Wedding Planning Timeline

Do you know what today is? It is exactly ONE YEAR from my wedding! I cannot tell you how excited I am that we have actually reached the year mark. Like I promised, I will give you a wedding planning checklist from one year down to the day. I will be following this timeline myself and logging my experience, so join me! If you have just gotten engaged and you are getting married soon, it's crunch time. You can use this checklist no matter how far or close your wedding day is.

12 - 11 Months To Go
  • This is the fun part (or one of them anyway ;) - start a wedding binder! I have a cute little bridal briefcase that my neighbor got me and I love it! I know exactly where all my wedding stuff is.
  • Set your date! Tell everyone. You can get some awesome Save The Date cards from my previous post.
  • Begin discussing size of wedding, your guest list, and your budget. (Decide if you want to include children in your guest list).
  • If you'd like to hire a wedding planner, start looking!
  • Get engagement ring insured, you never know what will happen.
  • Get started on your diet and exercise plan. If you have a goal, you have time to reach it with the appropriate approach. Try P-90X.

10 - 9 Months To Go
  • Investigate wedding vendors in your area and start booking!
  • Develop a record-keeping system for payments made/need to make
  • Have your wedding planner booked, if you're using one!
  • Find a wedding photographer that fits your style then snatch them up!
  • Book officiant
  • Determine whether or not you'll rentals for your venue.

8 - 7 Months To Go
  • Select your bridal party no later than this. They have lots of work to do, parties to plan. You aren't the only one going through a detailed process.
  • Book blocks of hotel rooms (at a couple of hotels in various price ranges) for any traveling guests
  • Set up wedding website or mail travel information for out of town guests. Setting up a website can be a fun way of keeping everyone informed.
  • Have your exact guest list.
  • Begin looking for wedding invitations
  • Begin looking for your wedding gown if you haven't already.
  • Book your caterer. Ask questions. You are hiring them, they are working for you. I don't know why brides don't understand this and they let their caterer push them around. I've seen it happen. If you don't want something in the menu, then it shouldn't be there.
  • Hire videographer if you want to use one.
  • Order thank-you notes for shower gifts
  • Purchase wedding gown and veil. You will need to do this sooner rather than later because there are many steps in alterations.

6 Months To Go
  • Book floral designer or florist--Talk to them right off the bat about what design you want for your wedding. If you go in there saying "well I don't know what I want, what would look good?" You are going to get charged like crazy for flowers.
  • Book any lighting necessary
  • Go shopping with your bridesmaids! It's now their turn to find their dress.
  • Create your gift registry or registry alternative for your shower and wedding
  • Discuss and research honeymoon destinations, then begin vaccinations necessary. If you need a passport, get it now. It normally takes 70-80 days to finish.
  • Scout out location for rehearsal dinner and day-after brunch
  • Book musicians for ceremony and cocktail hour
  • Book entertainment for reception
  • If you're hiring a day-of coordinator (rather than a full-service planner), book him/her now. If your venue came with one, great!

5 Months To Go
  • Order wedding invitations, maps and/or announcements
  • Decide on tuxedo style and place rental order for groom
  • Book any event rentals (tents, tables, chairs, lights, etc)
  • Order flower girl's dress, if you are using one. ***Make sure her color matches your dress. If you ordered an Ivory or Cream wedding gown and you order a pure white flower girl's dress, your dress will look dirty, not elegant.

