Planning a wedding is no small feat. In more recent years, planning a wedding has become a year to two-year process, and it comes with so many components and factors to consider that it can be overwhelming for the bride-to-be. We’ve come up with this 12-month checklist to help prepare you for what’s to come, help you organize the various steps, and alleviate some stress so you can plan your dream wedding without having to resort to ripping your hair out (hopefully!).

Schedule Engagement Photos

This will be one of the first things you’ll want to do after getting engaged and should be done roughly 12 months before the big day. The engagement photo shoot is the perfect way to start the wedding planning process and it will be fun to have this as your fiancé’s and your first wedding-related activity.

Start Dress Shopping

You will want to do this about 10 months before the wedding because it takes time to shop, look through your options, and decide on your favorite dress. Not all brides are lucky enough to find “the one” after their first try, but even if you are, it takes time for the bridal shop to order and receive the dress from the manufacturer. Especially if you have any special, custom requests. And when you do receive the dress, you’ll need to take it to the seamstress for alterations which will take time as well. Don’t stress and give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect dress.

wedding dress shop

Send Out the Save the Dates

About 8 months before the wedding, you’ll want to send out your save the dates to prepare your invitees to clear their schedules and ensure they have nothing conflicting with your special day.

Taste Some Cake

You’ll want to make an appointment with a wedding cake decorator about 6 months before the big day to taste some flavors and narrow down your favorites. We know this part is hard, but someone has to do it, and that person is you!

Confirm the Décor with Your Vendors

About 4 months before the wedding, you should contact all your hired vendors and confirm the details and décor to make sure you’re on the same page. Let them know of any theme you have in mind and any special details you’d like to see. Discussing this with all of them will also ensure you receive a cohesive look.

Book the Hair and Makeup Trial

Go and get your practice wedding hair and makeup done about 2 months before the big day. You never know how many trials you will need (hey, you want your wedding look to be perfect!), so give yourself at least a couple of months to nail this down.

wedding hair trial

Party!

The fun part is here. About 6 weeks before your wedding, you should be packing your party gear and heading to your destination for the bachelorette party! For a long time now, brides have been planning bachelorette parties a few weeks before their big day rather than a night or two before to avoid any stress, late nights, and puffy dark eyes on their wedding day. And we couldn’t agree more.

Finalize the Music

2 weeks or so before the wedding, you’ll want to finalize your playlist, including the song for the aisle, first dance, bride/father dance, groom/mother dance, and any other special moments. Contact any hired musicians such as the harpist or pianist at the ceremony, quartet at dinner, and your DJ or band and confirm these requests with them.

Put Together the Bridesmaid Gifts

We’re getting close! About a week before your wedding, put together any gift bags or presents you are giving to your bridal party or welcome gifts for any out-of-town guests.

bridesmaid gifts

Get Your Mani and Pedi

Ah so close! 24 hours before the wedding bells chime, you will want to get your nails done so you can wake up the next day feeling perfectly primped and pampered. A mani and pedi is also the perfect thing to do the day before to relax, de-stress, and spend some time with your maids.

The Big Day!

On your wedding day, get some champagne together and pop some bubbly with your friends and family. It’s time to celebrate and have fun! Put aside any worries about the big day and just enjoy yourself and make the most of every moment. Dance the night away and make sure to take the time to experience all of the vendors you hired.

Post-Wedding

Now that the excitement and hard work of planning the wedding is over, you can’t completely relax. It’s now time to write the thank you notes. Order some custom stationary and hand write personalized messages to all your family and friends for being a part of your special day. A good timeline to give yourself is to have the thank you notes sent out about 2 months after the wedding.

wedding thank you

Feel equipped to plan your big day? Remember to give yourself plenty of time to plan and contact your top vendors and you’ll be just fine.