Wedding Planning Timeline

Wedding Planning Timeline

Wedding Planning Timeline

First off, congratulations! You're engaged and the excitement is probably buzzing through your entire body like a million butterflies, amirite?! I get it. I've been there. It's a super exciting time. It's also an extremely stressful time. Your wedding to-do list gets longer and longer as the countdown begins towards your perfect day. 

To help you prepare for the best day ever, we've created a to-do list (who doesn't love those?) to help you stay on track. 

Chelsea Roberson Photography
(Source: Chelsea Roberson Photography)

9-12+ MONTHS

  • Create a wedding folder or Pinterest board. These places will become home to all of your ideas and wedding inspiration. 
  • Figure out a budget plan. The sooner you figure this out, the better. You will know exactly how much money you're willing to spend on your important celebration. 
  • Pick a date and reserve a venue. This step is a team effort. Talk with your partner about what day fits best in both of your minds and visit different venues together. LITTLE FYI: Winery's are our personal fave because... wine tastings! 
  • Put together a wedding party. Reach out to the lovelies you pick and make sure they are available and ready to walk beside you on the big day. 
  • Book an officiant. Some officiants require classes or counseling and some require a monetary deposit.  Make sure you know the details in advance.  Money saving tip: Even if they are not required, you may be be able to get a discount on your marriage license by attending counseling.
  • Start the guest list. Get that paper and pen out and start thinking of who you are wanting to be present on the most magical day of your life. 


Chelsea Roberson Photography(Source: Chelsea Roberson Photography)



  • Hire a photographer and/or videographer. Research photographers and videographers in your area. Look through their samples and ask questions about what their packages include. A picture is truly worth a thousand words and you want to make sure that you capture those sweet moments on camera. 
  • Meet with a caterer. If you plan to have your wedding catered, you will need to decide what type of menu to serve. Options are limitless, from buffet style to multiple course plated meals. So meet with a caterer and discuss food options, prices, and taste testings.
  • Secure music and entertainment. Talk with local bands, musicians, and DJ's about dates, times, and pricing options. Money saving tip:  Ask your venue if they have a recommendation.  A lot of times, they work with musicians and DJs to provide a discount!
  • Say YES to the dress. First, choose a budget... it is easy to get lost in the moment once you start shopping! Shop around and try on as many as you can. Alterations will almost definitely need to be made, so it is important to find your perfect gown in advance - 8 months is ideal. The saying, "You'll know when it's the one" is totally true, by the way! 
  • Start a wedding registry. We suggest having two or more registries to ensure that your guests have options and ideas. Remember, not all stores are national. So make certain you have covered all the areas your guests may come from or have an online registry available. If you are all set on traditional registry items, consider a honeymoon registry. Honeyfund and Zola are just two of the options available for guests to either give money or even specific experiences to you & yours.
  • Reserve a block of hotel rooms for guests. If you have guests that are coming in from out of town, you can reserve a block of hotel rooms for them. This not only ensures your guests have a place to stay, it brings your guests together throughout the festivities by having them in a central location. Bonus: Hotels will typically offer a discount on rooms booked in your block in advance! 

(Source: Chelsea Roberson Photography)


  • Start discussing honeymoon ideas. Talk with your partner about your honeymoon budget, destinations, and activities that interest you both.
  • Book an invitation designer. First decide on a budget. Then search locally and online for invitation designers who match your style. Make sure to find out up front what is included - design, revisions, envelopes, insert cards, etc. Once you have chosen a designer/company, work with them to get your invitations scheduled. Ideally, these should be mailed out 6-8 weeks in advance to give guests plenty of time to make travel arrangements. If you know some of your guests have limited time off or need to book travel farther in advance, consider sending Save the Date cards to that group.  Not to toot our own horn, but we ARE invitation designers here at The Invite Lady. ;)
  • Shop for bridesmaid dresses. Have a girl's night out and take your bridesmaids shopping for dresses! Wine is absolutely necessary.
  • Send out save-the-dates. Get with your invitation designer about save-the-date cards. These are super awesome to send out to give your guests a heads up about your upcoming wedding. It lets them know that they should keep that day free on their calendars. 
  • Choose your flowers and bouquets. Again, deciding ahead of time a budget is key here.  Once you know your dollar amount, contact local florists. You would be surprised but some actually book up, so we recommend doing this about 6 months before your big day. Work with the florist create your perfect arrangements and worry about one less thing closer to the big day. Money Saving Tip: Find out what flowers will be in season locally as they are often less expensive since they do not have to be brought in!

