A 12-Month Timeline for Planning Your Wedding
Your wedding will probably be the biggest social event of your life. You’re joining around 160,000 Canadian couples who will also tie the knot this year. Developing and following a planning timeline increases the chances that you’ll score the apparel, locations, and vendors you want. Use these guidelines to help ensure that your special day matches your unique vision.
A Year Before: Nail Down the Basics
Contrary to popular belief, choosing your theme and colors shouldn’t be the first step on your timeline that you take. Elizabeth Clayton explains at A Practical Wedding that you should start with building your guest list. You’ll use your numbers to select a suitable venue, help your caterer determine how much food you’ll need, and figure out how much wedding cake you must order. Besides establishing this number, The Knot also advises that you decide several other basic elements of your event at least 12 months prior to the date:
- Your wedding budget
- The exact date and time for your event
- Your wedding party members
Once you’ve pinned down these essentials, your next step is to pick your venues and officiant. Booking as early as possible can save you time, money and hassle. Moreover, this is also an ideal time to select a wedding planner. The earlier this individual gets involved, the more smoothly your arrangements will go.
10 Months Prior: Fill In Major Details
Now that you’ve got your locations and officiant, you and your sweetie need to decide on the other major aspects of your special day. Start making these decisions on your timeline around eight to 10 months before you tie the knot. That includes both your attire selections, along with your entertainment choices, ceremony and reception décor elements, and gift registries. Once you have these ideas solidified, you need to start booking the appropriate vendors:
- Disc jockey, musicians or bands
- Photographer and videographer
This is also a good time to contact rental companies for tents, chairs and other outdoor furnishings. Finally, you should think about booking hotel stays for any out-of-town attendees.
Four to Six Months Before: Pin Down More Minutiae
At four to six months before you say, “I do,” you’ll want to confirm even more choices for your event. Usually, you send out the save-the-date cards at this stage of your timeline. Meanwhile, you must also order formalwear for your attendants, select and purchase your invitations, buy your wedding rings and arrange your honeymoon. Not only that, you’ll go on the delicious errand of picking your wedding cake baker, flavors and the size of your dessert. These details require a little less time to finalize and can safely wait for this stage of your planning.
Three Months and After: Time Will Fly
The last three months before you walk down the aisle will likely blur together. Be sure to place the final order for your cake, select a calligrapher and hire wedding-day transportation at the three-month mark. Invitations should be mailed out two months before the big day, and don’t forget to book your beauty services at this point. Amidst the flurry of these events, make certain you sit down with your spouse-to-be and pen your vows. After this, you’ll attend final fittings, apply for your marriage license and craft your event program about a month before the event. Within the last month or so of your timeline, you should also review your RSVP list and confirm final details, including reservation times and guest numbers, with all your vendors and venues.
You’re going to have a lot on your plate over the next year or so. The common axiom, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” applies even to your nuptials. Start to make your arrangements around 12 months in advance, and follow a consistent timeline afterwards to put details in place and create the wedding you desire.