Wedding Planning 101: Your 12 Month Countdown Calendar

Unless you’re off to Las Vegas for drive-through nuptials, most weddings take anywhere from six months to a year to plan. Our helpful planning calendar can help you get started.

Image credit: Heather Nan Photography | Venue: La Calle

6 to 12 months before the wedding

* Announce your engagement and set the date

* Orchestrate a meeting between your parents and future in-laws

* Discuss the budget with your groom and both families

* Reserve the ceremony site, reception site and officiant (see our list of local wedding venues here).

* Select members of the wedding party

* Meet with potential wedding consultants (see our exclusive list of planners).

* Select a gown and schedule your fittings (see our exclusive list of local gown vendors).

* Interview and sign contracts with vendors such as the photographer, baker, florist and caterer. (Remember, sometimes the best vendors can be booked as much as a year in advance. See our list of photographerscaterers, bakers and florists)

* Buy wedding insurance

* Make a guest list with both families (remember your budget)

* Order save-the-date cards for out-of-state guest (see our list of paper goods providers).

* Select the bridesmaids’ attire

Image credit: Lindsey Kay Photography | Gown: Bitsy Bridal


3 to 6 months before the wedding

* Meet with the officiant to discuss your ceremony and any premarital counseling requirements

* Meet with the musicians to select music for the ceremony (see our vendor listing of local musicians here). 

* Meet with both sets of parents to finalize the guest list

* Order the wedding cake

* Order invitations, announcements and personal stationery (see our list of paper goods providers here). 

* Make honeymoon plans and reservations

* Assist groom’s family with rehearsal dinner plans

* Create a wedding registry for easy gift-giving

* Check marriage license requirements for your state (you can find licensing requirements for Utah here). 

* Arrange necessary documents if planning a destination wedding

* Choose and order wedding bands and have them engraved (see a list of our favorite jewelry vendors here). 

3 to 4 months before the wedding

* Mail the save-the-date cards to out-of-town guests

Image credit: Brushfire Photography | Invitations: The Write Image


2 to 3 months before the wedding

* Address the invitations and announcements

* Visit a formalwear specialist with your fiancé

* Purchase your attendants’ gifts

* Ask friends and family who are not in the wedding party to participate by presenting special readings during the ceremony or by greeting guests at the reception

* Plan the bridesmaids’ luncheon and groomsmen’s dinner

* Determine the need for baby-sitting services for guests during the wedding

* Discuss menu details with the caterer

* Send your guests information on local accommodations

* Schedule a time for the rehearsal

* Select wedding extras: the guest book, ring, pillow, favors and, of course, something old,something new, something borrowed and something blue

* Arrange transportation from the ceremony to the reception for the two of you, your immediate families and the wedding party


4 to 6 weeks before the wedding

* Mail your invitations

* Write thank-you notes as wedding gifts arrive

* Have programs printed for the ceremony

* Discuss life insurance, a will and other legal documents with your fiancé

* Select gift for fiancé

* Submit wedding announcements to local newspapers

* Work with the baker to design a special groom’s cake to surprise the groom at the rehearsal dinner or reception

* With the reception in mind, take a few dance lessons to perfect your technique

* Choose a hairstyle that complements your headpiece and schedule time with a makeup artist (see our list of vendors here).

Image credit: Brushfire Photography


7 days before the wedding

* Notify caterer of the final number of guests based on RSVPs

* Review final details with the florist, baker, photographer and musicians

* Confirm honeymoon reservations and begin packing

* Have your gown delivered

* Go over details with attendants, such as accommodations, transportation, the complete schedule of wedding events and their responsibilities

* Write thank-you notes to wedding attendants before the wedding

* Put together a “survival kit” for the ceremony with extra hosiery, nail polish, scissors, needle and thread, aspirin, etc.

* See your hairstylist for a last-minute trim

* Secure the official marriage license


1 day before the wedding

* Greet out-of-town guests as they arrive or have someone meet them at the airport

* Attend the bridesmaids’ luncheon

* Pack everything you need for the ceremony site

* Pamper yourself with a massage, manicure and pedicure

* Attend the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner

* Find a quiet moment to exchange wedding gifts with your fiancé


On your wedding day

* Send a note of heartfelt thanks and give a gift to both sets of parents

* Enjoy the party!


Featured Image: Chudleigh Photography | Wedding planner: Michelle Leo Events

For a complete list of vendors click here.

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