 Chelsea Roberson Photography
(Source: Chelsea Roberson Photography)


  • Book rehearsal and rehearsal dinner venues. Be sure to get a headcount for the rehearsal dinner! 
  • Check on invitation status. Get in touch with your invitation designer to make sure that the design process is coming along on those as planned.
  • Start hair and make-up trial runs. First, decide if you are going to do hair and makeup yourself, or book a professional. You may find you planned to do this yourself, do a trial run, and end up with a Pinterest FAIL on your hands! Joking aside though, doing trial runs, on your own or with a professional, will help you decide exactly the look you'd like for the big day. Don't forget to consider things like hair length and tanning that may change and effect your look!
  • Meet with a baker. Set up an appointment to talk with a baker about your vision for your wedding cake and to taste some different kinds of cake. YUM! 
  • Start planning your playlist. Use Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, or even Youtube to find some super sweet tunes for you and your boo to dance to at your reception. If you booked a DJ or band, check if there is a deadline for requests.
  • Order the favors. Pinterest has a ton of different ideas for wedding favors that are completely out of the box. Etsy is a good source for unique wedding favors, as well. 

Chelsea Roberson Photography(Source: Chelsea Roberson Photography)



  • Finalize flowers and menu. Get in touch with your florist and caterer to finalize all of the details for your floral arrangements and food selections. 
  • Purchase the rings. Go on a lunch date with your partner and buy your rings. I'd recommend getting your finger sized so you don't end up with a ring that's too loose or tight come the day of the big event. 
  • Start a shot list for the photographer. This list should include all of the different styles of shots you'd be wanting, including with your *new* spouse, wedding party, family, etc.
  • Send the invitations. Invitations should go out no later than 2 months before your wedding day. You want to give guests plenty of time to make arrangements so they won't miss your special day. 
  • Record RSVP's. You should start receiving RSVP's shortly after you send your invitations out. Keep an eye on who is coming so you have a headcount for the caterer and other vendors later on. Be sure to mark-up your head count by 3-4 people as there is always that one person who forgets to RSVP (I am looking at you, Great Uncle Vernon!)
  • Start a seating arrangement. Now that RSVP's are coming in, you can decide on seating. If you are having plated meals, you will definitely need a seating chart. However, if you are having a buffet style dinner, you can decide between open and assigned seating.  If you are doing a formal seating arrangement, a good tool is to find a printable online with tables already drawn in. If you're a DIY'er, you can always draw your own seating chart, too! 

    Chelsea Roberson Photography (Source: Chelsea Roberson Photography)

    1 MONTH:

    • Get marriage license. These can be found at your local courthouse. You can totally call ahead of time to see what documents you will need and how much it will cost. 
    • Have your last dress fitting. Head up to your bridal shop and get fitted for the last time! 
    • Pick up your dress. Once you have your last fitting, it should not take them too long to finish it up for you. Go get it and keep it in a safe place until the time comes to slip it on. 
    • Send a finalized guest list to your caterer. Most of the time they will be fine with an email of this. :)
    • Get in touch with vendors. Get in touch with the florist, entertainment, baker and caterer to finalize the details for your big day.
    • Go over the shot list with the photographer. Go through each shot individually so you and the photographer can get on the same page about what you're wanting.
    • Pack for your honeymoon. This is the super fun part. Grab some cute outfits and get those bags packed to spend some time relaxing with your honey! 


    Chelsea Roberson Photography(Source: Chelsea Roberson Photography)


    The last and final step is just to walk down that aisle and GET MARRIED! Enjoy your day, your family, and the love of your life. And most importantly, remember to breathe. Everything that doesn't go exactly as planned will not matter once you hear your honey say those two magical words... I Do.

    Congratulations & Happy Wedding! 

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