Updated: Oct 25, 2022
We are by no means wedding planners, but we have caught on to a thing or two about the wedding planning process in our 10 years in the business.
For starters, start the process AT LEAST 12 months ahead of time. Why? Well, the day won’t come together without a lot of VIPs. These include wedding vendors, family, friends, and others who will be pivotal to your wedding day being all that you want it to be. Now that you’ve given yourself that breathing room, set a date. Once you’ve got the date set, way ahead of time, it’s time to start that planning.
With that groundwork set for WHEN to start, here’s a top 10 list of what to focus on as you plan your wedding.
#1 Wedding Venue
Where your wedding will take place is crucial and one of the most difficult aspects to settle on. Venues can get booked very quickly especially during peak weddings seasons depending on the state or city you are getting married in. If you really have a spot in mind, then make sure you book it as soon as possible. If you are having your ceremony in one location and your reception in another, make sure both are available and that you have all the necessary agreements filled out. Always read the fine print. Some venues have laxer terms as far as postponements, guest count changes, and so forth than others.
#2 Wedding Party
Who do you want as your maid of honor? Best man? Will you have a bridal party? How big? All of these are important questions to make sure you get their dresses, makeup/hair appointments, seating arrangements and so forth in order. You want to be sure your special people mark down the date of when they’ll be needed and also are willing to commit to dress fittings and rehearsal dinners.
#3 The Dress/Suit
Around the 10-month mark, you want to be sure you are dress and suit shopping. You don’t want to put this too far out in case of any weight changes but you also want to allow time for any fittings, customization, or orders that need to be placed.
#4 Wedding Vendor Team
You can start assembling your A-Team way in advance, but WHO are you looking for exactly? Most weddings have a photographer, videographer, florist, caterer (people gotta eat), cake artist, DJ or live band, printer for invites, officiant, hair and makeup professionals, favors vendor, transportation if needed, and hotel accommodations for you or your guests. Also, don’t forget a wedding planner, or at the very least a day of coordinator to make your wedding day run as smooth as possible.
#5 Wedding Invitations
Around the 6 month mark, you want to be sure you are delivering save the dates with invitations being sent some time around 2 months before the wedding to get a final count on dishes.
#6 The Rings
Be sure to shop for your wedding band as well as your fiancé’s. This may take more time than expected so allow at least 6 months in case you need resizing or any special adjustments or engraving added.
You want to let your guests know what they can get you on your big day. This way you can include it in your wedding invitation if you’d like to.
#8 Special gifts or traditions
There may be some special gifts you want to get each other, parents, friends, your bridal party, or perhaps someone who is unable to make your big day. You might also be on the fence about specific traditions you want to have on your day. Allow yourself time to shop and pick out something special and also have time to have these discussions with your fiancé or your family. Knowing what traditions will or will not be happening will also help you or your planner understand the timeline for your day.
#9 Final Essentials
Around the one-month mark, you are getting really close to the big day. At this point, you want to make sure you are getting your marriage license, wrapping up alterations for you and your bridal party, have a clear headcount for your caterer and venue, have a seating chart for guests, and are working on those personal vows. You’ll also be finalizing your day of timeline with your planner or coordinator to make sure your A-team knows when and where to be.
#10 Relax and enjoy it all
You’ve done quite a lot to bring this all together, now it’s time to let the professionals handle things and enjoy every moment of your day without lifting a finger. Your bridal party and vendors will be there to take care of whatever may come up, so please have a spa day the night before, stay hydrated, be present, and take in every magical moment.