When Should I Start Preparing for My Wedding?

happy couple and professional event manager talking near laptop at festive table in wedding venue

Hold onto your hat, this is going to be a roller coaster. The fact that you are asking the question probably means it should have been started earlier. This is the most important day in your life so there’s no time like the present.

The rule of thumb is that 16 months before the big day is the best time to get the preparations under way.

This is when you need to:

  • Work out the budget
  • Pick the wedding party
  • Start the guest list

It may be a good idea to hire a planner because even though this will be one of the best experience of your life, it will also be one of the most stressful things you’ll ever undertake. Planners have relationships with vendors, so they can make things run a lot more smoothly.

If you don’t choose a planner then you also need to:

  • Reserve the date and the venues for the ceremony and the reception
  • Book the officiant
  • Start researching florists, caterers, photographers and bands
  • Keep their contact information in your binder
  • Throw the engagement party

Eight Months Ahead

Things are starting to get crucial at this stage so you need to get the foundations straight:

  • Book both photographer and videographer
  • Organise the entertainment
  • Interview caterers
  • Purchase the dress! Expect at least three fittings
  • Reserve hotel rooms for any important out-of-town guests

Six Months Before

The Big Day is starting to feel very real, it’s time to grasp the nitty-gritty nettle. This is when, as well as shopping for the bridesmaids’ dresses, you should:

  • Select and buy your invitations
  • Start planning the honeymoon
  • Arrange to meet the officiant
  • Map out the ceremony
  • Confirm you have all the official documents
  • Book a florist
  • Arrange transport

Four Months Before

It is time to start planning the rehearsal, checking on your wedding invitations and ordering the cake.

Wedding shoes should never be bought at the last minute and it’s also time to begin your dress fittings. Schedule your hair and makeup appointments and choose the music.

Three Months Before

Finalize your wedding breakfast menu and the flowers for all concerned.

Draw up the list of who will be giving toasts and finalize who is going to do the readings and what will they be reading.

Don’t forget to buy the rings, finalize both the order of the ceremony along with the reception and get the menu cards and programs printed.

Two Months Before

This is a good time to touch base once again with all your vendors, especially with the photographer to discuss shots, and the locations you would like included.

It’s also the time to mail out the invitations, six to eight weeks before the ceremony, with an RSVP cut-off of three weeks after the date of posting.

Enjoy your hen and stag nights, which should have been organized by the maid of honor and best man.

One Month Before

This is when you should sort and count the RSVPs and if necessary contact those who have failed to respond. Then:

  • Organize the marriage license
  • Visit the dressmaker for hopefully the last fitting
  • Arrange the bar for the wedding
  • Sort as many payments as possible
  • Confirm times for both hair and makeup appointments
  • Finalize the seating plan
  • Buy bridesmaids’ gifts

Week of the Wedding

Reconfirm all vendors’ arrival times, delegate all the small wedding day tasks, send the timeline to the bridal party and collect the dress. Book your pre-wedding spa treatment and arrange a manicure and pedicure for the day before the event. This is the time to send the confirmed guest list to the caterer and all the venues. Then all that should be left to is to pack your bags for the honeymoon.

Related Articles