Congratulations on your engagement! The start of wedding planning is such an exciting time, but it’s also nerve-racking. Especially when it comes to figuring out when to actually start the wedding planning process. Many couples wonder how many months in advance they should start planning their wedding. Should you get started immediately after saying “yes”? Or should you bask in your engagement and soak it in for a few weeks or even months before you take on wedding planning? In this blog post, we will discuss the ideal timeline for wedding planning to help you get started.
If you’re new around here, I’m Kristen. The founder of Plan On Demand. Plan On Demand is the only virtual subscription wedding planning service that gives you direct access to award-winning wedding planners via text message. Text our wedding planners anytime, from anywhere and get personalized, professional answers texted back to you within 24 hours.
The subscription is month-to-month, no strings attached. You can join at any time in your planning process and cancel when you’re ready. Learn more about me and why I started this business here. And get a two week free trial to Plan On Demand here! Once you activate your trial, text me “TIMELINE” to get my professional wedding planning timeline for FREE (a $35 value!).
The ideal timeline for wedding planning
Our wedding planners at Plan On Demand typically recommend starting to plan your wedding at least 12-18 months in advance of the wedding date. This may seem like a long time, but trust us when we say that it will be worth it in the end. Starting early will give you plenty of time to make decisions, book the vendors you want, and work through all of the details in a calm and collected manner. We don’t like to see our couples rush and make hasty decisions! So having a longer planning timeline gives you that peace of mind where you can strategically think about what you want and make educated comparisons about vendors. It’s also particularly helpful to get started early so that you can have your choice of venues and dates. Nothing is worse than feeling the pressure to choose between 2 dates in a hurry because of demand!
If you have a shorter timeline or want to get married sooner, don’t worry! You can still plan an amazing wedding with a condensed timeline, you just may need to be more flexible with your choices and be willing to make some compromises.
Wedding planning timeline: 12-18 months prior
The first 12-18 months of wedding planning should be spent researching and booking your “core vendors” which are the venue, caterer, photographer, florist and entertainment (band or DJ). It’s important to book these vendors early to ensure their availability, especially if you have your heart set on a particular vendor. We love The Knot, Weddingwire and Zola as a starting point for vendor research. We also recommend checking out the instagram pages of venues you are interested in to see what other vendors have worked there in the past!
During this time, you should also create your ideal guest list which will help guide you on your venue search, and help you establish a budget. At the same time, you can start considering your wedding theme, colors, and overall style because this will help you in your venue search. Snag our free professional wedding mood board template here to help you with your wedding vision vibe!
After you book your venue and work on your overall wedding vibe, it’s a good time to start trying on wedding dresses. Some brides are lucky and choose the first dress they try on, while others visit multiple bridal salons and try on dozens (maybe even hundreds!) of dresses before the find the right one. Give yourself enough time to feel confident in your decision and not have to rush.
You should also start to book your hotel accommodations, transportation, and any other necessary travel services for your wedding day. If you are getting married on a holiday weekend or in a popular location, you will want to book your hotel room blocks as soon as you book your venue to ensure there is enough inventory to accommodate your wedding guests. Same with transportation. If you are planning to provide shuttle service for your wedding guests to and from the hotel, you will want to solidify that early on as well. You can always adjust the number of trips later on, but it’s good to have the transportation reserved.
Wedding planning timeline: 6-12 months prior
Once you have booked your venue and vendors, the next 6-12 months of wedding planning should be spent finalizing your details. This includes ordering your invitations, selecting your wedding party, choosing your music, selecting the wedding florals, thinking about day-of signage and seating charts, and planning your day-of wedding timeline. This is also a good time to schedule your hair and makeup trial, so you can have a clear vision of your wedding day look.
Wedding planning to-dos: 3-6 months prior
As you approach the 3-6 month mark, you should start finalizing your wedding day details, such as ordering your wedding favors and selecting your wedding readings. This is also the time to start planning your rehearsal dinner and finalizing your wedding day menu.If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to schedule your final dress fitting to ensure your wedding dress fits perfectly on your big day. You should also start working on your wedding vows and making any necessary travel arrangements for your honeymoon.
Wedding planning timeline: 1-3 months prior
As your wedding day approaches, the final 1-3 months of wedding planning should be spent confirming all of your details and finalizing your timeline. This includes scheduling your final meetings with your vendors, creating and finalizing your seating chart, and finalizing your ceremony readings.
It’s also important to start preparing for your wedding day by packing your emergency kit, finishing and sharing your wedding day timeline, and creating your wedding day decor checklist. This will help ensure that everything runs smoothly on your big day.
Your wedding planning timeline should begin at least 12-18 months in advance. This will give you plenty of time to book vendors, make decisions and ensure that everything is perfect on your big day.
For help planning your wedding, subscribe to Plan On Demand. You get the first 2 weeks free. Our wedding planners are easily accessible through text message and are ready to give you personalized wedding planning advice! Try us out today. I promise, you’ll love it! And don’t forget to text me TIMELINE once you subscribe to get that wedding planning timeline for free!
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