When it comes to planning your wedding it is best to have a full list of tasks you will need to take on to make your day a great one. It is always best to add extra time for wedding planning tasks so that way you can reduce stress and enjoy the process as much as possible. Whether you have six months or 18 months to plan it is crucial you start to tackle one major task at a time. Here is a sample for a wedding planning timeline for a 12-month engagement. Make it your own, add and subtract where you see fit to make your one-a-kind wedding day come to life.
Brides Often Ask
12 Months Breakdown
- Decide On A Possible Date
Once you say “yes” and your engagement has started you will need to think about a possible wedding date that works for you and your partner and your immediate family. It is helpful to create a list of a few possible dates since you will need to make sure your venue has the date open you are hoping for.
- Select Your Wedding Party
Decide on who will be in your wedding party and what role each person will play. Who will be your bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, ring bear, readers at the ceremony, and so on?
- Research Venues
Start to research possible venues and start to contact them to be able to see the venue in person. Having a list of several venues will make it easier then if you have the only one you want to visit.
- Sign Up For Your Subscription Box
A wedding subscription box such as Miss To Mrs™ can help you kick off the planning process. You’ll get useful & fun bridal goodies and $200 Planning Bundle that includes print-at-home Name Chnage Kit designed by our team, and more. The first Miss To Mrs™ box ships in just 2 business days, so you don’t have to wait to start your wedding planning journey. Get your Miss To Mrs™ Box here!
- Create A Budget
Craft a wedding budget so everyone can start to plan with confidence; and you will know where and how you will be paying for all the wedding expenses.
- Make A Guest list
It might seem early to create a guest list; but in reality the earlier in the process you have an idea of how many guests you will have the better. Once you have an idea of how many guests you are hosting you can narrow down venues. Use our FREE printable wedding guest list checklist!
- Hire A Planner
Hiring a planner or coordinator is helpful since planning a wedding is a large task and event planners do it for a living; so they know all the ins and outs and can help you navigate through the entire process.
- Get FREE checklists by Wedding Forward Team
Get 25 FREE exclusive wedding planning checklists right now! Through emails that are perfectly tailored to your wedding date, you will get endless inspiration and useful wedding planning tips.
How far in advance should you book a reception hall?
- about six months in advance
- about a year in advance
- about a month in advance
How far in advance should you book a reception hall?
11 Months Breakdown
- Lock-In Your Wedding Date
Zero in and decide on the official wedding date.
- Select A Theme or Style
Decide on a theme or style for your wedding. Many times the theme will help guide you towards designs, style, and decor you are hoping to have on your wedding day.
- Book Venue
After you have done your research go ahead and book your venue so then you can start adding in your vendors.
- Hire Large Scale Vendors: Photographer, Band or DJ, Video Service, Catering
Once you have your wedding date locked in and the venue selected you can start booking the other major vendors you need. Many times the venue will be ready to help and point you towards vendors they have worked with in the past who can make your day run smoothly.
10 Months Breakdown
- Start Your Dress Shopping
Dress shopping is a major highlight for many brides-to-be. It is about 10 months out that you will want to start shopping; since you don’t know how long it will take to find your dream dress and then order it.
- Book Hotel Block For Guests
Creating hotel wedding blocks is important since the wedding season overlaps with the spring and summer months when travel is at its highest. Work with the local hotels close to your hotel to secure room blocks and rates for your guests. It is at this time you should also book your accommodation for you and your partner, wedding party and close family.
- Set Up Wedding Website
Take some time to set up and design your wedding website. Your wedding website will be the hub of all wedding information for your guests. So the sooner you have the website up the sooner your guests can start to plan travel and hotel plans.
- Take Engagement Photos
Many couples decide to have their engagement photos taken and it is usually with the same photographer who will be the photographer on the wedding day. You will want to have these images so you can use them on your wedding website.
- Research Invitations
You won’t be sending out your invitations for months; but this is about the right time to start reaching some possible brands and designs that you will want to purchase for your invitation suite. A simple online search or working with your planner is a great way to start the research phase.
Finish the sentence:I want my wedding to be...?
- Straight out of a Disney film
- On trend
Finish the sentence:I want my wedding to be...?
9 Months Breakdown
- Purchase Wedding Dress
After you start your wedding shopping you will need to make sure you purchase a dress with enough time for it to be ordered, made, and have time for several fittings.
