The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline

March 30, 2017

For most couples getting married, this will be your first time going through the wedding planning process. You don't know how to start planning, when things should be completed by and how to go about actually doing what is on your timeline.

We went through our best blogs and compiled a wedding planning timeline that will help you stay on task and will also help you complete the task. The wedding planning timeline addresses everything from wedding invitations, wedding budgets, tipping vendors, how to look and hire a vendor.

Free Download - Wedding Planning Timeline


First-time reader? Welcome! We are a wedding planning company and specialize in Day of Wedding Planning and Month of Wedding Coordination in the Maryland, Virginia, and DC areas. O'Neil's blog is the best place to become and stay educated about the wedding planning process. We post about wedding budget percentages, addressing wedding invitations, room blocks for weddings (how we can help for free), and your day of wedding timeline. We offer many free downloads such as the ultimate wedding timeline template, wedding invitation timeline, and wedding budgeting. We teach you how to plan your wedding as we specialize as your day of wedding planner.

Below we created an overview of what the ultimate wedding planning timeline entails! Don't forget the download your copy of the wedding planning timeline for all of the details, tips, and tricks!

Free Download - Wedding Planning Timeline


12 Months Out

Set Wedding Budget
Just like everything else in life, budgeting for a wedding is critical to the success of wedding planning. For many, this will be your first wedding, so there is a bit of education that needs to take place before you start your budget.

Here are some helpful blogs to get you started:

wedding vendor budget percentages

vendor percentage breakdown 

Plan a Wedding on a budget

secret ways to save money

10 most common forgotten items

Here is how we use Quickbooks to help keep our wedding budget


Wedding Budget Breakdown

Find Ceremony and Reception Site
Finding a ceremony site and reception site will be one of the hardest and most overwhelming tasks you will find, especially if they will be two different locations. But the good news is, it is one of the biggest check marks off this list!

How do you even start? 

Find Room Blocks for Wedding
As soon as you have the date picked out, guest will start to ask about hotel blocks for the wedding. You have most likely never given hotel blocks for weddings a thought, and here you are with another task that will take up more of your time.

How do you begin the search?

Free Room Block Help!


11 Months Out

Choose Officiant
If you are getting married in a church, or place of worship, finding an officiant won't' be too difficult as many have officiants on staff. However, if you are getting married elsewhere, it might be up to you to find your officiant. 

Hire Caterer
If your venue does not have an in-house caterer, this is going to be another biggie to tackle. Just like figuring out your site, you will want to have a few things figured out before you start interviewing caterers. As always, your budget is going to help start the search off. 

Here are some questions to ask your wedding caterer

10 Months Out

Find Reception and Ceremony Music
Just like everything else so far, having a good idea of your budget will help guide the process of finding your reception and ceremony music. If you are getting married in a church or place of worship, many times there is someone in-house that can help with the ceremony music. If your ceremony is at the same location as your reception, it might be cost effective to have the same group or organization help with music for both reception and ceremony. Don't forget to spend the time to go and listen to the music live before booking!

Register for Gifts
Gift registration is a fun wedding "chore," but certainly can be overwhelming. Along with the hotel information, this is another item your guest will begin asking you about early, so why not register beforehand! It is a fun activity to do together as a couple. 

For more tips check out this blog!

Finalize Guest List
Finalizing a guest list is a team effort. As a couple, you have a ton of people who you want to invite, but don't forget your parents are going to have a list of guest they would like to invite. 


Hire Photographer and Videographer
Now that you have your wedding date and budget, you should start researching and booking your photographer and videographer. Remember, this is one of the only physical items you will have and share for the rest of your life. 

Begin Wedding Dress Shopping
The moment every bride has been waiting for, wedding dress shopping! There is something about putting on a wedding dress that starts to make everything real. 

Send Save the Date Cards
This will be the start of your printed wedding materials.

Here is a timeline that will help you through the process.

bonus Blog: top 20 trendy (and affordable) save the dates to help you get started.


Hire Florist
A great place to start when looking for a florist is to ask the reception venue which has worked there before. 


Hire Day of Wedding Planner
With all of the available resources, many couples feel comfortable planning their wedding themselves and do not see the value in hiring a full wedding planner. As couples get closer to their wedding date, they realize someone is going to have to coordinate, oversee, and execute all of their months of planning.

Want to learn more than you every thought about a day of wedding planners - check out more information here!

Finalize Transportation
Wedding transportation can mean many things to different weddings. You want to think about how you, the bridal party and your family will be getting from place to place. If your ceremony and reception are at two different locations, that is a lot of moving people, and it might be worth getting a shuttle bus or limo.

Learn a bit more about transportation here.


Free Download - Wedding Planning Timeline


Rent any Items
By now, the big details are starting to come together, and you have your vendors in place. Go through all of your contracts to make sure there isn't anything slipping through the cracks. 

Have Rings Ordered
Another fun "chore." It is always easy to get your rings from the same place as the engagement ring.

Here are some steps to make sure your ring last as long as your marriage.


Book Honeymoon
If you are taking a honeymoon right after your wedding, you want to be sure the details are ironed out well before your wedding. 


Order Wedding Cake and Topper
Go to the cake testing! Finding the cake is by far my favorite part of being a planner. 


Plan Rehearsal Dinner
The rehearsal dinner is traditionally hosted by the groom's side of the family but doesn't mean that is how it needs to be.


Send out Invitations
The point of your wedding invitation is to get information out to your guest. Of course, you want it to be beautiful, but don't forget to add the correct information.

Wedding invitation wording can seem overwhelming at first. Here we break it down 
Here is an easy guide to assemble your wedding invitations!

Free Download - Wedding Invitation Etiquette and Tips

Schedule Hair and Makeup
It is great to show up to your trials with pictures of what you would like, that will give the artist something to start with and grow from there.


Get marriage license
Marriage license varies from state to state. Some states will let you pick it up a month before your wedding, some you have to wait till much closer to your wedding date. 

Send out Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
Nothing more to be said here, just make sure you double check all the right people are invited!

Finalize Outstanding Details
There are a lot of last minute details that need to be worked out such as the seating chart, getting all of your personal decor items to the venue, escort cards, menu cards (here is where a day of wedding coordinator can make a difference).

tipping etiquette and suggestions 

A simple day of wedding checklist 

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Now it's time to go plan! Have questions along the way? Reach out; we are here to help! Don't forget to click below for the FULL ultimate wedding planning timeline!

Free Download - Wedding Planning Timeline

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