So, you’ve said “yes!” and you’ve begun to think about a wedding day, what you’ll wear, where you’ll host the ceremony and reception. It’s an exciting time. It can also be very stressful, however. Luckily, we’ve got a sample timeline and checklist you can consult while you prepare for the biggest day of your life!
Below, you’ll find a long list of things most brides and grooms prepare along with a recommended timeline that will help you stay on top of all the things (big and little) you’ll need to line up. The timeline isn’t universal; you may be getting married in a few months or a couple years, so adapt as you must! Follow along and stick to a schedule to make sure you have all your ducks in a row and enjoy the process! Use the time suggestions and adjust according to your calendar.
About a year before your wedding day:
Spread the word! Tell friends and family that you’re tying the knot. If you have general information that is useful, release it. Know the date? Know the place? Let people know so they can plan to attend.
Your biggest thoughts include style, how formal the ceremony and reception will be, etc. Start thinking about this stuff. What’s the mood you’ll be going for? What kind of personality and style do you want to put into your big day?
Start thinking about everything you’ll need given your venue, needs, etc. Will you need a caterer? Will you need to book travel accommodations? Will you need a wedding planner? Start thinking on these things.
Have you got a ring? Whether you need a wedding ring, an engagement ring or both, pick them out.
Budget! As you’ve got a little bit of time before you start writing checks, start to think about how much “this” will be and “that” will cost. Are parents helping? Are you footing the bill yourself? Budget is important, so pick a number, envision how you’ll meet that goal, and start planning the money part of the celebration.
How many people are you wanting to invite? Gather a tentative list. Wittle away at it or make it grow according to needs and wants.
The bridal party: how many groomsmen and bridesmaids will you want? What goes into having everyone dressed, prepared, and happy?
Where will your ceremony be? How about the reception? Do some research and talk with people who will be arranging that stuff. Your officiant should be notified of their job and expectations as soon as you know them.
What will you wear? Bridal gown and tuxedo choosing can take a bit. There’s an initial choosing period, subsequent fittings, and more, so get on it.
Start thinking about what you’ll want in a photographer, what you’ll want in terms of flowers, caterers, and everything else. These companies have full schedules, so you’ll want to get your name in as soon as you can.
Six to Nine months before the wedding
Finalize what you can. This can include the guest list, the photographer, travel plans, other vendors you’ll need, and your bridal registry. There are a ton of things like this that you’ll want to start working on and finish before you reach that t-minus six months point.
You should start sending invites, booking flights and honeymoon events, and talking to people who will bring cake, flowers, decorations, wedding day plans, and more.
At this point, an especially as you near the six-months-to-go point, you’ll need to follow up with a bunch of people. Have a list, stay organized and on schedule. If you haven’t picked a dress by this point, you’ll want to. There will be a fitting session and a final fitting to make sure your attire is perfect.
Three to six months before
Your parents and bridal party’s attire will need to be coordinated in these final months. Making sure all the other plans are in place is important, too. Talking with your photographer and officiant and wedding planner to iron out details is important at this stage also. Surprises are no fun and you’ll want to make sure you don’t have anything that jumps up to bite you as you get closer to the big day.
The weeks leading up to the wedding
You, at this point, should be finalizing all sorts of things. Ironing out the details on food, decorations, attire, travel plans, ceremony and reception locales, etc. will be very important. In the last few weeks, you’ll want to be getting excited for the day and knowing things are in place will help.
The days before the wedding
Arrange to pick up your flowers, attire, travel itineraries, and more. Double check with all participants that they have everything they need. Talk to parents, vendors, and more and assure them that plans are set and everything is ready to go. Do your job and make sure everyone knows what their jobs are. That goes for anyone from the bride to the officiant to the person checking people in at the wedding.
Your wedding day
By this point, you should be on cruise control and ready to enjoy the event. By making sure everything is taken care of in the months leading up to your big day, you’ll be able to just be ready to say “I Do!”