- Send Out Save The Dates
Around the 9 month mark, you will want to send out your Save The Date cards. So the more time you can give your guests to plan for the wedding the better. You will want to make sure your guests have ample time to schedule time off from work, work around other travel plans, and set up travel arrangements so they can celebrate with you on your big day.
- Set Up Your Registry
Setting up your wedding registry is a fun task of the wedding planning timeline. So the sooner you do it the better. Once you have your wedding website set up you can add the registry to the website allowing guests to send you engagement gifts.
8 Months Breakdown
- Shop For Bridesmaid Dresses
Getting all your bridesmaids together and shopping for dresses is super fun and again like most things in the wedding planning process the earlier you do the better; so you are not scrambling at the end. If your bridesmaids are all spread out and you can’t all get together, set up a fun facetime or zoom night and start looking online together for dress ideas and then allow the bridal party to order their dresses.
- Meet & Book Florist
Flowers are a major part of a wedding and the wedding budget. So you will need to make sure you have time to meet and book a florist. Keep in mind that it might take several visits to several different floral vendors to find the perfect match for your style and budget.
7 Months Breakdown
- Book Rehearsal Dinner Venue
Plan where and when you will have the rehearsal dinner which is traditionally the night before the wedding.
- Book Honeymoon
Don’t forget about the honeymoon! Add this task to your wedding planning timeline. Plan where you and your partner will be heading for a honeymoon and when you will want to take that trip.
- Order Invitations
Officially order your invitations leaving more than enough time for them to be printed and shipped to you.
- Book Your Wedding Officiant
Book the person who will be officiating your wedding ceremony service. Meet with them to make sure they can perform the type of ceremony you are hoping for.
6 Months Breakdown
- Purchase Wedding Rings
Many times couples will head back to the same location where the engagement ring came from but that is certainly not the only option. Keep in mind many retailers will have to order the ring in your size so you can’t walk out with it that day in hand.
- Hire Ceremony Musicians
Music at the wedding ceremony might be a separate vendor from the entertainment at the reception; so now is about the right time to book a ceremony or specialty musicians.
- Order Speciality Rental Items
If you need to rent special items for your wedding ceremony or reception you will need ample time so you can get what you want from the rental company. Work with your venue to find out exactly what items they do or don’t have and what you will be expected to have brought in from an outside vendor.
- Book Transportation
Whether you are planning to have limos or trolleys or party busses for you and your wedding party and possibly even guests you will need to make sure you nail down who you will hire for this day and the cost associated with it.
- Book Hair & Makeup Vendors
You will of course want to look your best on your wedding day so book the best people for your hair and makeup for the day of service. Some brides decided to have the beauty team come to the location where the wedding party is getting ready and have the beauty magic happen there while some prefer to head to the salon on the day of.
- Book Speciality Vendors: Photo Booths, Dessert Trucks, Fireworks, etc
There are so many amazing different types of wedding vendors out there you will want to make sure you book the ones you want. From photo booths to dessert and food trucks to firework experts you should find a few fun vendors and lock them in for your day.
5 Months Breakdown
- Hire Lighting Technician
Many venues need some help when it comes to the lighting department and this is about the right time to find the perfect lighting technician, walk through the venue with them and book them for the wedding day.
- Purchase or Rent Grooms Attire
Get your man looking fine and ready to walk down the aisle.
- Set Up Any Legal Or Spiritual Counseling You Need
Some couples need to set up either legal or spiritual counseling to make their wedding day and married life a successful one so don’t forget to put this task on your calendar.
- Choose Bakery & Cake
This is one sweet wedding task you will not want to miss out on!
- Decide On A Bridal Shower Date & Guestlist
Many brides-to-be have a bridal shower thrown traditionally by the bridesmaid or close friends. This is a good time to decide on a date, venue, and guest list for a bridal shower.
4 Months Breakdown
- Have Hair & Makeup Trials
After you have booked your beauty team you will need to have one or many trails so that you can have the perfect wedding day look.
- Have Tasting With Caterer
Your catering team will set up a time for you to have a tasting so you can decide what you want to on your wedding day menu.
- Create Your Wedding Menu
Work with your catering team and venue to craft a wedding menu that is perfect for your tastebuds.
- Research & Order Wedding Favors
If you are planning on giving out wedding favors now is a good time to research what you want to offer and order them.
- Design Wedding Programs
If you are planning on having a wedding ceremony program now is about the time you would want to outline the ceremony service and design the program. You may want to wait until a little closer to having it printed in case you have any changes but designing the program now is a good idea.
