Congratulations, you’re finally marrying the person of your dreams! The big day is near, very near. And there are a whole lot of things to do. Does this make you excited? Are you overwhelmed? Don’t worry. We have you covered.
Read on to learn about our ultimate wedding planning timeline that starts 12 months before the big day. Keep ticking off the items on the following checklist and your wedding will go smoothly!
12 Months to the Wedding
Decide On A Budget
Budget is the first and foremost consideration. It helps you decide all the other things. How much are you willing to spend on the wedding without over burdening yourself? Decide early on… so that you can select the venue, caterer, dresses, etc., accordingly.
Who Will You Be Inviting?
You can finalize the guest list a few months before your wedding, but you should have a rough estimate of the total number of attendees at least 12 months before. Why is that? The venue will depend on the number of guests you are inviting. And the number of guests impacts your budget, so it helps to have a general idea early on.
Consider all potential attendees, starting with your closest friends and family. Who do you really want to invite on your big day? Put them on the top of the list. Also talk to your future spouse and request them to come up with a guest list as well. Now add up the number of possible attendants, and accordingly, start looking for appropriate venues that can house in this many people comfortably.
If your guest list crosses 500, you may want to narrow it down or focus on large outdoor wedding venues only.
Time to Book the Venue!
Every wedding venue that you come across will have its pros and cons. Weigh them together and then choose the best venue. Consider the existing decor at the venue, and see to what extent you can tailor it to your requirements. Also ensure that the wedding venue can accommodate your guests.
Wedding venues can be both indoors or outdoors. Some indoor venues are designed for a formal wedding, and some will be more casual. There are also outdoor wedding venue options that offer scenic views of the downtown skyline or beach. Keep in mind that some venues have indoor and outdoor areas, which is the best of both worlds. Venues for corporate events may also work well for weddings, so check them out. If they’re within the budget, they can be a good choice.
Let’s Select the Date
Once your wedding is confirmed, check the dates on which your chosen venue is available. Choose one of these for your wedding. Ideally, it should be a holiday so that everyone can comfortably attend the wedding. But remember that venue rates may be higher during busy periods.
Book a Wedding Planner
Many venues offer or recommend wedding planning services. Consider hiring them even if you think you don’t need one. For example, if your schedule is too busy, or if you want to avoid the hassle of planning a wedding, your planner will be a life saver. There are professional wedding planners for a reason!
9 Months to the Wedding
Order the Dress!
The dress is of the most important parts of the wedding. If you want to buy something off the shelf, you may wait closer to the date itself. But if you want to get it designed and tailored to your size, order it as early as nine months. Since there is more time this way, dresses ordered early leave more room for customization and adjustments. Plus, you also avoid rush fees.
Book Caterers, Photographers and DJs/Bands
Does your selected venue offer catering? If not, book a catering company after you’ve compared the rates from two to three different caterers. Same goes for photographers, videographers, and the band or DJ. Consider photography, decide the kind of visual style that you want, and accordingly, make a choice.
6 Months to the Wedding
The invitation cards are what informs the guests that you’re marrying. So they should reflect who you are as a couple, shouldn’t they? Choose cards that represent your personality, style and the kind of wedding you’ll be having. Hint: consider sending a ‘Save the Date’ card or email around this time, so that guests are prepared to reserve your selected date.
Book a Florist
What kind of florist do you prefer? Someone who just sets the flowers or someone who offers a floral design service for your entire event? You will find many florists available at different price points.
Also, decide the kind of flowers you want at the venue, and their color. Choose from seasonal flowers to ensure a fresh look on your big day. Be sure to tie in the flower selection to your wedding theme and color scheme!
Order Dresses for the Bridesmaids
Decide on something for the bridesmaids that complements the dress you’ve chosen for yourself. Consider whether you’ll want all bridesmaids to wear the same outfits, the same designs in different colors or each with a completely unique ensemble. Plus, you’ll have to think about solid colors, printed designs, short dresses, or long gowns.
Plan the Honeymoon!
Yes, there are still 6 months to your wedding, but like the big day, you should make all honeymoon arrangements beforehand.
4 Months to the Wedding
Decide on the Menu
Wedding venues vary widely. Choose something that complements the season, theme, and time of day and no, you don’t always have to have a five course meal. You can also have brunch, cocktail or even fish tacos! Decide the dishes, select the cake and order the food during this time, and ensure that your guests will be well fed.
8 Weeks to the Wedding
Send the Cards
You should have received your cards by now! Start sending them to your guests such that they receive it at least 6 – 8 weeks before the date.
Book the Hairstylist and Makeup Artist
As you should have already checked them out beforehand, now is the time to finalize your hairstylist and makeup artists. Run some tests and ensure that they are the best! After all, you want to be comfortable with your look, and to love the professionals you have chosen to work with.
2 Weeks to the Wedding
Touch Base with Everyone!
Get in touch with your photographer, food caterer, venue manager and every other vendor, and confirm all details again, just to be on the safe side.
1 Day to the Wedding
Rest up and make final preparations.
On the Day Itself!
Relax and Enjoy!
This is the only tip that we have for you – enjoy yourself on your big day!
Amanda runs the booking team for deck655 – a sophisticated and fun wedding & party venue in downtown San Diego. Amanda has longstanding expertise in the wedding and event industry, and she enjoys blogging about the latest trends and industry topics.