You’re ENGAGED!!! Pop the bubbly. Celebrate with your friends and family! Share that gorgeous diamond all over social media!
You are entering one of the most exciting seasons you’ll experience! (Aside from parenthood. That’s a whole different kind of excitement and adventure!)
Most couples have an engagement that lasts 12-18 months. There are the outliers, of course. The couples that are engaged for less than 12 months, and the couples that have an engagement for longer than 18 months. The average is between that 12-18 months, though.
For flexibility, let’s look at a wedding planning timeline that is 12 months. Below you’ll see what tasks you should be accomplishing during your wedding planning!
Wedding Planning Timeline
12 Months (Newly Engaged!) Wedding Planning Tasks
You just recently said YES! You haven’t stopped staring at the rock on your left ring finger. You still gush at the opportunity to tell your proposal story and share the photos the professional photographer took!
Tasks at this point in your wedding planning timeline are all logistical. These tasks are the foundation for the rest of your wedding day.
Set a Budget
If your parents haven’t already brought up the topic of finances during your courtship, now’s the time to ask if they can help with the funding. Some couples will get lucky and parents will foot the entire bill. Other couples will have some support. And many will throw the biggest party of their lives with little to no support.
Start the Guest List
As a newly engaged couple, beware, this wedding planning task may spark some heated debates. You may want to invite all of your extended family because there’s a total of 20 people. But your future hubby’s extended family is catholic and Italian and there’s 100 of them.
The best advice I have with starting your guest list is to write the names down of everyone you would ever want to invite and then start making cutbacks.
Your guest list, wedding venue, and catering budget all go hand-in-hand. Keep that in mind when your list gets to over 200, 300, 400 people. The more guests you invite, the harder it will be to find a wedding venue that can accommodate that many people.
Book Your Wedding Venue
Having the guest list started first helps with finding a wedding venue. That guest list allows you to know whether you can book a venue that holds a max of 100 people, or if you need a venue that holds over 300.
Start Buying Stamps
Here’s an unexpected wedding expense that will add up! Every time you get paid, or once a month, purchase stamps! You’ll need them for your save-the-dates, wedding invites, RSVPs, thank you’s from the engagement party, bridal shower, and post-wedding! Depending on how big your guest list, you’re looking at a lot of stamps.
11 Months – Wedding Planning Tasks
Book Your Important Vendors
Now that you have your wedding venue booked, the date is official. With an official wedding date, it’s time to book other important vendors.
These important vendors include your wedding photographer, videographer, planner, officiant, caterer, and DJ. These are the vendors that are going to book up 9-18 months in advance. The better they are, the more sought after their talents are.
Once you have your photographer booked, you can schedule your engagement photos. If you plan on sending out save the dates, you’ll want to schedule your engagement session sooner than later so you can get the save the dates out 8+ months before the wedding.
Looking for a place to order Save-The-Dates from? Try Basic Invite! I love their designs for save-the-dates, but also all the other wedding stationery that they offer! Use my code below for 20% OFF!
10 Months of Wedding Planning Tasks
Decide on Wedding Aesthetic + Book your Florist
If you haven’t already, start a wedding Pinterest board for inspiration. Once you have the aesthetic that you want for your wedding, you need to book your florist. A professional florist will know which flowers are in season for your wedding and which are going to be more expensive, or simply, not available.
Go Wedding Dress Shopping
Dress shopping is not something that you want to put off until the last minute. Some wedding gown designers can take up to 5 months for a dress to come in. Then you add in alterations!
Ask your Bridal Party
You want to give your bridal party plenty of notice that they are in your wedding! Especially because being a member of the bridal party can get expensive!
Booking this vendor is rather sweet. Literally. You’ll get to taste various samples and decide what sweet treat your guests will enjoy at your reception.
Go Bridesmaid Dress Shopping
Make a day of this with your favorite girls! Do lunch beforehand, or dinner after. This experience should be fun for all! You don’t have to order the dresses at this visit. But I would aim to have the dresses all ordered by 6 months out from the wedding.
Create your Bridal Registry
This can be a fun date day with your soon-to-be hubby! Just don’t be surprised if you find a brand new 70 inch 4k TV on your registry.
8 Months before Wedding Day
Start Researching Honeymoon Locations
Here comes the fun and exciting part of the wedding planning timeline! It’s time to start looking into honeymoon destinations! You’ll want to begin booking 6 months out from the wedding. And experts say that plane tickets are the lowest at 6 weeks out. But booking your resort can happen at any time.
*Consider purchasing some kind of travel insurance if you plan on going somewhere tropical during hurricane season.
6 Months Wedding Planning Timeline
Mail out Save-the-Dates
Remember when I suggested purchasing stamps at the beginning of your engagement? They’re going to come in handy right now.
It’s time to mail your Save-The-Dates. Keep in mind, that anyone you send a save-the-date to should also receive a wedding invite!
Hair and Makeup Trial
I always suggest to my LJ Brides to have their makeup trial done for when we take their engagement photos. This is the best way to see how well it will photograph on your wedding day.
However, if you have not had your trial yet for makeup and hair, there’s no better time than now to have that taken care of!
