The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide

by D Weddings

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Planning a wedding is easier if you have a good game plan. Use this timeline and these handy checklists to guide You along the way.


12 Months Before

☐ Determine your budget.
☐ Make your guest list.
☐ Hire a planner.
☐ Reserve your venues.
☐ Book your officiant.
☐ Research vendors.
☐ Ask your wedding party.
☐ Start wedding fitness routine.

Eight to 10 Months Before

☐ Book the entertainment.
☐ Hire your photographer and videographer.
☐ Buy a dress.
☐ Book a florist.
☐ Meet with caterers.
☐ Reserve hotel room blocks for out-of-town attendees.
☐ Register.
☐ Create your wedding website.

Six to Seven Months Before

☐ Send save-the-dates.
☐ Buy your invitations.
☐ Order bridesmaid dresses.
☐ Start planning honeymoon.
☐ Book hair/makeup artist.

Four to Five Months Before

☐ Book the rehearsal dinner venue.
☐ Order your cake and groom’s cake.
☐ Shop for menswear.
☐ Begin dress fittings.
☐ Select songs for first dances and work on song list for band or DJ.
☐ Get/renew passports.

Three Months Before

☐ Rent menswear.
☐ Finalize the order of the ceremony and the reception.
☐ Purchase wedding bands.
☐ Order favors.
☐ Print menu cards and programs.
☐ Complete trial runs for hair and makeup.

Two Months Before

☐ Mail invitations.
☐ Scout locations with photographer if needed.
☐ Purchase gifts for bridal party, parents, and each other.

One Month Before

☐ Get your marriage license.
☐ Mail rehearsal dinner invitations.
☐ Complete final dress fitting.
☐ Determine seating arrangements.
☐ Send in final payments.
☐ Confirm times with vendors.
☐ Complete any skin or hair treatments.

Two Weeks Before

☐ Give photographer your shot list.
☐ Give DJ or band your final song list.
☐ Check with invitees who haven’t RSVPed.
☐ Send the final guest list to the caterer and venues.
☐ Pack day-of emergency kit.

Week Of

☐Reconfirm times with vendors.
☐Send day-of timeline to the bridal party and family.
☐Pick up your dress.
☐Put together welcome baskets and distribute.


Rehearse, then celebrate

Tradition says the groom hosts the rehearsal dinner, but no matter who heads up the planning, make sure you’re on the right track. Lacey Di Nardo from Harwood Hospitality (Marie Gabrielle, Saint Ann, and Mercat Bistro) shares a helpful timeline.

9 months out:

The search begins. Research and book the perfect venue for your personality and budget.

6 months out:

Select your vendors such as the florist and videographer. Don’t forget to hire an entertainer such as an acoustic Spanish guitarist.

3 months out:

Book a tasting with your chef. This is an intimate moment for you and the chef to develop the culinary experience you’ll share with your guests.

8 weeks out:

Devise your floor plan. Your venue coordinator will assist you in planning the shape and flow of your floor plan and tablescape. Linens? Check. Chargers? Check.

2 weeks out:

Finalize your banquet event order, which in lingo speak is called a BEO. Carefully review the details of your layout, menu, and pricing.

5 days out:

Book one last recap with each of your vendors and venue coordinator to discuss final guest count. Pay any remaining balances.

Day of:

Enjoy! Mom, Dad, bride, and groom—this is your day. Soak up every second!


Make It Work (Out)

If trying on gowns makes you groan, Katherine Bahlburg from Bells and Barbells Wedding Fitness aims to alleviate any dressing room drama. Plus, getting into a fitness routine is a great way to treat yourself during the stress of wedding planning. Here is her wedding fitness action plan.

12–24 Months Before

You’ve got a date. Now it’s time to start thinking about your wedding fitness goals. Do your research and put together a fitness budget. Look for a fitness studio or individual who only works with brides. You wouldn’t hire a general event planner for your big day, would you? Someone who works solely with individuals getting married means you are their entire focus.

6–8 Months Before

You should start to see results. We recommend shopping for your dress or planning your first fitting around this time. We have had plenty of brides who have already found their dream dress right after the proposal. As long as they hold off on dress fittings until at least three months into their fitness program, they will save time, money, and frustration.

3–4 Months Before

Start to buckle down on nutrition and increase your workout frequency. We offer our brides and grooms discounts for adding in private training sessions as they get closer to the big day. Start a meal plan if you haven’t already. We have a dedicated nutrition specialist on call who can help.

1 Month before

You are probably starting to stress while also experiencing waves of excitement. But if you followed the above steps, know that you are in better shape both mentally and physically. Our favorite saying at Bells and Barbells is, “A healthy bride is a happy bride.”