Wedding Planning Timeline: How To Keep Organized and On Track
As a Wedding Consultant, I coach couples on how to best organize the chaos as they plan their dream weddings, and I’m always asked about where to start and what to focus on first. Yes, every wedding is different and the needs of each couple will vary. But what remains consistent no matter how small or large the wedding, is that being organized keeps you sane.
So, to help get you organized, I’m going to break down your massive wedding to-do list and give you the main things to focus on each month leading up to your wedding so you can enjoy your engagement.
Things to Keep in Mind
These are the major overall to-do’s. You will have smaller tasks associated with each of these tasks in order to get it accomplished.
This timeline is to help keep you focused on what needs to be done now instead of thinking about everything that needs to be done at once.
This is not all-inclusive. Your specific needs may require that you do things sooner or later than I have recommended.
The point of this timeline is to help jumpstart your planning journey and to give you some guidance on where your focus should be.
The longer your engagement, the longer you have to get everything done. So, if your wedding is less than a year away, then you won’t be able to follow this timeline exactly. But you can still use it as a guide to get your big to-do’s accomplished.
These are my recommendations for the months before your wedding. It allows plenty of time to get everything done and not feel rushed. You can always do the tasks sooner, but I don’t suggest you do them after I recommend.
12+ Months Before Wedding Day
Come up with wedding budget and talk with your fiancé all about the money.
Have discussions with your families about expectations and whose paying for what.
Research and hire a wedding consultant or wedding planner.
10-11 Months Before Wedding Day
Research and choose your wedding and reception venues.
Choose your officiant.
Create your guest list.
Choose your wedding party.
Research and choose your photographer and videographer.
Begin wedding dress shopping.
Start thinking about the design and décor of your wedding (your florist would probably be
8-9 Months Before Wedding Day
Research and begin choosing your stationery needs (save the dates, invitation suite, programs, place cards, etc.).
Register for your gifts.
Research and choose your band and/or DJ.
Begin premarital counseling or marriage preparations.
Begin your beauty regimens.
Research and choose your makeup artist and hair stylist.
6-7 Months Before Wedding Day
Research and choose your bridal party attire.
Schedule and take your engagement photos.
Research and choose your caterer.
Research and choose your bakery.
Start your honeymoon planning.
Mail out your save-the-dates.
4-5 Months Before Wedding Day
Plan out your rehearsal dinner details (location, menu, etc.).
Reserve hotel rooms for bridal/groom suites and out of town guests.
Choose and purchase gifts and favors.
Arrange wedding day transportation for bridal party and guests (limos, buses, etc.).
2-3 Months Before Wedding Day
Choose and purchase wedding bands.
Begin to think about and write vows.
Send out invitations.
Plan out wedding day timelines and itineraries using vendor requirements.
1 Month Before Wedding Day
Apply for marriage license.
Pay off any balances for all wedding vendors.
Spend some time reflecting and mentally preparing for marriage.
As I mentioned before, there are many other tasks that will need to be done, but these are the big, over-arching goals you want to try to accomplish each month.
Some tasks will roll over into the following months. For instance, you may choose your dress 10 months before the wedding, but your fittings may not happen until 2 months before. So, make sure you take note of any tasks that need to be done that you may have previously started but not quite completed from the previous months.
Once again, use this as a guide and make any adjustments necessary to fit your situation. These are not etched in stone but try to only keep your focus on a few major tasks each month so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Wedding Planning Timeline Download
As a bonus, I have included a free Wedding Planning Timeline that you can print out and use as you plan your wedding. It has all these big tasks broken down by month and you can include those smaller to-do’s that will get those big tasks accomplished.