The Ultimate 12-Month Wedding Planning Timeline

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You've just gotten engaged and you're ready to start your new life with your soon-to-be spouse, but there is the little matter of the unplanned wedding standing in the way. According to a 2014 Real Weddings Study by the Knot, the average length of an engagement is 14 months, giving the average couple just over a year to plan their wedding. Find out how you can organize your wedding planning over the course of a year, and get ready to say I do.

Beginning Stages: The First Four Months

The first planning responsibility you have is to decide on a style or theme for the wedding. The rest of the details cannot come into place unless you have a set vision. Before you get too excited about your selected style and start looking at wedding tents for rent, you need to set your budget and get your planning team together. If you want to hire a wedding planner, now is the time to do it.

Pick your preferred wedding date and time, as well as some backup options. Next, you'll have to check that ideal date against the availability of your venue options, officiant, and the important guests before settling on it. At the end of these first four months, you'll want to book your ceremony site, finalize your choice of wedding tents for rent, choose your wedding party, and start planning your guest list.

In The Midst Of It: The Middle Four Months

This middle stage will get you through the exciting halfway point, but that means you will now be making a lot of decisions. If you or your spouse are planning on wearing a wedding gown, this is the stage to shop to allow plenty of time for alterations. Decide on what type of entertainment you want and book the DJ, band, or instrumentalists for your date. This is also the time to research and book your vendors. This can include the photographer, florist, wedding linen rentals, tables, and wedding chairs.

At the halfway point in your planning, you should reserve hotel rooms for out-of-town guests, register for gifts, and send save-the-date cards. If your wedding is during the holiday or tourist season or is a destination wedding, send those cards in the first stage of planning. This stage should also include ordering wedding party attire, planning the honeymoon, order invitations and wedding rings, and researching bakeries for your cake.

Finishing Touches: The Last Four Months

Now it is all about wrapping everything up with a neat bow. Order your wedding cake, rent any formalwear that you need, and hire transportation for the big day, such as limos or party buses. Then you will need to mail out your invitations, book hairstylists and makeup artists, and have a trial run with them. In the month before the big day, apply for a marriage license, have a final fitting for the wedding dress, make sure the outfits of the wedding party are ready, and finalize the details with you various vendors.

Planning a wedding can feel like a whirlwind of bookings, from looking at wedding tents for rent to finding your photographer. Make sure to keep taking deep breaths and have a trusted planning partner with you, and your wedding will be everything you've ever dreamed.