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Wedding Planning and Engagement Time Line Thursday, August 18, 2011 ~ 9:30 a.m.
Last updated: Monday, June 18, 2012

I was going through my old blog posts the other day, and realized that while I have done a What to do after your engaged post, and a wedding planning time line for the last couple of weeks before the big day (a.k.a. CRUNCH TIME), I've never done a complete, 12 month one on here before! It seems like such a basic, essential tool for most brides, that I just had to include one of my own. I thought it would also be a great way for me to sort out what I've covered on A Paper Proposal already, and what I still need to add to my own personal "to do" list for future blog posts, too! ;)

Chances are, if you've been engaged for a while, you've already seen one or two of these planning timelines. However, I tried to make this one a little more helpful and interactive by linking back to other posts that I've written on particular topics or "to-do's" listed. Most of the photos along the side are also from previous posts of mine, so feel free to click on the photo to check it out that way, too!

How to plan your dream wedding How to plan your dream wedding How to plan your dream wedding How to plan your dream wedding How to plan your dream wedding How to plan your dream wedding Engagement rings Engagement shoot Wedding dress Single bloom bouquet Bride at SF City Hall White bouquet with feathers Cocktail Wedding cake Letterpress wedding invitation Groomsmen Photo booth Bride toasting with champagne Grey heels Polaroid camera Bride and groom Blueberries
12 - 11 Months To Go

10 - 9 Months To Go

8 - 7 Months To Go
  • Select your bridal party
  • Book blocks of hotel rooms (at a couple of hotels in various price ranges) for any traveling guests
  • Set up wedding website and/or mail travel information to out of town guests
  • Compile guest list, select and send your save the date cards
  • Begin looking for wedding invitations (if interested in letterpress or more detailed custom designs)
  • Begin looking for wedding gowns!
  • Book caterer
  • Hire videographer
  • Order thank-you notes for shower gifts
  • Purchase wedding gown and veil

6 Months To Go
  • Book floral designer or florist, or begin looking for someone to create your dream brooch or paper flower bouquet!
  • Thinking about going vintage for your day? Start hitting yard and estate sales, flea markets and grandma's house for those mason jars!
  • Book any lighting necessary
  • Order bridesmaid dresses
  • Create your gift registry or registry alternative for your shower and wedding
  • Getting wedding insurance? If so, look into it now
  • Discuss and research honeymoon destinations, then begin vaccinations necessary
  • Scout out location for rehearsal dinner and day-after brunch
  • Book musicians for ceremony and cocktail hour
  • Book entertainment for reception
  • If you're hiring a day-of coordinator (rather than a full-service planner), book him/her now

5 Months To Go
  • Order wedding invites, RSVP cards, maps and/or announcements
  • Select a calligrapher.
  • Decide on tuxedo style and place rental order for groom
  • Book any event rentals (tents, tables, chairs, lights, etc.)
  • Make sure you have your passport, and apply or renew, if necessary
  • Order flower girl's dress
  • Thinking about eyelash extensions? Think about trying them out for the first time at least a few months in advance!

4 Months To Go
  • If you're getting your wedding cake through an outside vendor, start booking your appointments/tastings
  • Book your hairstylist and artist
  • Research marriage license requirements
  • Begin shopping for your shoes and accessories, including jewelry and purse!
  • Look into travel insurance, if needed
  • Book your hotel room for the wedding night
  • Compile guest lists for showers
  • Order transportation

3 Months To Go

2 Months To Go

1 Month To Go
  • Finalize food and beverage menus with catering vendor
  • Obtain marriage license
  • Once you've hit your deadline for RSVPs to wedding, begin reaching out to any stragglers for a final head count.
  • Distribute schedule of events/flow of day to all vendors
  • Start working on your seating chart
  • Complete ceremony programs and reception menus
  • Decide on guest book
  • Purchase anything needed for ceremony such as unity candle, sand ceremony, etc.
  • Begin gathering your garter, something old, new, borrowed and blue
  • Meet with photographer and videographer to go over shot list and provide them both with seating charts
  • Shop for the honeymoon! (Don't forget the lingerie, either!)
  • Distribute rehearsal dinner invitations (if separate)
  • Have a blast at your bachelor and bachelorette parties!

3 - 2 Weeks To Go
  • Have final meeting with floral designer
  • Purchase thank you gifts for parents and wedding party
  • Have your final wedding dress fitting
  • Get hair cut and/or colored, facial and any waxes needed
  • Assign toasts, readings, gift and tipping duties to friends and family members
  • Complete hair and makeup trials

1 Week To Go
  • Pick up your wedding dress!
  • Prepare tips in envelopes for all vendors
  • Confirm transportation times and locations
  • Confirm all vendors
  • Provide final head count to venue (if haven't already)
  • Pack a bag/emergency kit for the wedding day
  • Deliver welcome bags to guests on the days that they are scheduled to arrive
  • Give any programs, cake toppers, escort cards, guest book, toasting glasses, favors and other decor to designated helpers to handle on the day-of
  • Pick up rented tuxedos
  • Meet with bridesmaids to make sure they have everything they need for the wedding
  • Pack and confirm hotel reservation for wedding night
  • Get your nails done!
  • Distribute wedding party gifts
  • Rehearse ceremony and enjoy rehearsal dinner!

The BIG Day!
  • Relax, remember to eat and enjoy your day!

The Day After
  • Return rental tuxedos
  • Obtain gifts and any other wedding day supplies from friends and family
  • Freeze the top layer of your wedding cake!
  • Make a note of any stains on your wedding dress, and get them taken care of immediately if needed. Otherwise, hang it up and make sure it's covered until you can get it to the cleaners to preserve
  • Investigate how to begin the process of legally changing your name

Insert Comment | View Comments (6)




Rachel Marie Photography (Orange County, CA)

Aug 18, 2011 3:24 PM

I would have loved something like this when I was planning my wedding! Great job Sarah, very thorough. :)

Jessica (Sonoma County, CA)

Aug 24, 2011 10:54 AM

This is a great post!!! Just sent it to my bff who just got engaged!

Artificial Flowers (Wichita)

Oct 10, 2011 1:51 AM

nice pictures. Hope you find artificial flowers a little helpful for your wedding plans. A decor that light your life with full of joy and happiness.

Adrienne @ MyDeejay (Washington, DC)

Mar 12, 2012 11:01 AM

Great advice however I highly recommend booking entertainment way longer than 6 months out - a lot of the couples we talk to are shocked to find out that we are sold out for their date when they call us 6 or even 8 months before their wedding!

Nothing hurts more than having to turn a couple away who really wanted to work with us simply because we do not have any DJs available for their date! We suggest looking into entertainment 10 - 12 months from your date to ensure you are able to book who you want, otherwise you might end up having to settle for scraps!

linda (torrance)

Apr 8, 2012 10:44 PM

This is a great post. So informative

What the Bride Wore (Philadelphia, PA)

Nov 25, 2014 11:46 AM

Great tips! Thanks for such a thorough outline!