Wedding planning timeline

Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline

The question has been popped, you keep staring at your stunning engagement ring, you’re looking forward to a lifetime with your partner, and everyone is asking about your wedding plans. You think how do I even get started?!?! With a lengthy pre-wedding to-do list and so many details to arrange, the idea of planning your ceremony and reception can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be if you give yourself enough time to plan and sort all of your tasks into a structured wedding-planning timeline, the job becomes much less stressful and a lot more fun. The wedding planning timeline outlined below is to help guide you through the “noise” of wedding planning, and provide an organized stress free experience.

Wedding planning timeline

Wedding Planning Timeline | How to Start

Getting Started

  • Celebrate!! Enjoy the moment before jumping into all the details
  • Get your engagement ring resized if necessary and insured
  • Select a general date/time of year you would like to get married (with 2 or 3 backup options)
  • Research vendor options, wedding prices in the area, and discuss a high level budget
  • Decide if you want to hire a full planning coordinator
    • Pro-Tip: In the early stages of wedding planning, it is normal to want to DIY your wedding. And you likely can. However, wedding planning can get tedious and can get away from you. A wedding coordinator is highly recommended to avoid stressing out when you should be enjoying the occasion.
  • Choose between a local or a destination wedding
Wedding planning timeline

10 – 12 Months Before Wedding

  • Decide on your priorities for the wedding
  • Discuss you wedding budget with those involved
  • Understand a preliminary guest count
  • Research and tour wedding venues
  • Book your wedding venue
    • Pro-Tip: Your venue usually drives your wedding date. Your wedding date will drive availability for the remaining vendors needed for your wedding, and likely will be necessary before booking any additional vendors.
  • Research hair and makeup artists, florists, wedding planners/coordinators & wedding photographers
  • Interview your top vendors of each category
  • Book your favorite vendors
  • Choose an overall wedding style & color palette
  • Select your wedding party
  • Start shopping for a wedding dress

6 – 9 Months Before Wedding

  • Schedule your engagement session
    • Pro-Tip: Discuss engagement location recommendations with your wedding photographer. They will recommend locations that fit the style of photos you are looking for & timing. Engagement photos should be scheduled no later than three months before your wedding date to ensure you have time to finalize wedding plans & have your engagement photos processed.
  • Register at 2-3 of your favorite stores
  • Finalize the guest list
  • Send out Save the Dates
  • Reserve guest accommodation blocks if recommending to guests
  • Choose bridesmaid dresses
  • Select your florals, cake, & caterer
  • Pick out stationer to discuss invitation style and wording
  • Organize wedding day transportation (limo service, party bus, DD for the night)
Wedding planning timeline

Wedding Planning Timeline | The Details

3-5 Months Before Wedding

  • Select and order tuxes
  • Create wedding day timeline
  • Schedule hair and makeup trial
    • Pro-Tip: If you are getting bridal portraits as a part of your wedding package, coordinate with your wedding photographer to have bridal portraits the day you get a hair and makeup trial.
  • Schedule appointment for dress alterations
  • Start planning the honeymoon
  • Purchase wedding bands
  • Schedule any necessary marriage counseling
  • Select ceremony and reception decor
  • Reserve rehearsal dinner venue and catering
  • Select rentals and linens
  • Collect mailing addresses if no Save the Dates were sent
  • Send out invitations
Wedding planning timeline

6 – 8 Weeks Before Wedding

  • Schedule bridal session
    • Pro-Tip: Bridal sessions should be scheduled 6-8 weeks before your wedding to give time for your alterations to be finalized & to gather any necessary materials that could be displayed at your wedding from the session, such as canvas prints. Talk to your photographer regarding location recommendations.
  • Finalize ceremony and reception music
  • Walk through the ceremony with officiant
  • Finalize reception schedule with wedding coordinator (or who is managing the wedding day), and send out to all wedding vendors
    • Pro-Tip: Your wedding should be spent enjoying your wedding. While you might be DIY-ing the wedding planning, you or your soon-to-be spouse should not be managing your actual wedding day. Hire a day of coordinator or elect a family member to manage the wedding day timelines & schedules.
  • Renew passports, if needed for out of country honeymoon travel or wedding plans
  • Plan wedding party/parent/vendor gifts
  • Follow up on missing RSVPs
Wedding planning timeline

Wedding Planning Timeline | The Celebration

1 Month Before Wedding

  • Celebrate your bachelorette & bachelor parties
  • Schedule wedding week mani/pedi/massage
  • Assign wedding day set-up and clean-up assignments
    • Again, should not be you or your soon-to-be spouse
  • Get your marriage license. Understand each state’s requirements
  • Finalize guest count for catering
  • Select and order gifts for bride and groom gift exchange
  • Final dress fitting
  • Create seating chart
  • Finalize vendor payments

1 Week Before Wedding

  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Pack for honeymoon
  • Wedding week mani/pedi/massage
  • Assign someone to return groom’s rental tux
  • Give gifts to bridal party and parents

Wedding Day!!!!!!

  • Take it in!! Breathe! Have fun!
  • Go over your wedding morning checklist with coordinator
  • Assign someone to be in charge of wedding rings and marriage license (best man & maid of honor are good go to’s)
  • Bring envelopes with any remaining vendor payments/tips/gifts
  • Enjoy these moments!
Wedding planning timeline

Wedding Day Timeline | After The Wedding

  • Enjoy your honeymoon!
  • Send thank you notes
  • Expect your final wedding images within 4-6 weeks after your wedding
  • Bring your pictures to life through albums, canvases, and prints. Order print gifts for your family members
  • Change your name
  • Build a strong foundation for your marriage

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