Are you newly engaged and ready to take the leap into planning your wedding? Here is our guide on everything you need to know before you start planning.
How Long Before My Wedding Should I Start Planning?
Usually the average amount of time that brides choose to start planning their wedding is about a year in advance. After you have your engagement party, it is fairly common to take a period of time to enjoy being engaged to your fiancé.
When you feel like you are ready to start your wedding checklist, we have you covered with all of the activities and month by month requirements. It is important to stick to deadlines and have a timeline when beginning your wedding planning journey.
Things to Remember While Planning Your Wedding
At times the wedding planning process is extremely stressful. Many brides find themselves asking questions of how far in advance certain details that are time sensitive need to be done.
When you first start planning, you must remember that your wedding day is just day one of your marriage. Many brides feel a lot of pressure to make it the most perfect day and spend lots of money in order to have the wedding they always dreamed of.
While you should dream big, you must remember that planning your wedding is a huge task that will take a year or more of planning. Remember the reason for why you are getting married in the first place, and try to enjoy every moment of the process!
Getting married is a beautiful time in your life, so try to enjoy it while it lasts.
The Ultimate Wedding Timeline
Here is our guide on what to do each month leading up to the wedding of your wildest dreams! If you’re pressed for time and you’re planning your wedding on a shorter schedule, check out our timeline for planning a wedding in 3 months!
What to Do One Year Before Your Wedding
- Choose who will be in your wedding party. You may know exactly who you want to be in your wedding party, but it is important to make a solid plan of who will be your bridesmaids and groomsmen at your wedding twelve months before. They can help you along the way!
- Set a budget and figure out how much money you and your partner have to spend on the wedding. If your parents are willing to contribute to helping you pay for your wedding, you may not need to worry as much about your wedding funds.
- Book your wedding vendors as soon as you start your planning process. Depending on the schedule of vendors, you may not get exactly who you want at your wedding. Things like your photographer, makeup and hair stylists, florists, and caterers should all be included.
- Create your guest list. Depending on your budget, the amount of people you will be able to invite will differ.
- Find a wedding planner. While some brides choose to do their weddings on their own, there are a lot of wedding professionals available to help you with the planning process. You may want to interview different wedding planners and find one that will fit your preferences.
- Determine your vision. Websites like Pinterest allow you to create a wedding board to post ideas. On Instagram there is also a lot of bridal inspiration to help you create a mood board. You can even look at different blogs or bridal magazines.
- Book your venue as soon as possible when planning your wedding. This is because depending on the availability of the venue, it determines when your wedding date will be. There usually is a waiting period when booking a venue, and the rest of your wedding planning timeline depends on your official wedding date, so book early.
What to Do Eight Months Before Your Wedding
- Book your wedding photographer. Depending on your expectations of the photos, you may want to look at the photographer’s portfolios and previous projects. Some brides even hire a videographer to document their special day.
- Find your wedding dress whenever you decide to plan your wedding just for peace of mind. Some brides feel as though deciding on the perfect dress is one of the hardest parts of the wedding process, so get your tissues ready! It is important to get started on this early as you will have to schedule fittings and tailor appointments down the road.
- Set up your wedding registry online or in a store. It is very popular to use websites for your registry online nowadays, and you can share your registry info on your social media that way.
- Book a block of hotel rooms to accommodate your out of town guests and relatives. Connect with the hotel concierge to make sure your hotel room block is booked and ready for your guests.
- Meet with the caterer and determine a menu. Wedding caterers are experts when it comes to how to get the best deal on your food and beverage spending.
- Decide who is going to be officiating your wedding.
- Create a wedding vision website for your wedding. Pick out your wedding theme, color palette, and the general feeling you want your wedding style to have.
- Book an engagement shoot to take pictures of your engagement.
What to Do Six Months Before Your Wedding
- Finalize guest list and gather a list of addresses for when it comes time to mail invitations. Keep a list of names for wedding invites, or even used marked envelopes.
- Find and order bridesmaid dresses.
- Hire your florist and decide on the floral design for your wedding. Find a floral stylist to help with the design of your bouquet and other floral arrangements.
- Arrange transportation and day of plans for your wedding. Discuss with your venue coordinator what type of wedding day transport you will have. Whether it is a limousine or a horse drawn carriage, make sure it’s planned and ready!
- Rent out tents, linens, chairs, or any other rental items.
- Send your save the dates so your guests can take off from work or get childcare arrangements set up.
What to Do Four Months Before Your Wedding
- Get your dress fitted for the first time and get any alterations done.
