The Ideal Wedding Planning Timeline
The average engagement lasts 16 months, allowing time for the bride and groom to plan the perfect date, venue, vendors, decor, guest list, and wedding day outfits for the entire wedding party. If you’re becoming overwhelmed at the thought of planning all of your wedding details at once, don’t worry! We have compiled a wedding-planning timeline that will keep you organized and help you stay on top of planning the important details of your special day.
12-16 months prior:
- Decide your budget – Take your family’s contributions and your own into account when deciding on the big number.
- Choose your wedding party – The minute you say “Yes”, your best friends from high school and college roommates will wonder if they made the cut. Save everyone the worry and choose your bridal party far ahead of time.
- Begin planning the guest list – Make a spreadsheet to stay even more prepared. Include columns for guests’ contact information, RSVPS, gifts, dietary restrictions, and any other important information that will help your planning run more smoothly down the line.
- Reserve venues – More popular venues often book over a year in advance. Have your eye on a particular spot for your wedding? Once your wedding date has been decided, call the venue and avoid being disappointed with a fully booked schedule.
- Research vendors – Similarly to venues, the best vendors can easily become overbooked. Start looking for ideal wedding videographers, photographers, florists, and caterers, and factor their prices into your overall wedding budget!
8-10 months prior
- Time for the best part – wedding dress shopping! – 8 months seem like a long time to be buying a dress? It’s important to factor in any alterations and adjustments that will need to be made. Many brides need at least 3 fittings to make sure their dress fits like a glove for their special day. Do your tailor a favor and leave time for any necessary adjustments!
- Hire, hire, hire – You’ve done your research. It’s time to seal the deal with your photographer, videographer, caterer, and wedding entertainment. Specific wedding-day information is not necessary to give them yet, but you’ll want to make sure you have them reserved for your important day.
- Register – It is recommended to sign up at least 3 different retailers to allow guests options for their wedding gifts. You should also begin creating your wedding website. Include the wedding date, travel information, and accommodations on your site for guests to reference.
5-7 months prior
- Honeymoon time – Start talking honeymoon logistics with your fiance. Make sure your shots are up-to-date and your passports, if applicable, won’t expire before or soon after your travel dates.
- Invitations – Purchase your invitations and begin addressing them. Or, save yourself time by hiring a calligrapher to create elegant, professional wedding invitations.
- Order bridesmaids dresses – While bridemaids dresses won’t need as much attention as your wedding dress, it is important to leave time for any adjustments that may need to be made. Don’t forget to begin your dress fittings during this time, as well.
4-5 months prior
- Order the cake – After taste-tasting several options, place the order for your wedding cake(s).
- Hair and makeup – Attend appointments with several makeup artists and hairstylists to find the perfect look for your special day. Don’t forget to take a picture after each session to compare your results!
- Finalize food and flowers – Seal the deal on the food and flowers you want at the event. These items are often affected by season, so wait until the season of your wedding to make your picks.
- Print menu cards and programs – After the food and ceremony order has been finalized, print these documents. This will save you time and stress when the wedding date comes closer, and allows for any edits and changes to be made.
Two months prior
- Choose the playlist – What music do you want playing during the reception dinner? The dancing? Whatever it is, make sure to keep a running playlist for your DJ to reference!
- Send out invitations – Send them out 6-8 weeks before the wedding, and specify a 3-week RSVP cutoff after the postmark date.
- Meet with the photographer and videographer – Specify shots that you want of the event and the shots that are most important to you. Walk through the location with them for an added explanation.
One month prior
- Get the marriage license – This process can sometimes take up to a week, so leave time for any potential mistakes or corrections to be made. If you are changing your name, don’t forget to order several copies!
- Visit the dressmaker for the (hopefully) last fitting – If you are still unsure, you can try to schedule an appointment for the week of your wedding to make sure it fits perfectly.
- Assign seating – Draw out a map of the table arrangements and write your guests’ names on sticky notes so they can be easily moved around, if needed.
The week of
- Delegate tasks for the day of the wedding – Decide who will carry your dress, who will be the point person for each vendor, and who will be in charge of gifts.
- Check in with vendors and write checks – Give each vendor the important details for their role, and include tips with their paychecks.
- Pack for your honeymoon – Soon, all the stress will be over!
And finally, get married! It’s a long process, but we know with lots of preparation, help from friends and family, and (of course) wine, you can accomplish it. Most importantly, have fun with planning your big day. And for hiring an experienced wedding videographer, contact Life Event Films® to capture all the magical moments of your special day and let us help you Celebrate the Journey®!