First of all, CONGRATULATIONS ON THE ENGAGEMENT!! Our ultimate wedding planning timeline was created just for you, as we’re assuming that you’re probably pretty overwhelmed by the amount of time, work, and overall steps that could possibly be involved with planning not only a wedding, but YOUR WEDDING. We’re excited just thinking about you because we know you’re probably playing Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” on repeat and dancing around, due to the fact that he finally put a ring on it! We could not be happier for you – you go girl!
All Beyoncé aside, your wedding is one of the biggest days (if not the biggest day) of your life. There is nothing more exciting, hopeful, and beautiful than a wedding. Don’t worry, it is completely normal to start panicking now that you realize you just got engaged and you have to plan a wedding asap. Don’t freak out, you have time! Even if you have NO clue what to do next, you’re fine, we’ve got everything for you girl on what to do next for the wedding planning timeline.
We’re also assuming you have barely any idea how, when, and where to start. Well my pretty little bride-to-be, don’t worry that adorable engaged face of yours, because we’ve got you covered. Sit back, take a deep breathe, and stare at your flawless new rock to keep you sane. Then, read on for all the crazy timeline deets.
Editor’s Note: Lavish Wed specializes in managing weddings & special events in Southern California. They offer coordination, planning and design services — from intimate events to elaborate weddings — and approach every wedding with a fresh perspective…no two weddings are ever the same!
The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline For A New Bride-to-Be
1. Set a Date – One of the first things you should be thinking about after your lover pops the question is when you want to get married. The date of the wedding will be important in deciding almost everything else you do during the planning process. From themes to rentals to your actual time frame, it’s really important that you figure this out early on. If you’re not positive on the exact date, no problem! Pick a season and go from there.
Bride Tip: Don’t have your heart set on a specific day before checking with the venue of your dreams. It may be booked, so be open to different dates.
2. Attend a Wedding Show – There are wedding shows every month in the San Diego and Los Angeles area. You should definitely put this at the very beginning of your wedding planning timeline. These are especially great for brides and grooms who don’t have a lot of free time to plan, because you can meet and chat with hundreds of vendors face to face. This can save A LOT of time, since you can see who you connect with in one day, rather than through a series of separate interviews on separate days.
4. Set a Budget – Setting a realistic budget is crucial to planning your wedding, so have a little chitchat with your parents/future hubby/future wifey about how much you are willing to spend. If you’re not sure how much a wedding costs, do some research! Your best bet would be to consult with a wedding planner, as they will cater estimates to your unique event, but talking to a friend who has gotten married in the area is beneficial too! Ask specific questions pertaining to each vendor so that you can budget accordingly.
3. Start Looking at Venues – Another thing that’s super important when it comes to planning your wedding is picking your venue. Venues can book way in advance (Scripps Seaside Forum, for example, books up to 2 years out) so it’s really important that reserving your spot is one of your first priorities. If you’re not positive where you want to get hitched yet, that’s normal. Either you or your planner can start looking for venues in your price range and set up walk-through appointments. These will give you a general idea what it would be like to get married there, and make the final decision much easier.
5. Find A Wedding Planner – We promise you, hiring a wedding planner is worth it. Weddings are A TON of work, but you can make it so much easier on yourself by just hiring a planner from the start. Everything listed before and after this point, literally everything, a planner can help you do. Easily.
Why you should hire a planner:
- Save yourself time and energy by researching vendors, taking care of all the details, and coming up with creative ideas to make your wedding amaze.
- Get professional advice and find out what works and what doesn’t. They know all about wedding etiquette and are able to recommend competent vendors based on personal experience!
- Save yourself money by having the experts help you set budgets and stick to them. Wedding planners are able to offer guidance about what you can get within your price range. Plus, they have preexisting relationships with vendors, so they often negotiate with them to get you more bang for your buck.
- Relieve stress by allowing someone else to handle the problems that may arise. Wedding planners are the middlemen who handle all communication with your vendors. They will coordinate all your meetings and be there to note the details and ask the right questions. Most importantly, they will be there on your big day to make sure everything runs smoothly. Also, that wedding-planner/therapist stereotype exists for a reason 😉
- This may be your first wedding, but it’s not a wedding planners, they have lots of experience and know how to make everything that needs to happen, happen – before and during your wedding.
- If you still don’t feel like a planner is really “for you,” at least consider hiring someone for “Month Of/Day Of” coordination. This is an option that almost all planners offer, which let’s you take care of everything yourself until the month of your wedding. From there, they take over so that you can relax and enjoy your big day.
- At the very least, we suggest going in for a consultation with a planner at the beginning of your planning. It’s usually free (or very cheap) and even if you don’t end up hiring a wedding planner, it will still give you a good grasp on the task at hand.
6. Start Thinking About Your Wedding Look – Now comes the fun part in your wedding planning timeline where you get to start thinking about what you want your wedding to actually look like. Most looks revolve loosely around a theme and a color scheme. You’re theme can be as simple as “modern” or “rustic” but if you want to go all out with a Superhero or “The Notebook” theme, go for it! The most beautiful weddings, in our opinion, are the ones that really reflect the bride and groom’s personalities, so pick something that feels perfect to you two. Next you’ll need a color scheme, which is a palette of colors that will be featured throughout your wedding. Think invitations, bridesmaid dresses, table accents, cake, flowers, etc. It used to be that color schemes were made up of only two colors, but the great thing about getting married these days is that the rules of our parents’ generation do not apply! The world is your oyster when it comes to your wedding planning timeline and ultimately your wedding, so if you want 7 colors in your wedding, your vendors can – and will – make it look fab!