • Reply cards
  • Ceremony cards
  • Postage
  • Newspaper announcement
  • Thank you notes
  • Rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Bachelor and Bridal party invitations
  • Wedding programs
  • Address labels

Apparel

  • Gown, veil, jewelry, accessories
  • Bridal shoes
  • Shoes for reception
  • Bridesmaid dresses
  • Groom's tux
  • Groomsmen tuxes
  • Pocket handkerchief
  • Cufflinks
  • Garters
  • Alterations
  • Children's apparel (flower girl, ring bearer)
  • Gown preservation
  • Dress for Rehearsal Dinner

Ceremony

  • Clergy/officiant
  • Location fee
  • Marriage license
  • Marriage certificate
  • Rehearsal arrangements
  • Hairdresser/makeup artist
  • Chair/pew rental
  • Chair/pew decorations
  • Ring bearer pillow
  • Unity candle
  • Ushers
  • Transportation
  • Rice/rose petals/bubbles

Flowers

  • Brides bouquet
  • Bridesmaids bouquets
  • Corsages
  • Boutonniere
  • Reception centerpieces
  • Pew/chair bows
  • Flower girls' flowers

Reception

  • Venue
  • Deposit
  • Caterer
  • Musician/DJ/Band
  • Wedding cake
  • Table decorations
  • Other decorations
  • Table linens
  • Chair covers
  • Parking
  • Gratuities
  • Limousine
  • Child-care
  • Guest-lodging

Gifts & Favors

  • Gift for fiancée
  • Guest favors
  • Bridesmaid gifts
  • Groomsmen gifts
  • Hotel Guest Welcome Bags

Photography

  • Wedding party portraits
  • Reception
  • Ceremony
  • Videography
  • Family portraits

Honeymoon

  • Airfare
  • Accommodations
  • Rental car
  • Entertainment
  • Spending money

And Don't Forget

  • Social Security card
  • Driver's license
  • Order new checks, credit, debit and ATM cards
  • Designate beneficiary on bank accounts, retirement accounts, and insurance policies
  • Update name with alumni associations, professional memberships, subscriptions, social media accounts, and place of employment
  • Make financial plans, budgets, and goals
  • Create a will