Complete Wedding Planning Timeline

You just got engaged to the love of your life. Now lets take a moment to celebrate before all of the phone call start rolling in. Talk to your partner about what your vision is…A grand ball or a small intimate wedding. This is a 13 month engagement plan and yours could be longer or shorter so plan accordingly.

*NOTE: Not everything is mandatory, this is your wedding, add and delete what you want for your big day and what doesn’t break the bank.

  • Start a Pinterest board of all your favorites. This will help with inspiration that can bring your day into a reality. Use it from the beginning and use it often.
  • Plan an engagement party.  Not everyone has one. This is mainly for the fiancés parents to throw. But of you are having one, set a date and draft a guest list.
  • Start searching for a venue. This is going to be big one, and our Tulsa wedding photographers at JAG Digital can help you out. Theknot.com has a wedding venue quiz to help with style, location, and guest count. https://www.theknot.com/concierge/get-started
  • Decide on a season and City. This will be the first thing people will ask you when they hear you are engaged, When and where?? So talk about it, is it Fall or spring? If you have a summer wedding plan your dress accordingly to the heat and thickness of the dress.
  • Figure out your budget. This is when you talk to the parents to see how much everyone is able to chip in. You might be paying for the entire thing or your family will each commit a dollar amount. Make sure you have a budget set before your spend ANYTHING. This will help keep the stress levels down.
  • Start a guest list. Start with immediate friends and family, then move on to other based on importance. If your parents are paying for it, make sure to see who they must have invited.
  • Research wedding planners. This is also optional and is certainly not required but just consider hiring one if you: Want to have a destination wedding, have a busy job, or just like an expert opinion on the whole experience.
  • Research wedding photographers/videographers. Start googling wedding photographers and videographers and see who fits your style the best. At JAG Digital we offer the best Tulsa wedding photography and videography packages and at the best prices. Check out our Packages
  • Create your wedding budget. This is when you will start being detailed. Ticket all of your big items like venue, flowers, etc. Also think of the smaller cost like tips for vendors, postage stamps and favor packaging.
  • Send out engagement announcements. Decide on if you want to send an announcement to your hometown paper. One way we have seen couples modernize it if by making a cute video for Facebook. Ask about our video engagements.
  • Decide on a theme and color palette. Are you doing a dark lit romantic wedding or a vibrant high energy wedding? At https://coolors.co you can find a color palette and it will help find other complimentary colors to go with it.
  • Insure your ring. Trust us this is important. We had a bride that had a diamond fall out over 5 times. Luckily for her it was insured and the jeweler was able to replace the ring entirely due to the insurance policy she purchased. Also make sure the ring is accounted for in your homeowners or renters insurance.
  • Meet with wedding planners. Interview them and then make a decision based on your personality matching. This is key to making sure everything is smooth and how you like it.
  • Estimate your guest count. Finish up your guest list and get a solid number. Check with your venue to see how many they can hold.
  • Research Ceremony sites. If you are religious, you may consider having your ceremony at your church. This is not the case for all religious couples. You can still have your minister travel to your Ceremony site if they offer a ceremony location at the same venue. Check for dates and pricing for both the church, and if the minister is willing to travel.
  • Book your photographer/videographer. Now that you have secured your wedding venue date it is time to book your wedding photographer/videographers. If you have a higher guest count or want multiple angles consider hiring 2 JAG Digital photographers/videographers for more coverage.
  • Create a wedding website. The knot.com offers a free wedding website to house information such as: Your story, guest list, location information, gift registry and more.
  • Make a beauty plan. This is when it is time to get serious about how your skin looks. Get a good skin care regimen and don’t forget to scrub your feet!
  • Make a fitness plan. This is for both of you. This is the biggest day of your life and it will be photographed forever. Now is the time to work out or get a trainer to help you with a custom plan.
  • Block out hotel rooms for guest. If you are planning on having a few out of town guest, plan on just having a few rooms and then add more of needed. Most hotels require you to pay for the unbooked reserved rooms. This is another piece of information that can go on your wedding website. Ask the hotel if there is a discount for booking multiple rooms.
  • Create a weather plan B. If you are planning on having an outside ceremony, plan on having a plan B incase of inclement weather. If you are using a tent we suggest getting a tent with sides just in the event that it is needed.
  • Choose your wedding party. You can have just your honor wedding party or you can have 15 on each side it is up to you. One thing to keep in mind is the more bridesmaids you have the more likely something wrong could happen, ie. Lost shoes, left earrings at home, kids are sick, etc. This will derail your timeline. When asking them to be on your wedding party make sure they know your expectations on their involvement.
  • Schedule Engagement Photos. At JAG Digital engagement sessions are free with most packages. This will help you warm up to your photographer, so you are more confutable on the day of.
