Congratulations! If you have just gotten engaged, it is very likely you are now fielding questions on every aspect of your wedding from literally everyone you know. Now what? Do you know where to start? There are many moving parts that are involved in wedding planning, so we are here to help you organize everything you need to complete.
Announcing Your Engagement
Who have you told that you are getting married? Do the important people in your life know that you got engaged? Many couples want to make sure that their parents and close friends and family members know their news before announcing it to others and it is certainly something to consider. In most cases, you will want to try to tell parents in person. If that isn’t an option perhaps a video chat or something a little more special can be arranged to share your big news.
You may also want to consider holding off on announcing anything on social media until you have notified all the people close to you and your fiance to avoid any hurt feelings. After all the important people know you can shout it from the rooftops!
Making A Plan
To make this rather large “project” a little easier, you will want to plan things out a bit. Sit down with your significant other and have a discussion about timing, style, and money. These are important topics that you are going to want to have a clear idea of going in. You don’t necessarily have to know absolute specifics right now, but you want to be on the same page with one another.
- What season or month do you want to have your wedding?
- How far off do you want or need the wedding to be?
- What style venue appeals to you?
- What is a reasonable budget?
- Will anyone else be contributing?/Do you want anyone else contributing?
Get Yourself Organized
How do you work? Do you keep track of all appointments and dates on your phone or do you need to write things down in a planner to remember them? There are plenty of options available to you for however, you prefer to organize yourself. There are available apps such as Wedding Planner by The Knot or you can pick up an old-fashioned binder with checklists and notes. However you choose to do it, make sure you have your wedding planning information organized. The closer you get to your wedding date the more stressful things can get, and you want to keep everything easy and accessible.
Now, hopefully, you have discussed some of the basics and have an idea of what you and your partner would like. Here is a general timeline to use as a guide as to when specific things should be completed so you don’t miss anything.
12 Or More Months Before The Wedding
- Work Out Your Budget. – How much will you spend on each thing? Are you willing to put more money into your photographer but go lighter on a flower budget?
- Compile the Guest List. – This is important because many things you will be looking to book will require you to know how many people will be in attendance.
- Look For and Book Venue and Ceremony Sites. – Will you be having a ceremony at a separate location? Be aware of timing in between the two places if you will be using different locations for the ceremony and reception.
- Find and Book Your Officiant. – Some venues can make suggestions or refer you to wedding officiants they work with.
- Hire A Wedding Planner. – This, of course, is optional, but if you are going to do it, now is the time!
- Choose Your Wedding Party.
- Research Vendors. – Start looking for photographers, videographers, caterers, and florists.
8 – 10 Months Before The Wedding
- Register for Gifts. – Make sure you have a wide price range for gifts and more than one retailer to choose from.
- Purchase A Wedding Dress. – You will want to make sure there is enough time to schedule alterations after the dress comes in.
- Hire Your Entertainment. – You may want to attend an event the potential entertainer is performing at to see if you enjoy what they do.
- Obtain a Block of Hotel Rooms For Guests.
- Book Transportation. – Look into transportation to and from the hotel for guests. The hotel may provide transportation or have approved vendors.
- Taste Test Your Food and Cake! – Enjoy.
- Make sure the Bridal Party has a Guest List for the Bridal Shower and Bachelorette/Bachelor Party.
- Have Bridesmaids Order Their Dresses. – Be clear with instructions on what and when the dresses should be ordered so there is no confusion.
- Decide on Style and Wording For Wedding Invitations.
- Create a Wedding Website. – This should be a useful spot for your guests to locate information on hotel reservations, venue addresses, where you are registered, and anything else you think could help them out.
- Hire Your Photographer and Videographer. – Many couples enjoy testing out the photographer with their engagement photos and some photographers offer specials on their packages when you book them for both.
- Think about Flowers. – What kind of floral decorations would you like? How do you picture your bouquet? What flowers are in season at the time of your wedding?
- Contact Rental Companies. – If you need to rent tables, chairs, tents etc. for your wedding you will need to contact a company to reserve them.
- Consider and Research Wedding Insurance. – Not all couples purchase insurance, so you can consider if this is something that is required for your wedding.
6 – 8 Months Before The Wedding
- Send Save The Dates Out To Guests. – This is flexible timing. It may work better for you to send these out a little earlier or you might be able to wait until 5 months before the wedding.
- Begin Planning Your Honeymoon. – Do you need a passport?
- Reserve Any Rented items. – You’ve already done your research and know what you need to rent. Now is the time to book.
- Book Your Florist.
- Book Any Musicians You Will Have For Your Ceremony.
- Meet with Your Officiant. – You may need to fill out certain documents or map out the ceremony depending on religion and geography.
4 – 6 Months Before The Wedding
- Order Your Wedding Cake.
- Order Your Wedding Invitations.
- Book and Attend Pre-Wedding Counseling. – Depending on various religions and customs this may be a necessary requirement.
- Shop For and Purchase Wedding Rings.
- Book Hair and Makeup Trials.
3 Months Before The Wedding
- Hire Limousines Or Cars For Wedding Day Transportation.
- Rent Formalwear.
- Hire A Calligrapher If You Wish To Use One For Invites.
- Finalize the Guest List. – Make sure you have all guests’ addresses.
- Order Favors.
- Finalize the Menu, Flowers, and Readings for the Ceremony.
- Book Rehearsal Dinner.
2 Months Before The Wedding
- Write Your Vows.
- Mail Your Invitations.
- Purchase Gifts For Parents, Bridal Party, and Your Significant Other.
- Do Hair and Makeup Trials and Confirm Bookings.
- Speak With Your Vendors To Confirm Payments, Schedule etc.
- Write Thank Yous For Shower Gifts.
- Be sure Appropriate Undergarments are Purchased.
1 Month Before The Wedding
- Get Your Marriage License.
- Keep Track of RSVPs.
- Confirm Times and Payments With All Vendors.
- Send Out Rehearsal Dinner Invites.
- Create Seating Chart.
- Have Final Gown Fitting.
- Confirm Schedule For the Day Of With the Bridal Party.
- Create Wedding Program.
2 Weeks Before The Wedding
- Review the Final RSVP List and Contact Guests that have not Responded.
- Give DJ or Band Final Song List.
- Give Photographer list of Must-have Photos.
Week Of The Wedding
- Make sure You are Packed for Wedding Night and Honeymoon.
- Set Aside Tips For Vendors.
- Break in Shoes.
- Assemble Deliver Welcome Bags or Baskets to Hotel.
- Assign People To Day Of Tasks.
- Pick Up Dress and Formalwear.
- Reconfirm Final Details With Vendors.
- Drop off Place Cards, Table Settings, Favors Etc. To Venue.