Now that you are engaged, you are probably all gung ho on jumping into every little detail of your wedding planning. Without a plan though, it won’t take long and you will soon find yourself becoming overwhelmed.
The very first thing you should do is follow a basic wedding planning timeline that outlines what you need to do when. Since every wedding is different, you can make adjustments to suit your needs. However, once you see everything all laid out, you can breathe a little easier knowing what you need to focus on and what can wait just a little bit.
I have established a wedding planning timeline that is based off of a fifteen month time period, which is the average engagement period in the U.S. If you have a shorter engagement, don’t worry! There are ranges of time to get things done without any issues but obviously the shorter amount of time you have, the more likely you will run into booking issues.
You can print this timeline off for your personal use. Just use the button at the bottom of the planner.
WEDDING PLANNING TIMELINE
Nine To Fifteen Months Before:
- ___Determine your wedding budget and who all will be contributing.
- ___Start an inspiration and planning folder to help you determine the style of wedding you would like and to keep important contact and other planning information. You may want to start a Pinterest board as well for pinning your favorite ideas.
- ___Decide on a date and book your venue. This should also help you to determine the amount of guest you can afford to invite.
- ___Book your officiate and ceremony location. This is usually easier than the reception venue. It’s very simple if ceremony and reception are at the same location.
- ___Decide on who you would like in your wedding party and let them know. You may also want to have a personal attendant to take care of your personal things but this person could be chosen any time.
- ___Hire a planner if desired.
- ___Begin working on your guest list. See How To Narrow Down Your Guest List.
- ___If you think you are going to what a custom wedding dress or one with major alterations, start shopping now.
- ___Start a wedding website. As you get more into the planning, you can make more additions to your site.
- ___Start any DIY projects now.
Eight Months Before:
- ___Book your photographer. If you are interested in a videographer, now is a good time for that as well.
- ___Book your musicians, band, dj, photobooth or any other entertainment.
- ___Purchase your wedding dress.
- ___Book a block of hotel rooms for out of town guests. Pick a price point that will fit the majority of the guests that will be traveling. Offer a couple of other suggestions of hotels in the area at different price points for the minority. These don’t necessarily have to be a block.
- ___Look into caterers if your reception venue isn’t providing the food and/or drink.
Six To Seven Months Before:
- ___Begin shopping for the bridesmaid dresses.
- ___Send out your save the date cards if you plan on using them.
- ___Start making arrangements for the honeymoon.
- ___Determine if there are any extras needed for the ceremony or reception location and get them booked. For example, a portable sound system, chairs, podium, mics, etc..
- ___Book your florist.
- ___Purchase your wedding invitations.
- ___Meet with your officiant to go over the ceremony and have all of the official documentation taken care of.
- ___Arrange for wedding day transportation such as a limo for you and the wedding party or a trolley for guests commuting from hotel to wedding site.
- Start determining the order of events for the wedding day.
Four To Five Months Before:
- ___Book the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.
- ___Check out bakeries, taste test, and order your cake.
- ___Purchase your wedding accessories like your headpiece, undergarments, and shoes.
- ___Schedule your dress fitting.
- ___Choose your music for the ceremony and the reception.
- ___Register for gifts at a few different stores.
Three Months Before:
- ___Finalize your menu and flower choices.
- ___If you are not making your own favors, order them now.
- ___Finalize your order of events and who will be giving any special readings or toasts.
- ___Have wedding programs made or print them out yourself.
- ___Contact your vendors with the final details and timing of events.
Two Months Before:
- ___Send out the invitations.
- ___Meet or contact any vendors that you still need to work out details with.
- ___Submit a newspaper wedding announcement.
- ___Start thinking about hair and make-up and who is going to do it.
One Month Before:
- ___As you begin to get RSVP’s back, track them in a guest list log. Send invites out from your B list if you get many that can’t make it from your A list.
- ___Get your marriage license.
- ___Once you have a firm head count, order the alcohol if you are stocking a bar.
- ___Start paying your bills! The more payments that you can get taken care of now the better.
- ___If your reception venue has a table template use that to assign guest seating. Otherwise draw out your own based on the room layout. Figure out if you want to use place cards or have some sort of sign or board assigning table numbers to guest names. Come up with a way to show table numbers.
- ___Assign people to take care of small wedding day tasks.
- ___Purchase wedding party gifts which you can give at the rehearsal dinner.
- ___Have your vows set, whether you have picked pre-written vows or write your own.
- ___Have a plan for your hair. Get a hair cut and color if necessary.
The Week Of The Wedding:
- ___Assign people to take care of small wedding tasks like taking care of the gifts, handing out tips, or being a contact person for vendors.
- ___Start wearing your wedding shoes around the house to break them in.
- ___Make sure your photographer knows some key photos that you are interested in having taken.
- ___Reconfirm times with vendors.
- ___Arrange to have your wedding dress delivered or pick it up.
- ___Prepare checks and tips for any vendors that have not yet been paid and put in envelopes to be passed out on the wedding day.
- ___Send the final guest count to reception venue and/or caterer.
- ___Pamper yourself with a well deserved spa treatment!