Wedding Planning Timeline: How Much Time to Plan Your Wedding

One of the most common wedding planning questions is “how long does it take to plan a wedding?” Here are answers to all your questions about how much time to plan your wedding and a general wedding planning timeline to help you stay on track.

Wedding Planning Timeline Questions

How long it takes to plan your wedding depends on various factors, including whether you’re having a local wedding or destination wedding, the size of your wedding, and more. Here are the answers to some of the most common wedding planning timeline questions to help you better prepare for your wedding.

What is a Good Timeline for Wedding Planning?

The industry standard for how long it takes to plan a wedding is 12 months. This gives couples ample time to book a venue, hire a photographer, choose their florals, pick a caterer, and more. Planning a wedding is a full-time job. So, it’s essential to give yourself enough time to where you don’t feel overwhelmed by planning your wedding and maintaining your career, social life, and family responsibilities.

Although the standard is one year, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a wedding in a shorter (or longer) period of time. If you’re not in a rush to get married, you can start planning your wedding two years in advance. However, it is not recommended to start any earlier because your desired vendors may not book out weddings further than that.

If you’re having a small wedding or elopement, it is possible to plan a wedding in a shorter amount of time. However, even micro weddings take macro planning. You still need to feed your guests, even if you only have 12 instead of 112, and you still need floral arrangements, even if it’s just for your bouquet.

What is the Benefit of a Long Engagement?

While you can plan a wedding in less than 12 months, giving yourself at least a year is recommended for a few reasons. First, there is a better chance the vendors you want are available for your desired date. Second, it gives you time to plan your wedding slowly to ensure everything is precisely how you want it. And third, it gives you time to enjoy being engaged before taking the next big step in your relationship. However, when determining how much time to plan your wedding, consider what makes sense for you and do that.

How Much Time to Plan Your Wedding

Where Do I Start When Planning a Wedding?

There are so many aspects to planning a wedding that it can be hard to know exactly where to start. You may be wondering, what comes first, the wedding venue or the date? And how soon is too soon to book a wedding vendor? Fortunately, the best place to start when planning a wedding is one of the most fun parts: start with dreaming about your wedding day with your fiancé.

Think about your wedding as a whole before you get caught up in the nitty-gritty details, timelines, and list of to-dos. Together with your fiancé, start thinking about where you’d like to get married, who you’d like to be there, the time of year that feels comfortable to you, and the type of environment you want to create. You can start gathering visuals based on your discussions via Pinterest so you have a “Dream Wedding Board” to pull from when the actual wedding planning work begins.

Then, get a bit more serious and talk about your wedding budget. It’s crucial to settle on a wedding budget, including who is paying for what and when, before you start booking vendors and solidifying details.

When Should I Hire a Wedding Planner to Help Plan My Wedding?

Once you and your finacé dream up your perfect wedding and decide on your wedding budget, it’s time to hire a wedding planner. A planner not only saves you money on your wedding, but they turn your vision into a reality.

There are a few different wedding planning options. Depending on your wedding planning timeline, you may hire a wedding planner right away or wait until you solidify a few wedding details. At SPC Weddings & Events, we offer a Full Service Wedding Planning package and a Partial Service Wedding Planning package to meet your needs.

The most significant difference between the packages is when SPC steps in to start helping you plan your event. With full-service wedding planning, you get hands-on expert advice from the very beginning. From helping you find and secure your dream venue to recommending the best Austin wedding vendors to taking the stress and responsibilities of wedding planning off of your shoulders, we become your new bestie. We are there for you every step of the way. We can even help you determine a budget if needed. Because a wedding expert can help you with nearly everything, it’s recommended that you hire a wedding planner early on in the planning process.

A Standard Wedding Planning Timeline to Follow

While this list of to-do is not exhaustive, it does provide a general overview of what it takes to plan a wedding in 12 months.

12 Months Before Your Wedding

  • • Pick a date
  • • Determine a wedding budget
  • • Choose, tour, and book a wedding venue
  • Hire a wedding planner
  • • Research officiants
  • • Create an email address for all wedding-related communications
  • • Draft a guest list
  • • Decide your wedding style, and start thinking about the overall design and colors
  • • Plan your engagement party

10 Months Before Your Wedding

  • • Start shopping for your wedding dress (or whatever wedding attire you want)
  • • Purchase a wedding dress at least nine months before the wedding
  • • Hire an officiant or choose a family member or friend to perform the ceremony
  • • Take engagement photos
  • • Create a wedding website (where you can show off your engagement photos)
  • • Look at invitations and send your Save the Date cards
  • • Ask your wedding party to be a part of your special day
  • • Research vendors and book your wedding photographer, videographer, florist, caterer, etc.

8 Months Before Your Wedding

  • • Start shopping (and purchase) your wedding party’s attire
  • • Choose your florist
  • • Book your rehearsal dinner venue if different from your wedding venue
  • • Book your wedding musical elements (DJ, band, etc.)
  • • Choose your wedding decor and rent items as needed
  • • Send your Save the Date cards

6 Months Before Your Wedding

  • • Register for gifts
  • • Determine your wedding lighting and hire a technician if needed
  • • Plan your honeymoon
  • • Rent or purchase any remaining wedding attire, such as a tux for the groom
  • • Solidify your guest list and select a hotel for guests, and book room blocks (if you’re providing this)

4 Months Before Your Wedding

  • • Do a final tasting with your caterer to plan and solidify your wedding menu
  • • Choose your cake or other dessert options
  • • Purchase wedding bands for you and your finacé
  • • Do a hair and makeup trial
  • • Order and send your wedding invitations (three months before the wedding)
  • • Write your vows
  • • Meet with your officiant and select additional readings for the ceremony
  • • Book transportation for yourselves and guests (if you’re providing this)

2 Months Before Your Wedding

  • • Have a wedding dress fitting
  • • Get your marriage license
  • • Buy wedding party gifts and assemble gift bags
  • • See a floral mockup
  • • Select your wedding songs and let your musicians know

1 Month Before Your Wedding

  • • Create a seating chart
  • • Have a final venue walk-through
  • • Determine cash tips for your vendors
  • • Break-in your wedding shoes
  • • Get all the little details ready to have the best day of your life

While the final weeks leading up to your wedding will look different for each couple, this is the time you may want to do the following:

  • • Get your hair colored
  • • Get your nails done
  • • Get a final dress fitting
  • • Pack for your honeymoon
  • • Clean your engagement ring
  • • Practice your vows in front of friends

Looking at this wedding planning timeline, you may feel a little overwhelmed. It is a lot to do in 12 months. However, that’s why we are here! At SPC, we are so excited to help you plan your wedding from start to finish. Let us help you start strong and stay on track. Submit a wedding planning inquiry to get started today!