  • Research wedding invite templates and paper goods. There are a ton of different kinds of invitations. You have types of paper, font sizes, and printing technique. On the invitations put all of the information on there so they know when and where to be. That way your phone won’t blow up with people asking where to park on the day of.
  • Register for gifts. Because who doesn’t want an extra Christmas? Try to accommodate all of your guests budgets by picking a varieties of items they can afford, but it is ok to add a few pricey items.
  • Connect your gift registry to a charity. This is optional but if guest can’t afford to buy anything on your registry they have the option to make a good will to charity.
  • Schedule fittings for bridesmaids dresses and your dress. Dresses take months to be altered, keep this in mind and do this asap.
  • Choose bridesmaids dress. Sit on it for a min so you don’t make any rash decisions and you can think about color and style. Also keep in mind that your bridesmaid are putting there money forward, so consider their budget.
  • Have mother/maid of honor choose brides dress with you. Try on multiple dresses and don’t be afraid to try on something that you didn’t first picture. Most brides fall in love with something completely different.
  • Look at flower girl ideas. Check on Pinterest or the bridal shops and see what look you want her to have.
  • Make a list of honeymoon options. This could be a simple weekend getaway close by, or as advanced as taking a month long trip across europe. It is also ok to put the honeymoon on pause and go on one later.
  • Research ceremony music/musicians. This is optional for the musicians, this is more for the romantic weddings that want an upscale classy vibe. Google wedding songs or just listen to your iPod and picture you walking down the isle. Make a list and listen to the songs together and make a decision.  
  • Meet with your ceremony musicians. If you booked them, start talking about songs. This way if they don’t know it they have time to rehearse.
  • Send out your save the date. This is just a way that your guest know to request off work and they know what city they are traveling to.
  • Research Rehearsal dinner locations. This is where you will do a quick run thru. Make sure to plan to feed your guest, because if you want people to show up, you need to feed them. This can be an easy meal, doens’t have to be fancy. Some people have the toast this night in place of the wedding so it is more intimate.
  • Plan a welcome party (for out of town guest). If you are having a lot of out of town guest, plan a quick lunch so people can be introduced to each other and feel welcomed.
  • Plan a day-after brunch. Make sure to get some greasy food to soak up the hangovers. Some people do brunch, some do cook outs. That is a good way to say goodbye to your family before the honeymoon.
  • Meet with rental company and lighting pros. This is where you get your chairs and table linen. Some venues provide this but check with them.
  • Schedule Cake tastings. Google local bakeries and check to see if they can make a cake for your date. If they are able to, then schedule a cake tasting to eat some fun flavors and look at their portfolio to see if they can design your dream cake.
  • Schedule a meeting with Dinner caterers. Find out what is on there menu, pick out something that sounds good. Keep in mind you may have some vegetarians at your wedding. 
  • Find an Alcohol Vendor. If your caterer doesn’t have a liquor liscenses then you will have to find another company to be your bartendors. Keep in mind the insurance fee’s, cost of the drinks, and in certain states, it is mandatory that you pay for a security guard while alcohol is present. 
  • Decide on a photobooth. This is optional but a good ice breaker. Some offer an online gallery after the wedding. And they can put your name on the prints.
  • Get ides on hair and makeup. Make sure to find something that is flattering, not only your dress but your face shape. The best bridesmaid hait is to allow them to pick their ouwn hair style. 
  • Order rentals. Now it is time to order them and put down a deposit. This will be your chairs, linens, maybe even some extra chandlers.
  • Book honeymoon (flights and hotel). Leave on a Monday if you are having a Saturday wedding. This will allow you to catch up on sleep and leave happy to enjoy your getaway. That way Sunday will be the day you host a brunch or BBQ. 
  • Send out dinner rehearsal invites. This way everyone knows where to go and if they are the ones who are suppose to show up.
  • List out all of the reception extras needed to buy. These are your center pieces. Plan time to construct them if your going on a hobby lobby extravaganza.
  • Decide on grooms accessories. These are his cufflinks, watch and cologne.
  • Have a hair and makeup trial. These are also good times to schedule a bridal session. That way you can see how it looks in photographs. Stay away from mineral makeup as this is reflective and you could appear ghostly white.
  • Get ideas on favors and welcoming bags. This is something to give the front desk at the hotel for your out of town guest. That way when they show up they get a little gift. Some people put in candy, water, even aspirin for the morning after.
  • List out your accessories. Make sure to get your something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. The #1 thing brides forget to buy is a garter.
  • List out ceremony extras to buy. These are your arches/arbors, rose pedals, aisle runners, and stuff like unity candles or sand ceremony vases.
