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Wedding Planning Timeline: What to Do When

So, you’ve said yes to the love of your life and now it’s time to embark on the journey of wedding planning. Cue the confetti and the occasional stress-induced sigh – because let’s be real, planning a wedding is both exhilarating and overwhelming. But fear not, lovebirds! We’ve got your back and with the right timeline and a pinch of organization, you can glide through the process and make it as stress-free as possible.

First and Foremost

Before you dive into the delightful chaos of wedding planning, there are a few key steps to tackle. First things first, set a budget. Even the most enchanting fairy tale weddings have a price tag, so it’s essential to establish your financial boundaries from the get-go. Next up, choose a wedding date that suits both your schedules and your hearts. Once that’s done, draft a guest list – because apparently, everyone from your childhood best friend to your mom’s hairdresser’s cousin is dying to witness your nuptials.

While you’re at it, have a heart-to-heart with your partner about the style of wedding you both envision. Whether it’s a rustic barn bash or a glitzy city soirée, it’s essential to be on the same page from day one. If the idea of juggling all these decisions is enough to make your head spin, consider enlisting the help of a wedding planner or coordinator to keep you sane throughout the process.

Part of ThistleBEA’s diverse team of coordinators.
Part of ThistleBEA’s diverse team of coordinators.

12+ Months Before

Ah, the honeymoon phase of wedding planning. This is when dreams are dreamt, and visions are envisioned. Start by assembling your dream team wedding party – because let’s face it, you’re going to need all the support you can get. Once that’s sorted, it’s time to dive into the delicious world of catering. Sample and select a caterer who can turn your culinary fantasies into reality. And while you’re at it, hire a photographer and/or videographer to capture every magical moment of your big day. These folks book up fast, so act quick and don’t miss out on your favourite ones! And last but not least, secure your venue(s) – we absolutely love a good backyard wedding but nobody wants to end up with one because they procrastinated on booking a venue.

Cecil Green Park House
Cecil Green Park House

9-12 Months Before

Now that the big pieces are falling into place, it’s time to focus on the finer details. Say yes to the dress (or suit) and get ready for those happy tears in the fitting room. Send out your save-the-dates to give guests ample time to clear their calendars. While you’re at it, book your officiant and start thinking about those beautiful blooms that will adorn your ceremony and reception. Oh, and did we mention it’s time to start curating your wedding registry? Because who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned gift spree?

Wedding dress on nature

6-9 Months Before

With the clock ticking closer to “I do”, it’s time to kick things into high gear. Choose the music that will set the tone for your big day – whether it’s a string quartet or a DJ, make sure it reflects your personalities as a couple. It’s also time to hire a hair and makeup artist who will make you look like the absolute best version of yourselves on your big day. And don’t forget to book transportation to and from your venue(s) considering traffic and any other events happening on the same day that could affect your route.

Now is also time to start ordering and/or making your decorations (which could be one of the most fun parts, in our biassed opinion). And definitely send out those invitations, give your guests plenty of time to prepare themselves and start collecting RSVPs to help you make final decisions with the most accurate guest-count possible.

Make-up and Hair artists doing last minute retouches on bride

4-5 Months Before

As the big day draws near, it’s time to start crossing those final items off your to-do list. Finalize your menu and service details – because a well-fed guest is a happy guest. Make sure your outfits are taken care of, buy or rent suits and tuxedos, select accessories (jewellery, veil, cufflinks), buy wedding bands and schedule hair and make-up trials. Oh, and let’s not forget about the pièce de résistance – the cake! Whether you’re going for a towering masterpiece or a simple yet elegant dessert, now’s the time to make those sweet decisions. 

It is also time to start planning (or lets be honest, have your wedding party plan) any pre-wedding gatherings. This is a fantastic way to kick off the celebration and build excitement leading up to the big day. Whether it’s a laid-back engagement party, a fun-filled bachelor or bachelorette bash, or a charming rehearsal dinner, these gatherings provide invaluable opportunities for loved ones to come together, share stories, and create unforgettable memories. From selecting the perfect venue to curating a menu that delights the taste buds, every detail contributes to setting the tone for the festivities. Don’t forget to add personal touches that reflect you and your partner’s personalities, ensuring that each event is as unique and memorable as your love story. So gather your nearest and dearest, raise a glass, and let the pre-wedding celebrations begin!

Wedding menu and table setting

2-3 Months Before

With just a couple of months to go, it’s time to add those finishing touches to your wedding day masterpiece. Choose guest favours that will leave a lasting impression on your loved ones. And speaking of lasting impressions, it’s also time to write your vows and select readings that speak to your souls. Oh, and don’t forget about those all-important dress fittings – because you want to make sure you’re floating down the aisle in style; and, you’ll thank us later, start breaking in your wedding shoes! Believe us, you really want your shoes to be as comfortable as possible (hello, high heels) so you can enjoy your own party pain free!

And what would a wedding be without a touch of bureaucracy, right? So remember to pick up a marriage license (just make sure it is no more than 90 days prior to your wedding).

His and Hers wedding vows and rings

1 Month Before

With the finish line in sight, it’s time to tie up those loose ends and get ready to say “I do.” Begin by creating a seating chart to ensure all your guests are comfortably accommodated. Schedule a venue walk-through to familiarize yourself with the space and iron out any last-minute details. Attend your final dress fitting to ensure your attire fits perfectly for your special day. Practice your vows out loud to ensure they flow smoothly and express your heartfelt sentiments. Create a list of ‘must-have’ pictures to ensure your photographer captures all the important moments. Purchase or rent essentials such as a guestbook (or our beautiful audio guestbook), pen, and a card box to collect well wishes from your loved ones. Finalize your guest count to provide accurate numbers to vendors. Finally, prepare all necessary paperwork for your marriage license to make your union official (do not sign anything).

With these tasks completed, you’ll be one step closer to saying “I do”, but most importantly, take a deep breath and soak it all in – because in just a few short weeks, you’ll be walking down the aisle towards a lifetime of love and happiness.

Audio guestbook
ThistleBEA Audio Guestbook

So there you have it, lovebirds – a comprehensive guide to navigating the wild world of wedding planning. Remember, it’s not just about the destination – it’s about the journey. So grab your partner’s hand, take a deep breath, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Cheers to love, laughter, and happily ever after!

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