The Ultimate Wedding Preparation Checklist 2023

Updated: Feb 12, 2023
By Maryam Olaitan Ajibike
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So, you have finally succeeded in going through the most rigorous scouting process ever, which is the search for that special being. You have ticked all the boxes containing the factors to consider when choosing a life partner. The question has been asked, a lot of awns and screams of ‘say yes’. In other words, you have succeeded in making a proposal or receiving one. Either way, congratulations to you but that’s not all. Not to burst your bubble and all but the real work is just about to begin. 

Planning a wedding is a lot more stressful and hectic than we think. Every engaged couple dreads the wedding preparation list, regardless of whether they are having a traditional wedding, a Christian wedding or a Muslim wedding. And I do not blame them, have you ever taken out time to outline the basic things that must be included in your wedding preparation list? I am sure you immediately reached out for that Panadol or pain reliever on your table.

Anyways, I have taken that Panadol for you, because in this article I have highlighted 50 basic boxes you need to tick for your wedding preparation list to be complete. For those with no plans of getting a wedding planner, I will serve as your ‘fairy god wedding planner’. This list is in no particular order and all you have to do is make sure that you get everything done before your D-day and still get to enjoy the occasion. 

Wedding preparation lists are not something you take lightly. It is like an elaborate game of hide and seek, where you as the bride-to-be are given a set of rules to follow, while trying to find every last detail from your wedding. This can be quite stressful at times but it is also made easy with the help of proper guidance.

Before we begin the wedding preparation list, I would like to issue a friendly caution to the guys; don’t suggest that you would not help with the planning because it is thought that the wedding belongs to the lady alone. I am sure you don’t want your wife to appear anxious and depressed from the strain of planning.

Wedding Preparation List

1. Budget

I know I said the list is in no particular order, but I am sure you know that there’s nothing you can do without having a specific amount you intend to spend. Having a budget helps you to stay in check, it also helps you to monitor your spending and determine your scale of preference.

So, the first on the wedding preparation list is budget and it should be discussed with your spouse. Don’t start contacting a $3000 wedding dress designer, when the budget for the wedding is not even up to half of that. 

Setting a budget can make a huge difference in the planning stage and it is better to start out at least with a small sum than to fall short on your wedding plans or end up paying more than needed. You need to know how to cut your coat according to your size or rather, cut your coat according to the material available. 

2. Assign Duties

If you do not have the capacity to hire a professional wedding planner, you need to assign the duties to either a trusted friend or a family member that you know will be able to withstand half of the pressure of planning. You basically cannot do it all yourself and that’s why you need a friend or a family member to help out.

3. Type of Wedding

Choosing the style of your wedding, whether you want a simple, quiet ceremony or a large, noisy ceremony, is another crucial item to cross off your wedding preparation list.

Years ago, if you had asked me what kind of wedding I wanted, I would have said something very extravagant with horses and doves flying around on a yacht, but now I realize that I cannot make that choice on my own; instead, my significant other and I need to talk about what kind of wedding we really want. 

Even if it is generally accepted that the wedding belongs to the woman, you as a lady still need to talk to your spouse. You must select if the ceremony will be modest or extravagant before choosing whether it will be a destination wedding or the customary event at a church or mosque.

4. Fix a Date With The Church or Mosque

Now that you’ve made up your mind to visit a church or mosque, the next step is to choose a date. I’m sure you are aware that you cannot simply walk into a church or a mosque and demand to be joined together, so make sure you act appropriately.

5. Officiating Minister

We all love a destination wedding, don’t we? The ambiance always has a different vibe to the occasion, whether an indoor or outdoor destination wedding, you still need an officiating minister to tie the knot.

6. Engagement Ring

You and I know that you can’t even proceed with the preparation without first having an engagement ring, so leave whatever you are doing right now and go get that engagement ring. Just kidding though, just make sure you get it as soon as you can.

7. Guest List

This item on the wedding preparation list is not always followed diligently, because you and your spouse can decide to have a guest list of about 50 persons but somehow see over 100 guests that you do not even know.

It still shocks me how that happens, but regardless of that, you still need a guest list that will guide you towards your entire preparation.

8. Theme

Figuring out the theme of your wedding is important, this would help to present your thoughts adequately. There are ranges of themes to pick from but you need to know that whatever you choose must be a representation of what you and your spouse values most.

9. Color of the Day

Getting a color of the day is as important as the theme, the color should also represent what makes you and your spouse happy.

