Congratulations, you’re engaged! Now it’s time for the year-long planning you need to do! The key to a stress free wedding planning is planning ahead. With our list, we can help you become more organized and less stressed when planning every aspect of your wedding. Always remember to enjoy the planning of your wedding! This is your special day, you should have fun!
10-12 MONTHS AHEAD
Figure out what your budget is.
Everything will follow suit in line with your budget. Know what your constraints are when it comes to budget. Always know you can have an amazing and gorgeous wedding on any budget!
Choose your wedding party.
The moment you get engaged, every friend and family member is wondering if they will be asked to be a part of your wedding. Let them know as soon as possible. Don’t forget that weddings can be expensive for your wedding party as well. Giving them plenty of notice of whether they will be in the wedding party will allow them to plan budgets for themselves.
Try to determine a preliminary guest list.
You will at least want to decide how many people max you will have at your wedding. This will also help determine what type of venue you can have your wedding at.
Find and book your venue.
Once you know how many people you are inviting to your wedding you can go pick out your venue. The more popular the venue the more lead time. There are only 52 weekends in a year and with most weddings weddings in June, September and October that only leaves 13 weekends to get prime dates at prime venues. Early bird gets the worm when it comes to venues.
Send out Save-the-Date cards.
Especially if you have guests coming from out of state it’s important to give them as much time to plan accordingly for attending your wedding. By Geooorge creates Save-the-Dates that are yours and yours only. We will sit with you and create a one of a kind piece that you and your guests will love.
Go Dress Shopping.
Many brides wonder why they need to get a wedding dress so far in advance to their wedding date. For the most part, wedding dresses are not off the rack. They are custom and tailor made to fit you. Start the process of figuring out what type of wedding dress style you like best.
Secure a wedding planner.
If you are planning on using a wedding planner or day-of coordinator, now is the time to find that perfect person who is going to make your life easier.
If you’ve already reserved your venue you will know if you need any specific vendors – like catering. It’s also a good idea to find a wedding photographer and/or videographer. Finding your officiant well in advance is important as well.
Buy your dress.
You’ve done the shopping and you know what looks good. It’s time to make a decision on the ONE.
Start looking for your bridesmaids and flower girl dresses.
This is often done when you’re looking for your wedding dress as well. You can plan to accomplish both at the same time.
Book your vendors.
If you haven’t decided on your vendors yet now is the time to make your final decisions and book your catering, bartenders, wedding photographers, etc.
Choose your flowers.
Find your perfect florist who will do your bouquets, table arrangements, etc.
Choose your dessert.
Mmmm Time for cake tasting! I know you will have fun with this part, how could you not!? Time to taste and design your cake for your special day.
Book your DJ or wedding band.
Your reception is the after party before the after after party. Find a DJ or band that will play music to keep the party going.
Design your wedding invitations.
Wedding invitations have become so streamlined over the past couple of years. Many assume that because you are buying invites online they must be cheaper. This is not always true. Working with local invitation designers who can create custom printed materials for you can actually work out to be more cost effective than picking out a template online. By Geooorge works with you and your budget to design you one of a kind invitations that no other bride will have.
It’s time to do your gift registry!
How can this part not be fun? Head to the nearest Macy’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target …wherever… grabe that price gun and get to it! We recommend heading to stores that have different price points. Being price conscious about what you’re asking your guests to buy you for your wedding can create awkward situations. They could also feel guilty about not being able to buy you more than two napkin holders because they were $20 each.
Block off your hotels.
If your venue is a hotel this should be pretty simple. Call and block out rooms for your guests. If your venue is not a hotel, find a few hotels nearby that you can block out rooms at to provide your guests a couple of price options. Most hotels let you do a room block and you can add more if needed so make sure to plan them according to how many people you believe are going to need rooms, you can always add more if you need to. Make sure to also figure out where your honeymoon suite will be and book.
Secure transportation for your guests.
If guests are going to have to travel from venues to reception area, it’s wise to look into transportation options. Looking into renting party buses or local trams are a great option. A lot of cities even have double decker busses that you can rent out, which would make for great guest pictures.
Finalize your bridal shower and bachelorette party.
Make sure your maid/matron of honor has got your bridal shower and bachelorette covered. Get the guest lists together, along with dates and location.
Think about your honeymoon.
Start thinking about your honeymoon and where you will want to go. Get an idea of pricing ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.
Book your rehearsal dinner space.
Make sure any custom details you’re planning to do get ironed out here. Any special cocktails, entertainment or food should be decided on.
Decide who you want to invite to your rehearsal dinner.
It’s another guest list but people need to know if they’re invited. Many guests do not know the traditions and if they’re supposed to show up to a rehearsal dinner or not.
Secure your party rentals.
If your venue is not handling any of the chairs, table covers, etc you will need to reach out to a party rental business. Make sure to book and sign any needed contracts. Double check all the information, you don’t want to find that you signed off accidentally on 75 chairs and 150 table clothes!
Reserve all the groom’s and groomsmen’s formalwear.
They need to get dressed fancy too!
Order the wedding favors.
If you’re planning on having favors. Though a new trend is emerging to not having favors.
Finalize the guest list.
It’s time to finalize that guest list you’ve been putting off! Make sure you have everyone’s mailing addresses ready to go.
Put any finishing touches on your invitations.
Make sure to get all the ribbon and little additions to the invitations now, so that you know you have more than enough to assemble everything!
Decide on other items needed.
Now is the time to decide on any other printed material you might need. Custom signs, menus, chalkboards, programs, rehearsal dinner invites, place cards, thank-you cards, etc. By Geooorge can assist you with all of these items. We can even package everything together, stamp and address envelopes.
Finalize your menu.
Make sure to finalize any details with your caterer on food, drinks and menu items.
