Woohoo! You’re engaged! Congratulations, you’ve just started on one of the best adventures of your life. While marriage is a beautiful, rewarding feat, first you must plan a wedding, which can be an overwhelming, exhausting adventure in itself. The venue, the stationery, the photographer, the caterer, the florist. Oh, but what about the band, the officiant, hair and makeup? Do you really need a wedding planner? A videographer? Grab some coffee (or if you’re like me, some chips) and let’s chat. This process is one to enjoy, and we’re here to help.
Below we have outlined a quick timeline/checklist to assist in planning your big day! All of these details are available for you to print and download here, complete with side areas for important notes!
THE FIRST STEPS
Start A Wedding Binder
Or a folder. Or a box. Or the entire bottom drawer of your desk. Just have one place where you can collect inspiration, price quotes, confirmations, and other important wedding-related material. Every time you receive any important, nuptial related information put it in your designated wedding spot. It’s not a bad idea to make copies of payment receipts and checks – you may need them later!
Set A Date
You must have a date to do virtually any planning. Chat with family and figure out a day or a couple of days that will work best for everyone. Consider less-traditional days such as Fridays and Sundays, they can be real money savers when it comes to booking locations and vendors.
Work Out A Budget
Who will be contributing to this special event? Chat with your family about their contribution (if any) and calculate how much you will be able to pay on your own. Add it together. This figure will determine the price range you should look for in vendors and venues.
Start A Guest List
This is another huge, initial step. Your guest list will effect which venues can accommodate your wedding as well as how much you’ll be able to spend on catering. This is also the best place to save money. The smaller the guest list, the more affordable the wedding.
Pick A Color Scheme
This is what most of your design choices will be made off of.
So make sure you have a solid color scheme in mind.
+ 9 MONTHS BEFORE
Ask Your Wedding Party
Whether you choose to do an elaborate gift to ask you best girlfriends (or guyfriends!), or simply ask over coffee, they’ll be a pivotal part of your special day and your planning process.
Hire A Planner, If You Choose
A planner can help with almost every step after this one, but plenty of brides do it on their own. It’s overwhelming at first, but you really can plan a beautiful wedding!
Reserve A Venue for Ceremony/Reception
Consider if you would like the ceremony and reception in the same location or if you wouldn’t mind to have a small drive.
Choose A Photographer
It’s true what they say; your photos will be the only thing that lasts past 2am on your wedding night. Make sure you hire someone you can trust and whose work you love.
Book A Videographer
Should you choose to hire a videographer, the same logic applies here as with your photographer: hire someone you can trust and whose work you love. It’s likely your photographer will have some good suggestions for videographers as well.
Pick A Band/DJ
Which is best? Some people prefer a live band, and others prefer a DJ who can play virtually anything. Some do both: one for the ceremony and one for the reception. Whichever you choose, the good ones typically book up quickly.
Book Your Florist
You’ll have to consider if you budget allows for real flowers throughout the wedding décor, or perhaps just for the bouquets. One tip: if there is one florist you especially want to work with, get quotes from several and ask if they’ll price match.
Find An Officiant, If Needed
Whether you are having a religious or civil ceremony, if an officiant is not provided by your venue, you’ll need to figure out who is going to preside over the ceremonies and make this glorious celebration of love official.
8 MONTHS BEFORE
Taste Test/Book Caterer
This is one of the best parts of wedding planning – free, delicious food. Enjoy it.
Fittings can take months – so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time between purchase and your wedding date. Make sure you only take people who are close to you. A possé of females could make this step a bit more challenging.
Create A Wedding Website
As part of our full wedding experience we offer wedding web design services. This gives you an entire cohesive look throughout all of your “branded” wedding materials. Or you could do always do a free one on a website such as The Knot. But we like our suggestion better!
Reserve Hotel Rooms for Guests
Pick several options close to the reception venue for out-of-town guests or loved ones who would like a near-by place to crash after your shindig.
