Planning a wedding requires a lot of the bride and groom. It’s a year-long process of numerous moving parts that all need to be achieved long before the big day finally arrives. So to make it easy, I’ve come up with the ultimate wedding planning timeline to help ensure you’re never behind on planning your magical day.

12 Months To Go Until You Tie The Knot

The beginning of the wedding planning timeline might just be the most crucial part. This is the foundation from which everything will grow. So let’s not waste any time talking about a wedding planning timeline, and instead, let's dive into the first four months!

Celebrating The Engagement 

Yes, planning the wedding is essential, but celebrating your engagement is just as necessary. You want to celebrate with your friends and family long before the wedding takes place. So take a moment to show off that ring, flash some smiles, and have some champagne with the ones you love most.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline: Newly engaged couple smiling as they pop a bottle of champagne to celebrate their engagement at a lake dock, taken by wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

Want to learn more about engagement parties? I’ve got a whole article that explains what they are and how to have them.

Budget

Weddings can be super expensive, so start with an overall budget and break it down into parts. For example, how much do you want to spend on the dress, the cake, and the ceremony? This will help set parameters to what is and isn’t possible.

Figuring Out The Guest List

This is a step with mini-steps. How many people are you thinking of inviting? Who makes the first guest list? This won’t be the final time you take on this step as the venue capacity, the cost of catering and other factors will play a hand in reducing your guest list. 

Black and white photo of the guests, with two of them smiling at the camera, waiting for the wedding ceremony to start

Bridesmaids & Groomsmen

Figure out who will be standing beside you both as you commit to one another. Telling the chosen bridesmaids and groomsmen doesn’t have to happen immediately, but don’t leave it too late either. 

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline: Bride and groom sharing a kiss as their bridesmaids and groomsmen cheer for them, photographed by Austin photographer Nikk Nguyen

Wedding & Reception Venue 

Where you’re going to get married is the cornerstone of a wedding. Choosing a venue can be a tough decision unless you already have a venue in mind. Start looking around in your area, but don’t limit yourself. Be willing to drive further out if the venue honestly seems worthwhile. 

Getting married in Austin? Take a look at some of my favorite outdoor wedding venues

Set The Date

The availability of the venue can sometimes determine the date. If you’ve got a specific time of year in mind, book as soon as you possibly can!

8 Months To Go Until You Tie The Knot

This period of the wedding planning timeline is all about the vendors. You’ve found the venue; now it’s time to fill out the list of people who will bring this special day to life.

Wedding Planner

You’re never required to have a wedding planner, but if you feel like having an extra hand who knows a lot about weddings, the area, and probably has a ton of contacts to make everything a whole lot easier, then definitely consider it.

Considering a wedding planner? Here are some of the best wedding planners in Austin, Texas, who are perfect for planning your special day!

Catering

Food is an essential part of the reception, and the last thing you want is a perfect day ruined by awful food. So look at all the options, craft a list of caterers you think are perfect for your wedding, and start trying them out before committing to any.

Close-up shot of the mouthwatering food on three plates being balanced and held by a server during a wedding reception

I know some of the best caterers in Austin, Texas, and you need to know them too! So take a look at some of my favorite caterers that you should consider for your special day.

Photographer

Weddings take a while to plan, but on the day, you’ll be surprised at how fast it all moves. Having the memories captured by a professional photographer is essential if you want to relive the magic of your wedding day. 

I’ve been involved in my fair share of weddings and love capturing the moments of happy couples on their special day! So check out my portfolio, and let’s capture some memories together. 

Wedding Dress

This is a journey; you’re most likely not going to find your wedding dress on your first visit to the boutique. So start shopping from this moment and keep looking until you find the perfect dress for your special day. 

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline. Gorgeous bride smiling as she looks down and sways in her dress while holding her bouquet in one hand, taken by Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

Theme

Start thinking about what you want your wedding to look like decor, floral arrangements, colors, and more. 

Officiant

Never leave this step too late. Start looking around for the perfect person to conduct the ceremony, and make sure that you get their commitment well in advance.

The wedding officiant smiling as he reads through the ceremonial rites at a wedding

6 Months To Go Until You Tie The Knot

We’re now halfway through the wedding planning timeline, and things are heating up!

Cake

You and your partner need to go on a cake tasting tour of all the local offerings to find the perfect wedding cake.

Want to learn more about choosing the right designer for your wedding cake? Check out my article that details everything you need to know about choosing a cake designer!

Flowers

Start hunting online, or ask your family and friends for recommendations when looking for the perfect florist to handle your wedding. 

Close-up shot of the beautifully made floral bouquet made primarily out of roses of different colors and disco balls to add a nice touch

Check out some of my favorite florists in Austin, Texas!

Entertainment

Start considering what kind of entertainment you’re going to have at your reception. DJ or band? These are the critical questions.

Guitarist rehearsing his piece as he prepares to serenade the crowd during the wedding reception

I’ve got a whole article about choosing between a DJ or a live band; take a look if you need more insights.

Hair & Makeup Trials

It sounds early, but this is vital! You want to have confidence in the team, making you look beautiful for the ceremony. This early start means you can throw around ideas and figure out the best look for the special day. 

Bride smiling at the camera as she gets her hair done by a stylist, photographed by wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

If you want to learn more about the value of hair and makeup artists for your wedding, be sure to check out my article, breaking it all down.

4 Months To Go Until You Tie The Knot

The ultimate wedding plan is now down to the final four months. So much of the prep has been achieved, and now we’re getting down to the finer details. 

