If you just got engaged, take a breath. Savor the moment, and come back to this post in a couple of weeks. For those who have had their fair share of Champagne toasting and ring ogling, it is time to get down to business. If there is one thing you keep in mind when planning your nuptials, let it be this: every single thing does not have to be done all at once. The trick is to have a detailed timeline so that you can chip away at tasks throughout your engagement. This not only prevents hasty choices like booking a makeup artist you have never used (see: Marnie’s contour and lip liner during her wedding on Girls), but will also keep you sane.
Here, we break down what to do, and when to do it with the help of Susan Norcross, Wedding Director and Owner of The Styled Bride.
● Determine your budget.
● Decide on the size of your guest list.
● Begin scouting venues. There is no sense wasting time on venues that can’t accommodate your guest list. “Being engaged is such an exciting time, but looking at places that you can’t afford or can’t fit everyone on your guest list can really drain the excitement right off the bat—so avoid this at all costs,” says Norcross.
● Set your wedding date. You may also want to factor in your officiants availability. “There is only one of your family’s priest or rabbi!” exclaims Norcross.
● If you’re having a bridal party, now is the time to ask them and to get the date on their calendars as well.
● Create an initial registry (even if only a few things!) for people who want to send engagement gifts. You don’t need to determine your china pattern or decide on every pot and pan you want at this point.
● Hire a planner, if you’re going to use one.
● Begin researching potential vendors. Go ahead, now is the time to go crazy on Instagram and Pinterest.
● Go dress shopping. Keep in mind that anything custom or unique will add to the production process. Rush fees are a pain, so best to plan ahead.
● Set-up your full registry. Even if you prefer a check, many people may not want to give that, so options are a must.
● Block hotel rooms. Various price points are always appreciated by guests.
● Book your florist, photographer, band/DJ, and videographer if you’re using one. Norcross recommends acting on this as soon as you’ve decided as they tend to book quickly.
● Launch a wedding website and brainstorm ideas for a wedding hashtag.
● Decide on your wedding stationery suite. Send out save-the-dates.
● Book rehearsal dinner venue.
● Find a hair stylist and makeup artist, and go ahead and book trials.
● Determine what auxiliary vendors are needed—lighting, furniture rentals, tents, pipe and drape, etc.
● Shop for bridesmaids’ dresses.
● Plan your honeymoon.
● Reserve transportation where needed.
● Work with your caterer to finalize the menu.
● Select groomsmen and ring bearer/flower girl attire (if you have them.)
● Buy your rings!
● Design whatever addition printed materials you want to include on your day, from menus and programs to signs and coasters.
● Submit your newspaper announcement, if so desired.
● Determine what accessories you’re wearing with your dress.
● Choose your music. Don’t forget to include a “do not play” list in addition to your “must play!” list.
● File for your marriage license.
● Buy gifts for the bridal party.
● Provide a shot list to your photographer.
● Design a Snapchat filter (if you so choose). And, if you’re not feeling creative, Etsy has tons of vendors for this.
● Check on any payments due prior to the actual event.
● Pick up your dress.
● Distribute timeline to bridal party and family.
● Delegate, delegate, delegate!
Written by Casey Sharbaugh