14 to 12 months before
☐ Announce your engagement!
Congrats! You are engaged now! Announce your engagement to your loved ones so they can throw you an engagement party.
☐ Create your design moodboard.
Star that Pinterest board, save those Instagram posts, grab those magazines and start organizing the things that inspire you so you can figure out the overall tone and theme of your wedding.
☐ Figure out your budget.
This is less fun, we get it, but the sooner you work out the budget goals the better off you’ll be. Determine how much you want to spend but also figure out where to prioritize your budget. Not everybody values vendors the same way. Some people want to have the coolest venue while others want to really spend their money on the decor. Figure out where you want to splurge and where you want to save.
☐ Pick your wedding party.
They will be a part of a lot of the planning, so it’s better to go ahead and decide who you want to have in your party earlier rather than later.
☐ Hire a Planner.
Planners have the ability to help in many different ways. A lot of people use planners to simply coordinate the wedding day, while others need help organizing all the events surrounding the party. Plenty of people need planners to keep them on track throughout the process. Figure out if and how a planner is going to play into your big day and start meeting with them now.
☐ Start considering your guest list.
Start with a list of who you would invite if your resources were unlimited. That gives you an idea of how big it could be. Over the next few months, begin editing it down to fit your budget and your wedding’s needs. Oh, and definitely put this list on a spreadsheet so you can easily track guest details like contact info, addresses, RSVPs, gifts, and anything else that is relevant to your event.
☐ Book your venue.
This is the first reservation you should be making. It locks down your date and is the central focus of every other vendor. Decide whether or not you want separate locations for the ceremony and the reception. Be sure to factor in travel time when making your decision, and make sure to find out what the venue provides in the package, the time frame you’re renting for, whether they help set up and break down, and any restrictions or rules (Some places don’t allow sparklers, for example.)
9 months before
☐ Hire the photographer, videographer, florist, caterer, band/dj, and any other important vendors.
These tend to book up quickly, especially if they have a large following on social media. The busier they are, the sooner you should book.
☐ Figure out food for your wedding.
Pick things you love, not things you think you should have. Catering varies so much nowadays, so do what you would enjoy. Breakfast bar, taco truck, a traditional catered meal, the options are unlimited. Enjoy all the eating.
☐ Find your wedding outfit!
You typically have to make appointments to find the outfits, whether it’s a dress, suit, jumpsuit, etc. Once you find the outfit, you’ll typically need to have several fitting sessions afterward.
☐ Reserve a block of hotel rooms.
If you have any out of town guests or are getting married out of the way, have these available. They tend to be discounted, and they guarantee a spot for your guests so they aren’t scrambling.
☐ Create a website.
It’s a new age task, but trust us- it’s important. You can keep important wedding information here as well as updates for your guests so you don’t get a thousand texts asking the same questions.
7 to 6 months before
☐ Register for gifts.
Use an online portal so it’s easy for your guests to purchase. Most registry sites allow you to set up honeymoon funds if you have everything you need already.
☐ Purchase save-the-dates/invitations
You have to send the save-the-dates fairly soon, so budget your time accordingly.
☐ Start planning your honeymoon.
Update passports if necessary, and think about your vacation in a bit more detail.
☐ Find the wedding party outfits (if applicable.)
If you have a wedding party, particularly bridesmaids, you’ll need time for them to order their outfits and get them sized to fit.
☐ Send your save-the-dates.
We told you it would be soon.
☐ Find your officiant.
Figure out how your wedding will be officiated, and make sure they have the correct titles/documents for your country/religion.
☐ Book the logistical things.
Extra tables & chairs, tents, dishes/glassware. Anything you need that the vendors you have to not provide. Think about portable toilets if your event is outdoors.
5 to 4 months before
☐ Book the rehearsal dinner.
Look at the menu you want, who you want to invite (typically it’s friends and wedding party.) Also look at booking any other additional events you want to have.
☐ Schedule the day-of events.
Think about when you want to do everything. If you want to do the standard traditions or your own, and draw up a schedule. Distribute to your vendors and wedding party.
☐ Find your wedding cake.
Go to tastings and order your cake. Think about any other after-dinner things you may want in addition as well, like an espresso bar or ice cream truck. Book those too.
☐ Chat with your DJ about music.
Figure out what you want to play. What you are walking to, what your first dance is, what you want to dance to, and what’s on your do-not-play list.
☐ Send out your invites.
3 months before
Finalize your flowers, your menu, your playlist. Check-in with your vendors to make sure they have everything they need to do their jobs successfully.
☐ Order favors, or don’t.
Favors are an old school treat but the way we look at it is you are already throwing them an awesome party, so you can take or leave the favor tradition. If you want to do budget-friendly ones we suggest: Cookies, or ways for them to take home leftovers if they want.
☐ Talk to everyone who is giving a toast.
Ask them to start writing their speeches now and make sure everyone who is giving a speech knows it.
☐ Finalize your day-of schedule
☐ Print programs and any additional paper materials needed.
Print menus, make signs, name tags, etc. Keep them organized and put-away.
☐ Purchase your wedding rings.
We can help with that too. Inquire here.
2 months before
☐ Chase down unanswered RSVPs.
Finalize your guest list and follow up with the ones who haven’t responded.
☐ Touch base with your vendors.
Make sure everyone knows the schedule and that all payments have been paid.
☐ Do a walk through.
Contact your photographer so you can discuss the shot list and they can scope out where they want to shoot.
☐ Enjoy your bachelor/bachelorette party.
If you’re having a party, make sure the planners know their responsibilities and find volunteers to pitch in and ensure these go smoothly.
1 month before
☐ Get your marriage license
Don’t leave this to the last minute, since anything can happen.
☐ Finalize your fittings
This is the time you pick up your outfit.
☐ Confirm times for all vendors, especially hair and makeup.
☐ Write your vows.
☐ Schedule your hair cut.
The week of
☐ Final confirmation with your vendors.
☐ Send the timeline to your wedding party.
Include everyone’s contact info, especially point people like parents and wedding parties.
☐ Set aside final checks for your vendors
Set up any tips you may want to pass out at this time.
☐ Treat yourself.
Book a spa day, manis and pedis, anything to get you feeling fresh and ready to go.
☐ Pack for your honeymoon.
☐ Try not to sweat the small stuff.
Things will probably shift and change. Remember it’s not the end of the world, and try to roll with the punches.