10. Venue

Sorting out the venue is really important as you need to figure out if you would require a hall, a permit to use a particular spot or it’s just going to be a mini celebration in your backyard. Whichever one you decide, now is the time to start looking for a venue that will be suitable to your plans and most importantly your budget.

11. Catering

Catering AKA wedding jollof and small chops should not be taken lightly at all. I mean what is a wedding celebration without food, chops and drinks. Let me let you in on a little secret, half of the guests are only there to have a taste of the special wedding delicacy, do not deprive them of that feeling please.

12. Wedding Dress

You don’t even need a fairy to tell you that getting your wedding dress ready before the occasion is important. For every woman intending to start a family, this box is ticked even before we find our Mr. Right, we already have a vision of how we want our wedding dress to be like, be it a ball gown, a simple gown or a gown that solely represents our being.

Picking the right wedding dress can be really tasking and stressful, so you need to start making the plans to visit your tailor or the designer you wish, as long as it is within your budget.

13. Engagement Pictures

It is important to take engagement pictures also known as pre-wedding pictures.

14. Photographer

Getting a photographer to document your wedding memories is an important box to tick in your wedding preparation list. Don’t delay because finding a good photographer can be quite tasking.

15. Music

Be it a DJ or a band, you need to select what kind of song you want. If you decide to go with the customary DJ, you need to send a playlist that was selected by you and your spouse. You can also choose to have both the DJ and the band, remember it’s your day and as long as it fits into your budget, you can make it happen.

16. Videographer

Having a videographer at your wedding is as important as having a photographer, you need to document the memories using all the available medium necessary.

17. Accommodation for Guests

 It’s crucial to arrange lodging for your wedding visitors, especially if they’re traveling from a long distance. You don’t necessarily have to pay for the lodging, but you can help to get hotels at a reduced rate for the entire number of visitors on your list who inquired about lodging.    

18. Invitation Card

You need to start designing your invitation card as soon as possible, especially the digital one to be shared with your friends.

19. Grooms’ Suits

We have ticked the bridal gown but let’s not forget the grooms’ attire too. It is important to check the wedding suit off your wedding preparation list as soon as you can. Book that appointment with your tailor if you want it custom made or make your selections from that designer that you have picked.

20. Bridesmaid

Another important item to consider in your wedding preparation list is selecting your bridesmaid, this is where you need your closest friends and your sisters if you have any. You also need to select the bridesmaid’s attire. 

21. Cake

What’s a wedding without a cake? Just kidding, but the cake is just as important as the bride. You must make sure that you schedule a meeting with the baker and that you obtain all the flavors you want for your special day.

22. Wedding Rings

This is one of the most important items on any wedding preparation list as you need to be sure that the wedding bands are available and kept safe before the occasion.

23. Groomsmen Attire

Getting the groomsmen attires is as important as getting the bridesmaids attires.

24. Makeup and Hair

You need to ensure that a trial makeup and hair appointment is booked first and everything is in order regarding that department.

25. Vows

Most weddings include the vow, which is a declaration of love and commitment to one another. We now celebrate weddings as a part of our culture, which includes traditions related to getting married.

These customs include a vow that both the bride and the groom can take. Vows can be difficult and appear difficult if not planned ahead of time. So that everyone is aware of what to expect, write up your vows and present them to your minister or wedding coordinator before the event.

26. Marriage License

A marriage license is one of the most important pieces of paperwork that a couple will have to complete prior to their wedding day. However, it is also one of the least discussed and most common parts of your wedding preparation list!

You will need this to register at the courthouse, and more importantly – once your marriage is finalized, it needs to be updated on your driver’s license and passport.

27. Sitting Arrangement

Deciding the sitting arrangement at the reception can be really helpful but most times it is usually neglected. Regardless, you need to ensure that you provide a mental picture of the sitting arrangement.

28. Attire for Parents 

Aside from getting the bridesmaid and groomsmen attire, it is important to decide the parents’ attires too.

29. Ring Bearer

Picking out a ring bearer to present the rings is also important.

30. Emergency Kit

The emergency kit is necessary as it holds items like needle, safety pins, sanitary pad, battery, fan and other things needed for any sort of wardrobe emergency that might arise.

31. Marriage Counseling

Another very important item on the wedding preparation list is the marriage counseling between the couple and their officiating minister.

