Updated: Mar 7
Oh, hey friend! My guess is your reading about wedding planning and making sure you get those wedding planning checklist printables organized because you’re in engagement territory! Either you’re newly engaged or you know you’re about to be, so either way, congrats babe!
Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times because the thrill of it literally lasts until the big day and through the honeymoon. It’s amazing.
As amazing as it is though, planning a wedding can be super stressful and exhausting, especially if you have a very vocal and opinionated family. Luckily that wasn’t the case for me and planning my wedding was a super fun and enjoyable experience for me.
For starters, my mom is a planning extraordinaire. Like, no one plans like this woman plans. She has a binder for everything…And I mean everything. It’s fantastic. I’ve learned so much from her when it comes to planning an event which only made planning my wedding that much easier.
That, and well, we hired a wedding planner, but regardless, I was extremely hands on and felt like I was able to get a very good sense on timeframes.
So, let’s just get right to the good stuff. Keep reading for a very thorough monthly breakdown on when you should accomplish tasks and get things booked! Also, check the link right below to get your free wedding planning checklist printable, now!
save this for later
post-engagement – 12 months before
// consider a wedding planner
She saved my life.
I mean are you even a bride if you don’t have a super epic Pinterest board going? Start getting ideas and inspiration on what you want your day to look like. This will help ALL vendors (many ask for inspo or access to your pinterest board) so they can help you budget accordingly.
// figure out the budget
Maybe you’re super traditional and your family is paying. Maybe you’re super independent and the only resource you have is you and bae, whatever your circumstances are, figure out what your budget is. This is c r u c i a l. Also, plan to exceed the budget in a worst case scenario situation. You don’t want to be shocked after the fact and feel some resentment or regrets on what you booked.
// pick a date and venue
With us coming off of Covid moving forward, venues will probably have a surge in demand for weddings being postponed. Try to set a date (once it’s safe again) and venue ASAP, especially if you have a specific date in mind.
// figure out wedding party
If you want a wedding party, figure out who those people will be and let them know so they can plan to be available! If you don’t want a wedding party, totally get it, then you get to skip this 🙂
// research and hire prominent vendors
Some vendors like wedding planners, photographers, videographers, officiant, florist, and entertainment are best reserved as far in advance as possible. Start to research who you would want to consult with for potential hire sooner than later. Especially photographers!!!
// start the guest list
Start planning out the preliminary guest list, BUT, wait until you know your budget and capacity to start asking for addresses! Don’t let anyone assume they are invited when in fact, they very well are not!
// engagement party + engagement photos
If this is your cup of tea, then have a party and get those pretty pictures taken! If you’re like me then just stick to a little selfie moment on the gram and soak up all the love from the comments!
8-11 months before
// wedding dress shopping!
The best part in my opinion! Start making appointments with wedding boutiques and start hunting down the dress. You want to make sure you leave plenty of time for alterations so give yourself ample time for going to multiple shops.
// get that insurance
Some venues require you to have an insurance policy. There are also insurance policies that protect your deposits, so check into those.
// wedding website
If you want to create a wedding website, you can do so easily and for free on a site like The Knot (not sponsored). This can be helpful to redirect your guest list to your site for info on the venue, your registry, hotels nearby for out-of-town guests, transportation options, etc.
If absolutely don’t need one, but if you want one, get on it boo!
// finalize guest list -> send out save-the-dates
Finalize your guest list, get any addresses you need, and send out those save the dates! There are so many options online from Etsy to stationary sites that can give you endless options on nicely printed save-the -dates.
// meet with caterers and bakeries
Now is a good time to meet with caterers and bakeries and book some tastings! The best part in my opinion.
Try to make sure they are booked before the 4-5 month mark!
// book the florist
By now you should have a good idea of what you want your wedding to look like and your color theme. Flowers are the best way to splash your color theme into the mix without taking it too far. Try to figure out how you want your tables to look like, what centerpieces you are envisioning and anything extra like a feature wall or floor decor.
// book a rental company
Depending on the venue you book, you may or may not need to rent out items like tables, chairs, tents, lights, etc. I had to rent out everything from dishes to chairs, napkins to chandeliers, meet with some rental companies, walk their showroom, and figure out who best aligns with your vision and that budget, honey!
// book your entertainment
Are you going to have a DJ? A band? Figure out what type of entertainment you want and make sure you book them before the 8 month mark!
Maybe you want an acoustic guitarist for the first half of the wedding and a DJ for the second half, or just one band the entire night. Your wedding, your call!
// look into grooms attire
This was a lot harder than my ex-husband expected as options are sometimes limited. Plan ahead of time and start looking for suits!
// book hair and make-up trials
Trials are so, so, so mandatory. Find some hairstylists and make-up artists that you admire and book some trials. Take lots of inspiration photos and maybe a photo of your dress if you have found it by now and make sure you’re happy before you book. Take it from experience.