Start shopping for wedding bands
A woman’s wedding band may need to be custom made depending on her engagement ring style. This could take some time. I wouldn’t advise waiting until the last minute to get this wedding planning task started.
5 Months Before Your Wedding Day
Finalize the Guest List + Order Wedding Invites
As you get closer to the big day, you’ll need to finalize the guest count and begin deciding if you’re going to allow for any +1s. Once you have finalized this task, you can order your wedding invitations.
*REMEMBER* – You only need one invite for every household. Not an invite for every guest.
Guests traveling from out of town? Be sure to set up a room block for some local hotels and include that information with your invitations.
Reserve Your Rentals
Reach out to the rental companies to reserve your chairs for the ceremony/reception, plates, linens, and any other rentals that you need. Some fun rentals can be a popcorn machine, ice cream stand, or cotton candy machine!
If you’re located in Northeast Ohio, I suggest reaching out to these rental companies:
Plan the Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties
Sit down with your Maid of Honor and start talking Bachelorette Party details! Let her know what is acceptable and not for the party. The last thing you want is a surprise that you’re not comfortable with! Gaude the rest of your party’s financial expectations. Are they prepared for travel? Or are they hoping for less expensive options?
Bridal Shower Prep
Whether your friends and mom are planning the Bridal Shower, or if you are throwing it yourself, nows a great time to begin working on the details. You’ll want to find a location, put together a guest list, print the invitations, and mail them out soon!
By now, your wedding gown should be in, and you should start having your first fittings. It could take some time for alterations to be completed depending on how busy they are. Avoid the unexpected expense of having to pay a rush fee.
4 Months Until the Big Day
Rehearsal Dinner Prep
Here’s another guest list that you need to take care of! Once you have agreed on who will attend your rehearsal dinner, it’s time to start prepping the details for this. Typically the parents of the Groom cover the rehearsal dinner expense, so be sure to connect with them and have a clear understanding of what everyone’s expectations are.
If your wedding venue doesn’t have a beautiful getting ready space, consider booking a hotel suite! You’ll want big windows for gorgeous natural light! You’ll also want to consider having a room for the night of your wedding if you don’t live close to your venue!
3 Months of Wedding Planning Timeline
As you get closer to the wedding day, you’re going to begin having smaller tasks that take up more time. Here’s an overall list of wedding planning tasks you should begin taking care of starting at this point
- Mail your wedding invitations
- Have your bridal shower
- Purchase a cake topper and serving utensils for the cake.
- Purchase your rehearsal dinner outfit
- Finalize Groomsmen attire
- Purchase day-of wedding accessories
- Confirm Transportation (if travel is involved)
2 Months Prior to Wedding Day
Again, lots of little tasks will need to be taken care of eight weeks prior to your wedding day. Here those tasks are:
- Marriage License
- Confirm the timeline with your wedding photographer so you can send it to your other vendors
- Confirm music selection with your DJ
- Send wedding invitations to your B list when you begin getting “No” RSVPs back from those on your A list.
- Print out any wedding stationery that will be displayed at the wedding
- Finalize a guest book
- Have a second dress fitting
- Purchase your plane tickets for your honeymoon
30 Days Before Your Wedding Day
- Pay remaining balances off for your vendors
- Finalize a seating chart
- Enjoy a bachelor/bachelorette party!
- Get your hair trimmed
- Write your vows
- Begin putting together your favors
- Have your final dress fitting
- Begin wearing your wedding shoes around the house to break them in!
- Pack your bridal emergency bag
- Finalize details with your caterer
Welcome to the home stretch!! It’s important this week that you get plenty of sleep and have a well-balanced diet! You want to avoid salty foods and anything to you know has the potential to upset your stomach!
Here’s your list of wedding tasks to take care of these final seven days!
- Pack your clothes (getting ready clothes, after wedding clothes, next day clothes)
- Pack for the honeymoon
- Pack all your details for your wedding photographer (it’s best to place these items with your wedding shoes in the bottom of your dress bag!)
- Finalize the seating chart
- Don’t forget to include a table for your vendors
- Planner, Photographers, Videographers, DJ, Photobooth Attendees
- Don’t forget to include a table for your vendors
- Confirm the timeline with your bridal party and family members. This includes locations and addresses for rehearsal dinner, getting ready, ceremony, and reception.
- Two to three days before the wedding – go to the SPA! Have your mani /pedi done, and enjoy a massage!!
Final Wedding Planning Timeline Thoughts
Every couple and every wedding is different. This wedding planning timeline is just a guide to help you during this season of life. Feel free to do things out of order. Want to book your honeymoon as soon as you know your wedding date? GO FOR IT!! Want to throw in monthly massages to help stay relaxed during the planning? DO IT!
My point is, there’s no right or wrong to this wedding planning timeline. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is you’re married to your best friend. The person you can’t imagine spending the rest of your life without! So enjoy the process it takes to get to that day. This season of life is short. It’ll go by quickly. And before you know, you’ll be celebrating your 5th wedding anniversary!
Download a free checklist today
For your convenience, you can download a free checklist today! Store it with your wedding binder, and as you complete tasks, have the satisfaction of marking it off!
If you found this article helpful, pin it to your Pinterest board!