Wedding planning is one of the most rewarding experiences in a lifetime. Still, it definitely comes with ups, downs, and a lot of little details that are easy to overlook. One of the most important aspects of wedding planning is to have a timeline planned out. So, we want to walk you through a simple wedding planning timeline to give you resources for how to start planning a wedding.
1 | Set Your Budget: 12 to 8 months out
First, before you do anything else—besides maybe scouring the internet for inspo—set your budget. This step is essential so that you know what sort of wedding you will throw. Is it going to be a 550 person, over-the-top, 4-day celebration, or a lovely ceremony and reception with 20 of your best friends? A lot of that decision will depend on how you envision your day and the budget that you have. About 45% of couples go over their budget when planning their wedding. By taking the time to set your budget and giving yourself 10%-15% extra for inevitable hiccups along the way, you will be able to mitigate a lot of that extra cost.
2 | Create your guest list: 12 to 8 months out
This is your next step. Writing down your guest list will provide even more insight into how much you can afford to spend per person and how much money you have left over for the venue, drinks, decor, etc.
3 | Find Your Venue and Date: 8 months out
Depending on where you are hosting your wedding, this timeline is flexible. In a small town, you may be able to book a venue a few months in advance. In places that are destinations, like San Diego County, 8 to 14 months out is typically required to get your dream date. This is especially true if you want to get married in the peak wedding season (May-October). It is essential to have a few dates in mind for your wedding when looking at venues. That way, if your first date is taken, you have a few to fall back on. You can start this process on one of the many free wedding planning apps that are helpful to use while planning your wedding.
4 | Select Your Caterer: 8 months out
Now that you have your venue and date stapled down, you can start to think about what you will feed your guests. Some venues require that you work with an in-house or preferred caterer, others give you options but also allow you to pick the caterer of your choice. You will need to decide on things like tray pass, buffet or plated meals, desserts, and the like. It is a fun process and even comes with a few yummy tasting opportunities while you decide on this important meal!
6 | Select Entertainment & Photographer: 7 months out
Leaving your entertainment bookings until the month of could mean missing out on your favorite DJ, musician, photographer, videographer, and the like. Getting these important contracts signed early will ensure that you have the best possible people working together to make your big day perfect.
7 | Send Out Save The Dates: 6 months out
Be sure to give your guests plenty of time to request your wedding day off work and coordinate any travel to your celebration. At about six months out, you should have a good idea of where your wedding will be and at what time, which means it is the perfect time to send out your save-the-dates.
8 | Choose Wedding Attire: 6 months out
Get ready for the fun to begin. Picking out your wedding dress, tuxedos, bridesmaid gowns, or any other attire needed is a fun process. It starts to really bring your wedding to life. Giving yourself about half of a year will provide you with time to make alterations and changes before your big day. Some people even suggest getting your wedding dress as early as 9 months before.
9 | Hire Florist and Decorations: 5-6 months out
Just like your entertainment, you will want the best possible florist and decor for your wedding. Once you know the colors you want to go with and the overall style of your wedding, it is a great time to reach out to vendors for florist and decor help.
10 | Test Out Hair and Makeup: 3 months out
If you need some makeup and hair assistance, it is a great idea to try things out a few months before your wedding. It is essential to consult with your makeup artist and hairstylist so that they are aware of your dream look. They can then give you pointers on when to come in for your final haircut or even how to schedule out any facials before your wedding.
11 | Organize Transportation and Hotel Discounts: 3-6 months out
Your out of town guests will more than likely want to stay close to your venue. This way, they can easily get from their hotel to your wedding. So, start to call local hotels, or ask your venue for any hotel partnerships they have. This is also a great time to think about your transportation needs and how you and your guests will get from point A to point B.
12| Send Out Invites: 6-8 weeks out
Six to eight weeks will give your guests a reasonable amount of time to get prepared and provide a little reminder from the earlier save the dates.
13 | Have A Blast
There are several steps to wedding planning, but this timeline should help you get an idea of everything that needs to be done. A wedding planner is a perfect option if you can have one to ensure all of the details are taken care of, vendors are paid, your rings arrive on-site, etc. If not, there are hundreds of lists and resources online. If you would like to start your wedding planning journey, contact us to talk about our modern Escondido wedding venues. We have contemporary indoor spaces, outdoor venues with a view, and everything in between. Our team is here to help you plan the wedding of your dreams.