The 12 Month Guide to Planning a Wedding

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year! 
Did you get engaged over the holiday season? If so, congratulations on your engagement and on coming to the right place for all your bride-to-be needs! Since it's a brand new year, I decided to kick it off with a guide to 12 months of wedding planning that will break down your big day so you know exactly when you should be checking items off your to-do list!

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12 Months To Go
  • Start a wedding folder on Pinterest - if you haven't already!
  • Work out your budget. (Tip: If you haven't already, start a savings account with your fiancé that can directly deposit a set amount, perhaps 10-20% of your income into the account each month.)
  • Search for and book venue. Subsequently, this secures your wedding date.
  • Draft guest list.
  • Hire a wedding planner (if you want one).
  • Engagement party. (Tip: Having an engagement party is great if you are young and planning on having a long engagement. It's also a good way to get some funds for vendor deposits.)
  • Begin to research vendors.
  • Find a meaningful way to ask friends to be in your bridal party!
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10 Months To Go
  • Register for wedding/shower gifts.
  • Pick an officiant/book a church.
  • Choose vendors (photographers, videographer, band/DJ).
  • Take engagement photos.
  • Start to look at save the dates and invitations.
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8 Months To Go
  • Choose save the dates.
  • Shop for/order your dress. (Tip: Create a collage of wedding dress styles you like before you go shopping.  Also, do your hair and makeup similar to how you'll want it for the big day so you can get a better idea of what you will look like walking down the aisle).
  • Reserve hotel room block for guests.
  • Cake tastings/order cake.
  • Begin hair and makeup trials.
  • Purchase wedding insurance to protect your deposits!
  • Contact rental companies about chairs, tables, tents, dance floor, etc. (only if necessary).

6 Months To Go
  • Mail out save the dates.
  • Order invitations.
  • Book your florist.
  • Book honeymoon.
  • Order bridesmaids' dresses.
  • Purchase wedding bands.
  • Arrange transportation for yourselves/bridal party from ceremony to reception (if necessary).
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4 Months To Go
  • Select groomsmen attire.
  • Plan rehearsal dinner (book dinner venue and ceremony rehearsal; prepare invite list for rehearsal dinner).
  • Confirm vendors.
  • Attend pre-wedding counseling if desired or required.
  • Renew or order passports for your honeymoon.

3 Months To Go
  • Finalize menu and flowers.
  • Order favors.
  • Choose readings/readers.
  • Start a shot list for photographer. 
  • Have bridal shower (this can be done earlier or later depending on preference).
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2 Months To Go
  • Mail invitations (8 weeks before wedding).
  • Write or decide on vows/ceremony. (Tip: If writing your own vows, use a tone that suits you as a couple. Feel free to add some humor!)
  • Purchase day-of accessories.
  • Confirm day-of transportation.
  • Review music with DJ/band.
  • Check in with all other vendors for updates
  • Decide on hair and makeup.

6 Weeks To Go
  • Apply for marriage license.
  • Get everything printed (table numbers, programs, menus, favor tags, etc.).

1 Month To Go
  • Start recording RSVPs.
  • Have bachelor(ette) parties.
  • Have bridal shower.
  • Mail rehearsal dinner invites.
  • Final dress fitting (Tip: Bring all your day-of accessories/undergarments so you can see how you will look on the big day. Also, bring your MOH so she can learn how to bustle your dress)!
  • Start seating arrangements
  • Purchase bridal party gifts (don't forget something for your groom)!
  • Make sure your bridal party has their day-of clothes/accessories.
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2 Weeks To Go
  • Give shot list to photographer and go over it with him/her.
  • Review music with DJ/band. (Tip: Sit down with your fiancé to choose your wedding song, set the tone of music at your reception and create a "do not play" list.)
  • Get your pre-wedding haircuts/colors.  
  • Finalize seating chart and get place cards printed.

1 Week To Go
  • Send a timeline to the bridal party.
  • Pick up your dress.
  • Break in your shoes!
  • Give final headcount to caterer/venue.
  • Get facials and waxings.
  • Pack for your honeymoon.

48 Hours Before
  • Confirm arrival times with vendors/transportation.
  • Get tan.
  • Get nails done.
  • Wrap bridal party and groom gifts.
  • Determine position of wedding party during ceremony and processional.
  • Have your dress steamed if necessary.
  • Groom's final fitting for tux.

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Day Before
  • Provide all wedding professionals with an emergency contact for the day-of. 
  • Attend rehearsal dinner. (Tip: Have fun with it! Invite close family and friends, the bridal party and their dates as well as out of town guests who have travelled a long way to be their for your special day!)
  • Give bridal party gifts
  • Write checks to pay off vendor balances. 
  • Give your marriage license to your officiant. 

  • Give the wedding bands to the MOH and BM to hold during ceremony.
  • Introduce the reception site manager to MOH for questions or problems.
  • Present gifts to parents and each other.
  • Get married and live happily ever after!

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Thanks for reading! Happy Planning!