The bling-bling ring hit your finger and the tears stopped rolling and now you’ve gotta get down to business. In the last blog, I gave you my first 5 steps to take after you get engaged. Now that you’ve worked through those you can to move on to the next big steps. But what comes next?!

      The order in which you plan your wedding is TOTALLY up to you. When you sat down to make your budget, your wedding priorities and which vendors mean the most to you probably came up. If they didn’t, pause reading this and go figure it out!

      Now that you’ve done that, you’ll be able to break down your planning into more manageable pieces. You are planning ONE wedding but if you just look at everything as individual steps, it’s not so scary after all. What I’ve found in working with my amazing couples is that there’s a rhyme and reason to WHEN and how they handle things.

      I like to check in with my couples once a month, see where they’re at, how planning is going and offer assistance. I’ve learned their trends and have developed my guide to wedding planning in one-year. This is not the holy grail of wedding planning (that’s why you hire a professional planner!) but it is a framework so you don’t feel lost in a sea of Pinterest articles and blog inspirations. This guide takes you through planning a wedding in one-year and breaks it down into 3-month blocks with individual tasks for each period.

      If you’re anything like me you’re itching to check things off your to-do list! Well, that’s where I come in. I print one of these out for each of my couples so that I can keep up with their process and be of service to them throughout their planning. At the bottom of this blog, I will actually GIVE YOU your very own copy of my check list! So, let’s get started!

      12 – 10 MONTHS BEFORE

      Create a pinterest/ vision board (duhhh that probably happened after the first date😉)

      Create a wedding budget

      Set a date and book your venue *Check in with important family and friends when planning a date, its always ultimately up to you but it would suck to find out later that your brother, or someone of immense value, can’t make it*

      Book your dream photographer *I personally book anywhere from 8-11 months in advance and many photographers have a similar timeframe. Do you research early to figure out what STYLE you want for your wedding photos and don’t wait to reach out to someone you love*

      Start working on a guest list

      Hire a full-wedding planner if desired 

      Research and book a DJ or live music

      Research and go to catering tastings (and book) *highly recommend ahi tuna appetizers, just sayin’ *

      9 – 7 MONTHS BEFORE

      Book your engagement shoot (with me, obviously!💃🏼📸)

      Send out save the dates

      Go dress / suit shopping (and purchase it)

      Narrow down that guest list *the hard part is deciding who gets a plus-one, the rule of thumb I was taught is if they’ve been dating over a year, live together or its a member of the bridal party…. they’ve earned it*

      Play “let’s make a deal” with a local hotel for out-of -town guests

      Choose your wedding party, “propose” to them (or ya know, just ask) and plan their looks

      Research and hire a videographer 

      Hire a day-of coordinator if you didn’t hire a full-wedding planner

      Book your florist *Pinterest is a really great for getting a head start learning the style of bouquets you like and floral color palettes so you don’t go in and wonder what foreign language they’re speaking, but don’t worry I still get confused and know only one flower by name (eyyyy peonies I’m looking at you)* 

      6 – 4 MONTHS BEFORE

      Research and purchase wedding insurance

      Book a hair & make-up artist (and a trial run) * if you’re a real go-getter and you already have someone, you should try to book your trial run for the day of your engagement shoot and get the most out of it*

      Go for your fitting/alterations

      Design or rent an arbor, arch or chupah if desired

      Book your officiant or ask a family member or friend to become ordained

      Cake tastings & hire a baker… YUM

      Hire wedding day transportation *if you want to be super romantic, vintage cars are making a comeback and they make an incredible photo opportunity that you won’t regret. If you’re having two locations this is a great getaway car for your trip between venues*

      Finalize your menu and plan for your bar/bartender *Check with your venue to see if you can buy the alcohol and just hire a bartender. This could save you a TON and you then get to choose/limit the drinks you’re providing*

      Start your seating chart (YES, it really will take this long)

      3 – 1 MONTHS BEFORE

      Send out your invitations

      Reserve space & invite guests for rehersal dinner 

      Purchase gifts for VIPs and order favors (you should also purchase any special items like rice, confetti poppers, bubbles or sparklers that you’re planning to use for a grand exit)

      Send back your photographer’s questionnaire *At this point your photographer should be sending you an in-depth questionnaire including family groupings, reception details and timeline planning. Make sure to get this back to them with as much info as possible so they can help you plan a timeline that works best for YOUR wedding day*

      Hire a calligrapher, buy from Hobby Lobby or rent wedding signage *pssssst, I have signs you can rent and customize for unplugged ceremony, menu, bar, etc*

      Finalize details with all of your vendors

      Apply for a marriage license

      Make sure you’re receiving RSVPs

      Pick up your dress / suit *Make sure you’re taught how to bustle your dress!!*

      Finalize that seating chart… change it 100 times, then change it again. Or go the one for all route and have open seating except for VIPs

      Shop for day-of accessories like jewelry, perfume & shoes


      Hunt down the RSVP ghosts

      Submit important dance songs & requests to DJ

      Prep your wedding day emergency kit *Check out my go-to list for all things wedding day emergencies on the next blog! I keep my kit on hand, even when I’m not going to a wedding, because it always comes in handy*

      Finalize your vows (Come on, you know you shouldn’t have waited this long!) and wrap your gifts for bae

      Get your ring cleaned  

      Get your hair cut, tan, teeth whitening, etc NOW (don’t wait) *There’s nothing worse than a bad bleach job or running fake tan to ruin your wedding vibes. Get this stuff done early enough that things can be fixed if an accident arises*

      Make any changes to your day-of timeline and make sure all of your vendors know

      PHEWWWWW!!!! You made it!! I knew you would. I promise it won’t seem so daunting. Just take each section and focus on that. Don’t worry about anything else until those tasks are done. Or, use this as a starting point and rearrange it based on the vendors that are most important to YOU. Alright, you know you want it…

      CLICK HERE to download your very own copy of the One-Year Wedding Planning Guide.