Without a doubt, one of the hardest parts about planning your wedding is knowing what needs to be done and when they need to be done. Where to start? How to find the perfect photographer in Connecticut, New York, Westchester or a abroad if you are planning a destination wedding? When should you book your wedding venue? With all information available on social media, wedding blogs and wedding magazines dedicated to picture-perfect weddings, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed. There are many questions you need to answer and many decisions you need to make during your wedding planning process.
As a professional wedding photographer with years of experience in the wedding industry, I believe that the key to a stress-free wedding is organization. Organizing what needs to be done and when by using a timeline will help you break up the process in small pieces and help you accomplish tasks when they need to be done. Following a timeline is very helpful especially since some tasks; like booking your ideal wedding venue or the perfect wedding photographer are time sensitive. The time you invest planning and designing the timeline can reward you with a seamless wedding experience. The timeline listed below represent a typical 12-Month wedding planning process. I hope this guide help you and please feel free to reach out if there is anything we can help you with.
Soul search and fantasize about your dream wedding – “Think of a wedding you've been to and write down what you liked and what you didn’t like. It will help you determine what you want for your own wedding.
Assemble your wedding planning dream team. Consider hiring a wedding planner or designate a few close friends or family members to help you coordinating what needs to be done.
Start planning the guest list.
Set a wedding budget. Your budget will be one of the key factors in determining the size of your wedding, your venue and the vendors you'll choose.
Reserve the venue - Popular wedding venues book fast; especially if you are planning your wedding in peak months (May-September).
Research and hire your wedding photographer - As with venues, great wedding photographers book a year or so in advance.
Schedule your engagement session. This is a great opportunity to do a hair & makeup trial.
Shop and order your wedding dress.
Select your bridal party.
Decide the type of entertainment you'd like. DJ, band, violinist for the cocktail hour?
Think about the food for the reception and floral arrangements.
Reserve hotel rooms for your out-of-town guests.
Open your wedding registry.
Create your wedding website.
Order and send your save-the-date cards. You can use your engagement session photos for this!
Order bridesmaids’ dresses.
Start planning your honeymoon.
Book your DJ or band
Attend pre-wedding counseling, if required.
Shop for wedding rings and order your wedding invitations.
Renew or get your passports, if planning an overseas honeymoon.
Envision your wedding cake and research, interview and book a cake designer.
Order wedding cake.
Hire a calligrapher, if you want your invitations professionally addressed.
Rent the formalwear for the groom.
Hire wedding day transportation: limousines, buses or any other type of transportation.
Discuss and plan a wedding photography timeline with your photographer.
Take a night off. Go to dinner or to the movies!
Write your wedding vows.
Purchase gifts for parents, bridal party and each other.
Book your hair stylist and makeup artist.
Apply for a marriage license. Check with the local bureau in the town where you'll wed.
Bride: Have final gown fitting. Bring your maid of honor along to learn how to bustle your dress. Have the dress pressed and bring it home.
Call all bridesmaids. Make sure they have their gowns ready for the wedding.
Make last-minute adjustments with vendors.
Create a wedding program to hand out to guests.
Order and plan in-room welcome baskets for out-of-town guests.
Review the wedding day photography timeline with your photographer.
Review the final family formals shot list with your wedding photographer and designate a family member to help with gather family members.
Review the final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet sent a response.
Deliver final song list to your DJ or bandleader. Include special song requests and songs you don't want to be played.
Bride: Get your last pre-wedding haircut and color.
Give reception site/caterer final guest headcount. Include vendors, such as the photographer or band members, who will expect a meal. Ask how many extra plates the caterer will prepare.
Supply location manager with a list of vendor requests such as a table for DJ or setup space needed for a florist.
Plan reception seating chart.
Print place and table cards, or finalize list with the calligrapher you've hired.
Call all wedding vendors and confirm arrangements.
Give ceremony and reception site managers a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times, plus contact numbers.
Groom: Get your hair trimmed.
Attend bachelor/ette parties.
Bride: If you need to, have your gown pressed or steamed.
Groom: Go for final fitting and pick up your formalwear.
Groom: Ask the best man to make sure all groomsmen attend fittings and pick up their outfits.
Determine wedding party positions during the ceremony and the order of the party in the processional and recessional.
Handoff place cards, table cards, menus, favors and any other items for setting the tables to the caterer and/or reception site manager.
Reconfirm final details with all vendors. Discuss any necessary last-minute substitutions.
Call the limousine or car rental company for pickup times and locations.
Arrange for guests without cars to be picked up from the airport or train station. Ask friends, attendants or relatives to help.
Deliver welcome baskets to the hotel concierge; include names and delivery instructions.
Provide all wedding professionals with an emergency phone number to call on the day of the wedding.
Write checks and/or talk to wedding hosts (usually your parents, if not you) about any final balances to be paid at the end of the reception.
Rehearse ceremony. Meet with the wedding party, ceremony readers, immediate family and your officiant at the ceremony site to rehearse and iron out the details.
Bring unity candle, aisle runner, yarmulkes or other ceremony accessories to the site.
Give your marriage license to your officiant.
Attend rehearsal dinner.
Present attendants with gifts at the rehearsal dinner. You'll want to do this especially if the gifts are accessories to be worn during the wedding.
Give wedding bands, jewelry and stationary to your Maid of Honor so she can have them ready to be photographed during getting ready.
Give best man the officiant's and the vendor's fees envelopes - and envelopes with tips, if you are providing them - to be handed off after the ceremony.
Introduce your reception site manager to your consultant or maid of honor for questions or problems during the reception.
Assign a family member or attendant to be the photographer's contact so he/she knows who's who.
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