From the Proposal Until “I Do”: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline
Planning a wedding doesn’t need to be insanely stressful, you just have to have a plan in place. Here is the ultimate wedding planning timeline.
You’re engaged! Congratulations! Now you have a plan a wedding! The good news is you have lots of time. The bad news is that the months will fly by and you have tons to do to prepare for your big day.
Even though you might feel like you’ve got plenty of time to get everything done, you’ll need a wedding planning timeline to make sure that nothing is forgotten.
With so much to keep up with, let’s take a look at the definitive timeline of things that need to be checked of your list.
From the Proposal Until “I Do”: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline
Planning a wedding doesn’t need to be insanely stressful, you just need to have a plan in place.
One Year to Wedding
Decide On Your Wedding Budget
Before you do anything else, it’s time to crunch some numbers. Planning a wedding is obviously super fun and exciting, thus it can be easy to let spending get out of control. As the engaged couple, you need to sit down and make a wedding budget to figure out exactly what you have to work with and how the money should be distributed.
Create Your Guest List
You budget will also help you with planning your guest list. After all, each guest will have to be fed and possibly need to stay in a hotel room. Those expenses add up fast, so trimming the guest list is a way to stay within budget.
Hire a Wedding Planner
Now is the time to hire the wedding planner. This person will be invaluable in making sure every detail gets crossed off the list. And the earlier you book your wedding planner the better, because you aren’t their only client and there are never enough hours in the day to get everything taken care of.
Choose a Venue
The sooner you settle on the venue the better. Churches, wedding chapels and hotels get booked early, so there’s no time to waste. Join forces with your wedding planner, discuss options and book a date as soon as possible in order to increase odds of getting your first choice.
Eleven Months to Wedding
Start Looking for a Wedding Dress
Even if you know the style of dress you’re looking for, finding the exact dress could take time. And if you intend to have one custom designed, the designer will need months of time to work with you on the design and creation of the perfect wedding gown.
Getting your engagement photos is a great opportunity to find a photographer for the wedding as well. If you love the engagement photos, go ahead and book them now for the wedding.
Book Hotel Rooms for Out-of-Town Guests
You will likely have family and friends flying in from out of town. As with the wedding venue, hotel rooms will book up early. So if you don’t want dozens of loved ones crashing on your couch, take our advice and book lodging early.
Nine Months to Wedding
Buy Your Dress
There’s still plenty of time, but go ahead and buy your dress in order to avoid rush fees and to include time for any necessary adjustments. Having your dress out of the way is one less thing to worry about.
Register for Gifts
Registering for gifts is so much fun. You’ll want to ask for staples like pots and pans and sheets, but be sure to also register for things you really want, regardless of necessity or price. Registering early gives friends and family plenty of time to shop and buy.
Book a Florist
Nines months out is about the right time to meet with florists to decide the right one for you. Ask your wedding planner for recommendations and even spend time on Instagram checking out popular florists in your area.
Seven Month to Wedding
Bridesmaids’ Dress Fitting
Make a day of it. Have your bridesmaids come shopping with you. And let them try on a variety of dresses to see what you like best. This is your special moment to shine, but you’ll want them to look great too.
Book the Musicians
You’ll need musicians to play the processional and bridal march, as well as a band for the reception party. Get some recommendations and book early to ensure getting your first choice.
To learn about the best live event musicians, take a look at this website.
Hire Ceremony Officiant
Whether you plan to use a preacher or some other officiant, now is the time to lock them down for your date.
Five Months to Wedding
Book Flights for Out-of-Town Guests
You’ve got the hotel rooms, so it’s time to book the flights.
Book the Honeymoon
Wherever you’re planning to go, keep in mind that making travel reservations as early as possible could save you a fortune.
Rent the Groom’s Tuxedo
It’s time for the groom and his groomsmen to get fitted for their tuxes.
Regardless of how long you’ve been in a relationship together, marriage is a significant commitment. Thus premarital counseling is always a wise idea. Plan for several sessions with your pasture or another objective third-party who can be encouraging and help you address issues or concerns that are likely to come up early on in the marriage.
Order the Wedding Cake
Picking a cake is something the two of you should do together. It’s a fun activity that allows you to express yourself as a couple. Decide on a baker you can trust, then book early enough so they can fit your event into their calendar.
Choose Your Wedding Bands
You’ve likely already spent plenty of time shopping for your wedding bands, but now is the time to settle on the perfect designs and make your purchase.
Decide on Hair and Makeup
After months of looking through magazines and experimenting with a number styles, it’s wise to settle on the hairstyle you want and book a stylist who will make you look breathtaking on the big day.
Three Months to Wedding
Plan Your Menu
You’ll want to interview several caterers and schedule tastings with each. Then book your favorite and finalize the menu for the event.
Prepare Your Vows
If you’ve opted as a couple to write your own vows, now is the time to sit down individually and put pen to paper.
Two Months to Wedding
Send Out Invitations
You’ve picked out the perfect invitations, ordered them, and they’ve arrived in the mail. Now it’s time to send them out to everyone on your carefully selected guest list.
It’s been months since you purchased your dress, so at about the six-week mark is the right time for a fitting. This allows plenty of time for any alterations that will need to be made.
Keep in mind that every state has different laws and requirements for a marriage license, so you won’t want to wait until the last minute to take care of the paperwork.
One Month to Wedding
Create Your Seating Chart/Order Place Cards
Now that the venue is booked and the guests have sent their RSVPs, you’ll have an accurate headcount for placing seating cards at each table for the reception. This can be a fun time, deciding who you want seated together, as well as who you’ll need to seat far away from each other.
Week of Wedding
This is the time to get all the details finalized. Ladies, you need to take care of your nails, eyebrows, polish your ring, get a massage, etc. Practice your vows and read them out loud, and have a final dress fitting.
Night Before/Day of Wedding
The night before the wedding it’s important to eat a healthy meal and drink plenty of water. The wedding day will be exciting and thus it’s easy to get dehydrated. Make sure that your bags are packed and double-check your travel reservations, and then try to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
The morning of the wedding, take a deep breath and soak in the moment. The day will be a blur, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so try to really enjoy it to the fullest.
Last but not least, write a private note to leave for each other to be read in the final moments before the ceremony. These notes are for expressing your love and deepest dreams for the decades ahead that you will share together.
Preparing for the Biggest Day of Your Lives
Your wedding is perhaps the single biggest day of your lives. And the better organized you can be in planning for the event, the more stress-free the process will be. This wedding planning timeline is a great way to ensure that every detail gets checked off with as little stress as possible.
Taking the time to work with a detailed wedding checklist is both smart and practical. After all, the more organized you can be during the year leading up to your wedding, the more you will be able to enjoy the big day!
Click here to learn 12 things you should know before you date him.