Unique Chats

Planning the Big Day: Advice from a Wedding Planner & Bride-To-Be – Pt.2 – Wedding Timeline

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May 27, 2016


Wedding season rapidly approaches us, and with that comes the stress of planning a wedding. As a fellow bride to be, I understand the pressures of a wedding, and realized from early out that having a wedding timeline was a must.  As a wedding planner, I have also been on the other side of the spectrum, where people are constantly asking what they can do, and how to do it. Having a wedding timeline not only helps with our bridal clients, but has personally helped me so much during my wedding planning.  Most people give themselves a year or so for some stress-free planning, so this timeline will be done as such.

11-12 Months

  • Decide on a budget/ the size of your wedding. Doing this from the beginning will help keep all of your wedding plans in order. Also make sure that there is a payment plan for both sides of the family, so everyone is aware of who will be paying for what.
  • Decide on a wedding theme. Looking for an outdoor wedding, farm wedding, mountain wedding, a garden wedding, or a church wedding? Having a theme will help you decide on the perfect place to get married.
  • Searching for venues. Once your theme is decided upon, start looking and visiting venues that interest you.
  • Pick a date: as well as decide on the time of day; this will help make choosing vendors easier by the time of products they offer.
  • Here is the time to find a wedding professional to help you along the way. Research around before deciding on the best company to help plan and coordinate your big day.
  • Get your wedding party together

9-10 Months

  • Shop for and buy your wedding dress. Most places take a few months to ship/make a customized dress.
  • Plan out your theme. Here you’ll start looking at ideas for your vendors (cake, flowers, photography, music/ceremony and reception) and decorations that match your theme and venue.
  • Start looking at food options and menus.

7-8 Months

  • Register for gifts. Now is the time that friends/family will start planning your wedding shower.
  • Get the wedding party’s attire (Bridesmaid dresses, Groomsmen suits, flower girls, ring bearer).
  • Start looking at Save-the-date cards and Invitations. Getting a head start on this can relieve you from the pressure of getting them out quickly.

5-6 Months

  • Send out Save-the-Dates
  • Start planning/ making reservations for Honeymoon. Work out flights, transportation, update passports (if needed), and get visas (if needed).
  • Reserve rooms for out of town guests. It is best to find a place that is close to the wedding venue or that offers transportation.
    • Itineraries are always a good idea to have for your out-of-town guests, but as well as your family/friends helping with the out-of-town guests. People will not be calling or texting you all day with this.
  • Should have all contracts signed with your chosen wedding vendors.
  • Select wedding playlists for both the ceremony and the reception. Some couples even send out a request list to their guests, this is a great idea for weddings where there will be a lot of dancing.

4 Months:

  • Purchase wedding rings
  • Make final selection on the flowers
  • Meet with caterer for tastings, final selection of the menu
  • Select people to make the toasts at your wedding
  • Select someone to help with the guest book/handing out programs, and help with directing the flow  from ceremony to reception
  • Book a honeymoon suite for the wedding night, if needed
  • Arrange a get ready suite for bride and others, if needed

3 Months:

  • Finalize all appointment times for hair, makeup, manicure/pedicure
  • Finalize dinner and drink menu
  • Select readers for the ceremony, if needed
  • Meet with officiant to go over vows and other ceremony desires
  • Decide what customs and traditions you both want to have at the reception (first dances, bouquet toss, toasts, etc.)
  • Bride prepares guest list for shower and gives to Maid of Honor-Groom prepares list for Groom get together (if having) and gives to Best Man

2 Months:

  • Bride/bridal party final fittings
  • Address your invitations and send out invitations 6-8 weeks before
  • Determine wedding favors
  • JUST BREATHE, almost there!

1 Month:

  • Obtain a marriage license (within legal time period)
  • Send out thank you cards for gifts already received. If you do it before hand, you won’t be rushing after the wedding to get them out
  • Pick up wedding rings, and try them on
  • Make a list of photos to be taken for the big day. This helps the photographer know what you want, as well as keeps everyone on schedule
  • Enter guests into your database/website, and call those who have not yet responded. Following up with guests helps to get that final number for seating and for the caterer.
  • Decide on Alcohol for the bar. Most caterers do offer alcohol services, but if not, put someone in charge of picking up and delivering the alcohol.


3 weeks:

  • Bride goes in for trial run of hair and makeup
  • Update insurance policies (house, car, life, etc.)
  • Complete any change of name paperwork
  • Select someone to return Groom’s tux (if rented), as well as someone to drop Bride’s gown off at cleaner

2 weeks:

  • Bride and bridesmaids to pick up dress, and all accessories (headpiece, lingerie, shoes, jewelry, etc.)
  • Bride needs to decide on her “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” for the wedding day.
  • Make sure to have all tickets, vouchers, etc., for honeymoon
  • Bride usually hosts a bridesmaids luncheon around this time and gives the bridesmaids gifts
  • Groom to give groomsmen luncheon and give gifts
  • Now is the time for the groom to get a haircut

1 week:

  • Meet with wedding planner to go over the wedding timeline and to give marriage license
  • Prepare all the final checks and gratuities for vendors
  • Pick up gown

2 days before:

  • Groom and groomsmen to pick up tuxes
  • Exchange wedding gifts to one another and to the parents
  • Bride to get mani/pedi
  • Make sure to remind the bridal party and close family the times of arrival for wedding pictures

1 day before:

  • Attend wedding rehearsal
  • Bride give groom’s ring to MOH
  • Groom give bride’s ring to BM
  • Attend the rehearsal dinner

Day of wedding:

  • Bride get ready, let your wedding planner handle the day, and go GET MARRIED!

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