Your significant other popped the question, and the ring is on your finger—congrats! Now what? With so many things to take care of and arrange, planning a wedding celebration can be overwhelming. But, if you set goals and stick to a month by month wedding timeline, the job becomes a lot more fun and less stressful. A complete wedding timeline will cover everything from the pinning of boutonnieres to vendors’ arrival to the time of the linen delivery. So if you just got engaged, this is the perfect time to set your wedding planning goals. Below is a sample of timelines and goals for wedding planning.
The Most Important First Step
You are engaged, and you are excited to start wedding planning. But before you jump into visiting venues, and researching vendors, take a few weeks to enjoy this happy phase of your life. Things will soon get busy, and there will be at least one point in the wedding planning process that will make you want to toss the planning away and flee.
So, take a breath and enjoy being engaged—maybe throw a party, go away for a weekend, and have lots of celebratory drinks. Once you are ready to start planning, grab a few wedding books, and get knee-deep into the fun of venue visits, budget spreadsheets, and cake tastings.
Before planning your wedding, the first thing to do is define your goals and objectives. Your goals are the bigger picture—they will eventually ease the stress and help you enjoy the wedding planning.
The goals should revolve around how your wedding should feel—the environment, venue, food, guest list size, etc. But your goals can also go beyond the wedding day, like keeping your finances on track. Ensure you also have a backup plan for every aspect of your wedding, be it venue, food, decorations, or something else.
If you find wedding planning stressful and unmanageable, you can bring on a wedding planner on this step to guide you through the timelines and goals for wedding planning.
Everyone’s engagements are of different lengths, but you can find timeline details here. Hence, there isn’t a prescribed or exact timeline for wedding planning. But, here’s a little checklist of all your wedding to-dos to help make your journey easier.
More Than a Year Out –
You are beginning the wedding planning process.
- Start by picturing your wedding and determining your style.
- Next, draw up a budget.
- Once you pick your wedding date and time, check with your favorite venues. Consult your officiant and family members before finalizing.
- After finalizing your venue options and wedding date, start putting together the guest list.
- Book your ceremony and reception site.
- Choose your wedding party and ask your friends and relatives to be a part of your day.
8-10 Months Out –
Time to get a bit granular.
- Start trying on wedding dresses at ten months out and order no later than eight months out. It will ensure that you have enough time for alterations.
- Decide on the type of food and entertainment you want at your reception—DJ, cocktail hour, band, or strolling violinists?
- Interview and book your vendors—photographer, reception entertainment, videographer, and florists.
- Find a wedding insurance policy to secure your deposits.
- Research and reserve hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
- Create a wedding website and register for gifts.
- Reach out to rental companies if you need to rent anything for your big day like chairs, tables, or tents.
- Start sending save-the-date cards.
6 Months Out –
You have reached the halfway mark, but it’s going to be fun.
- Book your ceremony musicians.
- Order your wedding party attire.
- Finally, start planning your honeymoon.
4 Months Out –
Your big day is getting closer.
- Now you should order invitations and wedding rings.
- Attend pre-wedding counseling, if necessary.
- Renew or get passports and shop for formalwear, if required.
- Reach out to a baker and order your wedding cake.
3 Months Out –
There are only a few months left until your wedding ceremony.
- Hire a calligrapher if you want your invitations professionally addressed.
- Rent the formalwear, if required.
- Look into transportation and hire wedding day transport.
2 Months Out –
The big day is right around the corner.
- Purchase gifts for parents, guests, and each other.
- Mail your invitations.
- Book makeup artist and hairstylist and go for a trial run.
One Month Out –
Not much time left!
- Check with the local bureau and apply for a marriage license.
- Have your final fitting, get the dress pressed, and bring it home.
- Make all the last-minute adjustments with vendors, if required.
- Get in-room baskets for out-of-town guests.
- Create a wedding program to hand out to guests.
One Week Out –
You have successfully reached the final stretch.
- Provide your reception site and caterer with the final guest headcount.
- Give the location manager the list of vendor requests—table for DJ, space needed for the florist, etc.
- Create the reception seating chart and print place and table cards.
- Reach out to all wedding vendors and confirm arrangements.
- Get your hair trimmed, if required.
A Couple of Days Out –
The final countdown begins!
- Have your wedding dress pressed or steamed.
- Decide wedding party positions and order of the party.
- Reconfirm final details with all the vendors and discuss any last-minute changes.
- Contact the car rental company for locations and pickup times.
- Supply a welcome basket to the hotel concierge.
Enjoy Time Together Away From Wedding Planning
One of the most common pieces of advice for engaged couples is to take some time off wedding planning. It is a great way to go beyond the process and experience what your lives will be like in the future. If possible, try going on a date once a week. Take time to get to know your future spouse as much as possible instead of talking about the wedding.