How long does it take to plan a wedding? The ultimate schedule and checklist


If you have a shorter planning period, you will need to be flexible about venues, vendors and dates: “You may not be able to hold a weekend wedding and you need to book for a Thursday or Sunday. Friday, ”says Darko.

If there’s a venue that’s close to your heart or if you need a date on Saturday, you may need to plan more in advance.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Calendar and Checklist

To plan effectively over a 12 month period, it is best to spread the task list over the year.

As a warning, remember that, as Darko says, “your wedding priorities are up to you as a couple – if a group or entertainment is very important to you, then this is going to be moved higher in. the list.”

Here’s a monthly guide to get you started:

Month 1:


The first factor to consider is both the most important and the least romantic: the budget. Without a clear number in mind – and a breakdown of how much you’re willing to spend on each aspect of your wedding – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when the costs start to add up.

If you’ve decided to work with a wedding planner, set a realistic budget with them. If you’re planning solo, create a spreadsheet with your budget breakdown.

Mood board

Go for a collaborative Pinterest board – an essential tool for wedding planning. Darko says it helps the couple identify the theme, style, and decorations they want. Without a planner, you can also engage in creating a digital moodboard – this will help you clarify styling decisions for later.

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With your budget in mind, it’s time to go looking for sites. “In the journey of wedding planning, reserving a venue is the first thing couples do,” Darko says. “There will be back and forth with a shortlist of venues, but once you set a date you can book and start looking for other suppliers.”

Timing is an especially important consideration for couples getting married in 2021 and 2022 as there is an inevitable backlog of weddings, which means that many places and dates are already booked.

When booking your room, confirm the date with your registrar, religious leader (vicar, priest or pastor) or celebrant who will conduct the ceremony.

Months 2 to 6:

External suppliers

Start booking other vendors for your big day – the photographer and videographer, outside decorators, the florist, and if not included with your venue, a catering company.

“I would advise couples to sort the larger items first, like the photographer and the food,” says Darko. Suppliers who are less likely to be full in advance, such as a florist, can wait until later.

“Make your priority list for the day and do it in that order,” Darko advises.

What you need to get sorted during this time will depend on the style and scale of your wedding, but a standard list would be:

  • Wedding photographer (and videographer)
  • Catering (if not included in the place’s package)
  • Exterior decorations or rental of accessories
  • Floristry
  • Entertainment
  • Wedding cake
  • Make-up artist and / or hairdresser
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Month 6:

Wedding attire

It’s time to say yes to the dress! Darko advises his brides to find their dress at least six months before the ceremony to allow time for any changes. However, if you are buying “off the ankle” – ie. ready to wear in a bridal store – you might get away with it closer to time.

Follow a similar schedule for the groom’s and groomsmen’s suits. If you buy them new, they may also need modifications, and if you plan to hire them, it is best to sort them out well in advance. Wedding rings also fall under the sixth month.

Save dates and invitations

Try to book the dates about six months before the wedding to give your guests enough notice. Continue with formal invitations up to two months before the big day.

Months 7-9:

Wedding day logistics

With all of the key elements of your day locked in, it’s time to start thinking about a play-by-play plan for the day. This will allow you to resolve issues well in advance.

You’ll want to cross them off the list:

  • Hair and makeup
  • Arrival of sellers the same day
  • Arrival of guests
  • Ceremony
  • Drinks
  • Food
  • Speech

Month 10:

Seating plan

When you get your RSVPs, it’s time to work out your seating plan. Take some time on this, for obvious reasons – you don’t want to end up sitting your loudest friend next to your elderly aunt.

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Bride and groom sometimes find planning the table an agonizing part of the process. Darko’s rule of thumb is to match the seating plan to the mood of the wedding: a three-course sit-down wedding breakfast will require a formal seating plan with place cards, but if you opt for one less formal meal, you may be able to forgo a seating plan and let your guests choose their table (but keep in mind that this may mean it takes longer for everyone to sit down).

Month 11:

Last minute preparations

The month before the wedding is a time to check that your suppliers know where and when they need to be, designate a primary point of contact for the day, and sort out last-minute details such as wedding favors, gifts for the wedding. wedding and printing programs.

Month 12:

Wedding rehearsal (optional)

Some Darko couples choose to host a wedding rehearsal a few days before the main event.

“It’s not necessary in most registry contexts, but it can be useful if you’re having a traditional religious ceremony to show the wedding party which order to enter,” she says.

The big day

When your big day finally arrives, your job is to get dressed, show up on time, and get married. Make sure you take a moment to sit back, relax, have a drink of something nice, and appreciate the results of your hard work.

What are your top tips for planning a wedding? Tell us in the comments below