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:
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:
Things are starting to get crucial at this stage so you need to get the foundations straight:
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:
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.
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.
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.
This is when you should sort and count the RSVPs and if necessary contact those who have failed to respond. Then:
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.