Wedding Planning Timeline
When it comes to wedding planning, the earlier you get started the better. From picking the venue to deciding on your guest list, you’ve got plenty of decisions to make. Check out the 12-month Wedding Planning Timeline – it will help guide you through all of the details of planning your big day!
Create a Draft of the Guest List
Getting an idea of how many people you want to attend your wedding will help with selecting a venue and creating a budget. Depending on how many guests you plan to have, certain venues might be ruled out based on capacity parameters.
Create a Budget
Set your budget early! Based on the size of your wedding, the formality of it and how much you realistically want to spend – creating your budget early will allow you to plan appropriately and help avoid “sticker shock” when your wedding day arrives.
Secure a Venue
While the first thing you might want to do is set a date, many times a venue’s availability will determine the wedding date. Many weddings are planned over a year in advance, so the sooner you can book your venue, the better!
Choose Your Wedding Party
Now is the time to select your bridesmaids and groomsmen. You may even want to consider working on this earlier if you think some of the wedding party will have to travel far or book flights.
Register for Gifts
Start shopping! If you’re asking for wedding gifts, get registered for them early. Avoid last minute tasks by taking care of your gift registry as soon as possible.
Wedding websites have quickly become a convenient and easy way to share information about your wedding with all of your guests. With your wedding party, venue and registry set – now is the time to create your wedding website. You’ll also want to be sure to include your website on your wedding invitations.
Choose Your Attire
Nine months out is the perfect time to get your wedding dress and groom attire. You’ll need to factor in time for fittings and alterations!
Book your Vendors
If your venue doesn’t provide catering, now is the time to book your caterer for your wedding. Same goes for your photographer, DJ, and any other major vendors. Don’t forget to schedule your cake testing – you’ll also want to taste test the other desserts you plan to have available. Be prepared – a lot of your vendors will require a deposit. But, once you’ve got them booked, it will be a load off your mind!
Block Hotel Rooms
Even if your guests are mostly local, you should still block hotel rooms for your wedding. Talk with a few different hotels to see what one will get you the best discount for your big day.
Order Your Stationary
Decide on the design of your invites and also get started on your “save the dates” – you’ll want to get those mailed out about 6 months in advance.
Book Your Florist
Whether you are just looking for bouquets and boutineers, or a full floral display – you’ll want to book your florist at least six months out.
Book an Officiant
Now is the time to figure out who you’d like to officiate your wedding. Whether you want a religious ceremony or a family friend to conduct the ceremony – decide on that now so you can plan accordingly.
Order Wedding Party Attire
Get your orders in early for your bridesmaids dresses, flower girl dresses and groomsmen attire. You’ll need to factor in time for special orders, fittings and alterations.
Plan Your Honeymoon
If you’re planning to go on a honeymoon, now is the time to start deciding where you’d like to go, book your flight and any other travel arrangements.
Order Your Rings
Start shopping your local jewelry store and pick out your wedding bands. Order them early as they may need to be resized and adjusted.
Creating Your Wedding Timeline
Whether your wedding is in the morning or a late-night affair, you’ll want to create a timeline for the day (and the rehearsal dinner). Map out what time the wedding party should arrive, how long the ceremony will take, pictures, etc. Communicate this plan with as many people as possible – so more than one person will know who needs to be where and when. Unless you have a wedding planner, family members will most likely be asked questions throughout the day.
Book Any Rentals
If you need a tent, chairs, tables, dance floor or anything else – you’ll need to book them at least 4 months in advance.
Plan Your Rehearsal Dinner
Book a venue, catering and any rentals you may need for a rehearsal dinner.
Get your invites out in the mail and be sure to determine how you want to get the RSVPs back. Do you want your RSVPs returned in the mail? Or guests can also RSVP online on most wedding websites.
Hair and Makeup Run-Through
Work with your desired stylist do you a hair and makeup run through. You’ll want to get your look (and your bridesmaids’ looks) nailed down before the big day.
Finalize your catering order, place your flower order and communicate your timeline with all of your vendors.
Work Out Reception Details
Decide on your seating arrangement, decor and overall look for your reception venue.
Write your vows, finalize your seating chart, decide who will participate in the ceremony – work out all the tiny details so you don’t have to worry about them the day before! Also, make sure your photographer has a shot list and names of everyone you want photographed for your big day!
Get Your Marriage License
Check your state laws and determine when you should get your marriage license. In West Virginia, a marriage license is only valid for 60 days after it is issued!
Get your final fittings for the wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen attire.
Communicate the Plan
Send the day-of schedule to all of your vendors. Also, if you’re having an outdoor wedding with a weather-related “Plan B” – make sure everyone involved is aware of it.
The Week of the Wedding
Prepare – and Relax
Use up some of your extra vacation days from work and take some time to prepare and relax before the big day. You’ll be pulled in a million directions, so take work out of the equation. You’ll need time to pick up the dress, the rings, and any other decor/gifts this week.
Pack for the Honeymoon
You’ll want to pack for both the honeymoon and wedding night this week. Don’t leave it until the last minute!
The Day Before
Take time to relax and prepare for your big day. Book a spa day with your friends!
Communicate the Timeline
Make sure everyone involved in planning and executing the wedding is aware of the timeline for the big day! Also, have tips prepared for all of your vendors so you don’t have to handle that while mingling with your guests.
The Wedding Day
Relax, have fun and don’t forget to eat!
1 Month Post-Wedding
Send Out Thanks You Cards
Once you’re back from your honeymoon and life returns to normal, sit down and send out “thank you” cards to everyone who attended your wedding!