First comes love, then comes marriage. The love of your life popped the question and you said yes. Congratulations!
Once the excitement calms down you’ll start to realize there’s a lot of things to plan for the wedding of your dreams. But don’t let it stress you out! Here’s a quick breakdown of 13 things that you absolutely have to plan for and when to get things done.
As Soon As Possible
Find a wedding planner (if you plan to have one) – A planner can make your life much, much easier. The sooner you hire a planner the more benefit you’ll get from their services, especially in this early stage when you have to start making decisions.
Set a date – There’s no way to line up everything else until you set a wedding date.
Reserve the venue – Popular wedding venues can get booked years in advance.
Find a photographer – Whether you need to find a wedding photographer in Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, or someplace in between, there are a few absolute musts for picking the perfect one. First, find a photographer that specializes in the style of photography you love. Second, see if they’ll have an assistant on the wedding day to capture double the pictures (and double the angles of special moments.) And finally, budget a fair amount for their services since they are capturing memories you never want to forget.
Line up the caterers – It might not seem like it, but the food is one of the most important parts of a wedding. Great wedding caterers are in demand and very busy. Plus, there’s a lot to figure out before your wedding day – food tastings, planning the menu, picking out the flatware and more.
At Least 6 Months Before the Wedding
Find your wedding dress – For many brides-to-be this is one of the most fun parts of planning a wedding. For others, it can be extremely stressful. It’s a big decision and alterations will probably need to be made to start your search early. Also, it helps to know what to expect while wedding dress shopping so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Find a hairstylist/makeup artist – Most brides-to-be want to look absolutely stunning on their wedding day – after all, you’re paying a lot for photos to memorialize the big day. Hiring a hairstylist/makeup artist ensures you’ll look your best and have fewer things to worry about. You’ll need to pick a pro and line up their services at least six months in advance. Good stylists book well in advance and you’ll need to do at least one trial run to make sure things are perfect on your wedding day.
Hire a florist – Some people wait until just a few months before the wedding to hire a florist, but that can lead to disappointment. Sometimes flowers must be specially ordered, which can take time. Plus, you need to give the florist time to dream up amazing arrangements and bouquets.
Line up the entertainment – No matter whether you want live band or DJ, you’ll need to line the entertainment up about six months before the wedding.
At Least 2-3 Months Before the Wedding
Send out invitations – Now is the time to let everyone know you’re getting hitched. The 2-3 month mark is a good timeframe to give people enough time to clear their schedule and get back RSVPs. But it’s not too far in advance to where people will forget they RSVP’d if they receive the invite 6+ months out.
Have your final dress fitting – By now your wedding dress should be back from the initial alterations. You’ll need to go in for a fitting just to make sure everything is perfect. Going at least two months before the wedding ensures you’ll still have enough time to make adjustments if needed.
Get your shoes – It’s a good idea to get your wedding day shoes a few months in advance so you can practice walking in them and break them in.
Finalize the wedding cake – It may seem like you should get the wedding cake lined up sooner, but as the experts at The Knot point out choosing a wedding cake should be done later after you know how many guests will be coming to the wedding.
There’s a lot to get done in a relatively short amount of time. Start planning ASAP to minimize the stress and actually enjoy the process. Plan to take breaks every so often to just spend time with your fiance and take it all in.