The Ultimate Checklist For Planning a Gay Wedding

Gay and Lesbian weddings

This list is the only checklist you’ll need to use during your gay wedding planning. We have tried to include all the little details to the bigger, most important task. From the budget to hiring the band, we have compiled everything into one handy checklist for your peace of mind during the entire process.

Relish in the excitement – First things first, and that’s to just enjoy your new engagement. Take at least two weeks to just be one with your partner and enjoy your private time. As soon as the word is out you will be bombarded with questions, opinions and ideas. It’s best to just take some private time to enjoy your new status. We recommend waiting to tell people until just before the engagement party or the party itself.

☐ Insure Jewellery – Something people often forget to do but is such an important task. It’s is to insure their engagement jewellery. Whether it is a ring, bracelet, necklace or watch! You want to protect it no matter what. Your partner (or you) has taken care to choose this token of their affection. The last thing you want is an awkward conversation about losing the ring down the toilet.

Purchase a wedding planner, book or folder – You are going to want to keep all your ideas, notes and plans in one place. Purchase or download a wedding planner or blank book to have everything written down in will help keep you organised. There are many books about wedding planning, it’s a good idea to invest in one for both of you to read.

Brainstorm – This is one of the first really fun tasks that get you into the buzz of wedding planning. Gather ideas by scouring the internet for inspiration. Pop down any songs you want can’t wait to dance to. Your favourite flowers that have to appear at the wedding and any other dream ideas you’ve had or found. It doesn’t matter if it seems unfeasible right now, you can refine and condense later on. Now is just a time to for inspiration and excitement.

Budget – Before you become too carried away with ideas and fantasies about your wedding. It’s best to discuss a minimum/maximum budget so that you can be realistic going forward. Create a rough idea about what you’re willing to spend when looking at venues and suppliers. As much fun as it is dreaming of a wedding in St. Barths, it just may not be within your means. Explore what things can cost and how that will fit in your budget. This is one of the most important tasks during the beginning stages of wedding planning.

Health & Wellbeing Plan – This is not necessary whatsoever but we think it’s a brilliant idea. Sit and create either a self-care kit or just write down a wellbeing reminder page. They are handy to refer back to whenever you feel stressed. We all know how stressful wedding planning can be. It’s smart to have some things in place in case you feel bogged down. Remember to always prioritize your and your partner’s mental health. For more tips on well-being, we have an article on “How To Stay Stress-free While Planning A Gay Wedding

Research and Prioritize – This will probably be your first time planning a wedding and so it’s a good idea to research real weddings. See what sort of things people have included like the themes, food and entertainment. It will give you inspiration and help you decide what to prioritise on the day and what isn’t. You may not be fussy about what you wear but want to spend plenty on food, drink and entertainment or maybe the other way round! It’s important to decide what you want to prioritise. This is so that you don’t end up feeling regret for not remembering to include something you wish you had.

Establish events – There are many events during the wedding calendar but not all are necessary. Decide which events are going to be important to you and whether you want to throw them or not. Bear in mind your family, wedding party and friends can host certain events. This can take the pressure off you and your partner. The events included are:
Engagement Party
Wedding Shower
Stag/Hen/Fox Party (aka Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bach)
Welcome Party
Rehearsal Dinner

Announcement and Engagement Party – Now that you have decided what events are a must in your wedding calendar, it’s time to plan one of them! The engagement party is where you can announce your engagement (if you haven’t already) to your close friends and family. It’s a party where everyone can offer their congratulations. We have a guide on “How To Plan An LGBTQ+ Engagement Party” to give you ideas and tips.

Hire a Planner – Now that you have a rough budget, planned and attended your gay engagement party it’s time to really think about the wedding. Wedding planners are useful people who help make your dream a reality and are heavily involved in materialising your plans. You want to hire them pretty quickly as they can begin to contact venues and vendors. They also provide useful information and input which can help with certain decision making going forward. They, of course, are not necessary and can be quite costly depending on who you choose. However, don’t feel that you can’t take on the challenge of wedding planning on your own. There are tons of resources and information to help ease the process!