- Rent the groom’s suit. Many retailers allow you to rent tuxes and suits for the day of your wedding.
- Go to your cake tasting and order your wedding cake. Choose your cake designer and cake topper if you are going to have one.
- Plan the rehearsal dinner and book the venue for the rehearsal dinner.
- Hire your hair and makeup artist. For makeup artists, they may require you to do makeup trial sessions to see if you like their style of makeup before the big day.
- Make a song list and choose the songs you are going to play at your reception
- Book your hotel room where you and your partner will stay for your wedding night.
- Send out your bridal shower guest list to whoever is planning it. You also need to find your outfit for your bridal shower, and create a separate registry for your shower gifts if necessary.
- Send out your bachelorette party guest list to maid of honor and the bachelor party guest list to the best man.
What to Do Three Months Before Your Wedding
- Finalize the menu for your reception. It is now crunch time for the wedding so you will need to create menus and menu cards for what you will be serving at the wedding.
- Finalize plans with your florist. You should think of things like what floral petals will be in baskets for your flower girl, and what type of flowers will be on your groomsmen’s corsages.
- Order and print out wedding ceremony programs. You can go to a stationery designer to get them printed on official wedding stationery.
- Meet with whoever may be officiating your wedding ceremony service and discuss the day of plans.
- Choose decor for the ceremony space. Some common examples include a unity candle if you want a special addition to your ceremony service.
- Purchase wedding bands. Some brides decide to engrave the rings, which may take extra time because it is custom jewelry.
What to Do Two Months Before Your Wedding
- Send out the final wedding invitations to everyone you want at your wedding.
- Meet with your DJ or band to decide your music playlist. You should discuss things like the father daughter dance song, entrance song, and first dance song with your ceremony musicians.
- Have fun at your bachelor and bachelorette parties!
- Connect with anyone who is a vendor at your wedding to solidify plans and make sure everything is perfect for the big day.
- Rent the suits for groomsmen. Also think about things like socks, shoes, and other groomsmen attire.
- Talk with your photographer about what kind of pictures you want on your wedding day. Give lists to the photographer of what type of shots you want and how many copies you will need of your photos.
What to Do One Month Before Your Wedding
- Get your marriage license. This is important if you want to be officially married on your wedding day by law.
- Buy alcohol and determine the signature cocktails. Also think about what games and nighttime fun there will be at your reception.
- Send a to do list for the day of the wedding to your vendors. This includes what servers, bartenders, and other vendors will be doing on the day of your wedding.
- Buy gifts for your wedding party. Even if it’s just a gift bag, your wedding party will love the appreciation for being part of this special day.
- Write your wedding vows. There are no set rules on exactly what your nuptials should be, so feel free to use your imagination and your love for your partner to inspire your words.
- Update your guest list according to RSVP responses. Some brides choose to create a guest list spreadsheet. It is important to have a somewhat accurate guest count so you don’t overpay for certain things like the bar, food, and so the seating chart is accurate for your guests.
- Go to your final dress fitting and get your accessories ready. Create a bridal “emergency kit” with things like extra undergarments, a sewing kit, and hairspray for touch ups throughout the day.
- Finalize the seating chart according to RSVP responses. Lay out the floor plan of your reception area to create the reception seating chart. Design custom table cards and escort cards so guests will be able to find their seat at your wedding reception.
What to Do the Week Before Your Wedding
- Talk to your vendors again to touch base about the day and make sure everyone is fully prepared.
- Wear your wedding shoes around the house to get used to them. You will be walking down the aisle in these shoes with everyone watching, so the general rule of thumb is to practice walking around your house in the shoes before the wedding.
- Pack for your honeymoon and make sure all of your travel arrangements are put together. Check the information about your flights and gather your travel essentials to make sure you don’t forget anything with all the chaos of the wedding right before your trip.
- Go to the spa and prepare for married life. Treat yourself to a mani pedi or a facial. You want to look and feel your best on your wedding day, so prepare with a simple pedicure or any other spa day activity.
- Send your final guest list to your venue and caterer. This will give them a final, accurate head count so they can prepare food and beverage for all of your guests.
- Get payments ready for any last minute checks or tasks that need to be paid for. Don’t forget about tips!
What to Do the Day Of Wedding
Have fun and try to remember all the details from your wedding day! Your wedding day is one of the happiest days of your life, so try to relax and enjoy all the hard work you put in! Leave all the stress to the day of coordinator so it’s smooth sailing from then on.
We hope you use our month by month guide on your wedding timeline to feel organized during your wedding planning process. With so many things to accomplish, this is the order of what you should have completed up until the wedding.
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