Skip to content

Wedding Checklist

YOUR WEDDING! Planning your wedding can be overwhelming and staying organized is the key to a perfect day. We hope this checklist will help you get started in planning your special day.

? LET’S GET ORGANIZED. Download The Knot Wedding Planner app. Consider hiring a wedding planner. Make a wedding website at

? FIRST THINGS FIRST. Talk to your fiancé and both of your parents or anyone else who may be contributing to the cost of the wedding.

? SELECT YOUR BRIDESMAIDS AND GROOMSMEN.  Invite them personally to be in your wedding party.

? START THE GUEST LIST. The guest count will determine many of your later decisions.

? RESEARCH AND BOOK CEREMONY AND RECEPTION LOCATIONS. Considering a destination wedding? Some venues come complete with their own wedding planner. Wherever the wedding is, book a block of rooms at a convenient hotel for your out of town guests.

? Once your ceremony location is set, SELECT YOUR OFFICIANT. Discuss religious requirements, like premarital counseling.

? RESEARCH YOUR WEDDING VENDORS You’ll want to select your photographer, caterer, bartender, florist, bakery and musicians as soon as possible. Make all your plans with vendors in writing.

? When you SELECT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER, have engagement photos taken so you get comfortable with one another. Consider making a small list of a dozen or so MUST HAVE shots for your photographer. Then let them work their magic. It’s a wedding – not a photo shoot.

? START THE SEARCH FOR YOUR DRESS. Attend a bridal fair or wedding dress trunk show for ideas then shop local.


? MAKE YOUR LONG-TERM BEAUTY PLAN – including weight loss, teeth whitening, aesthetic treatments and haircuts.

? REGISTER AT TWO OR MORE LOCAL STORES. Check out some of the most popular registry items in this issue. Online registries are convenient for out of town guests.

? Go to a quality stationer and SELECT A STYLE FOR YOUR INVITATIONS. If your wedding is still nine months or more away, consider ordering save-the-date cards. Order invitations and thank you notes. For a small wedding, consider hand stenciled invitations.

? Go to a travel agent and START PLANNING THE HONEYMOON.

? Take a trusted friend who is a bridesmaid with you to SELECT THE BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES. Then have your bridesmaids be measured and order their dresses and shoes.

? Once you’ve found THE dress, ORDER YOUR GOWN AND ACCESSORIES – including your veil and shoes. Schedule fittings for at least six weeks before the wedding and a final fitting at two weeks prior.

? ON TO THE GROOM! Select his look first and then the groomsmen. Let the groomsmen know where to come to be measured.

? RESERVE ANY LOGISTIC NEEDS  such as tents, chairs, tables, linens, valet services, portable toilets, transportation for the wedding party and/or guests, etc.

? BOOK YOUR REHEARSAL DINNER VENUE and any other event venues like welcome reception or next-day brunch. Put together the guest lists for the rehearsal dinner and any other events.

? If you didn’t hire a full-service wedding planner, CONSIDER AT LEAST HIRING A “DAY OF” COORDINATOR. Trust me. You will want one.

? PREPARE GUEST LISTS for the host(s) of any showers that may be thrown for you. Do not invite guests to more than one “gift” event. Do not invite guests to showers who are not invited to the wedding and/or reception.

? SCHEDULE YOUR HAIR AND MAKEUP FOR THE BIG DAY. Consider a makeup artist. Book appointments to “practice” so you are comfortable and look like “you.”

? MEET WITH YOUR VENDORS TO SELECT YOUR CHOICES. Order your cakes. Choose your flowers. Select a song list for the musicians. Select your menu with the caterer. Sometimes it’s fun to have a tasting night with the caterer preparing the wedding menu for a small group of your family.

? ALCOHOL OR NO ALCOHOL? It’s a personal choice. Consider the choices of you and your fiancé, as well as your parents and guests.

? CONSIDER WEDDING FAVORS. Something from a local purveyor is always nice.

? SCHEDULE DANCE LESSONS right here in Knoxville. Make it more fun by including the parents.

? FINALIZE YOUR PROGRAM Order printed programs if you choose. Make a toast list.

? BUY YOUR WEDDING RINGS. This may also be a good time to purchase presents for your parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen. Decide whether to wear your engagement ring at the ceremony.

? ADDRESS AND SEND OUT YOUR INVITATIONS. If the budget allows, have a calligrapher hand stencil them. Mail the invitations between six and eight weeks before the wedding. Ask your caterer regarding the RSVP date.

? TOUCH BASE WITH YOUR VENDORS to confirm dates, deposits and details.