Draft Guest List – The people you share this day with are probably the most important part of the ceremony and reception (besides the actual elopement). Make sure you figure out exactly who you can’t bear to celebrate without and those who you don’t mind skipping out on. Drafting up the guest list will also give you a rough idea of how many people you need to cater for and whether it’s feasible with your determined budget. If you’re not sure how to go about planning your guest list, we have you covered! Check out “Who To Invite To A Gay Wedding

Invitation Addresses – Something people forget to do after they’ve discussed the guest list is to gather all the addresses you need to send invitations to. A simple task that can help keep you organised when it comes to the actual invitation preparation and sending.

Wedding Party – By this point, you’re going to want to recruit your closest family and friends to help support you on this wedding journey. Decide who you’re going to have in your wedding party (if you’re going to have one) and arrange the way you’re going to tell them. People from your wedding party can help you with things like going to clothing alterations and try-ons. Also, venue viewing if your partner is unavailable to go with you and pick up decorations or props. Anything where you feel you might want support, your wedding party is who you should feel you can turn to. It will also be a good idea to maybe host a wedding party get-together so that your attendants can meet each other if they haven’t already.

Venue Research and Touring – Where you host your gay wedding is going to be one of the biggest decisions of the entire wedding planning process. It’s the blank canvas that sets the tone and atmosphere for your day. Research and tour venues ASAP to ensure you don’t leave yourself disappointed by not being able to reserve your dream venue in time. Another consideration is if they have a honeymoon suite and whether you need to book it or not.

Save The Date – Hopefully, by this point you have contacted your venue and discussed their availability. It’s now time to figure out when you want to have your wedding. Once you decide, it’s time to send out those “Save The Date” cards at least one year out. These aren’t the official invitations because they don’t include an address, dress code or time. But, they are necessary for guests so that they know to keep that day free and start saving for any gifts, travel or accommodation if need be.

Registry Office Meeting – You’ll need to meet with your local register office to give them notice that you plan to marry in the near future. It’s done no more than 12 months in advance and at least 28 days before the wedding day. They have to approve and give authority to the registrar in order for you to be able to hold a ceremony. This obviously works differently in different locations but this is a general rule when officially registering your marriage.

Themes, Palettes and Style – It’s time to get the creative juices flowing and decide on your overall theme. This will help when it comes to the decorations, colour palette and other little details that will create your dream wedding environment. Deciding on the theme will also influence the style of clothing, food & drink and entertainment. We have a guide on “Top 20 Themes For Your Gay Wedding” to help give you some inspiration.

Wedding Insurance – Given the current climate, it’s common for couples to invest in wedding insurance to give them peace of mind for any unforeseen circumstances and situations. Research whether it would be smart to insure your wedding and if it can fit within your budget.

Final Guest List – You want to finalise your guest list so that you can plan for the food & drink, seating and invitations. Vendors will want to know how many people they are catering/providing for. Ideally, the sooner you know how many you’re going to invite the better.

Official Invitations – You have booked the venue, you have a time and date, it’s time to get the RSVPs in. This is necessary to plan out all the small details such as ceremony seating, table arrangements and everything else that requires a final number of attending guests.

☐ Ceremony Decisions – Sit down and plan out your ideal ceremony, from the wedding readings to the aisle set up and who you want to officiate the wedding. All the little things like confetti, music and flowers will need to be figured out so that when it comes around to hiring, purchasing or DIY’s you will know what you are doing.

☐ Reception Decisions – Same as above. You want to have an idea of what style of music, entertainment, etc… so that you can compile a list of potential vendors who offer what you’re looking for. Check out “Top 15 Memorable Reception Ideas For A Gay Wedding” for some inspiration.

☐ Vendor Research – There are certain vendors that are busy and hard to book for weddings i.e. photographers, caters and entertainment. It’s good to get ahead and start figuring out those finer details. Research and contact multiple different vendors to get plenty of quotes and options ready.

☐ Wedding Outfits – You want to visit tailors and boutiques to try on as many different styles and options as possible! Your outfit is obviously what you’re going to be wearing all day (unless you have multiple outfit changes!) so you want to feel fabulous, and confident but also as comfortable as possible. If you hate bow ties, veils or any typical wedding attire then don’t worry about them. It is completely up to you what you wear just make sure you love it!

