The transition from “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” to fiancé is a life-changing experience, and it’s something to be excited about! After the official announcement of your engagement and the onslaught of congratulatory wishes that you two so rightly deserve, the clock starts ticking. There is so much to do that even the most organized couple will feel overwhelmed.
While there is no limit on how long a couple should stay engaged—it is different for every couple, after all—there are certain tasks that should be completed within a year’s time of the big day. We wanted to break down the wedding timeline, so that you can keep a copy in your back pocket during all the madness.
With a year to go, you want to make sure you secure the venue. They book up fast, so it’s one of the first things you should do. After you secure the venue, you should make a guest list. Keep in mind, this is most likely to be one of many drafts, but you want to get a good idea of who you want to invite.
It’s also good to register sooner, rather than later. So, if you plan to have showers, you should register now. You can always go back and edit the registry later.
After you take care of the most important aspects, you should now:
- Select your officiant
- Decide on your bridal party
- Choose vendors (DJ, caterers, photographers, florists, etc. )
- Take engagement photos (this one is completely optional)
With eight months to go, it’s a good idea to block any hotel rooms needed for out of town guests. If you haven’t already, you should try on dresses and make a decision. It’s important to order your dress with plenty of time ahead, as some dresses take a good amount of time to alter and customize.
After finding your perfect dress, start thinking about your makeup and hairstyles for the big day. Set appointments to test out any new looks. Lastly, you should taste and order your cake(s).
If you are having a destination wedding, it is a good idea to send save-the-dates. These are about six months ahead of time. If you are going on a honeymoon, make sure to finalize all travel accommodations. Since your dress should already be taken care of, now is the time to order bridesmaid dresses. Lastly, if you haven’t done so already, purchase the wedding bands.
Once the girls are taken care of, select the groomsmen attire. Next you should plan the rehearsal dinner, confirm and book any additional vendors, and make a final decision on hair and makeup. All appointments for the day of should be booked by now.
As your wedding date approaches, you want to make sure to complete the following about six to eight weeks ahead:
- Mail wedding invitations
- Decide on vows
- Apply for marriage license
- Print menus, name tags, programs, etc.
- Purchase your accessories for the big day
- Confirm any transportation arrangements
About a month in advance is the usual time for the fun stuff! That means, if you haven’t had your bachelorette party or bridal shower, now is the time for those celebrations. Traditionally, the maid of honor, along with the help of the bridesmaids, will plan the bachelorette party.
As for the bridal shower, the groom’s mother is customarily the host. However, a close friend or bridesmaid can also make a wonderful host.
At the two-week mark, you want to take the time to handle the pesky little things such as:
- Final dress fitting
- Going over details with the photographer
- Finalizing any plans with venue, DJ/band, wedding planner
With the wedding a week away, you want to send your planner, caterer, and/or rental companies the finalized headcount. Review your RSVPs one last time and send in those numbers. While you’re at it, you will want to complete any seating arrangements. If you are assigning seats, try to make sure you sit friends, family, and acquaintances together whenever possible.
If you plan to get facials and/or waxing, you want to take care of these at least a week in advance. This way, if you have a reaction (such as breakouts), your body will have some time to bounce back. You don’t want to wake up the day of with a red face because you waited to get a facial the afternoon before.
The Day Before
You should remain relaxed as possible the day before. Don’t go crazy worrying about the small details. They will work themselves out! There are two things on the agenda for this day:
- Rehearsal Dinner
- Giving Bridal Party Gifts
The Big Day
All you have to do is show up and get hitched! Just remember to relax and enjoy the moment (no matter what happens.) Your big day goes by before you know it, so don’t sweat the small stuff.