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Lists You Need

I love lists. I love making them, crossing things off, and just the overall feeling of accomplishment when I check every item off of them. I am notorious for having 2-3 lists each day and even though I often move items from one day to another, they help me feel more organized and like I'm actually getting things done.

I am a true believer that lists help make events more successful. Lists help you stay on top of your timeline and that you haven't missed any detail. So let's talk about the lists you need to have in your arsenal.

Guest List

This is likely the one list you won't forget to make! No matter the event, you need to write out your guest list. Depending on the type of even your planning, you may need to get a list from a few different people. Let's talk about a bridal shower guest list as an example. In this scenario, the bride is choosing to only have one bridal shower to make it easy. As the host, you will need to get a guest list from the bride, mother of the bride, and the mother in law. You will work closely with the bride to narrow down the guest list. You don't want the shower to be so overwhelming that the bride can't talk to every person who attends. Depending on the location, you can usually plan that 90% of those who are local will attend, while only about 65% of out-of-town guests will attend. The key with the guest list is that you have to keep track of when an invitation has been sent to that person and if they RSVP'd. Another add on to this kind of guest is list is having name tags pre-printed for the bridal shower. This way you can tell after the event who was unable to attend and your guests will feel more comfortable getting to know each other.


Even though your timeline isn't always a checklist per se, it's very important that you follow your timeline and cross out items as they happen. Timelines are imperative to making sure that your event goes as planned. As someone who lives by a timeline, you also have to remember to be flexible and go with the flow. Your timeline can be as detailed as you'd like. For a wedding, I'd suggest starting with what time your bridal party will be waking up. Add in details like, what time you have access to each venue, what time each person is getting their makeup/hair done, ceremony start and end times, cocktail hours, bridal party entrances, toasts, first dance, and what time access to each venue ends. There are so many more items you can add to this timeline and a detailed wedding timeline will help your wedding coordinator make sure nothing is missed.

Day Of Checklist

Your day of checklist will be your best friend. Think of this list as your packing list. You've already got your timeline nailed down so this checklist will make sure you are ready for your event. This checklist can include hair and makeup items, venue decor, party favors, undergarments, your outfit, accessories, and miscellaneous items like gum, mints, oil blotting sheets, Tide pens, socks, cologne/perfume, razors, and mini sewing kits. Even though this checklist is labeled as Day Of, I suggest getting these items together the night before. That way you aren't scrambling to get everything packed the day of your event. This checklist will make sure you have everything you need for the day of your event and then some. This is my favorite checklist by far and usually puts me more at ease because it's a list I actually don't have to worry about if done the night before.

To Play or Not to Play

Creating a list for your DJ or Band is often forgotten about or at least not fully thought out. Normally, you will give your DJ or Band a list of songs that they have to play for entrances, first dance, father/daughter and mother/son. But don't forget to add songs you don't want them to play. You could even broaden this list and tell your DJ or Band genres you prefer and artists you really dislike. I've seen brides create extremely detailed playlists and it usually makes a reception less fun. It's always two upbeat songs and then one slow song which is too predictible. You want your DJ/Band to be able to read the room and play music that will keep your guests on the dance floor. By giving your DJ/Band guidelines along with your must plays, you are giving them the freedom to make sure your event is unforgettable.

Photo List

Your photographer will usually have a standard list of photos they will take for you. Full bridal party, family shots, etc. It's important that you make your own list to give to your photographer though. Every couple is different and your photos will show case that. A photo list also makes sure that your photographer doesn't miss anything. Maybe you want individual photos with each of your groomsman, add it to the list. Want photos with your aunts and uncles? Add it to the list. Want your photographer to get photos of your reception venue BEFORE your guests sit down. Add it to the list! This is a list you shouldn't wait until two weeks before your wedding to create. Start working on this list as soon as you have your bridal party narrowed down. Share this list with your parents, in laws, your bridesmaids, and your photographer. They will likely have other options you should add to make sure no moment is missed.

Another important part of this list is designating someone to make sure none of your important family photos are forgotten. It's good to designate someone who is good at giving directions and keeping things going. Maybe it's an aunt or a good friend. Whoever you choose, be sure to go over the list with them prior to your wedding and let them ask any questions.

Now that you've got the gist and have created a list of lists you need, check out our Ultimate Wedding Checklist! We want to make sure your wedding is successful and we believe this list will help you stay on track.

Ultimate Wedding Checklist
Download PDF • 54KB

Have a list you used for an event you planned that you found to be helpful? Let us know! We love seeing new lists and learning how they benefited your planning process.

Happy Planning!

xo - Jillian

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