Planning a wedding is an exciting time for any couple. However, it can also be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start and how long everything will take. To help alleviate some of that stress, we’ve put together a timeline for planning a wedding. From engagement to the big day, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make sure your wedding planning journey is a success.
The Engagement Phase: 12-18 months before the Wedding
The first stage of wedding planning is the engagement phase. This is when you announce your engagement to friends and family and start dreaming up all the possibilities for your big day. During this phase, it’s important to focus on a few key tasks that will set you up for success in the months to come.
The first thing you’ll want to do is tell everyone about the engagement. Share the news with your close family and friends, and then share it on social media to let everyone else know. Celebrate this exciting news with everyone in your life.
Create a Budget
Another important task during this phase is to set a budget. It’s important to know what you’re working with so you can prioritize your spending and make sure your wedding doesn’t break the bank. Talk to both sets of parents if they are helping to pay for the wedding. Be prepared to make adjustments as you start booking different vendors.
Start Guest List
Start making a guest list of family and friends that you’d like to invite. This will be helpful when it comes time to search for a wedding venue. Knowing how many people you plan on inviting will help you determine the size of the venue.
The Planning Phase: 8-12 months before the Wedding
The planning phase is where the bulk of the work happens. From booking vendors to getting your wedding invitations out, this phase is all about planning and organizing.
Venue & Catering
Finding the perfect venue can take time, so it’s best to start your search early. Be sure to keep your budget in mind when choosing a venue, and make sure it has enough space to accommodate your guest list. If your venue doesn’t provide catering, start searching for a caterer at this time.
Photographer & Videographer
During the planning phase, you’ll also want to start searching for a photographer and videographer. Look for someone who has experience in wedding photography and videography, and make sure you’re comfortable with their style. Reach out early as some photographers can get booked up to two years in advance.
Florist & Decor
Flowers and decor can really make a wedding feel special. Start reaching out to florists and decor vendors to get an idea of their style and pricing. Be sure to keep your budget in mind when choosing flowers and decor.
Choose Wedding Party Attire
As you’re planning and booking vendors, don’t forget about the wedding party. Start looking for attire such as dresses and suits early so that the wedding party has enough time to get fitted and make any alterations.
The Finalization Phase: 4-8 months before the Wedding
As the wedding day approaches, it’s time to finalize details and start thinking about the day of the wedding.
Send Out Invitations
With the date and venue booked, it’s time to send out invitations to your guests. Be sure to send them out at least two months before the wedding date.
During this phase, you’ll also want to start planning your honeymoon. Decide on a location, book your flights and accommodations, and make any necessary arrangements.
As you near the wedding day, start finalizing the little details such as your wedding vows, the ceremony music, and any special requests from vendors.
The Final Stretch: 2-4 months before the Wedding
As the wedding day gets closer, it’s time to focus on the final details and confirm everything with vendors.
Final Dress Fitting
Make sure that you attend the final dress fitting to make sure it fits perfectly for your special day.
Finalize the Seating Chart
Finalize the seating chart based on the RSVPs received, and make sure the seating chart is given to the venue before the wedding day.
Confirm with Vendors
Confirm the details with all vendors such as the arrival time, set up instructions, and any other details.
The Wedding Day
Finally, it’s time for the day you’ve been waiting for – your wedding day!
Make sure you eat breakfast, stay hydrated, and take some time for yourself in the morning to relax. Get ready with your wedding party and give yourself enough time to arrive at the venue.
The Ceremony & Reception
Enjoy your wedding day to the fullest! Remember to take in every moment and stay in the present. Dance with your partner, talk with your guests and take time to enjoy the amazing day you’ve planned.
Planning a wedding can be a long process, but with the right timeline and plan, it can also be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Use this timeline to help guide you throughout your planning process, and remember that the end result will be a beautifully unique and special day that is all about celebrating your love with friends and family.
How far in advance should you start planning a wedding?
Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, and it’s natural to wonder how much time you should allow for the process. While everyone’s circumstances differ, experts generally recommend that couples plan for about a year ahead of their wedding day. One year is generally enough time to complete all of the necessary tasks, as well as have a buffer in case of any unexpected setbacks.
A year allows plenty of time to book the perfect venue, which is often one of the first decisions couples make. Popular venues and dates tend to book up fast, so it’s best to give yourself a lot of lead time. Once you’ve selected your venue, you can begin hiring vendors such as caterers, photographers, florists, and DJs. With a year to go, you can take your time vetting vendors, researching options, and cracking down on the details.
Another critical component of wedding planning is finding the perfect wedding dress. Even with hundreds of options available, finding the right dress takes time and patience. Also, some dressmakers require several visits and fittings over time, which you will want to keep in mind. A whole year of wedding planning gives time to make all these appointments without feeling rushed.
Inevitably, some components will take longer to arrange than others – there are instances where you might need more time than a year. For example, organizing a destination wedding might require additional time to secure travel arrangements for you and your guests. If you’re planning a larger wedding, it can also take more time to finalize guest lists and send save-the-date cards. So, depending on your unique circumstances, you might want to give yourself closer to two years before your wedding day to ensure everything falls in place.
One year is the generally recommended time for wedding planning because it provides adequate time to execute all of the necessary tasks, without feeling overly rushed or overwhelmed by the process. However, weddings can vary, so it’s essential to consider your needs and requirements and treat them accordingly.
Who pays for the wedding?
Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for the wedding, but this custom is rapidly changing. The modern wedding industry is quite different from what it used to be, and couples are becoming more financially responsible for their weddings than ever before. This shift is partly due to the rising cost of weddings and the fact that couples are now getting married later in life and are often more financially independent.
Although the bride’s family historically pays for the wedding, it wasn’t always this way. In some cultures, the groom’s family is responsible for all costs associated with the wedding. In other cultures, the entire village or community contributes to the wedding financials. However, in modern western culture, it is a common tradition for the bride’s family to pay for the wedding, which is a reflection of the expectation that the father would take financial care of his daughter until marriage.
That said, today, a growing number of couples cover all or a significant portion of their wedding costs. Weddings can be expensive, and sometimes couples can’t afford to make their dream wedding come true by themselves. Many couples receive financial assistance from both sides’ families, take out loans, or tap into their savings.
Early planning and a written budget can help avoid misunderstandings when deciding who pays for what. When setting a budget, it’s essential to prioritize expenses. Prioritization begins where you would need the extra dollars first or the most crucial expenses to pay for the wedding. Who pays for what at a wedding depends on values, expectations, traditions, and familial communication. Open dialogue and clear communication about finances must take place between the couple, both sets of families, and anyone else contributing to the wedding.
The decision of who pays for the wedding ultimately depends on the couple’s choice. There are no rules that dictate who should pay for a wedding anymore. The bride’s family may pay for some of the wedding or none of it at all. In other cases, the couple may choose to pay for the entire wedding themselves. It’s crucial to evaluate all options and create a realistic budget that works for both sides. Marriage is an exciting journey, and the journey to the wedding day can be just as thrilling, expensive, and complicated as you want it to be.