Congratulations – you are engaged! Now you want dive directly into planning your wedding – I get it. All your friends and relative as about the date, the venue, the details, whether you have already picked out your dress dada dada. So many questions and at this point you have very little answers – if any. Where do you even start planning a wedding? What to do first? Planning a wedding can be quite overwhelming. In this post I will share a wedding planning timeline you can use to structure the planning of your wedding
Planning a wedding
Planning a wedding involves many different small and big tasks such as choosing a venue, booking vendors, creating a budget, guest list, seating chart and many more. All the tasks add up and it can be quite confusing on when to deal with what task during the wedding planning process.
When it comes to the timeline of planning a wedding, there is of course not always the same planning period. Some couples plan their wedding in 12 months, some in 18 months, some in 6 months. And that is ok and planning a wedding can be done in 6 months or 16 months. The timeline I provide you is scheduled for 12 months – but that does not mean, that you cannot use it for your planning time frame. Use this timeline as a to do list on what to start with and what to do next. Use this timeline as a guideline to planning your wedding. Also, not every wedding and every couple is the same, so when you feel better doing some tasks earlier or you are required to postpone some tasks – that is fine.
Your Wedding Planning Timeline
12 months before the wedding
I always ask my couples to first think about what they want their wedding to look like, what style, what feeling and what vibe they want to have at their wedding. With those “images” we can start planning the wedding. During my initial meeting with my couples I always give them “homework” which is to look for photos, videos, pins,… that they think represent their imagination of their wedding best. Of course everyone pictures their wedding differently, but pictures can give an somewhat accurate picture of what they want to strive for. So I also want to give this task to you! Look for photos, that you like and that represent the imagination of your wedding, save them, pin them whatever but save them so you can refer to them later on during the planning process and for creating a wedding concept.
Once you have an idea what you want your wedding to look like, think of the budget – what do you want to spend for your wedding, who is paying for what – what can you afford. This is important when choosing the venue, vendors & co for your wedding.
Create a wedding concept. For my couples I always create a concept out of the pictures they sent me (and I add some to make it a complete concept). The concept basically represents the wedding day from the getting ready, to decorations, ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, party. For every part there is a page on what the wedding could look like. This is also very helpful for your vendors later on when you meet them and tell them what you are imagining.
Once the concept is done, quickly think about the guest count – roughly. This will be important for the venue search.
Probably the most important part in the beginning stages is the venue & the date. Often the date comes with the venue on when it is available. Sometimes couples have a set date in mind that is not comprisable. But usually couples choose a venue and then select a date that is available there. Nowadays venues are booked out a year or more in advance – so this is why for me it is one of the most important parts in the beginning of the planning – to make sure you get the venue that fits to your imagination and budget. With the venue comes the date and with the date comes the next point.
Save the dates. Once you have your venue and your date, get the save the dates out. For that you can either choose to do them yourself or you already get a graphic designer onboard who then also does the invitations and other stationary.
Another critical point nowadays are photographers & videographers in my opinion. The good ones are also booked way in advance. Therefore, once the venue, date and save the dates are out – start looking for photographers!
10 months before the wedding
Vendors, vendors, vendors. This is the point where you dive into the vendor search. Here is a list of what vendors you can hire for your wedding. I say “can” because you might not need all of them.
Wedding Planner (if you do not have one already on your team)
Photographer (you might already have9
Hotels / Accommodation
Master of Ceremony
8 months before the wedding
Wedding Dress & Suit. Some brides start go wedding dress shopping as soon as they are engaged. Which is fine. But latest you should start looking around 8 months before the wedding. Some dresses need around 6 months to be delivered – so just in case, start looking early. If the groom whats a tailored suit, it might also be a good idea to start looking around at that time, to make sure everything is done for the wedding. Also, my motto is: what’s done is done – why wait when you can do it now.
Next would be to think about a rough timeline for the wedding day. Especially because vendors will ask for it and it will be important for the vendors on how many hours to book them. So think about time of the ceremony, time of the cocktail hour, start dinner, cake cutting, start party, end.
6 months before the wedding
Start designing the invitations. This might take a while, so starting early is a good idea to not get into a rush later on.
Menu tasting – who doesn’t love food tastings 🙂
Wedding bands. Start looking into your wedding rings, if you want them custom, they might take a while, so start looking early enough.
4 months before the wedding
Bridesmaid dresses. This is always fun. Dress shopping with the besties.
Detailed planning of the decorations.
Hair & Make up trail
Start on design for the stationary for the wedding day (Menu Cards, place cards, seating chart, signs)
3 months before the wedding
Update guest list as you get the rsvps.
Detailed timeline for your wedding day. Plan out your wedding day to the smallest detail. This includes the obvious timings such as ceremony and dinner, but also make sure to write down when you start to get ready, what time the florist will come, other vendors, when things (such as decor) should be ready. Have everything written down in that document so everyone involved (maid of honor, vendors, mothers) know what happens when and who is responsible for what.
2 months before the wedding
Detailed timeline of the ceremony.
Double check with all the vendors, forward the timeline for the wedding day.
1 month before the wedding
Seating chart. Once you have all rsvps it is time for the seating chart. This is a tough task often for couples – and I have to admit it is not easy.
In the best case, all the “big” and “small” tasks are taken care of at this time. Of course there are always things that come up, but the major elements are confirmed and taken care of and that is important.
3 weeks before the wedding
Double check with vendors if the timeline for the wedding day is clear, if they have all the addresses and phone numbers they would need.
2 weeks before the wedding
Make sure everything that you bring to the wedding (any diys or decor) is ready to go. I tell my couples to divide the decor / things they bring into boxes or bags on where they should go into the venue. Such as a box for the ceremony, one box for the cocktail hour, one box for the reception. This also saves a lot of time during the set up on the wedding day and whoever will set it up knows where the things need to go.
1 week before the wedding
Give the final guest count to the venue / catering.
Finalize seating chart.
If there is anything to pick up, pick it up.
Prepare envelopes with cash if any vendors are to be paid cash on the wedding day. Make sure to write the vendor on the envelope so you do not have to worry much about that on your wedding day. Also prepare tip if you plan to tip the vendors.
Make sure you have all the documents you need.
RELAX. You have planned your wedding perfectly. Now it is time to enjoy the days leading up to your wedding to make sure you are the best you can be on your wedding day.
I hope this wedding planning timeline has helped you in organizing the planning process for your wedding!