☐ Wedding Rings – The exchanging of the rings is where the marriage materialises, it’s the token of affection you have chosen to show your commitment to each other and so you want to make sure you and your partner have discussed and purchased them in advance as they may need tailoring or resizing!

☐ Check Your Budget – It’s a good idea to refer back to your budget at this point. See if there are any changes that can or should be made. We know it’s tedious and can be painful but you’ll thank yourself for reviewing it as it’s easy to get carried away when purchasing, hiring and putting down deposits.

☐ Wedding Cake – Start compiling a list of bakers that you want to go and sample flavours from. Once you’ve decided on the style, flavour and baker, you’ll want to give them as much time as possible to draw up sketches and plans for your cake. Giving plenty of time for any changes or additions. For ideas on wedding cakes, check out “Top Ten Wedding Cake Trends For A Gay Wedding”.

☐ Food & Drink – Same as above. You want to start menu tasting and decide what type of cuisine, and style of service. Also, whether you’re going to have an open bar, drink tickets or “bring your own bottles”.

☐ Photographer & Videographer – You’ll want to book meetings with these types of vendors so that you can view their portfolios and references. The photos taken at your wedding are the long-lasting souvenirs that capture the entire day! So you want to make sure it’s done in a style you like. No point hiring a black & white photographer when you love bright, colourful aesthetics!

☐ Honeymoon – In the midst of all the wedding planning and chaos, your honeymoon is truly a time where you escape, relax and revel in your new marriage! So it’s a good time to take a break from wedding planning and start thinking about your dream honeymoon. It changes things up and shifts the focus which can relieve some of the stress that comes from wedding planning. Just remember there is no urgency for the honeymoon itself, it can be the day or a year after the wedding. For some inspiration, we have this guide on “Top 5 Gay Honeymoon Destinations”. Don’t forget to check out our sister sites too. The world’s biggest LGBTQ+ travel and lifestyle website, and for all your luxury LGBTQ+ travel needs!

☐ Entertainment – Book any entertainment you want to have at your wedding. Whether that’s a piano player during the ceremony, a live band at the reception or fire breathers as you leave. Whatever requires booking, hiring or reserving should be done quite early in advance so that you avoid any unavailability.

☐ Florists – Set up a meeting with a bunch of different florists. This is so that you can see the different styles and decorations they can provide, then reserve accordingly.

☐ Transport, Travel & Accommodation – It’s a good time to plan how your guests are going to get to the venue. Also, whether accommodation is required. If accommodation is required then book a block of rooms either at the venue or in a nearby hotel. It’s also a good idea to suggest a list of nearby hotels so your guests can choose themselves. Figure out if it makes sense to hire a coach to transfer guests from local transport links. Parking information for guests travelling by car will also be necessary. Now is also a good time to set up a carpooling scheme. This is for if there are guests who may find it difficult to travel but there are guests near them who are driving which you can connect them with! You also want to make sure you decide on your own transport if needed.

☐ Wedding Party Attire – It’s a good time to gather your wedding party and begin shopping for their outfits. Similar to buying your own outfit, you want to give plenty of time in case alterations and adjustments need to be made.

☐ Ceremony Readings & Vows – You would have most likely received a form from the registrar asking to fill in details of the ceremony. They expect these back at least six weeks before the wedding day as they need to approve a few things. You’ll have to fill out the song you’re using to walk down the aisle, any readings and your wedding vows.

☐ Wedding Registry & Website – If you are planning on having a gift list then it may be a good idea to create a wedding website. It’s a go to destination for all the information your guests will need regarding your wedding.

☐ Hair & Makeup – If you are going to need makeup artists, hairstylists or a barber for your wedding then now is the time to decide and book.

☐ Outfit Accessories – Socks, cufflinks and all the little additions that are going to complete your wedding should be ordered, shoes, as well as they may need wearing in so that they don’t cause awful blisters!

☐ Contact Guests – It’s a good time to touch base with any guests who may not have RSVP’d yet.

