Need a little help figuring out your wedding planning timeline?
Here's a little checklist to get you started!
Planning weddings is serious business! There are a lot of moving parts that go into making your wedding day the event of your dreams, and the best way to ensure a positive planning experience is to stay organized! If it is an option, I highly recommend involving a wedding planner when preparing for a once in a lifetime event like a wedding, mostly because they bring a ton of experience to the table and can help with everything from keeping your budget intact to helping you stay on track with your planning timeline.
Regardless, knowing when to take care of certain important elements of your day is a key factor in keeping everything on track and (relatively) stress free. Here's a checklist with many of the major wedding planning tasks to give you an idea of ideal times to handle your business -- from booking vendors, to finalizing details.
12 (or more) Months Before
Announce your engagement to family and friends.
Plan an engagement party (if you want one) - but make sure to register for gifts beforehand to avoid receiving multiple blenders.
Create a budget, and really think about your wedding day priorities so you can allocate funds accordingly.
Determine the size of your guest list (an approximation is fine for now, and will help you pick an appropriate venue)
Select your Wedding Party
Select your wedding date (but make sure all of the essentials are available - your venue of choice, officiant, and any other important people in your life)
Interview and Hire your Wedding Planner to help you bring your vision to life
Select and Reserve your Ceremony and Reception spaces.
Interview and Select your Caterer
Interview and Select your Photographer
Interview and Select your Videographer
Interview and Select your Florist
Interview and Select your Day-of Entertainment
Interview and Select your Officiant
Start thinking about your honeymoon plans so you can save and plan the trip of a lifetime.
It may seem early, but it's best to book your vendors with plenty of time to make sure you are able to use the people you are most comfortable and confident with. Nobody wants to feel like they are settling for their wedding day and going with their "second choice."
10 - 12 Months Before
Select your Color Scheme.
Complete arrangements with your vendor team, ensuring you have signed contracts and deposits submitted.
Check with your officiant to discuss any premarital requirements, such as classes, counseling, etc.
Begin addressing invitations once received from the printer of your choice.
2 - 4 Months Before
Place order for your wedding cake, if not completed.
Finish addressing invitations.
Send your local newspaper a wedding announcement and photograph.
Plan attendant's gifts, and gifts to each other.
Review and Finalize floral and decor arrangements.
Plan the Rehearsal Dinner.
2 Months Before
Mail your invitations (typically 6 weeks before the wedding day, but more if you did not send save-the-date cards or if you are having a destination event).
Review the wedding day details with your vendor team and confirm all payments are up to date.
Confirm your honeymoon reservations.
Secure your marriage license.
Select and purchase wedding day accessories such as toasting flutes, cake knife, garter, etc.
Start writing your vows.
Schedule your final dress fitting.
Schedule your Bridal Portrait Session.
1 Month Before
Have gown pressed and bring it home.
Ensure all accessories are in order.
Make sure the bridesmaids have their dresses and shoes in order.
Pick up your wedding rings.
Make any last minute adjustments with your vendor team and finalize your day-of timeline.
Plan and order welcome gifts for out-of-town guests.
2 Weeks Before
Confirm details with your vendor team (yes, again - to avoid any confusion or worries on your wedding day)
Invite the wedding party and any guests to the rehearsal dinner.
Review reception seating chart.
Confirm wedding party transportation and arrival times.
1 Week Before
Final review with your vendor team! It's almost wedding day!
Give final guest count to your caterer and reception facility.
Confirm honeymoon reservations and start packing!
Remind gentlemen to pick up formal wear and check that it is properly fitted.
Deliver place cards, menus, favors, etc. to the caterer or venue manager for setup.
Verify all final balances have been paid.
1 Day Before
Visit with Out-of-Town Guests.
Attend your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
Give your marriage license to your officiant.
Give your wedding party their gifts at the rehearsal dinner.
Get a good night's sleep!
Sit back, relax, and trust your vendors!
Get ready with hair & makeup
Present gifts to parents and each other.
Make sure to have something to eat!
Say "I DO"
Enjoy your reception!
Bonus Tip: It's OK to delegate! Let your wedding planner or a member of the bridal party step in and act as the main point of contact for your vendors so you can focus on the most important thing - enjoying the beginning of your married life.