We are breaking down your wedding planning timeline.
No matter the length of your engagement, a wedding planning timeline is key to ensure you stay organized throughout wedding planning. The order in which you book your wedding vendors is also important to facilitate a smooth planning process. Most couples spend between one year and 18 months engaged, so we’re basing our a vendor booking timeline on a 15-month engagement.
13-15 Months in Advance
We recommend booking your planner first as they will be able to help guide you through every other step of the planning process. Including your planner in your venue and vendor search from the beginning can help save time, stress, and money. We wrote this article on the benefits of including your planner in your venue search!
You will need to book your venue to confirm your wedding date. Your venue choice may also inform your vendor list. For example, your venue may have in-house catering, a preferred vendor list, or rentals included in their package. These details will be important to know when building out the rest of your vendor team.
10-12 Months in Advance
Your caterer is one of the largest investments you’ll make in your wedding. You’ll work with your caterer to determine your menu and the type of food service you want (buffet, family-style, food stations, and/or plated). Your caterer may also help you secure your rentals like your tables, chairs, glassware, silverware, and china.
Great wedding photographers book up quickly for Saturdays during peak wedding season. And unlike Rental companies or caterers they (typically) can only work one event per day so they are more limited in their availability than other vendors. If you find a photographer you love, don’t wait to book them!
Florists are integral to your wedding design and like photographers the top florists can book up quickly. Flowers can also eat up a large chunk of your budget so it’s important to find the right florist who will be both an athletic and financial match for your wedding.
Hair & Makeup
While this can be done more last minute, like other vendors the top make-up and hair artists do tend to book up early. We also recommend doing a trial run a few months prior to your wedding to ensure you like the artists and can make any tweaks to youtube look.
9 Months in Advance
Your wedding band or DJ help set the tone for your evening. They provide more than just a popping dance floor. They ensure your ceremony and reception has good sound quality, can act as the emcee, and work with your wedding planner to keep your timeline running smoothly throughout your wedding.
8 Months in Advance
You’ll want to get your Save the Dates out 8 months in advance (or even earlier for a destination wedding). The sheer number of color, paper, and font choices can also be overwhelming so it’s helpful to start the process sooner than later to give you time to make your selections.
Depending on where you’re getting married, you may need to have an ordained officiant perform the ceremony. Whether you go with a professional officiant, a friend, or a relative (who may obtain a temporary license) you will want to give them plenty of notice.
Other Decor Rentals
If your venue and catering company do not have the items you need (or that fit your style) you will want to bring in other rentals. These can vary from basic chairs and tables to elaborate ceremony backdrops, rugs, couches, and more.
If your caterer is not providing your cake or other dessert items you will need to do a tasting and lock down a cake with a local bakery.
4-5 Months in Advance
You will want to ensure you and your guests have safe transportation to your ceremony and reception from the hotel (or after party!).
Hotel Room Blocks
You will want to lock in any hotel room blocks for your guests and add the room block information to your website.
Planning a wedding takes time and a good wedding planning timeline will be your best friend during the process. Booking your vendors one step at a time will also help relieve some of the overwhelm of planning!