Wedding Planning Timeline

Congratulations! You're engaged!

He asked! You said yes! It is such an incredible time right now and I so hope you enjoy every second of it!!! 

Erin Elizabeth Lifestyle Photography

Erin Elizabeth Lifestyle Photography

But now what? How do you get started? You've probably never been married before so how are you supposed to know what to do now. 

First, you announce :) Yes! Not just through Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat, but directly to your friends and family. They kind of deserve to give you a real hug and not just a virtual one. Enjoy this moment. Savor it!

Second, make a plan (or hire a wedding planner)! Wedding planning can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Set deadlines for yourself and keep them. Your plan should generally start at least a year out (give yourself some time :) 

Wedding Planning Timeline

Because we recommend planning for at least a year, this general outline is based on a 12-month schedule. 

  • 12 months out:
    • Set a date & set your budget (We already have a blog dedicated to budgets, but we'll be updating it and posting a new one soon!)
    • Scout venues and vendors thinking about why you like them and how they'll help make your day reflective of you.
    • If you haven't already, hire a wedding planner or go buy a binder and prepare to get more organized than you have ever been in your life ;) 
    • Set deadlines and mark them in a calendar for when you need the rest of the timeline items completed.
    • Choose your wedding party and ask them to be in your wedding. (We'll post a blog on this topic too!)
    • Start thinking about and defining your wedding day and how you want it to feel for you and your guests. This is your vision. It's your day. Own it!! 
  • 10 months out: 
    • All vendors should be booked! Yup, book them! You don't want to miss out on the vendors you really want because you waited. So get booking :)
    • Start dress shopping for you and your ladies. This is definitely a part of the planning process you do not want to rush!
    • Start a running list of guests you might want to invite (Another future blog post!)
    • Create your website and start posting general information regarding your big day
    • Start scouting locations for guest accommodations. Most hotels have a deadline of when guests need to book so you'll want to get this going and share it with guests!
  • 9 months out:
    • You've got your vendors booked. Yay! Now use that photographer you booked to do some engagement photos. This is the perfect time to get to know your photographer and for them to start to get to know you!
      • You can use these photos for save-the-dates! 
    • Your venues are booked. Now to start thinking about estimates on rentals and decor you might need. 
  • 6 months out:
    • Save-the-dates should be out! Yes, get them out so your guests can mark their calendars. If it's a destination wedding, you'll want to think about sending these even earlier. (If you're doing save the dates, your guest list will need to be finalized.)
    • Start thinking about and talking to your planner about the estimated timeline. You'll need this to plan the transportation for your day. I do not recommend setting exact times for transportation until the timeline is more defined. You do not want to end up with a limo arriving at 3pm but you won't be ready until 5pm. 
    • Wrap up dress shopping for both you and your ladies. 
    • Wrap up your "vision" for you day. At this point you don't want to start all over with how you want your day to look and feel. It could cost you more money. 
    • Based on your budget and your venue, clean up that guest list! You're getting ready to do invitations!
    • Book rehearsal dinner venue. 
  • 3 - 6 months out:
    • Tastings and vendor consults should be happening and wrapping up. 
    • Invitation drafted, reviewed and prepped (That means you might want to hire a calligrapher at the 6month marker so she can start working on invites at about the 3month marker.) 
    • Wrap up your guest list. It defines how many invitations you are sending out. 
    • Dress your groom and groomsmen! That's right, it's time to get them into the right outfit to keep that vision intact ;) 
    • Now is the time to get in some more time with your photographer. Do some bridals so you can have a trial run with your hair and make-up! I highly recommend this!
    • Buy your wedding bands.
  • 3 months out:
    • Address those invitations!
    • Remind guests about the hotel block. 
    • Finalize your menu and update your vendors of the estimated guest count.
    • Finalize plans for rehearsal dinner. 
  • 2 months out:
    • Invitations are mailed! You're getting married!
    • Work with your vendors to start finalizing the timeline. (We'll post a whole blog on timelines.)
    • Start your vows and ceremony outline with your officiant. 
  • 1 month out: 
    • Paper products should be done (that includes your programs and such).
    • Welcome bags should be planned for and ready to organize.
    • Timeline should be finalized.
    • Touch base with all of your vendors to confirm and review the contract to ensure your timeline reflects everything required of them and yourself. 
    • Finalize favors.
    • Wrap up that seating chart. You don't want to rush to update it the week of :) 
  • The week of your wedding:
    • Deliver welcome bags to hotels.
    • Pack for your honeymoon. 
    • Pack for the weekend. 
    • Welcome your guests and try to start relaxing.

You're getting married!! 

This is not an all inclusive wedding planning timeline. There are so many details in between each of those lines. My biggest recommendation is to start early and to plan, plan, plan. You want to be finished planning by the month of, so at that point it is just a matter of re-checking everything. If you are still planning at that point, you're not enjoying your guests or that special moment and I so want you to enjoy it!! Contact us if you need some help. 

Hugs!