Congratulations on your new engagement. Now what? When should you set a date? What are all the things you have to do prior to the big day? This is now the time to create a wedding timeline. The average time it takes to plan a wedding is approximately eight to sixteen months, this gives the bride and groom plenty of time to sort out all of the necessary details. Unfortunately not everyone can afford to spend that much time on planning their wedding. Sometimes you’re in a crunch and need to get married in less time than usual for specific reasons or maybe you’re just too busy and cannot divide up enough time to spend on wedding preparations.
Everyone’s wedding timeline will be slightly different, therefore it’s important to prioritize. You don’t have to follow the exact same timeline as other couples, choose the things that you find are important and try to get them accomplished early on. As the old saying goes, time is money. You can save time by spending money on a professional wedding planner, they have the expertise and connections to help you get what you want without requiring you to do all the work. If you don’t have the money and plan on doing it yourself then it’s important for you to become more flexible and not expect everything to be perfect.
To make your wedding planning easier, you should divide up your wedding timeline into different time intervals. Decide for yourself how many months or weeks before the wedding and how much time to assign to each interval. The first interval takes place as soon as you get engaged. This is a critical part of the wedding planning process, you will need to announce your engagement, set a budget, get organized, and piece together everything that needs to be done before the wedding. You will be spending most of your time in the initial wedding planning stages doing research. To budget your own wedding, find out what others have spent and if it’s within your price range. Then flip through wedding magazines and go over wedding related websites to get ideas for wedding themes, wedding dresses, cakes, floral arrangements, etc. Compile together everything that you like so that you can start coming up with a theme for your wedding. Make a schedule of all of your wedding preparations so you can remind yourself of the order in which things need to be done. You will also need to start researching vendors in the area if you plan on having a ceremony nearby. Last but not least, set a date and book a venue for your ceremony and reception.
The second time interval on your wedding timeline is all about actively getting things accomplished. There is so much that needs to be done during this time, so it’s important to coordinate all of your activities wisely. By now you should have already narrowed down a couple of vendors for catering, entertainment, photography and videography. Begin to meet with them to discuss your vision for the wedding, but do not do so until you settle on a theme. Have your food tasting sessions and settle on desirable menu options for the big day. This is also the time to start looking for the perfect wedding dress. You will need to start early, because it’s difficult to find one you will fall in love with right away. Make a list of all the things you would like to receive and begin creating a gift registry during this stage. After getting all of the hard work out of the way, it is highly recommended that you build a wedding website. This is a great solution for communicating with and managing your wedding guests, which you will inevitably need to deal with as the big day gets closer. Having a website to act as an information gateway for your wedding will reduce the amount of time spent on answering questions when you really need to be focusing on more pressing matters.
The next time interval is a continuation of the previous one on your wedding timeline. By this time, you will need to decide on a design for your wedding invitations. If you created a wedding site, you can either add the url of your wedding site on the invitation itself or on a separate card to be mailed with your invitation. This way guests can respond online and it provides you with a way to manage all of the RSVPs, have guests select from the reception menu, guide them to your gift registry and much more. This is also when you should start to meet with florists to choose a floral arrangement, meet with the officiant and begin shopping around for bridesmaids dresses. You will need to book your honeymoon months in advance so this is the perfect time to figure out the best place to go.
The invitations should be sent out anywhere from 4 months before to 2 months before the wedding, depending on how much time you have to plan it. After all the invitations have gone out, it is time for you to focus on the more intricate details of your look for the big day as well as the reception. You will be spending a lot of time with dress fittings and if you choose to have a makeup artist and hairstylist, you will have to start meeting with them to decide on the perfect look for your wedding. Reception details include decorations, ordering the wedding cake, and choosing the music. By the next interval, you should have a good idea of the exact number of guests who will be attending the event. This is when you can finalize the menu with the caterer, order your wedding favors, print the menu cards and arrange transportation for your wedding guests if it is necessary. By now you should also be able to come up with an entire schedule of the day’s events and have them sent to your vendors. Finally, don’t forget to purchase your rings.
The final couple of time intervals on your wedding timeline takes place as you get closer and closer to the big day. It is important for you to meet with your photographer and videographer to go over exactly how you want them to shoot the entire wedding and reception. Make last minute arrangements with all vendors and don’t forget to explain every detail of what you want so there is little room for error. Apply for your marriage license, sort out all of the RSVP’s, assign the seating and start writing your vows. There is also some planning involved for the rehearsal dinner, but try not to spend too much time on this. Your wedding dress should be ready, all that is left to complete your look is hair and makeup so remember to have a final appointment with your makeup artist and hairstylist if you hired one. Keep in mind that your wedding party is there to help, think of little errands you can delegate to them for the big day. Last but not least relax, this should also be scheduled into your wedding timeline. Go get a spa treatment or do something else you enjoy to calm your nerves before the main event. Packing for your honeymoon will also help get your mind off the stressful stuff so you can look forward to being a newlywed.