? BUY OR RENT OR EVEN DIY CEREMONY AND RECEPTION DECORATIONS. Purchase a guest book with an attractive pen.

? FINALIZE YOUR CEREMONY with your officiant. Write your vows.

? PURCHASE YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE at the Knox County Clerk office. Come together and bring your identification such as your driver’s license or passport. A fee of $97.50 is required when applying for the license. The license is valid for 30 days. You can get a fee reduction to $37.50 if you complete a premarital preparation course.

? START RESEARCHING NAME-CHANGE PAPERWORK. Once you have your marriage certificate, you’ll start with the Social Security Administration to change your social security number over to your new name. Once you get your new social security card, bring it, your old driver’s license and your marriage certificate and head to the DMV to change your driver’s license. With your new social security card and driver’s license, head to the bank and change over bank accounts and investment accounts. After that, most of the changes will be easy.

? MONITOR YOUR RSVPS and stay in touch with your caterer. Confirm your hotel room blocks. Consider welcome baskets for the out-of-town guests.

? FINALIZE YOUR MENU with your caterer.


? SEND OUT ANY REMAINING FINAL PAYMENTS TO VENDORS. Figure out tips or final payments to be made at reception and put in clearly marked envelopes and give to Best Man to hand out at the reception.

? CREATE A TIMELINE  and confirm both time and date with all wedding vendors, and with your hairstylist and makeup artist. Print directions for chauffeurs and vendors if necessary. Be sure to share the timeline with your bridesmaids and groomsmen.

? HAVE YOUR FINAL GOWN FITTING. Select your jewelry and purse. Break in your shoes. Make special memories selecting your something old, new, borrowed and blue.

? SEND THE FINAL GUEST LIST TO THE CATERER and/or venue hosting your events.

? BUY SOME FUN NEW CLOTHES AND LINGERIE FOR YOUR HONEYMOON. Pack your suitcase. Remember passports. Double check with the airline and honeymoon hotel.

? MAKE A BACKUP PLAN FOR WEATHER. Don’t forget umbrellas for both the ceremony and receptions venues. Worried about rain? Check out Pinterest for weddings in the rain. It’s all in your attitude.

? DISTRIBUTE WELCOME BASKETS for out-of-town guests and the wedding party.

? DESIGNATE ONE PERSON TO HAVE THE WEDDING RINGS at the ceremony (best man or maid of honor). That person should also have your marriage certificate at the ceremony for the officiant to sign. It has to be returned to the county clerk to order your marriage certificate.


? ASK ANOTHER PERSON TO PACK UP YOUR GIFTS/BELONGINGS AFTER THE RECEPTION. Don’t forget the top tier of your cake. Ask another person to return the groom’s tux and other rental items the day after the wedding. You do have a lot of family and friends who offered to help, don’t you?

? The day before make sure all WEDDING-DAY ITEMS ARE LAID OUT and ready to go. 

? ENJOY THE REHEARSAL AND DINNER. Give out your attendants’ gifts. Go to bed early. You need your beauty sleep tonight.


? ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME TO GET READY. Wear comfortable shoes pre ceremony. Bring a handkerchief.

? TAKE A DEEP BREATH. Relax and enjoy your big day with your spouse and thank your guests for coming.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Something will go wrong. Maybe lots of somethings. Go with the flow. You will still be married at the end of the day and how much you enjoy your wedding has a lot to do with how relaxed you are throughout the process. Try to plan for your marriage as much as you plan for your wedding. A beautiful wedding is only the beginning. Enjoy your day!

More Stories

  • Publisher's Letter

    If we needed a reminder of the season that is upon us, mother nature provided it with the return of cold weather! There is no greater time in East Tennessee than fall with the beautiful colors that welcome thousands of visitors to the mountains, but we now transition into the holiday season. Read More
  • 9th Annual Rocky Hill Christmas Parade & Festival Returns on December 2nd

    One of Knoxville's most eagerly anticipated holiday events, the Annual Rocky Hill Christmas Parade, is back to spread joy and fun on Saturday, December 2nd. This beloved tradition will kick off the holiday season with a dazzling display of lights, music, and community spirit- sure to delight attendees of all ages. Read More
  • Blessing of the Pets at ESK

    Hundreds of pets receive blessings from clergy members each year here at the Episcopal School of Knoxville. This year, on October 4th, we saw a wide range of pets including dogs, cats, chickens, horses, snakes and rats. Read More
  • Covenant Health Chief Nursing Officer Honored by Becker’s Hospital Review

    Debbi Honey, RN, was recently named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of “153 Hospital and Health System Chief Nursing Officers to Know.” Honey has served as senior vice president and chief nursing officer of Covenant Health since October 2017. Read More