☐ Wedding Party Gifts – Your wedding party would have really helped you through this wedding planning process and couples tend to buy their attendants gifts that they give to them either the night before the wedding or the day of. If you’re not sure what to buy, we have an article on “10 Gift Ideas for your Wedding Party at a Gay Wedding”.

☐ Stag/Hen/Fox Party – You’re now getting closer to the wedding day and it’s time to celebrate your last night of freedom. Gather your besties, brainstorm then plan your ideal party and finally, let loose! For information and inspiration, check out all our editorials on these parties which we have linked previously in this post.

☐ Finer Details – There are many components to a wedding and we want to make sure you remember to consider them all. Whether they are necessary or not is up to you.
– Table names, place settings and decorations
– Signage: Welcome signs, directions, toilets and any signs that may need to be made to point out areas of your wedding.
– Cake toppers, stand and decoration items
– Menu cards and programmes
– Ring pillows
– Any extra decorations and details that need to be considered!

☐ Pay and Finalise Vendors – You may be paying in instalments or have put down a deposit. It’s now time to pay in full and finalise the running order. Your vendors will need to know what time to drop off their goods, entertainment will need to be set up. If you’re having a DJ then tracklists need to be discussed.

☐ Final Fittings – Make sure you have some final outfit fittings at least 2-4 weeks before the wedding day as you may need minor adjustments.

☐ Pack – Not only the essentials needed for the wedding but also for your honeymoon if you are leaving straight after. Also, exchange any foreign currency if you need it.

☐ Wedding Rehearsal – One of the final huge steps before the official day is to have a wedding rehearsal with all of your wedding party, officiants and wedding planner if you have one. You want to run through where people will be walking, standing, sitting and go through the timings. Any questions about the ceremony and reception should be answered now.

☐ Rehearsal Dinner – The final event before the wedding day. This should be held after the rehearsal (obviously). Around 1-2 days before the wedding as you want all the details and information fresh in everyone’s minds before the big day!

☐ Skincare, Beauty Treatments, etc… – You may want to pamper yourself before the wedding. Take a day where you and your partner or wedding party have one final relaxing day where you have facials, nail treatments or massages to prepare yourself for the big day.

☐ Wedding Emergency Kit – Something a lot of people forget and regret not doing, is to create a wedding emergency kit. These usually include a travel sewing kit, plasters, painkillers and any other little tools that would be useful in the unlikely event something happens.

☐ Check The Weather! – Another important thing to do is to check the weather 1-7 days before the wedding. You may need to invest in buying umbrellas for everyone or even move part of the event inside if necessary.

☐ Run-through Checklist – Make sure you give a run-through/proceedings checklist to your chief wedding attendant so that they have a copy and can help answer any questions guests may have.

☐ Memorise Your Vows/Speech – It’s not necessary to memorise them. But, if that’s something you would like to do, then try to do it 1-3 days before the wedding.

☐ Check and Double Check! – 1 or 2 days and the night before the wedding is where you must check you have absolutely everything. Rings, clothing, accessories, etc… touch base with your wedding party and coordinator to ensure everything is ready. If any missing items come up you have at least the day to try and sort them out.

☐ Get an Early Night! – Make sure you get your beauty rest! It’s going to be a huge day, the biggest in your life so far! You want to make sure you are well-rested and ready. And don’t panic if you can’t sleep – that’s perfectly normal and the adrenaline will keep you fuelled on the big day. Try some breathing exercises or white noise to help you sleep the night before the wedding.

☐ Get up Early! – It’s the big day, there isn’t much left to do than to gather your wedding party and get ready. Before though, have some final chats with the venue and vendors to make sure they are getting your wedding day ready to perfection. Better still, leave that to the wedding planner if you have one!

☐ Get Married! – Everything has led up to this point and it’s time for you to get married! We hope this checklist has covered everything you need to pull off the perfect gay wedding. It’s time for your happily ever after. Congratulations! You’ve got this!

We also have a printable version of this checklist for easy access.

Chante Mclaughlin
Author: Chante Mclaughlin

Creative Executive for