4 Months To Go
  • If you're getting your wedding cake through an outside vendor, start booking your appointments/tastings
  • Book your hairstylist and artist
  • Research marriage license requirements for your state
  • Begin shopping for your shoes and accessories, including jewelry and a purse! (This is probably going to be my favorite part)
  • Look into travel insurance, if needed
  • Book your hotel room for the wedding night
  • Compile guest lists for showers
  • Order transportation

3 Months To Go
This is typically the time for Bridezilla to arrive, don't start. She's not invited. 
  • Select menus for rehearsal dinner and/or reception
  • Meet with officiant to plan out your ceremony
  • Discuss and plan your centerpieces and floral decor with your floral designer
  • Choose linens. If your venue provides them, use them so you aren't wasting money. Even if you wanted red table linens and they only have black or white, save yourself some money and play up other decorations. White or black is probably the best way to go anyway if you want your color to pop.
  • Place orders for any specialty tabletop rentals such as chargers, glassware, dishes, etc.
  • Purchase your wedding bands! Traditionally, couples do this together.
  • Order your wedding cake!
  • Start building your music playlist. (Easy tip-- go onto youtube, create an account, then pick your selections and categorize them into your own playlist. That way, you can add or take away from it if you change your mind.
  • Have groomsmen fitted for tuxes and place orders
  • Ask your groom to begin looking for his accessories
  • Begin wedding dress fittings. Remember, tell them your wedding is actually 2 weeks before it is, that way, if something goes wrong, you aren't left without a dress (even if they don't know that).
  • Order any invitations needed for rehearsal dinner or day-after brunch

2 Months To Go
  • Mail out wedding invitations. If you have out of town guests, mail them about 3-4 months so they have time to book a flight.
  • Schedule and attend food tasting with catering/venue
  • Determine any directional or decorative signs for your venue
  • Finalize honeymoon travel plans
  • Final meeting with musicians or entertainment to discuss event
  • Plan your ceremony, vows, readings, etc.
1 Month To Go
4 Weeks To Go
  • Finalize food and beverage menus with catering vendor
  • Obtain marriage license
  • Once you've hit your deadline for RSVPs to wedding, begin reaching out to any stragglers for a final head count.
  • Distribute schedule of events/flow of day to all vendors
  • Start working on your seating chart
  • Complete programs and menus.
  • Decide on your guest book. You don't have to go buy a $200 guest book, make one! I've seen a huge picture frame that everyone signs and it works just as well.
  • Purchase anything needed for ceremony such as unity candle, sand ceremony, etc.
  • Begin gathering your garter, something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
  • Meet with photographer and videographer to go over shot list and provide them both with seating charts
  • Distribute rehearsal dinner invitations (if separate)
  • Have your final wedding dress fitting
  • Have a blast at your bachelor and bachelorette parties! Don't do anything that would jeopardize your relationship later on. If you need to have "one last night of fun" why are you getting married? This is the mindset that leads to divorce. You will have plenty nights of fun on your honeymoon.
  • Arrange final fitting for bridesmaids' dresses.

3 - 2 Weeks To Go
  • Have final meeting with floral designer
  • Purchase thank you gifts for parents and wedding party
  • Get hair cut and/or colored, facial and any waxes needed
  • Assign toasts, readings, gift and tipping duties to friends and family members
  • Complete hair and makeup trials
  • Pick up your wedding dress!

1 Week To Go

  • Confirm transportation times and locations
  • Confirm all vendors and prepare their tips in a separate envelope for each.
  • Provide final head count to venue (if haven't already)
  • Pack a bag/emergency kit for the wedding day
  • Give any programs, cake toppers, escort cards, guest book, toasting glasses, favors and other decor to designated helpers to handle on the day-of
  • Pick up rented tuxedos
  • Meet with bridesmaids to make sure they have everything they need for the wedding
  • Pack and confirm hotel reservation for wedding night
  • Get your nails done!
  • Distribute wedding party gifts
  • Rehearse ceremony and enjoy rehearsal dinner!

The BIG Day!
  • Relax, remember to eat and enjoy your day!
  • Give the groom's ring to the maid of honor
  • Give the bride's ring to the best man

The Day After
  • Return rental tuxedos
  • Obtain gifts and any other wedding day supplies from friends and family
  • Freeze the top layer of your wedding cake!
  • Make a note of any stains on your wedding dress, and get them taken care of immediately if needed. Otherwise, hang it up and make sure it's covered until you can get it to the cleaners to preserve
  • Investigate how to begin the process of legally changing your name

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