Congratulations, you are now engaged! While it’s such an exciting time, there’s a lot of planning that needs to happen to make your wedding picture perfect. There are so many components to a wedding, and you’ll need to know how to keep them all straight. How are you supposed to know everything that needs to be done, and furthermore, when each thing needs to happen? It can seem overwhelming and scary, but with a wedding planning timeline, you can keep things concise, organized, relaxed and perhaps, even enjoyable.
What Is a Wedding Planning Timeline?
A wedding planning timeline is a timeline where you can keep all wedding details together for quick and easy reference at any given time. It will help you keep track of all tasks and when you accomplish them.
The Benefits of a Wedding Planning Timeline
There are many benefits of a wedding planning timeline. It will help guide and teach you all the things that need to get accomplished between the engagement and the wedding day. It will also keep you on track for when each of these things needs to be done. Having a plan and access to all of your information will help your big day go just as you envisioned and help keep overall stress levels at a minimum.
Things to Consider for Your Wedding Planning Timeline
While your timeline could be short or long, we’ve found that between 9 months and 1 year is an average and ample amount of time to plan an ideal wedding. To begin, start by choosing your wedding date so you know when to start the planning process.
9 to 12 Months Before the Wedding Date
- Information- find a way to store all wedding related materials. You might choose to do it electronically, use a binder, folder, file folder, or even purchase a generic fill in the blank wedding planning timeline book.
- Budget- decide how much money you and your fiancé have or want to spend. You might also consider any money family members wish to contribute.
- Wedding Party- It might be a difficult choice, but you should figure out who will be by your side at your wedding early on because they may be helping you with tasks all throughout the process.
- Guest List- Decide who you want to invite and possibly where to seat them to avoid any drama on your big day.
- Engagement Party- This is a great time to celebrate with friends and family and even show off your new engagement ring and proposal story.
- Style/Theme- if you don’t choose a specific theme, think about the colors and centerpieces, or even just a general vision of what you want your reception to look like.
- Reservations- reserve your ceremony and reception locations. Factor in travel time if they are in different locations.
6 to 9 Months Before the Wedding Date
- Vendors- You should consider things like a caterer, event designer, florist, d.j., band, photographer, videographer, celebrant, and/or efficient.
- Transportation- Arrange how you will get to and from your wedding destination and/or reception and hotel. You can have someone you know drive or hire a driver for a limousine or party bus. Consider whether it will be for you and your significant other or for the entire wedding party.
- Hotels- Consider the distance from the reception when booking a hotel room. Many brides stay in a hotel the night before the wedding so they can get ready there, and then the same hotel after the wedding. Consider your bridal party and anyone from out of town who might also need a hotel room. Some hotels offer discounts for booking multiple rooms at a time.
- Save-The-Date- If you have followed the timeline, you should know who you want to surround you on the day of your wedding. Select or design your save-the-date cards and ensure you have access to all addresses so you can send them all out.
- Wedding Dress- You should purchase a wedding dress early so you have time to get approximately 3 fittings before the big day to make sure your dress fits you perfectly.
- Bridesmaids Dresses-Allow around 6 months for bridesmaids' dresses to be fit, ordered and altered if necessary. You may want to choose the style of the dresses or choose the color and let the bridesmaids choose the style to best fit their body type and shape.
- Honeymoon- Give yourself a couple options in case something falls through or doesn’t work out.
4 to 5 Months Before the Wedding
- Rehearsal-Book the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner venues.
- Cake- Find what flavor or flavors of cake you and your significant other want and how you want it to look; then, order it. It might match your theme or be a clean and elegant to match any look.
- Shoes- Pick out and purchase your wedding shoes.
- Fitting- This period is a good time for your first dress fitting.
- Music-Choose what you want to play while your wedding party is announced, while your guests are eating, what song that will get your guests up and dancing, and songs you do not wish to be played.
3 Months Before the Wedding
- Favors- Many brides and grooms leave their guests with favors to remember their special day. If you choose to do this, it’s a good time to choose what the favor will be and order it.
- Undergarments- Pick out and purchase all necessary undergarments.
- Fitting- Make time for your second dress fitting.
- Rings- Purchasing rings at this time will allow for resizing and engraving if necessary.
2 Months Before the Wedding
- Checking In- Touch base with all vendors, ask any questions and make sure all plans are finalized.
- Photographer and/or Videographer- Meet with either or both and discuss any special requests, any specific shots you want to be taken, or any important locations you want to capture in a picture or video form.
- Invitations- You should already have all addresses from sending our save the dates, making it simple to address the invites and send them on their way.
- Bachelorette party- Plan a party either locally or take a mini-vacation. Decide if you only want the bridal party to attend or if you want to invite additional friends.
1 Month Before the Wedding
- RSVPs-Make note of who will and will not be attending the wedding.
- Marriage License- This process can typically take about 6 days but it’s a good idea to give yourself some extra wiggle room in case you run into any issues.
- Dinner Rehearsal Invitations- time to send them out!
- Dress Fitting- This is the time for your final dress fitting. This should ensure your dress is perfect on your wedding day.
- Food/Drink- By now, you should have a proper headcount and should be able to order accordingly.
- Payments- Send out any necessary payments and pay off anything you can for less stress later.
- Test Run- You should do a test run for hair and makeup to ensure you look the exact way you envision on your wedding day. Also, confirm time and date for the real occasion.
- Directions- Email and print directions to and from all necessary destinations and locations.
- Seating- Since you have your venue booked and know what your space looks like, you can draw out a rough sketch and decide exactly where tables will go and where to sit people. Also, make or purchase place cards so your guests can easily find their places.
- Bridesmaids Gifts- It’s not a necessity, but many brides get the bridesmaids something as a token of appreciation for all the help and support throughout the journey and for being willing to stand there tall and proud on the day of the wedding.
- Vows- Take time to write them if it’s something you and your fiancé have decided to do.
- Hair- Make sure your hair is at its best. This may mean getting dead ends cut off, coloring, getting a perm or relaxer. If your hair is in good condition, you can skip this step.
Week of the Wedding
- Mood Check- Get excited!!!
- Reconfirm- Check in with all vendors to make sure everyone will show up and do what they are supposed to do at all the correct times.
- Dress- It is time for pickup; it should fit like a glove at this point.
- Tips- Create designated envelopes with tips for each vendor you wish to tip, so you don’t have to scurry around figuring things out last minute while you’re trying to enjoy yourself.
- Spa- Booking a spa treatment is an option if it’s in your budget. Massages will help relax your nerves, and things like masks can give your skin a beautiful glow. Consider a pedicure, but out of everything, a manicure is the most important because your hands will be seen in pictures. You may see them when the groom puts the ring on your finger, your arms are around his neck dancing, you cut the cake, and possibly more.
- Guest List- Send the final guest list to all venues. Usually, companies will take this information up to 72 hours before the wedding.
- Shoes- Break them in! Figure out any spots that rub or find out if some sort of insole could make them more comfortable.
- Honeymoon- Make sure you pack everything you need if you’re leaving shortly after the wedding.
There is no denying that a wedding is a lot of work, but if you use a wedding planning timeline, you can save a lot of trouble and hassle and make sure nothing is forgotten. Best of luck, and may your wedding be everything you want and more.