Anyone can plan their own wedding, but they should realize there will be a great deal of work involved. The best approach is to hire a wedding planner or coordinator. Whether you decide to handle your wedding yourself or hire a professional, there is a general timeline which should be followed to ensure tasks are completed on time.

This article provides a basic timeline for the year leading up to the couple’s wedding day. The process of planning a wedding typically begins at least one year before the actual wedding day.

Pick A Date

The first task couples should accomplish is selecting a date for the wedding. This is important because many reception halls book up early so choosing a wedding date at least a year in advance can prevent the couple from missing out on their dream location.  It also helps to ensure friends and family members have plenty of time to make arrangements to attend the wedding.

Set A Budget

During this time the couple should set their budget, book the location for the reception and begin shopping for a wedding gown.

Plan The Details

Approximately 8-10 months before the wedding date the couple will begin making some serious decisions about the wedding.

1) Formalize a theme
2) Select bridal gown & bridesmaid dresses
3) Create a gift registry
4) Interview and select a number of service providers including a photographer, videographer, caterer, and entertainers such as a band or a DJ.
5) Create their guest list during this time

Approximately 5-7 months before the wedding date the couple will still be making important decisions and plans for the wedding. Now is the time to:

1) Order wedding invitations
2) Finalize the guest list
3) Interviewing cake designers
4) Make plans for the honeymoon
5) Reserve a block of rooms in a local hotel

By reserving a large block of rooms, the couple will likely be able to secure a discount for their guests and will also save their out of town guests the trouble of having to search around for hotel accommodations.

Approximately 3-4 months before the wedding the whirlwind of planning begins to slow down, but there is still work to be done. During this time the couple should:

1) Shop for and order wedding bands
2) Select a florist
3) Shop for and order favors
4) Select and reserve the groom’s and groomsmen’s attire
5) Meet with the caterer to finalize the menu
6) Send out invitations for the wedding

Approximately two (2) months before the wedding date the planning preparation picks up. Now is the time for the couple to:

1) Make plans for the rehearsal dinner
2) Scheduling fittings for bride as well as fittings for the bridesmaids and flower girls.
3) Confirm reservations for groom’s attire and groomsmen.

One (1) month before the wedding the couple is into the home stretch of planning. They should:
1) Apply for the marriage license
2) Confirm details with all wedding service providers
3) The bride should also meet with her hair stylist and make-up artist to decide on wedding day styles.

The last two (2) weeks before the wedding is a virtual whirlwind of events. The couple will have a lot to do and will likely need help from others to accomplish these last minute details. They will need to:

1) Call guests who have not yet responded
2) Provide a final headcount to the caterer
3) Create seating plans
4) Confirm floral deliveries
5) Confirm honeymoon reservations
6) Pick up wedding gown and tuxedos

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