Wedding Planning Timeline

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Because wedding planning can be a time consuming, detail-oriented process, some busy brides-to-be simply do not have the extra time to develop their ideal weddings. Does this sound like you? We recently spoke with professional wedding planner, Kimberly Williams of Weddings by the Vine, and asked her to develop a detailed timeline full of your wedding planning to-do’s!

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12 months before the wedding 

  • Develop a wedding budget
  • Begin venue research – check available dates, prices and options
  • Research local marriage license requirements
  • Start looking at invitation samples and select a desired design
  • Inform family and friends of wedding date
  • Determine the level of formality for the wedding, the style and the theme
  • Begin looking through wedding books and magazines for ideas
  • Create a personal guest list
  • Request guest lists from both of your parents
  • Schedule familiarization trips, select and book ceremony & reception locations (if different)
  • Select and book a ceremony officiant
  • Research ceremony & reception sites’ regulations
  • Visit rental agencies to look at linens, etc.
  • Choose bridal party members and inform them of their roles
  • Select and order a wedding dress and veil
  • Decide on groomsmen attire
  • Decide on attire for children in the wedding (don’t order these items until six months before to make sure size is correct)
  • Choose a florist and meet with the floral designer
  • Choose and book a caterer, baker, photographer, videographer, reception entertainment & transportation
  • Schedule time off from work for wedding and honeymoon

 9 months 

  • Meet with the officiant to discuss acceptable ceremony elements and pre-wedding classes
  • Meet with the caterer to discuss the menu, setup, requirements, and so forth
  • Meet with the florist to design bouquets and floral décor
  • Choose and book the honeymoon
  • Apply for passports and visas, if applicable
  • Finalize the guest list
  • Create maps to the ceremony and reception locations
  • Order and send save-the-dates cards, if applicable
  • Order wedding programs, place cards and menu cards
  • Order wedding rings & decide if you’ll have them engraved
  • Reserve room blocks at nearby hotel(s) for out-of-town guests
  • Book a honeymoon suite for the wedding night

 6 months 

  • Order pre-printed supplies, like napkins, etc.
  • Order invitations
  • Decide on wedding favors, order and assemble, if necessary
  • Begin writing vows
  • Select ceremony music & readings
  • Audition and book ceremony music performers
  • Buy attire for children who will be in the wedding
  • Register for wedding gifts
  • Send for name-change documents, such as passport, credit cards, driver’s license, etc.
  • Arrange transportation to and from the hotel for guests

 3 months 

  • Review invitation etiquette with the bridal consultant
  • Address invitations or hire calligrapher
  • Begin wedding gown fittings
  • Choose shoes and accessories
  • Schedule meeting with the bridal consultant for updates
  • Complete vows
  • Make a salon appointment for the wedding day
  • Schedule pre-wedding appointment for trial hairstyles
  • Ask relatives and/or friends to read at the ceremony
  • Submit the song list to the DJ or band
  • Submit a photo wish list to the photographer
  • Submit a video wish list to the videographer
  • Obtain babysitters for guests’ children, if applicable
  • Finalize and book plans for the rehearsal dinner

 2 months 

  • Mail wedding invitations
  • Meet with the ceremony musicians about the song list
  • Schedule formal pre-wedding portraits
  • Purchase gifts for each other, parents, wedding party and guests
  • Arrange for house and pet sitters

1 month

  • Obtain marriage license
  • Have meeting with the Officiant to finalize ceremony elements, rules, etc.
  • Invite the Officiant to the rehearsal dinner
  • Schedule final ceremony and reception site walk through
  • Meet with wedding consultant & discuss the wedding day timeline
  • Arrange for parking permits and/or valet parking
  • Confirm honeymoon plans
  • Confirm wedding night hotel reservations
  • Ensure groomsmen have ordered their tuxedos
  • Schedule final dress fitting to make sure no further alterations are needed
  • Pick up the wedding bands
  • Handwrite thank-you notes for the shower gifts
  • Call guests who haven’t responded to get a final head count
  • Put together the seating chart for the reception, create seating place cards and table numbers
  • Design and assemble gift baskets to welcome guests
  • Purchase items that will be used during the ceremony and reception, like the following:  unity candle, table candles, toasting flutes, basket for flower girl, guest book, silk rose petals, pillow and costume rings for the ring bearer, post-wedding toss items like bubbles, sparklers, wands and two garters – one for tossing and one for keeping

1-2 weeks before the wedding 

  • Follow up with caterer – discuss final headcount, special menus, children’s meals and vendor meals
  • Confirm details with the baker, photographer, videographer, musicians, reception entertainment, Officiant, ceremony & reception site managers & transportation company
  • Contact rental company & provide final numbers for rental and décor items
  • Review the final timeline with the wedding consultant
  • Assemble a personal emergency bag with make-up and medical items
  • Place tips and fees in marked envelopes for the Officiant, the musicians, service staff, the valets, etc. if gratuity is not included in their fee
  • Deliver guest welcome bags to hotel(s)
  • Pick up wedding gown, bridesmaids’ gowns and shoes
  • Break in your wedding shoes by wearing them around the house
  • Groom should pick up his tuxedo, accessories, shoes, socks, etc. and try everything on to ensure proper fit
  • Groom gets haircut
  • Pack for the honeymoon

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We hope these detailed guidelines will help you beautiful brides along your wedding planning journey. For even more information on wedding planning tasks, make sure to set up an appointment with a professional wedding planner or coordinator! We wish you a beautiful wedding day from Enchanted Brides and Weddings by the Vine!

Timeline developed by | Kimberly Williams | Weddings by the Vine

Photography | Mary Beth Clouser Photography

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