Whether you’re hiring a wedding planner or organizing the biggest day of your life yourself — you’ll need a wedding timeline to help ensure everything goes as intended. Take comfort in this simple wedding checklist that features only the most important details and necessities of putting together an outstanding marriage ceremony. From wedding invites to the dress, it’s all here.
12 Months Before
- Book a Venue: Discuss with your partner what type of wedding venue you would like to hold your ceremony and after party in. Consider size, location, and (if it’s outside) the time of year.
- Draft a Checklist: After looking over this wedding timeline, draft a checklist of your own.
- Throw an Engagement Party: Share the good news with all of your friends and family at an engagement celebration.
- Register: Register online or in person at one of the more than 300 retail stores that offer it.
- Plan Honeymoon: Start planning for your honeymoon well ahead of time so you can save money on plane tickets. A good head start will also give you time to iron out the fine details and ensure your trip is as special as it can be.
10 Months Before
- Choose an Officiant: This decision may be easy if you attend church regularly, but if that’s not the case you’ll need to shop around for the perfect individual. Surf the web, flip through the yellow pages, or visit local churches to find an officiant that’s right for you and your partner.
- Select a Bridal Party: Ask your closest friends and family members to join your bridal party. Members can help with further wedding planning and provide you with support when you need it most.
- Choose Vendors: Browse Weddingwire.com or attend a wedding show in your area to find vendors that suit your tastes and budget.
- Take Engagement Photos: Find a photographer you love. Set them straight with what you want, where you’d like it, and how you’d like to look, so they can capture this special moment forever in perfect engagement photos.
8 Months Before
- Purchase Your Dress: It’s a good idea to purchase your dress well ahead of time — in case the order process takes longer than expected. You may also need to make alterations once the dress arrives. The downside of purchasing your dress early is that you’ll need to find a clean and safe place to store it.
- Reserve hotel rooms for guests: In most cases, hotels will offer your guests rooms at a discounted price if you reserve an entire floor or block of rooms. Contact several hotels in your area to see what their policy is and how it works. Find one that works best for your guests’ budget.
- Order Cake: You can purchase a wedding cake as soon as your date is set and most vendors will prefer that you order it at least 1 month prior to you wedding. We recommend that you start shopping around and sampling cakes at the 8 month mark, so you and your partner will have time to find the best vendor, price, and cake for your special day.
- Find a Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist: A great place to find a makeup artist and hair stylist is at wedding shows. You can also ask friends and family for recommendations. Also, try scoping out stores such as Nordstom and MAC — many makeup artist who work at these beauty counters also do freelance work on the side. You will want to get this out of the way well ahead of time — in case the vendors of your choice are booked or too busy to take you.
6 Months Before
- Prepare Bridesmaid Dresses: Shopping for bridesmaid dresses can be a great bonding experience for you and your friends, so you’ll want to take your time and enjoy the process. Set a group shopping date and make sure all of the girls can attend. Have fun trying on different dresses and try to agree as a group on a style and color you are all fond of. It might also be good idea to ask ahead of time what each girl feels comfortable in, so you can cater your shopping trip to stores that carry those specific styles.
- Pick Out Wedding Bands: Before you go shopping, make sure to set a budget. You will also want to know your ring size and ensure the band you choose fits perfectly — you’ll hopefully be wearing it everyday for the rest of your life after all.
4 Months Before
- Purchase and Send Wedding Invitations: Find perfect wedding invitations on WeddingPaperie.com and enjoy fully customizing them to reflect your wedding perfectly. Then, send them out 6-8 weeks before your wedding. Set the RSVP date at 3 weeks after the postmark date.
- Prepare Groomsmen Ensembles: Decide on whether you’re going to rent or buy the outfits. Renting a tuxedo can range from $40-$250 per day. If you and the groomsmen would rather not rent or buy an entire suit, an alternative option is to see what the groomsmen already have. If everyone already has coordinating suit pants and dress shirts — you can go with it and embellish their outfits with new jackets and accessories.
- Plan Dinner Rehearsal: Book the venue, prepare the invitations, negotiate the cost of the menu, and draw up a seating plan. Send out the invitations about a month before your wedding.
2 Months Before
- Prepare Vows: Give yourself plenty of time to compose meaningful vows. If you’re stuck, do research online or pick up a book from the library. After you’ve found the right words, practice them aloud until you have them memorized for your big day.
- Prepare Transportation: Prepare a driver, limo, or means of transportation.
6 Weeks Before
- Apply For Marriage License: At this point, you’ll need to fill out a marriage license application. After your wedding is held, it will be the responsibility of the one whoever performed the ceremony to make sure the license is recorded with the county that you were married in. About two weeks later, you should receive your marriage certificate in the mail.
- Bachelorette Party and Bridal Shower: Hopefully the MOH will have these gatherings all planned and ready for you!
- Rehearsal Dinner: Practice makes perfect. Gather your guests together and let the fun begin.
Good Luck With Your Wedding Timeline!
Hopefully this guideline will help you craft a timeline that works perfectly for you and your wedding. If you see anything that you think we should add, please let us know in the comment box below. Have fun planning for your big day and congratulations!