Congratulations! You’re at last engaged and now is the time for all the planning to begin. You’ve dreamt of this moment all of your life, but we understand it can get overwhelming. Avant Garde Weddings has come to your rescue with our steps to planning a wedding and tips to make the journey much simpler, smoother and streamlined for you. We are pleased to present you with our detailed wedding planning 101 timeline.
1. ENGAGEMENT PARTY
While you’re still excited (and secretly wishing for any excuse to show off your ring), plan and host your engagement party to celebrate with your nearest and dearest!
2. SET THE BUDGET
You need to keep track of all expenses so make sure you properly sit down with your partner before you lock it in all in to set a budget and keep in line with it throughout.
3. ORGANIZE GUEST LIST
You need to set your numbers because this will essentially effect the venue and reception you choose and their capacity.
4. SELECT A BRIDAL PARTY
This will be fun! Sit down with your partner and plan who will be there every step of the way leading up to the big day and how you’ll propose to them!
5. BOOK A VENUE/RECEPTION
Venues book up fast! Pick the venue before your date as you don’t want to have your heart set on one only to find out it’s not available on the date you wish. Once you book your venue, you’ll plan your design and décor around that.
6. SET THE WEDDING DATE
Depending on certain dates and holidays your wedding date may fall on, it will affect the pricing, venue availability and attendance. Take your time settling on a date and make sure to do your research.
7. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER
Don’t lose out on your favorite one because you’ve left it too late to meet with them, discuss your expectations, build a relationship and then of course book them in! Every photographer has a unique style, you need to carefully choose the right fit for you!
8. ORGANIZE CATERING FOR RECEPTION
I don’t know about you, but food is one of my favorite things about attending a wedding. Set down a menu and be mindful to take into account certain intolerances your guests may have.
9. SHOP FOR WEDDING DRESS
Ladies, the journey to finding the perfect dress is going to be overwhelming so grab your bridal party and start the search early. Know your budget, look up designs for inspiration and book in an appointment with a stylist from a bridal gown boutique. While you’re there, remember to move around in the dress and not just look at it in the mirror. You want to ensure you’re comfortable on the day and bring along your accessories if you already have them.
10. DECIDE ON THE THEME
Choose the style you want your wedding to have – décor, details, floral styling and color, as this is going to be important to pass onto your vendors so they can work with you to achieve the look you’re envisioning.
11. BOOK CELEBRANT
Don’t underestimate how quickly celebrants book up. Keep in mind this person is hosting your first step towards marriage, you want the best in the business so be sure to do some research and allow yourself a chance to meet them to see if they’re the one.
12. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER (IF YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE ONE)
Completely optional! If you find it really hard to make decisions and the whole idea of planning this once in a lifetime event seems too much for you, have an expert be your go-to throughout the entire start to finish process.
13. BEGIN HAIR AND MAKEUP TRIALS
You need to see how well your desired beauty team actually work on your face and hair. You want to look close to perfect on your special day and trials are important in giving you an idea of how long your makeup and hairstyle will last as well.
14. ORDER THE CAKE
Get excited for cake tastings! When choosing a cake consider design, flavor, size, budget, temperature on your wedding day and a cake designer who you know doesn’t just want your money, but to help design the cake of your dreams.
15. HIRE A FLORIST
One of the best ways to find the perfect florist is to ask your family and friends for recommendations or to look through online portfolios and reach out for quotes and what’s included in their services etc. will they deliver on the day or must you pick up?
16. SOURCE MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
Think about whether you want a DJ or live performances, and then think of what style of music and feel you want your reception to have. Do you want entertainment that’s meaningful and romantic or upbeat and will get your guests on the dancefloor, or both?
17. ORDER THE WEDDING DRESS
Once you’ve got your heart set on the right dress, make sure you put in your order with enough time to allow for design customizations, fittings, consultations and alterations.
18. ORDER BRIDESMAID DRESSES
Consider what style and design – the theme and season of your wedding will affect this, color and length you want the dress, but also take into consideration whether you want them all in the same one or if you’re wanting to accommodate for each of their personal preferences, personalities and body shapes – let them have a say, but also remember that you want to be entirely happy with the final outcome.
19. PURCHASE WEDDING BANDS
Make sure you settle on a budget and decide whether you want you and your partner’s bands to match and what material and style you’re after.
20. SEND SAVE THE DATES
Note that your guests will need to keep your wedding date free and some will have to allow for travel. Be sure to include your names, the wedding date (dates if it spans a weekend), location (a city if no venue has been confirmed) and notice for a formal invitation to follow. Do not expect RSVP’s, this is simply a reminder to reserve the date.
Your guest list will be finalized at this point so be sure to make note of whether or not they are allowed a plus one and whether children are allowed (so they can arrange a sitter!) to allow for flexibility around adjusting your guest list/seating chart if you need to.
