How to Plan a Wedding in 12 Months

You've announced your engagement and you're ready to start planning your big day...hooray! But where exactly should you start? If you're feeling at a loss about where to jump into the whole planning process, here's a rough timeline of the major things you'll need to do over the next 12 months. Use this as a starting point to help you collect your thoughts and then get your planning on. Below is our 12 month wedding timeline. Good luck! 12 month wedding timeline Photo by: Warmphoto 12 months before: - Come up with a tentative budget and talk to your love about what your ideal wedding would look like. - Decide when you want to get married. If your date is flexible, check with several venues you like to see when exactly they're available and how much they will cost. - Research venues. - Draft a guest list. - Talk to your parents about their ability to contribute and finalize your wedding budget. - If you've decided to hire a wedding planner, interview and select yours. 10-11 months before: - Book your ceremony and reception venues. - Choose your wedding party. - Book an officiant. - Find and order your wedding gown. - Start interviewing wedding vendors and professionals (florist, stationer, DJ/musician, band, videographer, etc.). - Plot out the decor scheme for your wedding: Will you hang twinkly lights or chandeliers? Line the aisle with candles? Use hay bales for reception seating? Consider any rentals you'll need to execute your vision. - Meet with caterers; sample and choose reception food. - Book your wedding photographer. - Take engagement photos. - Send out save-the-dates for a destination wedding. 8-9 months before: - Finalize bar service. - Register for gifts. - Reserve any necessary rentals. - Reserve room blocks for out-of-town guests. - Book wedding band/DJ. - Book florist. - Finalize stationery suite. 6-7 months before: - Set up your wedding website. - Order bridesmaid dresses. - Send save-the-dates. - Finalize wedding entertainment. - Order formalwear for the groom. - Start researching honeymoon travel. 4-5 months before: - Purchase wedding rings. - Order invitations. - Order formalwear for groomsmen. - Attend cake tastings; choose a baker and cake. - Choose attire for flower girl/ring bearer. - Finalize ceremony order; ask friends to do readings. - Book honeymoon. 3 months before: - Hire calligrapher for invitations (if necessary). - Have a wedding shower. - Book venue for rehearsal dinner. - Purchase accessories, including jewelry, shoes, veil, cuff links, bow ties, etc. 2 months before: - Mail your invitations. - Meet and book stylists/makeup artists and test out wedding hairstyles and makeup looks. - Purchase gifts for your wedding party. - Order wedding programs. - Write or choose your wedding vows. - Book any necessary day-of transportation. 1 month before: - Confirm playlist/do-not-play list with musicians or DJ. - Send rehearsal dinner invites. - Purchase wedding favors. - Wrap up DIY projects. - Have a final gown fitting; ensure your maid of honor knows how to bustle your gown, if necessary. - Apply for your marriage license. - Create welcome bags for out-of-town guests. - Confirm all day-of details with vendors; make any necessary substitutions/changes. - Confirm all important details with wedding party members (e.g. arrival times, attire fittings, etc.). - Confirm that necessary space for all vendors and equipment is available at the venue. - Arrange for care of pets/home during your honeymoon. - Have bachelor/bachelorette parties. 3 weeks before: - Contact any MIA guests to get their RSVPs. - Finalize guest list and give head count to caterer/venue. - Confirm vendor meals with caterer. - Prepare must-have shot list with photographer; give names of all VIPs. 2 weeks before: - Get final haircut and color. - Confirm all honeymoon travel. - Plan reception seating chart. 1 week before: - Print or DIY your escort cards. - Call all vendors and confirm delivery/setup/takedown arrangements. - Give your day's schedule to ceremony/reception site managers, including deliveries, setup, takedown, etc. 2-3 days before: - Make sure your dress is ready to go; get it steamed or pressed if necessary. - Pick up the mens' formalwear. - Finalize bridal party positions and order they'll walk down the aisle. - Deliver place cards, programs, menus, etc. to appropriate venue or site managers. - Drop off welcome bags at guest hotels and give delivery instructions to the front desk. - Designate someone as the emergency contact person and give out their phone number to all vendors. Make sure to pick a trusted relative or responsible member of the bridal party. - Rehearse ceremony at venue. - Write final checks to vendors and professionals. 1 day before: - Attend rehearsal dinner. - Give gifts to attendants. - Give marriage license to officiant. - Print out your vows if you're writing your own. - Get a mani and pedi. On the BIG day: - Eat something hearty for breakfast! - Give wedding rings to a member of the bridal party for safe keeping. - Introduce your vendors and site managers to your emergency contact. - Ensure final checks, including tips, are in envelopes and ready to be handed off to vendors and professionals. - Eat, drink, and be married! In the weeks after the wedding: - Send thank-you notes. - Return any remaining rentals. - Have your gown cleaned and/or preserved. - Return formalwear. - Enjoy your honeymoon! - Change your last name. - Order your wedding album. Happy planning!