How to Plan Your Wedding in a Year

POV: you just got engaged, you’re hoping to get married in a year’s time, and everyone you know is asking you endless questions about what you’ve gotten done, where it will be, and what they should wear. It can get overwhelming pretty quickly!

Planning a wedding is a big job. There are seemingly endless tasks to accomplish. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and wondering how you can possibly plan your wedding in a year, you’ve come to the right place. If you have 12 months to plan your wedding, then this to-do list will help make sure you have everything in place for your big day.

12 Months Out

A wedding ceremony set up on a lawn and surrounded by trees.

Things can feel too far away to be real at this point, but it’s important to start working on the big-picture things for your wedding. You’re getting the foundation in place at this point, and here are some things you want to make sure you do:

  • Choose the big day (or up to three possible dates so you can be flexible with vendors)
  • Talk about your budget (get clear on this or you’ll end up going over) and clarify who is contributing what amount)
  • Start contacting venues to find availability for your date
  • Browse ideas and start getting a feel for what you want your wedding day to look like
  • Browse dress and veil styles to get an idea of what you like
  • Start building a list of wedding professionals (wedding planner, photographer/videographer, caterer, florist, DJ, hair/makeup artist)
  • Start building your guest list
  • Set up your wedding website
  • Order your Save the Dates
  • Schedule an engagement photo session

10-11 Months Out

A bride trying on a dress in a boutique.

Now that it’s under a year until your wedding day, things are starting to feel more real. You’ve started planning, some things are falling into place, people are congratulating you—it’s time to start getting excited! Here are some tasks you want to ensure you get done in this timeframe:

  • Finalize and reserve the sites for your ceremony and reception
  • Book your vendors (wedding planner, photographer/videographer, caterer, florist, makeup/hair artist, DJ, baker)
  • Hire your officiant
  • Choose your bridal party and nail down their attire (make sure it goes with the color scheme and style of your wedding day)
  • Mail out all your Save the Dates
  • Go wedding dress shopping and purchase your dress!
  • Start whatever health/skincare/haircare routine you need to make sure you’re looking your best for your wedding

7-9 Months Out

A wedding invitation suite.

Your wedding is coming up so quickly! There’s less than three-quarters of the year left to plan, but it also feels so far away. Don’t get discouraged with this part of the planning process. Take it day by day and make sure you get these things done:

  • Refine your guest list
  • Start brainstorming invitation designs
  • Find hotels near the wedding site for guests to stay (at least three)
  • Create your gift registry and be sure it’s on your website
  • Start thinking about the honeymoon (make sure you and your fiancé have passports if necessary)
  • Think about wedding rings

6 Months Out

A table setting with blue dishware at a wedding reception.

You’re halfway there! You’ve gotten so much done, but there’s still so much left to do. Here are things you need to make sure you get done at this point:

  • Reserve necessary rentals for the wedding day (chairs, tables, linens, dishes, decor)
  • Schedule tastings with anyone making food or drinks for your wedding
  • Discuss the ceremony plan with your officiant
  • Order wedding invitations and thank you cards
  • Ensure transportation from the ceremony to the reception is secured
  • Purchase wedding rings
  • Explore hair and makeup styles

4-5 Months Out

A bride holding a bouquet of greenery and white flowers.

You’re getting to the final details. Things are coming together and it’s beginning to feel real…but likely still far away. Don’t get too distracted. Here’s what you need to get done in this timeframe:

  • Finalize your wedding guest list
  • Schedule a dress fitting and have any alterations started
  • Finalize florals (bouquets, boutonnieres, decor)
  • Order your wedding cake
  • Prepare a song list for your DJ
  • Consider guest list for rehearsal dinner
  • Book the venue for the rehearsal dinner
  • Book your honeymoon flights and hotels
  • Book a room for your wedding night

2-3 Months Out

A pair of guitar players on a lawn at a wedding.

If it’s not feeling real yet, it should! You’re in the final stretch. This is crunch time and there are a lot of final details to work out. Here is everything you need to get done in this time:

  • Mail invitations and develop a tracking system for RSVPs
  • Apply for a marriage license
  • Purchase remainder of wedding day necessities (toasting flutes, ring bearer pillow, guest book, flower basket, serving utensils, decor)
  • Finalize reception menu
  • Plan ceremony/reception seating charts
  • Develop a wedding day timeline and make sure it gets to your vendors
  • Finalize music for the ceremony and reception
  • Write your vows
  • Design wedding day programs
  • Purchase gifts for the bridal party, family, vendors, etc.
  • Have a bridal shower

1 Month Out

A guest book at a wedding reception.

Here are little things not to forget. The wedding day is almost here and things are feeling electrified. Don’t get bogged down in stress! Take it one day at a time.

  • Confirm dates and times with all your vendors
  • Pick up the marriage license
  • Final dress fitting
  • Give guest count to the caterer
  • Update gift registries
  • Confirm honeymoon reservations
  • Make arrangements for pet/plant/childcare over honeymoon
  • Delegate wedding day duties (tux rental return, gift collection, guestbook)
  • Pack for the honeymoon
  • Write thank you notes as you receive gifts

1 Week Out

A photographer taking photos of a bride and groom on the beach.

You’re almost there. It’s so close! Here are some final details to consider:

  • Prepare all final payments for vendors
  • Make sure the photographer/videographer has your requests
  • Prepare wedding day emergency kit
  • Get nails done/go get a spa treatment

Get Married!

All your hard work, organization, and patience have paid off. It’s time to get married. Let the day happen, sit back, and enjoy the delicious food, wonderful music, and company of your loved ones. Don’t forget to celebrate what matters: you finally get to marry the love of your life!

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