6-7 MONTHS BEFORE
Order/Send Save The Dates
If we haven’t chatted with you about your website, then now is the time to contact us to start designing all of your wedding paper goods and save the dates are our first priority.
Start Planning Honeymoon
Whether you’re taking a dream vacation or Hawaii or simply a weekend getaway, it’s nice to have this done before the final rush of wedding planning.
Reserve Rental Items
You may need extra chairs, an outdoor tent, or even centerpiece items. Make sure to ask your caterer or venue if they supply all of the china. Otherwise, place settings will have to be added to your rental budget.
Book Your Transportation, If Needed
Consider how you will be getting from the ceremony to the reception and if would you like to provide a shuttle for guests to and from the hotel.
4-5 MONTHS BEFORE
Start on Wedding Invitations
The save the dates have been sent and now you are ready to design the main invitation. This tends to be the most elaborate of the stationery items so besure to give us at least two months prior to your mailing date to work out all the finite details.
Pick Out Your Cake
Another fabulous part of wedding planning. Be sure to ask about delievery/set up fees as well as using a sheet cake for serving as a more economical option.
Make sure you have the shoes you’ll wear the day-of with you.
Book Rehearsal Dinner
Perhaps you have awesome in-laws who will take care of this step for you.
Schedule Hair and Makeup
If you don’t have people already in mind, don’t be afraid to do trials with several different experts.
Choose Your Music
What do you want to walk down the aisle do? Have the bridal party announced to? Boogie all night to? Let your DJ or band know.
3 MONTHS BEFORE
Compose A day of timeline
Maybe you give it to everyone or maybe you give it to just your maid-of-honor, but it’s very helpful to have a schedule on such a busy (but wonderful) day. Put it in your wedding binder (or folder, or box, or drawer).
Purchase and Gather Final Details
Order favors if you choose, and finalize your program and menus with us!
Are there loved ones you’d like to do readings at the ceremony or additional toasts you want at your reception? Ask them now to give them time to prepare.
You may need a bit of time for ordering, resizing, or engraving. Make sure everything accurately fits before the big day!
2 MONTHS BEFORE
Send Your Invitations
Or have us do it for you. Make sure you weigh your invitation to get proper postage for the outer and RSVP envelope or postcard.
Tie Up Any Loose Ends With Vendors
Do you have any questions? Do they? Make sure everyone is on the same page. Review the playlist with the band or DJ, discuss specific poses and candid shots with the photographer, and finalize the menu with the caterer.
Traditionally you purchase gifts for your parents and bridal part as a thank you for the big day. Personalized items usually do the trick!
ONE MONTH BEFORE
Track RSVPs/Write a seating chart, if desired.
Keep track of who has responded and touch base with those who haven’t. Give your final number to the caterer.
Get Your Marriage License!
Sometimes people forget and then they aren’t married. Don’t forget. Be married.
Attend Your Last Dress Fitting
Don’t forget your shoes!
Make Final Payments
It is important to have everything paid for before the big day. The last thing you will have time for is paying vendors.
Confirm Timeline For Hair, Makeup, And All Vendors.
Just make sure everyone knows to be in the right place at the right time.
Cut And Color Your Hair, If Needed.
Don’t do this the week before, trust us.
Write Your Vows
If you are writing your own vows make sure you write them, read them and make sure they are exactly what you want to say. This might be the most important paragraph you ever write. No pressure!
WEEK OF WEDDING (CRUNCH TIME!)
Delegate Day-Of Tasks
Consider who will handle taking the gifts home, passing out tips to vendors, and bustling your gown.
Pick Up Your Dress
Break In Your Shoes
You don’t want blisters.
Book Spa Treatments
Waxes and manicures and pedicures, oh my!
Pack For Your Honeymoon
Don’t forget the camera!
THE DAY OF THE WEDDING
Enjoy The Moment!
You have planned meticulously, agonized over details, and even prepared for the unexpected. Now enjoy your day. Like Murphy once said, something will go wrong, just embrace the moment
– it doesn’t last long!
If you are looking for some great vendors be sure to check out our vendor page! Best of luck on your planning endeavors!