Invite extras to be a part of your ceremony.
If you are doing any special readings, or asking anyone to do a reading at the weddings make sure to provide them with this info now. Most people are terrified of public speaking so give them plenty of time to practice before your wedding.
Figure out your timeline for your wedding reception and day of.
This is really important, do not skip this step. This document keeps everything on time and running smooth. It also helps light a fire under people’s booties when they aren’t moving fast enough.
Look for your hair and makeup stylists.
Get a trial done and book your stylists to know what you will look like on your special day. Make any necessary adjustments.
Shop for your wedding rings and purchase.
If you are having any engravings done make sure to provide them with legible letters so they put the correct words on the rings!
Get the details nailed out for your honeymoon.
Start to book hotels and flights. Hiring a travel agent can be beneficial and often they know of special deals that are not advertised. Make sure to renew or obtain passports if you are going out of the country.
Photo booths are popular and perfect for weddings.
Make sure to get yours booked ahead of time. Make sure to shop around and know exactly what your vendor is providing you for that specific cost.
Time to mail out your invitations.
By Geooorge can assist you with stamping and addressing envelopes. All you will need to do is put them in the mail!
Make sure everything is on track with your dress. Also look into any undergarments you will need for your dress.
Make sure all your vendors are on the same page as you.
Doesn’t hurt to triple check and make sure dates, deposits and all the details are confirmed.
Figure out what your plan is for the first dance. If it’s choreographed now is the time to find a dance studio so you can practice.
Check in with your bridal party.
If you are not purchasing the bridesmaids or flower girl dresses make sure to stay on top of your bridal party to make their purchases. They will often need to be fitted ahead of time as well.
Send thank yous!
You would have had your bridal shower already so that means it’s time for your first round of thank-you cards.
Get your wedding license.
Have you looked into what is required of you for your marriage license yet? If not, it would be wise to do so ahead of time.
Send out your rehearsal dinner invitations.
If someone else is handling the rehearsal dinner, By Geooorge can work with them to make sure everything is taken care of and matches your look and feel.
Confirm all the details and readings with your Officiant.
Review and finalize all the details with your photographer and/or videographer.
It helps to give your photographer examples of shots that you definitely want.
Get your song list together for you DJ/band.
Make sure he knows any specifics on reception and entrance songs.
Finalize your wedding night plans and where you will be staying.
Any special details for the night of. Often times the Maid of Honor will decorate the room for the bride and groom ahead of time, make sure to provide them with the details of when they can utilize the room.
Get your marriage license and get all of your name-change documents in order.
Pick up your wedding rings
If you had an engraving done be sure to look it over before you leave the store with it.
Organize the small details
Will you be having something old, new and borrowed? Time to figure out what items you will be using for what.
Start planning your guest book
Will you be doing a traditional or out of the box guestbook? By Geooorge can help you with the creation of your guestbook.
Get your Cake Accessories
Purchase all of your toasting flutes, cake servers, candles, cake stands, cake toppers, etc. If any of these items need engraving, custom hand lettering we can assist you with that as well. We can also create custom cake toppers.
Make sure to purchase your bridal and groom party gifts.
It is the time for your final dress fitting!
Yay! Make sure to bring your shoes and accessories so you can see the entire outfit together.
Finalize your attendance
If anyone hasn’t RSVP’d yet, track them down.
Start putting your seating chart together
Order place cards
By Geooorge makes beautiful custom hand lettered place cards.
Provide your venue and caterer with final guest count.
Finalize your seating chart.
Pick up your beautiful gown.
Confirm timelines with your vendors and wedding & groom parties.
Pack for the wedding day – rings, marriage license, makeup, etc.
Pack for your honeymoon.
Assign someone from either the bridal or groom party to pack up your gifts and do a clean up after the reception.
Normally the Maid of Honor and Best Man take charge of this area. They get help from the rest of the bridal party to pack everything up since you will be off in your car, carriage, or what ever type of send off you have planned.
Get a fresh mani & pedi with your bridal party.
Uhmm yes please! This is not just for the bonding time, this ensures that your wedding party’s paws and claws are top notch for your photography. Trust us. Do. Not. Let. Your. Bridal. Party. Do. Their. Own.
It’s rehearsal dinner time, enjoy it!
We love rehearsal dinners. This is the time for the families to bond, see embarrassing photos of the bride and groom when they were kids, and really just let it soak in that you are about to get married to your best friend.
Hand out your wedding party gifts either at the rehearsal dinner or when you get ready the day of the wedding.
This is a really fun and special bonding moment between you and your besties. They have spent time and money to stand with you on this huge milestone in your life. Either of these two times will be really special for everyone.
DAY OF THE WEDDING
Make sure everyone in the party has plenty of time to get ready.
Sometimes this means everyone is at the venue all day, but do what you need to because the ceremony should start on time.
Enjoy your day.
It is likely that there will be a hiccup here and there no matter how much you plan. The key is to be able to let it go. Your bridal party and family are there to support you throughout the day and make sure your day goes as smoothly as possible. Enjoy every second of it!
BACK TO THE REAL WORLD…
First thing is first, send thank-you cards to all the wonderful people that came out for your wedding.
Obviously people understand you are on your honeymoon, but when you get back, those thank you cards need to be in the mail within two weeks! We know you hate writing all of them and can’t find time to drop them in the mail box, but you need to. Just get it done and be done with it.
Exchange any unwanted or duplicate gifts from your registry.
This can happen after the sending of the thank you cards. Get those done first then take back the bad or duplicate gifts.
Follow up with your photographer to see when you can get sneak peaks to your photos.
Your photographer is busy, but should definitely be following the timeline in your contract. Don’t be afraid to check in, check in, check in.