3 Months Breakdown
- Write Vows
Many couples want to write their wedding vows, and it might surprise you how long it takes to create the perfect sentiment.
- Craft Any DIY Projects You Have Planned
DIY projects often pop up on couples “to do” lists. And if you don’t leave yourself enough time to do these projects and do them correctly you might find yourself scrambling at the last minute.
- Select Ceremony Readings
Any special readings or words you will want to speak at the ceremony should be selected about now.
- Plan Bachelorette Party or Weekend
If you want a bachelorette party you should make sure you plan it with enough time.
2 Months Breakdown
- Send Out Wedding Invitations (RSVP Due One Month Before Wedding Date)
Around the 8 week mark before your wedding day, you will want to send out your invitations giving guests a one month window to RSVP. If you have international guests you should build in more time for their invitations to travel via mail.
- Wedding Dress Fitting
Once your dress arrives at your dress store you will need to start to have fittings to make sure your dress fits perfectly. Sometimes you will need several fittings to get the look you want.
- Secure Marriage License
Research exactly what you need to obtain your marriage license. Every place around the world has different requirements so make sure you know exactly what you need and when you need to have it ready.
- Give Song Request To Entertainment
Work up a list of requested songs you want your entertainment to play at the reception. And don’t forget to outline special moments like the first dance, couples entrance, mother/son dance, father/daughter dance, and wedding party entrance. Check out our playlist with songs that are perfect for the first dance!
- Prepare Photography Shot List
Your photographer will most likely ask you to prepare a shot list for the wedding day. The shot list gives the photographer an outline of special moments, important people, and images you want to capture on the big day.
- Mail Rehearsal Dinner Invitation
Make sure guests who are invited to the rehearsal dinner or any pre-wedding events have an invitation mailed to them.
1 Months Breakdown
- Pay Vendors
4 weeks before the wedding date many vendors will request the balance of the payment for their services.
- Create The Seating Chart
Now that you should have all of your RSVP information you can start to plan your seating chart if you are having a formal seated event.
- Final Venue Walkthrough
This is an important task to add to your wedding planning timeline. Make sure you book a time to have a final walkthrough at the venue to tie up and loose ends and have all of your questions answered.
- Order Escort & Place Cards
If you are having escort and/or place cards now is a good time to order them seeing as your RSVP information should have been returned to you.
- Break-In Wedding Shoes
No one wants their feet to hurt on the big day. And there is a good chance you bought new shoes to go with your wedding dress. So take some time and walk around in your wedding day shoes so they will be broken income wedding day.
- Follow Up On Any RSVP You Did Not Receive
If you have anyone on your list that did not RSVP; now would be the perfect time to follow up with them and make sure you know if they will be attending or not.
- Final Dress Fitting
Have your final dress fitting with your dress store. Then your dress shop will keep your gown for you until the week of the wedding.
- Create A Day Of Kit
Taking one short hour to pack a day of kit can save you hours of searching for something later. You might want to pack the following items in your day of kit. And have your Maid Of Honor or special friend be in charge of this kit.
- Sewing Kits
- Water & mints
- Light snacks
- Creams & lotions
- Hairspray & bobby pins
- Pain medication
- Extra cash
- Hygiene products
- List of vendors & their contact information
- Wedding gift
- Copy of marriage license
- Manicure & Pedicure
Have all your beauty needs met this week on your path to becoming a wedding day ready?
- Pack For Honeymoon
If you are planning to leave for your honeymoon soon after the wedding; you will want to pack ahead of time for the honeymoon and store your luggage in your wedding weekend accommodations.
- Practice Vows
There is a good chance that you will be nervous on your wedding day. So taking some time to practice your vows especially aloud will give you confidence when you are standing up in front of a large crowd.
- Organize Envelope With Tips For Vendors
It is customary to tip the wedding vendors for their service; so in preparation for this, you should have envelopes ready with a tip for each vendor and clearly marked for each one. This is a great task for your wedding planner or coordinator, but if you don’t have one you should ask a close friend to be in charge of this task.
- Wrap Wedding Gift For Your Partner
Many couples decide to give a gift to each other on their wedding day. If you have something special to give to your partner you will want to make sure you have it wrapped. And ready to go and set aside with your day of kit.
Since so many couples find the entire wedding planning timeline to be overwhelming; it is easier for couples to work through one or two small tasks at a time. This is why the breakdown of knowing exactly what you need to accomplish at what point in the planning process is a recipe for success. So use this ultimate wedding planning timeline for the stress-free planning process.