  • Decide on your bridal shower outfit. Make sure to look good for your family. This is also an acceptable time to receive wedding registry gifts. That is why it’s important to do this early.
  • Arrange for guest shuttles. If you have a distance to travel from the reception to their hotel, please accommodate your guest, that way no drinking and drive will occur. you can even making a funny sign to call Lyft or Uber.
  • Buy stamps for invites. This is more than you would think so add it to your budget.
  • Decide on your bachelorette outfit. Now is your time to party and get wild. Have a fun flirty outfit.
  • List out the gifts for parents, bridesmaids and groom. A cute pair of Kate spade earrings are a great gift the ladies. A watch or cologne is a good gift for the guys.
  • Plan your grand exit. Are you looking for a sparkler exit or something as simple as throwing lavender seeds. The venues always have strict rules on this, so check with them.
  • Sign up for dance lessons. If you want a choreographed first dance then take a few dance lessons. That way he can lead the way without stress.
  • Address your invites. Their is a lot of people about to party with you. Take time to address them all.
  • Mail out wedding invites. You already have the address and stamps. Now its time to send them off.
  • Decide on dinner rehearsal outfits. Make it cute but classy, remember grandma will be there.
  • Make a honeymoon packing list. Get a check list so you don’t miss a thing…and we mean ANYTHING!
  • Finished your bridal shower gifts and thank you’s. A hand written letter can go a long way to show your appreciation.
  • Research ceremony program ideas and templates. This will be instructions on where they are going once they get there, listing out the bridal party and telling your guest to put away cellphones. 
  • Get your ceremony readings. If you are religious, pick out a few of your favorite readings and have someone important read these such as an aunt or cousin.
  • Buy gifts for the kids. These can simply be the dollar tree gifts. A nerf gun will go a long way for the ring bearer.
  • Buy gifts for parents. Write a letter to mom and dad. A lot of brides will give dad a customer tie clip and give mom a hanky with a quote on it. Picture frames will be great so they can place your new family picture in it.
  • Work on the seating chart. Make sure to not place crazy aunt A with Crazy aunt B. Try and keep the peace. Some people just have their guest sit wherever. Make sure the number of seats at a table are even numbers so couples can sit together. Be aware that 10 people per table will be a tight squeeze and you cant fit plate chargers.
  • Finalize your ceremony outline. If you want a smooth ceremony, plan on who will be walked down the aisle and by whom. Also if bridesmaids will be walking solo or with the paired groomsmen.
  • Create weekend timeline. Plan times for  when is the welcoming party, rehearsal dinner, wedding, and day after Bruch.
  • Have a communication game plan. This is who will be cutting the cake and serving. Who will be doing speeches and when, who is getting your grand exit bag packed, and who is staying to clean up.
  • Print ceremony programs. Get them printed and by the door so guest know what to do.
  • Mail dinner rehearsal invites. Its ok to put these on Facebook to save some money.
  • Make nail and spa appointments. Get everything all pretty and clean. Ask for group discounts if all of you are going.
  • Buy or make a day-of emergency kit. Bring scissors, aspirin, snacks, water, needle and thread.
  • Decide on getting ready robes. A gift you can give the girls are robes that are engraved. You want to wear a robe or a button down, so after hair and makeup is done you don’t have to cut a shirt off.
  • Finish all honey moon details and payments. Make sure you know where and when to be for your flight, have everything packed, and make sure someone will watch your dog.
  • Prepare your toast. It is also very important for the bride/groom to thank everyone for coming and tell them to enjoy their night. Best time to do this is after all of the toast or during the blessing of the food.
  • Decide on perfume for the day. Only wear this on special nights. Scent is the biggest tigger for memory. (also a good gift exchange) 
  • Prepare your vows. Think about what you are going to say to each other. Some people don’t do public vows for ceremony and will write a special letter before hand during the first look.
  • Get your marriage licenses. After this is signed, make sure to deliver in person to make sure it gets there. This is only good for 10 days depending on your county. So get it the week of.
  • Confirm details with wedding party. Make sure your wedding party knows what they are doing to help set up and prepare.
  • Confirm payments with all vendors. Make sure everyone is paid so that way you are not missing flowers on the day of.
  • Put tips aside for vendors. Tip your photographers/DJ around $50-$200 depending on how you thought everything went.
  • Review your wedding vendors. By giving them a google review this will help potential brides gain knowledge about this vendor.
  • Have your dress preserved. Make sure to ask if they are actually saving the whole dress or cutting for the box.
  • Finished all thanks you cards. This is another cute way to show off your wedding photos and thank everyone for attending.
  • Change your name. Turn in the marriage licenses, go to the Social security office to change your name, and get your new ID printed!