Wedding Milestones: Guiding You Through the Wedding Planning Process
It’s no secret that planning a wedding can be stressful. And will be the first to tell you that there are a lot of components that go into wedding planning which leads for a lot of components to be easily overlooked. As wedding planners, we have created our own process that we use to ensure that no detail is overlooked and that every aspect of your wedding is thoughtfully planned out!
That’s why we’re here to break it down for you, we want to be your guide and take you through the wedding planning process, show you some milestones that you will make along the way, and lay it out here, to help navigate you through this exciting yet intense time.
1st Week to 2 Months After Booking
This is the very beginning of the wedding planning process. Here is where your creativity starts to flow, the inspirations come in, and you start seeing how you can form the wedding of your dreams. After the contract is signed, we immediately begin our onboarding process. This is when we get up a time to discuss the overall vision of your special event. We encourage you to create a Pinterest board where you can place all of your creative ideas in one spot, being able to draw from this organized collection throughout the entire planning process. We also encourage you to create a wedding website. So many different platforms out there where you can create your wedding website, but we recommend either TheKnot, or Minted. This beginning stage is also the time to plan out your budget. This is crucial to establish this now this way as the other facets of the planning process to come into play, you are fully prepared and know what is it within limits to make your dream wedding come true. When you’re figuring out a budget, it is important to acknowledge who is contributing (if applicable). This will only set you up for success when you are completing the other steps of the planning process. After the budget is roughly lined out, we recommend drafting a guest list of people that you want to attend your special day.
12 – 8 Months Before Wedding
So, now that the creativity is flowing, your budget is in place, you have your guest list, and we have set ourselves up for success, we can now head into the booking stage. Here is when you will begin to look at venues, go on site tours, and determine which is the best space for you to create your wedding in. As part of our process, we have a vendor matchmaking (if applicable), to help you determine the best vendors to help curate your dream wedding! We also have a moodboard session and designing where we take your inspiration from your pinterest board and help best assist you in designing your wedding.
This is the time to book a ceremony venue, book a reception venue, book a caterer (if separate from the reception venue you chose). Now is also the time for research. Researching and booking the photographer, a videographer, and the music selection (such as a Band or DJ), that best fits your vibe and theme for your wedding is essential. Take the time to look through various vendor website and see what fits your style best.
In addition, researching and booking hotel blocks for guests that may be traveling is also crucial at this step. These are things that should be in place toward the beginning of the wedding planning process.
Coming towards the end of this time-block, you have your basics such as your venues and vendors selected, now it’s time to build on top of this foundation. Meaning, now that you have your photographer, you can schedule your engagement shoot. Also, now the time for tasting some cake! Schedule your cake tasting, or if you’re going a different direction from cake, reach out to bakeries you’re interested in. Scheduling hair and makeup trials are another important facet of planning that should be done during this time. Also, now that you have a guest list drafted, you can order the save the dates. It is very important to also purchase wedding insurance (you can do this through eWed or WedSafe). And last but certainly not least, it’s time for some fun (not that booking and researching aren’t fun)! But now, it’s time for shopping for couple’s attire and creating your gift registry.
7 – 4 Months Before Wedding
Even though you made it through the first 12 to 8 months before your wedding, however, we’re not done with the booking stage of the wedding planning process yet! Now that you have your guest list for your wedding day, it’s time to break-down your master guest list to start your guest list for your rehearsal dinner, and then booking the rehearsal dinner. Once those are booked, it’s time to book the additional factors such as booking the bakery for the cake or the dessert you choose to have at your wedding, booking your hair and makeup choice from your trial. If you booked a hotel block for your guests, or your guests are in need of some type of transportation for your wedding day, now is the time to book wedding day transportation to ensure that your guests will be taken care of on the day of.
Next it's time for additional important aspects of the wedding day, such as determining First Look location. If you are doing a first look, researching and reserving First Look location is imperative
during these months. Another aspect to think about during this time is securing family and/or friend’s wedding day activities. Examples of this can mean determining who are your readers and singers for your ceremony. Moving onto reception, some important aspects to determine are your guest book options, as well as scheduling a tasting for your reception.
Additionally, researching needed rentals for either your ceremony or reception space is crucial at this time.
Lastly is more shopping! Now that you’ve started shopping for your own attire, it’s time to start looking for and ordering your wedding party attire. It is important to note here that now is a good time to schedule couple alterations, as they may take several months to complete. Other important items such as shopping for wedding bands during this time is crucial. Furthermore, ordering your wedding invites, card box for reception (if applicable), and ordering wedding party and family gifts are important tasks to handle during this milestone timeframe.
