Countdown to Saying “I Do” – What to do When While Planning Your Wedding

You’ve posted the images of your ring, shared the news with friends and family, and celebrated for weeks after the proposal. Now, though, it’s time to get down to brass tacks and start planning for your momentous day. Here at Marco Island Florist, our wedding experts have laid out a timeline for you to follow to make sure your wedding planning goes smoothly and is as stress-free as possible. 

Ideally, you should start planning your wedding 12-14 months out. However, if you find your wedding is only 6 months away, don’t worry – just combine all the tasks in months 12-6 in your first month to get on track.

Month 12

Determine your budget. Figure out the bottom-line budget for your event and then break down your budget allocating funds accordingly. Doing some online research will help you guestimate the cost of flowers, dinner, cake, DJ, etc. If you are over budget, determine the priorities and what’s essential over what’s not. 

Create your guest list. Decide on how many you can have based on your budget and then who to have.

Decide on a wedding theme. Check with your partner and decide if you want a formal or more relaxed wedding. Kids or no kids. Sit-down meal or buffet. What you decide will affect your budget so it’s best to get these decisions out of the way early.

Select a venue. Find out the cost and find out if it will hold all your guests and accommodate your must-haves – such as a dance floor, flower wall, space for a band, etc. 

Hire a wedding planner. You may be fine handling all of the details yourself, but if you would rather pass everything off to someone else who will manage your wedding for you, then be sure to make room in your budget for a wedding planning pro. 

Choose your caterer. Whether a venue’s in-house caterer, one suggested by your wedding planner, or food from your favorite wedding truck, now is the time to check this off your list.

Months 11 & 10

Choose your color scheme. Search trending wedding colors or look at Pinterest boards for inspiration. Otherwise, go with gut and select your favorite colors and design aesthetic.

Book your vendors. Professionals such as DJs, bands, photographers, and videographers are going to be very busy this year and next, so book them as soon as possible. 

Start wedding dress shopping. You may have to go out of town to try a variety of wedding dress shops, but finding the perfect dress is worth it.

Book hotel rooms for your guests. Shop around for a good hotel that will offer room blocks at a discounted rate.

Create your wedding website. You’ll want the URL to put on save the date cards and other correspondences. For a guide on creating a great wedding website, click here.

Start looking at invitations. Choose a style that represents you and your SO as a couple and will make a lovely impression on those who receive it. 

Months 9-7

Send “Save the Date” cards. Include the date, time, venue, and your wedding website URL.

Register for gifts. Include your partner and decide what types of gifts you would like, either staples for the home you need, or perhaps a charity, cooking lessons, or to fund a honeymoon adventure.

Select the dresses for your bridesmaids. Be sure to schedule fittings within the next few weeks.

Start meeting with florists. Describe your vision and budget and meet with local florists who can deliver on time and at cost.

Start looking at rehearsal dinner venues. Choose your favorite restaurant or have a more casual gathering in someone’s backyard. Just decide and book 7 months out.

Hire an officiant. Whether you’re getting married in a church or elsewhere, you need to hire someone who can make it official.

Hire a lighting tech. From candles to outdoor lighting, book an expert who can create the perfect ambient lighting for your wedding. 

Months 6-4

Book your transportation. Depending on the parking situation of your venue and whether driving to a separate reception area is in play, you will need to start looking at booking cars, shuttles, or buses for your guests, and perhaps a limousine for you and your partner.

Book your honeymoon. Make sure you and your sweetheart have decided on a place, budget, and somewhat of an itinerary to celebrate the start of your lives together.

Rent the groom’s tuxedo. If the wedding is going to be more casual, then perhaps just buy a nice suit. Once this is decided, think about the groomsmens’ attire as well and schedule fittings within a month.

Finalize the catering menu & choose your cake. Include your partner in this and select a look and taste palette you both love.

Months 3-1

Order your wedding invitations at 3 months out, send them at 2 months out, and require an RSVP one month from the date of the wedding. Send out rehearsal dinner invitations at this time as well. Including them in the wedding invite is fine.

Have your wedding dress fitting. Your first wedding dress fitting should be between 2 and 3 months out from the wedding.

Get your marriage license. Every state is different so be sure to research how to get your marriage license, what you’ll need to bring, and how much it will cost.

Give song choices to your DJ or wedding band.

Create a seating chart. At one month out, when you should have all RSVPs in, start working on setting your seating chart and then order, or make, your place cards.

Pay your vendors in full. Make sure this is done 3-4 weeks out to avoid any money chasers on the day of your wedding. This is a great task to hand off to a wedding planner, parent, or bridesmaid.

Week of 

Schedule all last-minute important details like salon appointments for a haircut & color, facial, and a mani-pedi. 

Have your final dress fitting, practice your vows, and deliver the final headcount.

Relax and enjoy the big day!