Once you’ve taken a few days to bask in the excitement of your engagement, it’s time to start planning. Most of us have wondered, “How long does it take to plan a wedding?” The short answer is, you could plan your wedding for years, but most weddings can be planned sufficiently within a year. If you don’t want to take that much time, use this timeline to keep your wedding planning on track:
12+ Months Before
- Set an estimated budget, taking account your salaries and any money your families may help with. This will help you choose realistic vendors.
- Pick which aspect(s) of the wedding is most important and budget more money than usual for that part.
- Plan an initial guest list, which helps you when picking reception sites, as certain venues set limits on the number of guests allowed.
- Start researching and visiting different ceremony and reception sites and book one.
- Finalize your wedding date.
- Ask your attendants to be in the wedding party.
8 to 10 Months Before
- Start shopping for your wedding gown and order it by eight months before the big day. Try dresses on in at least three shops to get a feel of few different gowns.
- Envision what kind of wedding entertainment you want: ceremony musicians for an outdoor ceremony, a live band, or a DJ.
- Begin researching and interviewing vendors, especially the wedding band or DJ, wedding photographer, and the florist as they can get booked quickly, especially in high season.
- Research accommodations for out of town guests and book one or two hotels. See about a complimentary shuttle to the reception.
6 to 8 Months
- Book ceremony musicians if using live music during the wedding ceremony.
- Send Save the Date information, especially if you’re getting married in the summer. Include hotel information.
- Meet with the officiant to discuss the necessary paperwork and general outline of the ceremony.
- Take your bridesmaids dress shopping and order dresses.
- Begin planning the honeymoon.
- Arrange your day-of transportation. Consider the size of your bridal party and your attire when choosing a stretch limo or a party limo bus.
- Renew or purchase passports if needed for the honeymoon.
4 to 6 Months Before
- Register for gifts. Register at least three big-name retailers, like Bed Bath and Beyond, Crate and Barrel, or Target.
- Find a cake baker. Sample tastings of different flavors and frostings before finalizing on one. You may find some surprising favorites.
- Research rehearsal dinner options. Negotiate prices especially if your shower or day-after brunch is hosted there as well.
- Schedule make-up and hair appointments. Try a few appointments with well-known salons. Schedule an updo trial for your bridal shower.
- Buy your wedding shoes and accessories and start your fittings.
2 to 3 Months Before
- Rent the mens formalwear.
- Finalize menus and flowers. Make note of anything local or seasonal.
- Order wedding favors. Choose something personal like monogrammed chocolates or tea bags with your names on them. Buy local fun things for the out of town gift bags.
- Finalize readings and details with the officiant.
- Meet with your DJ or live wedding band to discuss your personalized playlist so they’ll have time to learn any special requests.
- Touch base with the rest of your vendors.
- Send out your wedding invitations.
1 Month Before
- Apply for your marriage license.
- Attend a final dress fitting and teach the maid of honor how to bustle your dress.
- Write your vows.
1 to 2 Weeks Before
- Contact any outstanding RSVPs and give the final count to the reception site. Include a vendor table for the photographer and the band members.
- Finalize your seating chart and print a chart or table cards.
- Pick up your dress.
- Finalize any last minute details with vendors and drop off final payments.
While your timeline may differ depending on how elaborate your wedding is, these guidelines will help you get started. Soon you will have a team of professional vendors and entertainment giving you a day to remember. Contact Wiley Entertainment, the best Naples wedding band, today to find the best live music for your wedding–that’s one thing you can check off your list! Happy planning!