Ask yourself, are you having guests staying in hotels? If so, doing a welcome bag is a great way to kick off the wedding festivities as soon as they arrive! Researching guest welcome bags and purchasing items for these bags is another step that can be done at this time.
3 – 2 Months Before Wedding
Your guest list is created, you’ve broken it down for your rehearsal dinner, now it’s time to send out those wedding invites! Once those wedding invites are sent out, it’s not a bad idea to take the completed wedding invites to the post office and weigh them for postage. This way, you are ensuring that your budget is on track. And while you’re sending out those wedding invites, now is also a great time to send out your rehearsal invites to your wedding VIP.
The shopping continues! Ordering your cake and knife set, and ordering wedding day signage are some exciting ways you can incorporate your theme and inspiration into the décor of your wedding.
Wedding signage can include anything from ceremony programs, menu cards, place cards, welcome signs, seating charts, cocktail napkins, Koozies, go cups, and matchbooks. In addition to ordering these items, ordering your personalized wedding flutes can be a great detail to make your reception experience even more magical.
In this section of wedding planning, it is important to start to narrow down the details of the day itself, such as your ceremony details. This can mean working on your ceremony vows and discussing the processional of your ceremony.
Lastly, the 3-to-2-month period is all about beginning to finalize the items you sought out in the beginning of the planning process. This can mean finalizing your wedding cake with the bakery (based on your RSVPs), finalizing floral plan with either your Florist or Wedding Planner (or both!), as well as finalizing a music list for your ceremony and reception, and booking your final beauty appointments, such as scheduling beauty time slots for VIP or your Wedding Party.
1 Month Before Wedding
One month out! This is the time where everything starts to come together, can set up your foundation, you’ve started to finalize the details, and now the vision is coming into place. Your guest list has been drafted, broken down, and now it’s time to finalize the guest count for catering and food selections (if applicable). Also now with your finalized guest list, you can assign table and create a seating chart for your guests.
Now is also the time to review your wedding timeline. Whether this is through your planner, or yourself, confirming and reviewing your timeline is very important. After reviewing your timeline, sending your timeline out to your wedding party is an essential next step so everyone’s on the same page for the day of.
Confirming your shotlist with photographer is a critical step during this time. This further ensures that everyone is on the same page about the day of and will allow the day to run smoothly.
As we near the end of this section, it’s time to keep looking forward and one way you can do this is making a packing list for your wedding weekend. Now that the bulk of planning is behind, you can start planning for the more intricate details of your wedding!
2 Weeks Before Wedding
Now that the guest list is well underway, majority of people have responded, and you’ve put in your seating chart and catering guest count, it’s time for one last follow up on non-RSVP guests. This is to ensure that even our most forgetful friends and family have a last chance to join in the celebration. Since all of your Wedding Party and/or VIPs are accounted for, it’s time for you to prepare some signatory writing elements of your wedding day such as preparing thank yous for wedding VIP and writing your wedding vows and/or toasts.
Special details such as buying the hanger for your dress or attire photos can be done at this point. Adding a special touch to your wedding photos. Also, assembling your guest welcome bags and securing a date for them to be delivered to the hotel is helpful and sets you up for a stress-free task that has been handled before the hustle of the day-of tasks. Having this in place will allow you to not have to worry about this as the wedding nears. Lastly, as everything wraps up, it is customary that around this time, you pay all vendors in full, (except gratuity).
Week of Wedding
We made it to the week of your special event! All your hard work paid off and now you get to gear up for the event itself. In this final week, we encourage you to tie up any loose ends from 2 weeks out checklist. In addition, put cash gratuity envelopes marked with vendor names on them and designate who will be handing them off to the vendors on the day of (this can be your planner, yourselves, or a designated family member or VIP guest). It is also important to spend this last week pampering and doing whatever it is that will be relaxing. This can mean touching up all beauty – hair color, haircut, Mani, Pedi, massages, etc. But the most important thing is to take this time to RELAX!
Our Final Remarks
We know this is a lot to take in, and this can be overwhelming at times. That is why we are here to be your transparent guide through the entire wedding planning process. Check out our website and feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding any part of planning your wedding. Remember to make the most out of your special day, and appreciate all of the hard work and time you put in – you’ve earned it!