You’ve bought the ring. You’ve popped the question. Now comes the wedding planning. If you’re like most people, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything there is to do. The good news is that, if you put together a plan, you’ll not only be a lot more likely to get things done, but you’ll feel more in control and you’ll be less stressed.
Here are some tips for putting together a wedding timeline and a general guideline for when you should get certain things done. Of course, every individual wedding will be different, so this is just a general guide. It’s not written in stone.
One of the first things you’ll need to do is come up with a general date for your wedding. You don’t need a specific date quite yet, but you’ll want to at least have a season in mind (such as spring 2019, for example). Having a general idea of the timing of your wedding will greatly help you plan. Once you have a date in mind, it’s time to put together a plan.
More Than 12 Months Before
Draw up a budget. One of the first things you’ll need to do is set your budget. Your budget will determine a lot about your wedding from the venue to the number of guests you invite. Be sure to set a realistic budget.
Start planning your guest list. Once you have a budget, you should start estimating your guest list. You don’t need a final list at this point, but a general number is critical as it helps you choose a venue.
Check out venues. Tour different venues and ask about availability. Narrow down your venue choice and finally pick one that suits you. Once you have the venue, you’ll also have a firm date for your wedding, which is crucial for planning. Keep in mind that some very popular venues will require you to book more than a year in advance.
Ask your wedding party. When you’re about a year away from the wedding, you’ll want to ask friends and relatives to be in your wedding party.
Eight-to-Ten Months Before
Shop for a wedding dress. You might want to get alterations done to your dress, and it might take you some time to find one that you really love, so don’t rush this process.
Think about food. What sort of food will you be having at your wedding? Does you venue prepare it’s own food or will you require a caterer?
Contact wedding professionals. There are a lot of people involved in a wedding. When you’re about eight-to-ten months away from your wedding, you should be contacting photographers, a décor team, florists, jewelers, musicians, videographers, etc. You’ll also want to contact rental companies if you need anything for your wedding, such as tables, chairs, tents, linens, etc.
Six-to-Eight Months Before
Send out save the date cards. This is especially important if you’re having a destination wedding, if you have a lot of people coming from far away, or if you’re getting married during a busy time of year.
Shop for bridesmaid dresses. Go out with your bridesmaids and shop for the perfect outfits for your wedding!
Start planning your honeymoon. Your wedding isn’t the only thing you’ll be planning!
Four-to-Six Months Before
Shop for wedding rings. You may want to go back to the jeweler that sold you your engagement ring, but that’s up to you. Need some help? Check out our guide to finding the perfect wedding rings.
Order your invitations. There are a lot of options when it comes to invitations, so give yourself some time here.
Shop for fomal wear. Time to look for outfits for the groom as well as possibly the rest of the wedding party.
Shop for your wedding cake. Think about the kind of cake you want and schedule tastings.
Two-to-Three Months Before
Order your cake. Make sure you give the baker plenty of time to get your cake ready for your special day.
Rent formal wear. If you’re renting a tuxedo or any other type of formal wear, this is the time.
Mail your invitations. You want to make sure everyone has time to respond!
Write your vows.
Book a make-up artist.
One Month Before
Apply for a marriage license. Depending on where you live, this may take longer, so do some research in advance to make sure you have time.
Create a wedding program.
Check in with vendors. Make sure everything is still on schedule and ready to go. Give them any important information they’ll need for the big day (such as providing a song list to a DJ, for example.)
The last few weeks before your wedding will depend on various factors, but it’s important to check in with everyone who will be helping you with your wedding and to check in with any guests who have not yet responded to your invitations. Good luck!