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Guide to Planning a Wedding in 12 Months

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Congratulations, you are engaged! You have posted the “I said yes!” ring pictures to all your social media accounts, toasted your engagement with your closest friends and family, and now you are ready to start planning your big day. So where do you start? You are definitely not alone in feeling overwhelmed when jumping into the wedding planning process, it is something everyone goes through, except for maybe professional wedding planners. To help make the process a little less stressful, here is a rough timeline to help you plan your wedding from 12 months out.

11-12 months before you say I Do:

  • Discuss about what your ideal wedding would look like with your love (i.e. size, setting, formality, etc.) and draw up a tentative budget to turn it into a reality.

  • Pick the date that you would like to get married. Try to choose several possible dates, then call several venues you like to see if they're available and how much they will cost. Also check with the officiant and important guests to make sure they are available.

  • Research ceremony and reception venues, and the schedules times to go visit the ones you like after you find out if they are available.

  • Compile a guest list.

  • Decide who will be paying for the wedding and how much they will be contributing.

  • If you will be hiring a wedding planner, interview and select yours at this point.

9-10 months before you say I Do:

  • Choose who will be in your wedding party.

  • Schedule and take your engagement photos.

  • Book the officiant.

  • Find and order your perfect wedding gown.

  • Start meeting with and book florist, stationer, DJ/musician, band, photographers, videographer, caterers, bar service, etc. When booking vendors, make sure to get a contract that states wedding date, time, and location for each vendor, as well as the schedule for payments.

  • Select the color scheme for the wedding.

  • Book your wedding photographer.

  • Send out save-the-dates for a destination wedding.

  • Book makeup artists.

6-8 months before you say I Do:

  • Register for wedding gifts at your favorite stores.

  • Reserve a block-of-rooms for out-of-town guests.

  • Order invitations and other stationary you need for the wedding.

  • Start shopping for wedding rings.

  • Decide on and order bridesmaids dresses.

  • Start planning the honeymoon.

  • Launch a wedding website through a free provider such as Make sure to include the date of the wedding, travel information, lodging accommodations, and any important information.

  • Contact rental companies if you need to rent anything, such as chairs, tables, or linens.

  • Mail save-the-date cards.

  • Order formalwear for the groom and groomsmen.

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4-5 months before you say I Do:

  • Purchase the wedding rings.

  • Attend cake tasting, and select and order the cake.

  • Select attire for flower girl/ring bearer.

  • Finalize ceremony order; ask friends to do readings.

  • Book honeymoon, and renew or get passports, if necessary.

  • Attend prewedding counseling, if required.

  • Arrange transportation for day of the wedding

3 months before you

say I Do:

  • Hold a wedding shower.

  • Book venue(s) for the rehearsal dinner.

  • Purchase any remaining accessories, including jewelry, shoes, veil, cuff links, bow ties, etc.

  • Start dress fittings

  • Book hair stylists