Being newly engaged is such a joyous moment, but what happens after the tears of joy, congratulations and champagne? If you’re wondering where to start planning your big day, we’ve asked wedding planner extraordinaire Christopher Confero to share his 12 month wedding planning timeline with us. Take it one step at a time, and before you know it you’ll be walking down that aisle! From finding your venue, to your final dress fitting, to the honeymoon preparations, we’ve got you covered!
photo by Dmitri Markine
12 Months: Find a place and set the date
You should be looking at venues 9 – 12 months in advance. Go see your venue at the same time of year as you are planning your nuptials to get a feel for how it will look. If you can’t visit at the same time of year, ask for pictures of the venue taken in the same season.
photo by Andria Lo
10 Months: Time for bridal fashion
It might sound crazy, but given the number of designers and gowns out there, it might take you a while to find the one. Keep this in mind, and do some extensive research to narrow down the type of dress you like. Take along a friend or your mom, but only if they really know your style and will encourage you. This is your one time to really go all out, not to please other people.
photo by Viera Photographics
9 Months: Finalize your guest list and wedding budget
Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast breakdown of a budget. It all depends on you and what the most important elements are to your big day. Prioritizing where to spend your money and remember what is important to you. Remember that every single guest adds more to the over all budget.
8 Months: Secure your creative team
Start looking for for photographers, caterers, bakers, florists, stationers and entertainment. Decide quickly and book them. Now is the time for indulging in every wedding fantasy you’ve ever harbored. The internet is a sea of beautiful blogs and dreamy design inspiration but don’t limit yourself to wedding imagery. Look to fashion, architecture and interior design. Inspiration can come from anywhere.
photo by Hiram Trillo
7 Months: Wedding party fashion
Start shopping for your bridesmaids’ dresses, groom and groomsmen’s attire. This is also a good opportunity to decide on their gifts as well. By now you should have chosen and had your first fitting for your own dress. This will give insight to the style and color palette of your bridesmaids’ dresses, too.
6 Months: Start your wedding gift registry
Remember to fill your list with a range of items, and be realistic about your guests’ budget. If your grandmother wants to treat you to the high-end china set, that’s great, but make sure you choose some smaller gifts, too.
photo by The Oberports
4 Months: Approaching the home stretch
Time for the last few pieces of the puzzle. Order your wedding rings and book transportation to and from the ceremony, reception and honeymoon. With only a few months left, are you feeling stretched yet? Remember that over half of all weddings go over budget. Avoid feeling like your back is against the wall by allowing yourselves a contingency fund.
photo by Studio Uma
3 Months: Hair and makeup
Book the trail run with your hair stylist and makeup artist. Don’t be afraid to take pictures and ask them to imitate, but remember that not all styles suit every face, and the good artists will be able to interpret a look to suit you. A good rule of thumb is to ask for you as you naturally are, just better.
photo by Savo Photography
2 Months: Invitations
Save the dates should be sent six to nine months from the wedding date and the formal invitation is 6 to 8 weeks. Try and order your save the dates and invitations at the same time if possible to reduce printing and freight costs. And don’t forget to factor in cost of postage!
photo by Jennifer Moher Photography
1 Month: Final headcount
Work out your seating plan and let your caterers know the final number of guests. Make sure there is ample space. Beware of falling in love with a venue that can’t hold your lengthy guest-list.
photo by Fer Juaristi
3 Weeks: Apply for your wedding license
You will need to give notice of marriage at your local courthouse no less than 15 days before your wedding. Saying “I Do” doesn’t mean anything if it’s not legal on paper!
photo by Davina+Daniel
2 Weeks: Final honeymoon preparation
Order your honeymoon currency, check tickets and passports and, if you’re feeling really organized, pack your suitcases.
1 Week: Get things in order
Collect the wedding rings, dress, veil and the groom and groomsmen’s outfits. Call all participating vendors and confirm everything for the big day. Just remember to dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
photo by Jenna & Tristan
Day of the wedding:
At this point all you can do is let it all happen. Learn to let go if anything doesn’t go exactly as planned. In the end, you’re going to be married. Remember that you’re planning a marriage not just a party.
A great big thank you to Christopher Confero for sharing his wedding planning timeline with us! For an even more detailed list, you can view his wedding planning checklist here. Also, be sure check out his all new website and follow him on Instagram too!
Looking for more wedding planning advice? Get started with Junebug’s Wedding Planning 101 Series!