wedding planning timeline

12 Month Wedding Planning Checklist

Photos: Liezel Volshenk

Congratulations on finding your soul mate and beginning the wild, wonderful journey of wedding planning! You don’t need to set a date minutes after you post your engagement announcement to Instagram, but it’s always a good idea to have an idea of when you should start booking vendors & finalizing details. Itching to get started? Browse our 12-month wedding planning checklist below!

wedding decor

12 MONTHS

PICK A COUPLE DATES: Choose a few different options. Narrow down a season, then a month (preferably avoiding any big holidays) – later, you’ll need to check with your officiant/venue to pin down the date.

CHOOSE A VENUE: For both the ceremony & reception sites.

BUILD THE BUDGET: Eek! It’s gotta happen at some point, so set your budget before purchasing anything!

CONSIDER A WEDDING CONSULTANT: The last thing you need on your big day is to be worrying about the minor details – like what to do if the caterer is behind schedule or an overly excited guest needs escorting away from the mic during speeches.

11 MONTHS

GRAB YOUR GALS & GROOMSMEN: Pick your wedding party.

DRAW UP THE GUEST LIST: Our guest list rule is to abide by is only inviting family and friends whom you’ve enjoyed dinner with at least once over the last two years. This knocks out your brand new coworkers, the groom’s second cousin’s kids and any Facebook friends from high school.

10 MONTHS

SAY YES TO THE DRESS: The best part of the planning process! Find your gown then give yourself 10 months for alterations or any add-on details.

INSURE YOUR WEDDING: Ensure and insure! Browse wedding insurance policies to avoid any issues and secure your deposits.

CHILLIN’ AT THE HOLIDAY INN: Research & book rooms for out-of-town guests.

CHICKEN PICCATA OR FILET MIGNON: Sit down or buffet, it’s time to book your caterer!

9 MONTHS

RENTALS: Will you need tables, chairs or a tent? Contact & reserve your party rentals now.

GIFTS GALORE: The hardest task of them all: picking out gifts for people to buy you. Complete your gift registry & add it to your wedding website!

VENDOR CHECK: At this point, you need to book your photographer, videographer, musicians & any other vendors who will aid in creating your perfect wedding.

8 MONTHS

BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Choose & order your girlfriends’ gowns, with enough time for any necessary alterations.

HONEYMOON PREP: Begin researching places for your honeymoon & consider arranging flights/hotel reservations.

FLORAL AFFAIR: Browse floral decor and bouquet ideas, keeping in mind what stems are in season. Hire your florist!

7 MONTHS

SEND THE SAVE THE DATES: If you’re planning a destination wedding, give your guests more time to plan. Local weddings can generally wait until the five-month mark. 

GROOMSMEN GET UPS: Pick out the boys’ fashion for the big day.

 A MUSTANG OR HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE: It’s a good idea to book your wedding day transportation now, especially if you’re renting a party bus or limousine.

6 MONTHS

PUT A RING ON IT: Don’t leave your engagement ring hanging! Order your wedding bands.

CHOOSE YOUR CAKE: View cake options and book your baker.

INVITATIONS: Pick stationery and order your invitations by the six-month mark.

HALFWAY TO HAPPILY EVER AFTER

real bride

5 MONTHS

GROOMING: Buy the groom’s attire & make the necessary alterations.

PASSPORT TO PARADISE: Renew or buy your passports if needed for the honeymoon.

4 MONTHS

PRE-WEDDING COUNSELING: Start your pre-wedding counseling with your officiant.

NIGHT OF OUTFITS: Purchase your wedding day undies (& wedding night lingerie, ooh la la!)

PARTY TIME: Attend your own wedding shower! Wasn’t that one easy?

3 MONTHS

BACK TO THE BAKERY: Order your cake & cake topper.

CONSIDERING CALLIGRAPHY: You’ll have to enlist a talented calligrapher, only if you want your invitations formally addressed!

BOOK THE BEAUTY: Find your makeup artist and hairstylist & schedule trials.

2 MONTHS

SEND ‘EM OUT: Address, stamp & send out the invitations.

THE FAVS: Choose & order your wedding favors.

CONFIRM: Reach out to your vendors and make sure everything is still set for your wedding.

DRESS FITTINGS: Make sure that mermaid gown still SLAYS (& fits every curve like it did when you chose it!)

UNLEASH YOUR INNER POE: Write those vows!

POINT & SHOOT: Discuss details and “must-have” shots with photographer/videographers.

1 MONTH

MOST NECESSARY: Apply for your marriage license!

GO WITH THE PROGRAM: Arrange & print the programs for wedding guests.

FINALIZE IT ALL: Menus, seating charts, song lists, checklists.

THE BEST FOR LAST: Get your hair colored, engagement ring cleaned & nails done!

STAY STRONG – YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!

real bride

Don’t let the thought of setting up a seating chart or picking out the perfect venue send you into a spiral of anxiety! Even when it’s overwhelming, all your hard work and planning comes together for the biggest celebration of your life!