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Wedding Planning Timeline

Planning your wedding décor, flowers, attire, dance, menus and vows can seem overwhelming. It’s a lot of work for one day, but it’s well worth it. You’ll cherish the memories for years and reminisce about your big day each anniversary. One of the best parts is the planning — you and your partner spend months choosing flowers and menus and looking forward to that golden-hour photo op. 

While this process might seem overwhelming, there are many ways to make the experience hassle-free and memorable. Maximize every moment with an organized timeline for wedding planning.

18-Month Wedding Planning Timeline

Planning a wedding can be enjoyable, especially when you know what to prioritize. You can cover all the necessary details with an organized checklist. Here’s an 18-month wedding planning timeline to help you get started. 

Early Planning — 15 to 18 Months Before Your Wedding

Here are some initial items to check off 15 to 18 months before the big day.

Create Your Budget

Setting your budget is one of the most essential wedding planning steps. As a couple, decide how much you want to spend on your big day and set a limit. Be realistic and agree on a figure you’re both comfortable with. It should include the components you’ll pay for together and individually, plus any costs your families will cover. Once you’ve created a budget, you will have a reasonable idea of what you can afford for your venue, guests, wedding attire, vendors, décor and bridal party. 

Decide on a Wedding Coordinator

If you and your partner have your heart set on an extravagant celebration, a wedding coordinator can help you oversee your planning from start to finish. They use their professional experience to ease your workload. Some venues offer a wedding coordinator as part of the package, saving you money on individual costs. 

Plus, an in-house coordinator will know the ins and outs of a venue and offer you some valuable suggestions and advice when planning a reception or ceremony. 

Find Your Venue 

Researching and picking your venue can help iron out your guest list size, wedding date and reception menu costs. Some wedding venues have maximum guest limits, while others might be flexible and cater to weddings of all sizes. Your location will determine your wedding date, whether you need to hire a caterer and if you exchange your vows indoors or outdoors. 

It’ll also influence if guests must travel to your wedding and book accommodations. Finalizing your venue and date early is vital for communicating factors like hotel and transportation arrangements, save-the-date announcements and whether you’ll invite kids. 

Find Your Décor Inspirations

If you haven’t already decided on your wedding decor and theme, you’ll need to put together some inspirations. Research your reception and ceremony décor, flowers, color schemes and patterns. Your planning will take shape once you’ve picked your décor and design. 

Wedding Attire, Guests and More — 10 to 12 Months Before

Here are the things to do 10 to 12 months before you tie the knot. 

Finalize Your Guest List

Creating your guest list can be challenging. Sit down together and decide whether you want an intimate or extravagant ceremony. Your budget will significantly influence this decision. 

Shop for Your Wedding Clothes

Buying your outfits well in advance can save you later, especially if you’re getting them custom-made. Start shopping for your attire or sending your designs to tailors. Leave yourself plenty of time to make any necessary alterations before your wedding. 

Finalize Your Date and Venue

If you haven’t already, secure your date and venue so you can send your save-the-date announcements and make specific arrangements for your décor and other items. 

Meet With Your Officiant

Some venues might require you to use an in-house celebrant, while others may be flexible. Once you have a marriage officiant, meet with them to start planning your ceremony. You’ll need to provide specific information and instructions if you want to write your vows or add unique elements to make your day more memorable.  

Choose Your Wedding Party

Sit down together and start thinking about which friends or family members you’d like standing beside you on your special day. Once you know who these people are, you can start planning your bridal party proposal gifts. 

Book Your Vendors 

Researching and securing vendors is crucial, as you want to hire a florist or photographer months before your wedding. Start getting recommendations and samples and read reviews to select and hire your florist, photographer, videographer, band or DJ

Book Your Honeymoon

If you’re going on a honeymoon, select and book a destination and accommodations months before your wedding. Then, you can head to the airport straight from your reception and treat yourself to a well-deserved vacation after 15 to 18 months of wedding prep. 

Save-the-Dates, Wedding Party and Menus — 8 to 9 Months Before

Here are the details to finalize eight to nine months before your big day. 

Book Hotels and Transportation

If your out-of-town guests need accommodations, start researching and securing hotel rooms and transportation to avoid anyone getting stranded without a room or ride before or after the celebration. 

Choose Your Reception Menu

Many venues offer in-house catering, and you can work with the catering team to select your ideal menu. Set a date with your venue to taste and plan the dishes you’ll serve your guests. 

Shop Bridesmaid and Groomsman Attire

Shopping for your wedding party’s attire together can help you align your outfits so the whole group pairs perfectly. 

Send out Save-the-Date Announcements

Your save-the-dates can be a short and sweet message, letting people know to clear their schedule and keep the day open for your wedding. Send them out eight to nine months beforehand to give people enough notice. 

Formal Invites and Rings — 4 to 7 Months Before

Things to do four to seven months before your wedding:

  • Create your official invitations.
  • Send bridal and bachelor party invites.
  • Buy or make your thank-you gifts.
  • Select or order your rings.

Décor, Vows and Marriage License — 2 to 3 Months Before

Two to three months before your wedding:

  • Check-in with your venue and finalize menus, programs and décor.
  • Start writing your vows.
  • Confirm honeymoon plans like rooms, flights and itinerary.
  • Schedule your hair and makeup trial.
  • Get your marriage license and any other necessary legal paperwork, such as the application to change your name if you plan to do so.
  • Send out your formal invites.

RSVPs, Bridal and Bachelor Parties — 1 Month Before

One month before your wedding: 

  • Enjoy your wedding shower and bachelor/bachelorette parties. 
  • Finalize your seating and food arrangements.
  • Get your last-minute wedding attire alterations.
  • Check with your vendors to ensure everything is in place for your wedding. 

Music, Photos and Final Head Count — 1 to 2 Weeks Before

Here’s what to check off with a few weeks to go until forever:

  • Confirm your final head count with your venue so they can plan accordingly.
  • Communicate your rehearsal plans with all the necessary people and ensure they are up to date with the ceremony and reception program.
  • Finalize your seating charts and instructions.
  • Send a short list of all your desired wedding-day photos to your photographer.
  • Give your band or DJ your music requests.
  • Finalize and practice your vows.
  • Prep your wedding attire, iron out any creases and store them safely.
  • Pack for your honeymoon. 

Trust Colonial Golf & Tennis Club With Your Wedding Planning

Colonial Golf & Tennis Club offers more than a venue to say your vows — we provide comprehensive wedding packages. We understand the importance of smooth and efficient wedding planning. That’s why we offer a versatile venue to meet your needs.

Our in-house catering team can help you pick a menu that fits your wedding theme and season. We cater to big or small weddings and have an experienced, in-house wedding coordinator to oversee your timeline for planning a wedding. Let us help you get hitched without a hitch.

Contact us to schedule a tour.

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