6-7 months before
// wedding party attire
Be sure to figure out the finances of this before asking people, please! If you do not plan on paying for your wedding parties’ attire, let them know and be super open and flexible to what they wear.
If you are paying, schedule a time for everyone to go try on dresses together or coordinate for dressed to be tried on and chosen.
// honeymoon? yes please.
Soooo, where ya goin’?! Make those plans! Book your honeymoon and all the details, but obviously make sure its COVID-proof.
// book caterer
Be sure you have secured your caterer by the 6 month mark! The only thing more important than saying “I do” is eating afterwards!
4-6 months before
// wedding rings, bling bling!
That was annoying, I know. Not sorry.
Time to start searching for wedding rings/bands. This was super fun and exciting. Again, take your time and you’ll know when you know.
// order invitations
Make sure to order your invitations within this timeframe as well. You’ll want to make sure they arrive with enough time to get them mailed out by the 2 month mark.
// book the cake baker
Be sure to book your cake baker and get on the same page as far as flavor and design are concerned! You’ll want to make sure your cake is ordered before the 3 month mark!
3 months before
// address those invites!
Whether doing this yourself or hiring a calligrapher, get those invites addressed at the 3 month mark. You’ll be mailing them out right at the 2 month mark.
// bridal shower time
The 3 month mark is a great time to have your bridal shower, but whether its before or not, enjoy that bridal glow!
// book wedding night transportation
This might not seem like a biggie, but getting transportation booked to ensure everyone gets there and back safely is very important!
// rent any formalwear that’s needed
Whether its for the groomsmen or family members, handle that!
2 months before!
// mail those invites!
Some may come back with the wrong address, so this will give you time to get that under control. Have your guests RSVP no later than 5 weeks after invites are mailed.
// figure out those vows
Whether you’re writing them yourselves or finding some cute ones on Pinterest because, that’s what I did, get those organized.
// have your hair and makeup trials and book!
Book your makeup artist and hairstylists after having your trials!
// gifts for parents or wedding party
If you are giving gifts to anyone of importance, check that off the list!
1 month to go!
// marriage license
Go and get that marriage license as well. This is super quick and easy but you need to book an appointment sometimes.
// final fitting
You should have your final fitting this month unless you need one more right before. Make sure whoever will be in charge of the bustle attends this fitting as well to learn how to do so.
// seating plan
Ugh, the dreaded seating plan. Good luck.
// book rehearsal dinner
If you are having one, book the rehearsal dinner and make sure those needed or wanted in attendance have been invited.
// confirm the entire wedding party has their attire
Last thing we need is someone missing a pair of pants…
// assign speeches
If you are wanting certain people to make a speech or if people inquire, figure that out and let them know!
2 weeks before
// finalize rental/vendor details
You should have your final headcount now which almost all vendors will need so be sure to confirm that with the necessary people.
// song list to dj
If you are having a dope DJ or band at your wedding, be sure to give them the final song list. This can include songs that definitely need to be played or better yet, songs that are absolutely not to be played, even if people request it ten times…
// speak with photographer
Get a list of people who are to be in formal photos to the photographer and plan your schedule of photos. Are you doing a first look? Are you taking photos before or after the ceremony? Etc.
1 week before… oh boy!
// vendor confirmations
Confirm any details such as arrival time and any headcount adjustments at this time with all vendors!
// break in your shoes!
Omg, forget the cake and food, break in those damn shoes! Dance around in your house, wear them outside so they get some traction, just do not save them for the day of!
// beauty appointments
Take care of any beauty appointments you are wanting like waxing, threading, etc.
// give final schedule to all parties necessary
This is pretty much just for the wedding party and immediate family. Make sure they are all aware of when they are to arrive, etc.
// print seat cards
Make sure your seating cards or table numbers are taken care of.
// did someone say, bach parties?!
Get the dolla dolla bills out! Just kidding, unless that’s your vibe then have at it! Just remember, water and Advil are your friends.
2-3 days before
// last minute fitting
If you need any additional alterations made, now is the time for your final final fitting!
// get any items to their rightful owners
If you have a wedding planner, get her any items she needs like the seating arrange, place cards, etc.
If not, hand off items to the venue manager, or caterers, etc.
// remind wedding party to steam their attire!
We can’t have wrinkles. Be sure all the parties involved have everything pressed and steamed!
// pack for the honeymoon!
Don’t overpack and accommodate for the diet being officially eliminated!
// mani + pedi
Get them nails and toes did, girl!
// write checks or handle payment methods for after the wedding
Some vendors require day-of payments, so have that ready to go. This is great to leave with your wedding planner.
// rehearsal dinner
If this is your vibe, be sure to rehearse the ceremony and enjoy a lovely dinner with those you love!
// make sure everything is packed
If you are incorporating anything personal, be sure it is packed up. Also, bring comfy shoes, a change of clothes, toiletries, etc. Wedding bands, note cards for speeches, etc.
It’s a LONG day.