First off, congratulations on your engagement! As you’re probably discovering, wedding planning can be a wild and wonderful adventure. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back! I’ve put together a comprehensive list of everything you’ll need to consider, month-by-month, to help you stay on track and plan the wedding of your dreams. This list is based on a 12-month engagement, but if you have a longer engagement, I suggest tackling the “12 month” section as soon as possible and then working through the rest later. And if you have a shorter engagement, no worries! Just work through the list at your own pace until you catch up to your current timeline.
12 Months Out
Set your budget:
Setting a wedding budget can be overwhelming, but it’s an important first step in the planning process. To begin, determine who will be contributing to the costs and how much they are willing to spend. Next, prioritize your must-haves and allocate funds accordingly. Be sure to research and factor in the costs of the venue, vendors, attire, and any additional expenses such as decor or transportation. Finally, be prepared to make adjustments along the way and be flexible with your spending to stay within your budget.
Choose your wedding date:
Begin by considering the season, holidays, and any other important events that may impact your date. Next, check with your must-have vendors, such as your venue and photographer, to ensure they are available on your desired date. Finally, consult with your partner and any important family members to ensure the date works well for everyone involved.
Book your venue:
Research potential venues that fit your style, guest count, and budget. Schedule tours of your top choices and come prepared with a list of questions. Finally, once you’ve found the perfect venue, read the contract carefully and ensure you understand all policies and fees before signing.
Book your photographer:
I may be a little biased, but booking the right wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the planning process! Capturing memories of your special day through photography is priceless. Start by researching photographers whose style and portfolio align with your vision, schedule consultations with your top choices and come prepared with a list of questions, and make sure you choose a photographer that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
11 Months Out
Book vendors such as caterers, florists, musicians, and rentals requires careful consideration and research. Schedule consultations with your top choices, come prepared with a list of questions, and review and sign contracts carefully before making a final decision.
Choose your wedding party:
Decide who will stand beside you on your wedding day and ask them to be part of your wedding party.
Choose your wedding theme and colors:
Deciding on the overall look and feel of your wedding is an important part of the planning process. Start by considering your personal style, the venue, and the season, and gather inspiration from sources such as Pinterest, wedding blogs, and magazines. From there, choose a color palette that complements your vision and brings your theme to life.
10 Months Out
Choose your wedding dress:
Start shopping for your wedding dress and schedule fittings.
Plan your wedding menu:
Work with your caterer to plan your wedding menu and schedule a tasting.
Choose your wedding cake:
Time to eat lots of cake! Research and choose your wedding cake baker and taste all that glorious wedding cake.
9 Months Out
Send out save-the-date cards:
Send out save-the-date cards to your guests.
Book your honeymoon:
Start planning and booking your honeymoon.
8 Months Out
Choose your wedding invitations:
Decide on your wedding invitations and start ordering them.
Book your wedding transportation:
Book transportation for yourself and your wedding party.
7 Months Out
Choose your wedding rings:
Shop for and purchase your wedding bands.
Choose your wedding officiant:
Choose who will marry you and discuss the ceremony with them.
6 Months Out
Plan your wedding day timeline:
Create a timeline for your wedding day, including the ceremony and reception.
Schedule hair and makeup trials:
Schedule hair and makeup trials with your chosen stylist. Even better if you align the trial hair and make-up with your engagement session!
Buy bridesmaid dresses:
Choose bridesmaid dresses and have your bridesmaids order them.
Send out wedding invites:
Time to send out those beautiful invites and gather RSVP’s.
5 Months Out
Choose your wedding favors:
Decide on your wedding favors and order them.
Choose your wedding decorations:
Decide on your wedding decorations and start ordering them.
Start planning your wedding rehearsal dinner:
Choose a venue and plan the rehearsal dinner.
4 Months Out
Book hotel accommodations for guests:
Reserve room blocks for your guests.
Schedule final dress fittings:
Schedule final dress fittings for yourself and your bridesmaids.
3 Months Out
Choose your wedding vows:
Decide on your wedding vows and write them.
Buy wedding accessories:
Purchase your wedding shoes, veil, and other accessories.
Create your wedding playlist:
Choose your wedding music and create a playlist.
2 Months Out
Finalize details with vendors:
Confirm details and timelines with your vendors.
Finalize the guest list:
Make sure you have a final headcount and send out invitations.
1 Month Out
Confirm details with all vendors:
Confirm details and timelines with all vendors one last time.
Have a final dress fitting:
Have a final dress fitting and make any necessary alterations.
Get your marriage license:
Apply for and obtain your marriage license.
By following this timeline, you can plan your wedding with confidence and ensure that everything is taken care of on time. Remember to stay organized, communicate with your partner and vendors, and enjoy the process!