32. Venue Decorator

You need to ensure that the venue is not bland but decorated with beautiful colors matching the color of the day.

33. Bridal Accessories

Bridal accessories like veils, jewelry, bouquets and others, need to be put in place.

34. Bridal Shower

This is usually planned by the friends of the bride, more like a surprise party to celebrate the brides’ last day of singlehood. Though planned by the friends’, the cost of planning still lies on the bride.

35. Aso-ebi for Guests

Unless you do not intend to get matching attires otherwise known as aso-ebi, for your guests, you should not skip this process. 

36. Spa date

Booking a spa date for relaxation is also another important item to tick while preparing for your wedding.

37. Traditional Wedding Ritual

There are some traditional wedding rituals that need to be looked into before you can go ahead with the wedding. You need to ensure that all the items required for the traditional wedding are in place, for this you will need to consult the elders in your family, to know what is required when going to visit your in-laws.

38. Pre-marriage Seminars

In order to achieve a successful marriage and avoid divorce, there are many factors that need to be considered. Pre-marriage seminars are helpful in preparing for a long-lasting relationship with your partner by learning about the importance of communication, compromise and compromise, honesty, jealousy control etc.

39. Bridal Car

Every bride needs to make her grand entrance on her wedding day, you need to ensure that the bridal car to transport the bride to the venue is sorted in order to avoid any last-minute rush.

40. Souvenirs for the Guests

It is important to prepare souvenirs for your guests, it doesn’t have to be a really huge gift, it just has to be a thoughtful one that shows your gratitude to them for gracing your occasion.

I can boldly say that I am one of those guests that looks forward to the souvenirs they get at a wedding. There is this joy on my face when I get either a jotter or a kitchen utensil from the couple, it shows that the couple appreciates my presence.

41. Reception Program of Event

Another item on the wedding preparation checklist that shouldn’t be overlooked is the program of events for the reception; even so, it’s crucial to have an outline of how the celebration will proceed.

42. Reception Usher

Getting ushers to work the reception is also needed.

43. Transportation for Groom

Not only the bride needs transportation or a fancy bridal car to get her to the wedding location, you need to know that the Groom makes an entrance first before the bride, so arranging for how him and his groomsmen will get to the location is also as important as the bridal transportation arrangement.

44. Master of Ceremony

You need either a professional MC to host the event or someone from your group of friends that knows how to carry the audience along to make the occasion interesting.

45. Chairman of the Day

The chairman of the day needs to be a well respected person from the brides’ family, someone who commands authority. The chairman of the day can either be an uncle to the bride, an elder in church or a family cleric. You need to inform the person taking up that role to prepare for the task ahead.

46. High Table Like

Not everyone can make it to the high table now, so you need to start deciding the guests that would grace the high table on your special day.

47. Workout to Keep Find

In case your dress is a size small, you might want to register at a gym months before your wedding, to make you shed a little bit of weight, keep fit and to also help in taking off the work stress. You can also choose to do some anaerobic workouts at home.

48. After Party

This item on the wedding preparation list is not for everyone as some do not have plans for any after party, but if you do have plans for that, you need to start making plans as soon as possible.

49. Ensure to Eat

This is for both the husband and wife to be, I do not know how to stress this enough, you need to ensure to eat on your wedding day. No matter how little, try to get something in your tummy, yes, the butterflies in your stomach will go against the food, but you still need to feed your stomach.

50. Enjoy the Ceremony

I decided to put this item last on the wedding preparation list because you have scaled through all the stress of planning, it’s finally your day. All you need to do at this point is to relax and enjoy the occasion, regardless of whatever goes wrong.

You need to tick this box on the list with a smile on your face and get ready to face what lies ahead after the wedding. It’s a long road ahead but I am sure you will make it.


Life begins when we say “I do”, however it is important to go through the wedding preparation process not only to make it special but also to learn to be independent. After all, our future lives with us.

With so much on her plate, it is only natural for a bride-to-be to feel exhausted and succumb to the stress but having a wedding preparation list as a guideline helps to put them through.

Regardless of how many of the boxes you have to tick in your wedding preparation list, remember to get as much rest as you can get. 

Usually, in most African countries and cultures, there is a lot of pressure on an individual to rush into marriage; culture has taught us that the sooner you get into marriage, the better it is for your life.

So, get your priorities right and make sure you have both made the right choice with respect to marriage, then you can go ahead with planning your BIG DAY.


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