Staying organized is the key to planning a wedding where everything runs as smoothly as possible. Having a plan and sticking to it during the months leading up to your big day will help tremendously.
WhereBridesGo.com has a checklist for you today that covers a lot of the most important tasks you will need to tackle. If you are beginning your wedding preparations with less than 1 year to go, simply adjust the timeline below to fit into the time you have. Also, every wedding is different, so make sure that you add in the extra tasks that are particular to your own ceremony and reception where they fit best.
9-12 months before the wedding:
- Announce your engagement!
- It's time to share your excitement with everyone!
- Begin a wedding notebook.
- Whether it's a physical notebook or a digital one, find a way to keep track of all of your ideas and inspirations. You'll see a lot of great ideas during your planning process, and this notebook will help you to narrow down your favorites.
- Start a guest list.
- The number of people that you invite will determine where you can hold the wedding. If you are inviting 300 guests, that tiny chapel up the street won't work.
- Choose the venue &/or date.
- If the venue is more important than the wedding date, you will have to choose from available dates on the venue's calendar. If the date is more important to you, some venues may already be booked. One will decide the other.
- Decide on a budget.
- Pick a number and stick to it as best you can. Nothing can ruin the memory of a special day like a long list of bills afterward that were impulse buys.
- Ask your bridesmaids & groomsmen to be in the wedding.
- If you love them enough to want them next to you while you say "I do," you'll want to give them plenty of time to make arrangements to be there.
- Start looking for vendors.
- If you have a particular vendor that you absolutely have to have for your wedding, book them right away. Photographers and officiants book up quickly because they can only do one wedding a day. You have more time to find bakers and florists because they can handle more than one event a day.
6-9 months before the wedding:
- Order your wedding dress!
- The sooner you make an appointment to try on bridal gowns, the sooner you will find that dream dress. You will need plenty of time for it to be ordered and possibly altered once it comes in. Don't forget to choose the extras once you have the dress: veil, headpiece, shoes, undergarments... You'll find beautiful bridal jewelry at WhereBridesGo.com
- Pick out and order your bridesmaids' dresses.
- These will also need to be ordered and possibly altered.
- Send Save-the-Date cards.
- This is only necessary if you are hosting your wedding out of town or near a holiday. It will give everyone plenty of time to make arrangements to attend.
- Begin looking at invitations.
- This is another item that will need to be ordered, so the sooner you choose one the better. They will still need to be addressed once they arrive.
- Make a wedding website.
- You don't have to have one of these, but in this day and age, it's the best way to get information to your guests easily and quickly. It's also a wonderful way to share your story and engagement photos.
- Book hotel blocks for out-of-town guests.
- Most hotels will offer a discount to your guests if you reserve a set number of rooms. Don't forget to make special arrangements for the two of you on the wedding night too!
- Begin a list of songs for the reception and ceremony.
- It's wise to also make a list of DO NOT PLAY songs if there are any you absolutely cannot stand.
- Sign up for gifts registries.
- Have fun with this! Take a break from planning and make it a date night.
4-6 months before the wedding:
- Finalize the guest list.
- Order invitations.
- Check the marriage license requirements for the county you are getting married in.
- Pick out and order the men's attire.
- Book a rehearsal dinner site.
- Purchase anything that needs to be ordered from WhereBridesGo.com.
- favors, decorations, toasting glasses, etc... Personalized items could take a bit longer for shipping. If you are making any items yourself, start now!
3 months before the wedding:
- Address wedding invitations.
- If you are writing your own wedding vows, get them started.
1 month before the wedding:
- Get the marriage license.
- And keep it in a very safe place!
- Make name changes on all documents.
- driver's license, social security card, subscriptions, bills, etc...
- Confirm details with all wedding vendors.
- Make sure that everything you are expecting from them is happening. 1 month gives you plenty of time to make necessary changes.
2 weeks before the wedding:
- Plan a schedule of events for the wedding weekend.
- Give the final guest count to the caterer.
1 week before the wedding:
- Confirm arrival times with all vendors.
- Designate someone to return rental items after the wedding.
Always strive to finish tasks about a week before they absolutely have to be done. That will allow you to spend some extra time on them if necessary. You can get many of your wedding items all at once when you shop our online wedding store. That will get a lot of things marked off of your checklist in just one stop, you get to shop from home, and in most cases, shipping is FREE!
Staying organized is the best way to make sure everything that you want to accomplish has a chance to get done. Remember though, to keep your sanity intact, things don't always go exactly the way we expect them to. Be prepared for a few bumps in the road so that when/if that happens, you can shrug it off, roll with it, and move on to a solution.
Best of luck with your wedding planning from all of us here at WhereBridesGo.com. Remember to have fun with it and enjoy the process. That is the very best way to create the fondest memories surrounding your special day.
~ The WhereBridesGo.com Team
Post by Deanna Powell, Certified Bridal Consultant