Ultimate Month By Month Wedding Planning Guide

Bride and Groom Snuggling Photo

Everyone needs a good wedding planning guide!

You’re engaged! First things first, tell your closest friends and family, then time to shout it from the rooftops! After you’ve had a minute to come down off cloud nine, it’s time to start planning. And planning can be overwhelming! So, we have created a month by month Wedding Planning Guide to know what tasks need to be taken care of when.

12 months before the wedding –

  • Set a budget (decide who is paying for what)
  • Create an inspiration board
  • Decide on how formal your wedding will be and ideas for the overall theme
  • Hire a wedding planner (for more tips on wedding planners check out this blog post too.)
  • Set a date
  • Research wedding/reception venues and schedule viewings
  • Choose your wedding party
  • Make a guest list and organize addresses

11 months before the wedding –

  • Finalize and book your ceremony and reception venues
  • Book your officiant
  • Book your photographer and videographer (if you are currently on the search for your wedding photographer, be sure to check out our portfolio to see more of our wedding photography work).
  • Choose your color scheme and theme and work with your planner on the overall design
  • Book a band or DJ
  • Schedule meetings with caterers to taste food

10 months before the wedding –

  • Start shopping for your wedding dress (make sure you know how long it will take to get altered)
  • Book hotel room blocks for guests
  • Create a wedding website
  • Get engagement photos taken
  • Start looking at invitation designs and calligraphy (check out this post on our tips for hiring a wedding calligrapher).
  • Book Caterer and cake baker

9 months before the wedding –

  • Purchase your wedding dress
  • Send out your save the dates
  • Meet with florists
  • Finalize your guest list
  • Start a gift registry

8 months before the wedding –

  • Choose bridesmaids dresses and schedule fittings
  • Book florist
  • Start looking for honeymoon options
  • Create a song list for ceremony and reception

7 months before the wedding –

  • Book a rehearsal dinner venue
  • Hire ceremony musicians
  • Order rental items like chairs, linens, draping, furniture, dance floor, tents. (talk to your wedding planner or stylist about these items)

6 months before the wedding –

Wedding Planning Guide Bride and Groom Snuggling Photo

5 months before the wedding –

  • Arrange wedding day transportation
  • Finalize honeymoon plans and book flights, hotels, etc.
  • Begin premarital counseling with your officiant

4 months before the wedding –

  • Final tasting with the caterer
  • Finalize your cake
  • Hair and Makeup trial – if you are having bridal portraits, you’ll want to schedule your hair and makeup trial for the same day and get a sample bouquet from your florist
  • Purchase a guest book
  • Finalize dates for bridal showers and bachelorette parties

3 months before the wedding –

  • Send out wedding invitations
  • Finalize menu with your caterer
  • Brainstorm favors for your guests and gift bags
  • Write your vows
  • If you plan to have readings at your ceremony choose those
  • Meet with officiant

2 months before the wedding –

  • Send rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Dress fitting
  • Get a marriage license
  • Buy wedding party gifts
  • Make sure your DJ and ceremony musicians have your song selections
  • Finalize wedding program 
  • Create a wedding day timeline with your planner and photographer

1 month before the wedding –

  • Pay your vendors in full
  • Create a seating chart
  • Escort cards or place cards – talk to your calligrapher about this
  • Final venue walk-through with your planner
  • Break-in your wedding shoes
  • Final dress fitting
Wedding Planning Guide Bride and Groom Snuggling on Couch at their wedding venue Photo

2 weeks before the wedding –

  • Confirm final headcount with venue and caterer
  • Send your caterer a final seating plan
  • Confirm honeymoon reservations
  • Final dress fitting and pickup

1 week before the wedding –

  • Rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Send wedding day checklist and timeline to your bridal party and immediate family
  • Confirm date, time and venue with all of your vendors
  • Put cash in tip envelops for your planner to give out on the day of
  • Pack for your honeymoon – don’t forget all travel documents
  • Get your eyebrows done and hair color touched up
  • Manicure/pedicure
  • Clean your ring

Night Before / Day of the wedding –

  • Eat a healthy meal
  • Pack a small bag of personal items
  • Drink water
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Put everything in your car the night before
  • Stay off your feet
  • Drink more water
  • Take your dress out of the bag and steam it if needed
  • Layout all items like rings, invitations, shoes, details you want your photographer to capture
  • Relax and leave everything to your planner from here on out.

Thanks for checking out our Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide. If you are in the beginning stages of wedding planning and looking for a photographer we’d love to chat!

Lively wedding photography for the joyfully romantic!

Trust every tear, every laugh, and every exquisite moment to a team that wants to help make your wedding dreams a reality by providing stunning photos and an amazing experience.

Learn More