How long it takes to plan a wedding really depends on the size of your wedding and how strongly you want things to be a certain way.
A wedding with a guest list of ten, a town hall nuptial and a reservation at a local restaurant won’t take nearly as long to plan as an elaborate affair with specific seasonal flowers, lighting displays, a guest list of 150 and a catered meal with a four-layer cake.
Wedding vendors book months in advance so if you have your eye on it, it’s good to provide yourself six months minimum, ideally a year.
This two-part twelve-month timeline will help guide you through the process of wedding planning task by task, 12 months to the day of.
12 MONTHS PRIOR
In this age of overused technology, the engagement party has kind of fell off the map but it’s a tradition that really should pick back up. Who doesn’t love a party and who doesn’t like showing off their ring?
Arranging an intimate get together where both members of the engaged party can attend with their friends and family before posting it on social media is a great way to start your planning.
No one likes to talk money because it can be uncomfortable and unfortunately make what you’re capable of doing for a wedding much more realistic, but that is also why you must do it.
If you do not start your wedding planning with a budget, you will quickly see your outgoing money fly off the charts.
Your guest list will work alongside your budget as one affects the other. This does not have to be a final number by any means but having a general idea so you can begin your venue search is extremely important.
Almost everyone knows who this will be before even being engaged. Sometimes family, sometimes close friends, the rules of picking your bridal party have changed wildly. Bridal parties are not segregated by gender anymore and include a variety of ages and unique perspectives.
Venues are one of the first things that get booked quickly when it comes to weddings. Try to pick your venue before you even set the date for your wedding as it will allow you to be more open minded.
The venue being the first decision will affect where you hire your professionals and the limitations of design going forward. With the venue decided so to can the date of your wedding be announced.
8 MONTHS PRIOR
The second wedding vendor to get booked is a photographer as every couple wants the best images and videos of their big day. If you have your eye on a particular professional, make sure you book them quickly. Every photographer has their own unique style, make sure you find the one that matches you as a couple!
Food can be one of the most memorable parts of the whole event as it’s the most engaging to the guests. If your venue doesn’t come with an in-house caterer this is about the time you will begin meeting with one and working out a menu, keeping in mind allergies and intolerances.
Most wedding caterers are aware you won’t have your final guest count this early.
The infamous gown can be one of the hardest decisions made for your wedding. One word of advice: start early as it will be one of the lengthiest decisions to be made. If you don’t find your dream dress at the first two stops don’t worry!
You rarely hear the horror stories of how long it takes a soon-to-be bride to find her dress.
Choosing your style and theme is the next step. Many people say that the level of formality of a wedding centers on the chosen dress but with the venue and budget playing a vital role, these three aspects are important when it comes to the formality and theme. Choose a style that reflects you as a couple and doesn’t clash with the chosen venue.
Don’t undervalue how rapidly celebrants book up for weddings. Bear in mind this individual is presenting your first step towards marriage, so they should really reflect your desires.
If you have a religious background this person will probably be close with the family or chosen church.
Wedding planners are optional, but this is the time to hire one if you feel it is necessary. Wedding planning is a full-time job, so having a professional who makes it their job can be a heaven sent.
These professionals not only know the details of wedding planning but can save you money with previous relationships and time by avoiding wedding planning pitfalls.
While hiring a planner is optional, hiring a day-of coordinator, a service most planners provide, is highly suggested as no bride wants to carry around a clipboard alongside a bouquet.
In part 2 of this timeline, we’ll work with more of the nitty-gritty of planning, such as the attire for bridesmaids and groomsmen, trials to perfect the look of the bride, deciding on the right floral arrangements and entertainment, sending save the dates and planning the honeymoon.
James Novotny, director of James Novotny Lifestyle Design and the wedding blog alwaysthebridesman.com, would like to help guide you down the aisle and ease your wedding day woes.
Feel free to send your wedding queries to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop them off at the Clarion office, 6-314.
James Novotny is an all-inclusive wedding planner and is open to questions regarding same-sex and multicultural weddings.