You’ve posted pictures of your ring, celebrated the news with family and friends, and rejoiced for weeks after the proposal. Now, though, you know you need to get down to brass tacks and start actually planning for your big day. Here at Rose Hill Flowers, our wedding and event experts have provided a timeline for you to ensure your wedding goes smoothly.
A good time to start planning your wedding is 12-14 months out. However, sometimes life gets in the way and you find you only have 6 months to plan your wedding. Don’t worry – just take care of all the tasks in months 12-6 in your first month.
Determine your budget. Figure out your bottom-line first, then break it down into categories, such as flowers, food, and venue, and allocate funds accordingly. Research online research to get an estimate of how much things will cost. If all of the things you want to have for your wedding end up making you over budget, determine your priorities and cut the rest.
Create your guest list. Decide on how many people you can have at your wedding based on your budget and then begin the selection process.
Decide on a wedding theme. Do you want a formal wedding or something more casual? Outdoor, indoor, barnyard, elegant, or laid back? What about kids, a sit-down meal, or a buffet? Now’s the time to decide because what you choose will affect your budget.
Select a venue. This task may take some time. You may have a preferred venue in mind in which you will need to see if it’s within your budget and can accommodate your number of guests and your wants, such as a dance floor, flower wall, space for a band, etc.
Hire a wedding planner. If you like handling all the nitty-gritty details of planning your wedding, then great! If not, then make room in your budget for a wedding planning pro and start looking now.
Choose your caterer. Whether your venue’s in-house caterer is fine, or you like a caterer suggested by a friend or your wedding planner, now is the time to check this off your list.
Months 11 & 10
Choose your color scheme. Start thinking about the look and style of your wedding. Look at Pinterest boards for inspiration or go with your favorite colors.
Book your vendors. Professionals such as photographers, DJs, bands, and videographers are going to be backlogged and busy this year and next, so nail them down as soon as possible.
Start wedding dress shopping. Plan to try a lot on from a number of shops. You may even have to go out of town to different boutiques, but finding the perfect dress is worth it.
Book hotel rooms for your guests. Shop around hotels for a good deal that will offer room blocks at a discounted rate for you and your guests.
Create your wedding website. This is a great thing to do these days in case someone loses the invitation. Plus, you will want the URL to put on your save the date cards and other correspondences. For a guide on creating a beautiful wedding website, click here.
Start looking at invitations. Select an invitation style that best represents you and your partner as a couple. Don’t skimp on this, as you’ll want to put your best foot forward here.
Send “Save the Date” cards. Be sure to include the date, time, venue, and your wedding website URL and send them out to everyone on your guest list.
Register for gifts. Decide what types of gifts you and your partner would like, such as staples for the home, donations to a charity you both support, cooking lessons, or for your honeymoon adventure.
Select the dresses for your bridesmaids. Whether it’s the same dress for all or different dresses in the same color palette, make sure to schedule their fittings within the next few weeks.
Start meeting with florists. Discuss your vision and budget with several local florists and choose the one who can deliver your vision on time and at cost.
Book your rehearsal dinner venue. Decide if you want this dinner to be at your favorite restaurant or perhaps someone’s backyard. Be sure to book it 7 months out.
Hire an officiant. Whether you are getting married in a church or someplace else, you still need to hire someone who can make it official.
Hire a lighting tech. From candles to outdoor lighting, don’t forget to book a lighting expert who can create the perfect ambience for your wedding.
Book your transportation. Think about the parking situation of your venue, and how far people may need to drive to the wedding and/or reception. If it’s more than a 20-minute drive, consider booking cars, shuttles, or buses for your guests. Then, perhaps book a limousine for you and your partner to arrive in style.
Book your honeymoon. Once you and your partner have decided on a place and somewhat of an itinerary, get it booked to enjoy the start of your lives together after your wedding.
Rent the groom’s tuxedo. If the wedding is a formal affair, book the tuxedo 5 months out. However, if it is going to be more casual, then just buy a nice suit. Next, decide the groomsmens’ attire and schedule fittings within the next few weeks.
Finalize the catering menu & choose your cake. Include your partner in this important decision and choose a look and a taste palette both of you love.
Order your wedding invitations around 3 months out, mail them at 2 months out, and require an RSVP one month out from the date of the wedding. Now is also a good time to send out rehearsal dinner invitations. Including these in the wedding invitation is fine.
Have your wedding dress fitting. Your first wedding dress fitting should be between two and three months away from the wedding.
Get your marriage license. Each state is different so do some research on how to get a marriage license, what documents are required, and how much it costs in your state.
Give song choices to the wedding band or your DJ.
Create a seating chart. Once you have all RSVPs in, which should be 3-4 weeks from the wedding, start working on your seating chart and then make your place cards.
Pay your vendors in full. Pay your vendor bills around 3-4 weeks out to prevent money chasers bugging you on the day of your wedding. This particular task is one that is great for a bridesmaid, wedding planner, or parent to handle.
Schedule all last-minute important details such as beauty salon appointments for a haircut and color, mani-pedi, or facial.
Have your final dress fitting, deliver the final headcount to the caterer, and practice your vows.
Relax and enjoy your big day!