The Definitive Guide to Planning Your Wedding: Checklist and Timeline
After the proposal and wearing the engagement ring, the excitement of a future with your partner sets in, but what comes next?
While a 12 to 14-month engagement period is often considered ideal, every couple's timeline varies. If your engagement is shorter, the key advice is to streamline the wedding schedule.
For instance, if you're getting married in six months, aim to accomplish all the tasks from the wedding-planning checklist originally meant for months 12 to six within that initial month. This way, you'll stay on track with the rest of the preparations.
12 Months Out
Obtain insurance for the engagement ring: We recommend getting insurance for your valuable new ring right after the excitement of the proposal—unless your fiancé has already taken care of it before the grand reveal, of course.
Set A Budget: Firstly, you need to establish who will be covering the expenses for different aspects of the wedding and calculate your total budget. Once that's done, you should determine what aspects are most important to you and what can be considered less essential. Then, allocate your funds accordingly based on these priorities.
Create A List of Invited Guests: When determining the number of guests to invite, take into account both your budget—how many guests you can realistically afford to host—and the capacity of your chosen venue. Additionally, consider who will be contributing financially to the wedding. Based on these factors, decide how you will divide and finalize your guest list.
Hire A Wedding Planner: This will be contingent on your budget. However, if your finances permit, now is the moment to enlist the services of a wedding planner. This professional will play a crucial role throughout the entire process, serving as your indispensable assistant, aiding you in all decisions—from venue selection to budget management and handling all the logistical aspects.
11 Months Out
Secure the services of in-demand vendors who have quick availability, such as your photographer, band, DJ, and videographer.
10 Months Out
Look For The Perfect Wedding Dress: You may have a clear idea of what you desire, or perhaps you're uncertain, and that's perfectly fine. Discovering the right gown could involve some trial and error.
Reserve Hotel Room For Your Guests' Accommodation: It's a considerate gesture to arrange room blocks (and obtain a discounted rate) for your guests, ensuring that your family and friends have suitable accommodations.
Prepare Wedding Invitations: The wedding invitation serves as the initial impression of your special day for your guests. Therefore, it's crucial to make a positive impact with a personalized preview. If you're opting for a custom design, begin collaborating with a graphic designer or stationer without delay to craft your dream invitation.
9 Months Out
Purchase Your Wedding Dress: Now is the moment to give a nod to the dress if you wish to avoid any rush fees. If you can place your order even earlier, that's even better.
8 Months Out
Create A List of Desired Gifts To Give Out: Include your partner in this process, as you both are building a life and home together. When creating your wedding registry, it's wise to request essential items like sheets, pots, pans, etc. However, it's even more brilliant to consider what you genuinely desire. Take into account your hobbies and tailor the registry to reflect your soon-to-be-married lifestyle.
Schedule Meetings With Potential Florists: Similar to hiring other vendors, it's crucial to establish a good connection with your chosen florist. To discover the right professional, consider seeking advice from friends, drawing inspiration from Instagram, and asking your wedding planner or venue coordinator for local recommendations. Finding someone who can bring your vision to life within your budget is essential.
7 Months Out
Hire Musicians For Your Wedding: If you have the desire to have a three-piece band perform at your wedding, it's best to finalize the arrangements now. When it comes to selecting the music, we recommend choosing songs that hold personal significance to you, as they will make the experience even more meaningful.
Arrange for the rental of various items, including specialty chairs, linens, draping, lounge furniture, and the dance floor.
6 Months Out
Get Help From A Lighting Technician: Couples often overlook the significance of lighting, which is a crucial detail. The choice of bulbs and candles will illuminate your venue, enhance your photos, and ensure the celebration continues, even after dusk.
5 Months Out
Book The Honeymoon: In the realm of wedding etiquette, it's conventionally expected that the groom plans a surprise honeymoon for the bride. However, if you and your partner are collaborating on the honeymoon strategy, aim to have some aspects figured out around the five-month mark. This involves being in sync regarding the budget, timing, travel arrangements, and having a basic outline of the itinerary.
Consider Taking Pre-marital Counselling: Premarital counseling has proven beneficial for numerous couples. Having an impartial third party can guide you in addressing issues that might not have surfaced yet in your relationship. Additionally, counselors can equip you with effective conflict resolution strategies, ensuring you are prepared for any future disagreements.
4 Months Out
Arrange A Tasting Session With Your Caterer: The tasting has become essential as more couples opt to personalize everything, including signature cocktails and desserts. If you're worried about being overwhelmed with excitement during the tasting, consider bringing your planner or consultant along. Their experienced perspective from attending numerous tastings can help evaluate the food's details and the service attentiveness objectively.
Select Your Wedding Cake: Now, it's time for you and your partner to decide on the appearance and flavor profile that you both adore. Don't worry about trying to please every single guest. This cake is a reflection of both of you as a couple.
Schedule Your Hair & Makeup Trial: Take a look at your previous photos to find a hairstyle and makeup that you've liked before and that still reflects your true self. Additionally, explore social media for more inspiration, but be mindful not to be misled by heavily filtered Instagram images. Bring the photos you like to your stylist and communicate as precisely as possible about your likes and dislikes.
3 Months Out
Plan & Design Your Menu: After a successful tasting, you'll have a clear understanding of the caterer's style and offerings, allowing you to proceed with finalizing the food choices. It's time to give your approval for a complete menu that aligns with your budget, preferences, and schedule.
Compose Your Wedding Vows: If you have chosen to write personalized vows, begin contemplating how those promises should reflect your unique bond as a couple.
2 Months Out
Start Sending Out Wedding Invites With RSVPs.
Collect Your Marriage License: When obtaining your marriage license, it's crucial to be aware of the location, necessary documentation, associated fees, processing time, and its validity period.
Since each country has its own laws and prerequisites, ensure you familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of your location. If you're planning a destination wedding, whether domestically or internationally, make sure to research the paperwork requirements for that location as well. Once you have the license, ensure that both you and your partner, along with any required witnesses and the officiant, sign it accordingly.
Buy Wedding Gifts: Remember, the goal is to show appreciation and gratitude to your guests for sharing in your special day, so select gifts that align with your personalities and values as a couple.
Prepare a list of songs to give to your musician.
1 Month Out
Make All The Payments To Your Vendor: The last thing you want to face just before your wedding day is a vendor requesting payment. Prevent this by diligently monitoring the payment schedule for each vendor and keeping track of when and how much you pay them.
Prepare A Seating Chart For Your Wedding Guests: Consider the layout of your venue, including decisions about the floor plan, whether a head table will be included, and who will be seated at it. Additionally, focus on selecting an appealing design. You may also find a digital planning guide beneficial for this process.
1 Week Before You Say "I do!"
Get a manicure and pedicure, attend the final dress fitting, and indulge in a relaxing massage.
Follow up with any guests who haven't RSVP'd and provide the final headcount.
Wrap up any pending work tasks, allowing yourself to fully concentrate on the wedding celebrations and cherish every moment