21. BOOK HONEYMOON
Set your honeymoon wants, wishes and expectations from the get go. You must both have an input in this as it’ll be your first trip as a married couple. Do you want to relax, sight see or go on adventures? Consider which country will be best for the type of honeymoon you’re after and for the time you’re planning to go. Book early to ensure you get your desired accommodation and activities (if any) locked in. Do not rely solely on online reviews, personal recommendations or what sounds or looks appealing, really do your research and set aside a budget so you’re not left short overseas to enjoy yourself
22. ORGANIZE GROOM AND GROOMSMEN ATTIRE
Keep your look in line with what will complement the wedding theme and of course, the bridal party. Allow enough time to rent or get your formalwear fitted and altered. Consider matching accessories such as ties or bows, pocket squares, cufflinks, socks and shoes.
23. ORDER WEDDING INVITATIONS
Pick your invitations to ensure it’s in line with your wedding style and colors and something that reflects you and your partner’s personal style. Order samples, consider the way you’ll word the invitation, order a beautifully cohesive set of on-the-day and Thank You cards and cannot stress this one enough… please triple check your final proof to make sure all the information is correct!
24. ORGANIZE WEDDING FAVORS
When selecting a gift for your guests, choose something that has meaning to you as a couple, is personalized with your names and wedding date or is practical and they will actually make use of. This is your perfect chance for a D.I.Y project too!
25. FINALIZE VOWS
First speak with your officiant as they may need you to cover an important part of the ceremony. Find inspiration, write from the heart and think about your journey with your partner thus far and what your promise is to them. Keep it short and sweet and don’t forget to re-read and rehearse it!
26. ORGANIZE BRIDAL PARTY GIFTS
Decide whether you want to give everyone the same present or if you want to add a special touch and give each a unique gift that’s perfectly meaningful and sentimental to your relationship with them. Add a personalized note as well!
27. ORGANIZE TRANSPORT
Don’t forget to plan how you, your bridal party and family are going to get from one place to the other – e.g. home to the wedding, wedding to the reception, from the reception to whatever follows.
28. ORGANIZE MARRIAGE LICENSE
Don’t forget you must make your union official on paper! Most states will have a government website with useful information on what documents are required and the office’s contact information so you can go to obtain your license. Don’t forget some states require a waiting period between granting the license and your nuptials!
29. CONFIRM DETAILS WITH ALL VENDORS
Check in with all vendors to make sure they’re all well prepared, have nailed your vision and all have the correct date and time for completion and action. Double check the details to ensure there’s been no miscommunication regarding the final product.
30. FINALIZE CEREMONY AND RECEPTION DETAILS
Make sure all the details you’ve passed on for the ceremony as well as for the reception have been clearly received and confirm the procession for the day and have it promised it will all run smoothly.
31. MAIL INVITATIONS
Time to let you guests know of the finer details of your big day and to finally send out the wedding invitations!!!
32. HAIRCUT AND COLOR AND GET A FACIAL
The big day is getting closer and we need you looking as fresh as possible, it’s time to treat yourself!
33. PRE-WEDDING CELEBRATION
Your Maid of Honor, along with the bridal party, will most likely plan this so just be prepared to let your hair down and have some fun!
34. FINAL DRESS FITTING
Time for one last glimpse of yourself in your wedding gown just to make sure no final alterations need to be made.
35. CHASE UP R.S.V.P
Sit down with your partner and make sure you’ve got most, if not all, guests’ responses.
36. PICK UP ANY ITEMS YOU NEED
Get all the little bits and pieces together and pick up any orders and package them neatly so they’re all ready to play their part in your magical upcoming day!
37. FINALIZE THE SEATING CHART
Lock in the seating chart and ensure all friends and family are appropriately and accordingly seated near one another – consider who will be best put together and who needs to be kept at a distance.
38. WRAP FOR GIFTS BRIDAL PARTY
Don’t leave this to the last minute or the night before! Prepare it all now so it’s one less unnecessary headache on your to-do list leading up to the wedding.
39. FINAL HEAD COUNT TO PROVIDE TO VENUE/CATERERS
By now you should have received and reviewed all of your RSVPs and now it’s time to pass on the final numbers to your venue and vendors.
40. GET PLENTY OF REST FOR THE BIG DAY
Relax and rest and trust your bridal party and team of vendors will take care of everything from here on out.
41. GET YOUR SPRAY TAN DONE
Go get that bronzed goddess glow and give it time to settle so it’s not going to stain your beautiful white gown!
42. GET A MANICURE/PEDICURE
Unwind with treating yourself to a fresh mani and pedi so you’re all set!
43. PUT TOGETHER BRIDAL EMERGENCY KIT
Your Maid of Honor needs to be on-call with an emergency kit which should include but isn’t limited to: mints, tweezers, bobby pins, hair ties, hair spray, blotting paper, makeup, sewing kit, tissues, perfume, baby wipes, fashion tape, clear polish, Panadol and most importantly, the wedding day itinerary and phone numbers of all vendors!
We hope we’ve given you some wise advice to give you a more crystal-clear picture of the steps you need to take to peacefully plan your wedding and to give you an insight into what your schedule will look like! Be inspired by the ideas we have put forth and, we truly wish you and your partner a beautiful wedding day that will mark the first day of the rest of your life together.
Wishing you a happily ever after!