Wedding Dress & Bridesmaids Dresses

By now, you should have your wedding dress and should be considering the bridesmaid's dresses. Make sure every detail of their look has been considered and solved so that there’s zero confusion going into the wedding.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline. Bride, with her hair in a bun and back to the camera, showing her dress to her bridesmaids who are smiling in awe.

For the groom and groomsmen, just ensure they match the overall theme, consider some matching ties/bowties/pocket squares, and you’ll be good to go. 

Wedding Bands

You and your partner need to determine your budget for wedding bands and begin searching for the perfect wedding bands after you say ‘I do.’

Close-up shot of the three wedding bands placed one on top of the other on a wooden desk with a succulent beside it

Save the Date

By now, you should have completely figured out who is and isn’t invited. You currently have to send out the save the dates just to alert everyone invited that a wedding will be happening. 

Honeymoon Prep

You don’t want to enjoy your wedding and only realize afterward that you never considered the honeymoon. So take a moment to start planning and nailing down what your honeymoon will look like. After a long year of planning and getting married, a vacation will be sorely needed!

2 Months To Go Until You Tie The Knot

2 months are left in the ultimate wedding planning timeline. Don’t get nervous! You’ve been doing well if you’ve been following along and have a bulk of your special day sorted out.

Get Invitations 

With all the details, style, and design confirmed, it’s time to order a test invitation before ordering the amount needed. Make sure it’s correct before ordering in bulk! 

Close-up flat-lay shot of the boho-themed and muted pastel wedding invitations laid together on a wooden desk

Want to learn more about wedding invitations? You’re in luck! I’ve got a whole blog post all about Wedding Invitation Etiquette, so check it out.

Wedding Favors

Any gifts you plan on providing your guests should be decided on ahead of time. For example, if you’re looking to personalize anything with the guests' names, wait on the RSVPs to avoid wasting money.

The pumpkin-inspired cookie placed on top of a plate with the wedding reception menu on the table with utensils, glasses, candles and a floral centerpiece

On the other hand, it’s great to find some great DIY projects if you have the time, as they can be a lot more cost-effective without losing their appeal. 

Vows

You and your partner won’t be doing this together, but you will both need to consider what you’re going to say. So take some time to go through a couple of drafts before settling on any particular set of vows.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline. Black and white photo of the bride and groom smiling as the bride reads her vows written on paper aloud, shot by modern wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

I’ve got all the tips and tricks you need right here to write brilliant wedding vows.

Bridal Party & Bachelor Party Prep

Your maid of honor, or best man, should be taking on a bulk of the planning but being involved lightly to make sure you’re sticking to a schedule is perfectly all right. This is one thing you shouldn’t have to be super engaged in as you’ve got enough to deal with already!

6 Weeks To Go Until You Tie The Knot

If you’ve made it this far in the wedding planning timeline, then congratulations! You’re going to have a fantastic day, but we’re not finished yet.

Marriage License 

Start considering what your state requires to get a marriage license. Most states have online portals to make navigating and obtaining a license easier for you. Also, remember that some states have waiting periods. So consider checking this well before the six-week mark to ensure you’ve got enough time to get it before the big day. 

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline. Bride and groom dancing on the dance floor at their wedding reception while sharing a kiss, captured by Austin photographer Nikk Nguyen

Confirm Everything Is In Place

Start going through your vendor list to see if everything is still on track and nothing is coming up as an issue. 

Finalize Your Schedule

Start finalizing the timeline of your wedding, from getting ready to the first dance as a married couple. 

Send Out Invitations 

Time to send out your invitations and give your guests all the information they’ll need.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline. Flat-lay shot of the wedding invitation along with the plastic wrapping and wax seal with a flower on it as well as the postage stamps.

3 Weeks To Go Until You Tie The Knot

You’re now closer than ever! 

Getting Ready

If you’re planning on getting your hair freshly dyed, going for a spray tan or any cosmetic procedures now’s the time. 

Bachelorette & Bachelor Parties

Time to party like you’re single. Hopefully, your maid of honor and best man have come up with something fun for you to do as a way to celebrate your upcoming wedding. Just don’t get too wild!

Close-up shot of a server pouring champagne into wine glasses stacked together on a table

Suppose you’re looking for a fun time in Austin, Texas. In that case, you need to check out these 14 locations perfect for a bachelorette party!

Dress Fittings

Make sure there aren’t any alterations that need to be made to your dress or your bridesmaid's dresses. This is the time to nail down the measurements!

The bride and bridesmaids' dresses hanging from a curtain rod at the hotel room before the wedding ceremony

1 Week To Go Until You Tie The Knot

Okay, don’t freak out, but you’re getting married in a few days! This is a time of confirming guest details in the wedding planning timeline.

Final Headcount

Let your vendors and the venue know what they’re in for so they can prepare accurately for your special day. Nobody wants to show up and find there aren’t enough chairs or meals because you made a mistake in the guest count or someone RSVP late.

Seating Chart

Figure out where everyone will sit and make sure you make an accurate depiction of that so guests know on the day where they’ll be sitting. Consider who might need to avoid who so that there’s no drama being started on the day of your wedding. 

The wedding reception set up with a long table lined with plates, utensils, glasses and floral and candle centerpieces, along with fairylights above

All Plans In Place

With all the details figured out and dictated, it’s time to start making sure everything is ready to go because now we’re moving to the most important part of the wedding planning timeline. 

A Few Days To Go Until You Tie The Knot

Here it is, the last stretch of the wedding planning timeline. 

Final Cosmetic Preparations 

If you’re planning on getting a manicure, pedicure, or any other cosmetic procedures that don’t have the potential to go horribly wrong, then now is the time. 

Bride and her bridesmaids talking and sharing laughs while in their robes and preparing for the wedding ceremony

Relax

I know this sounds ludicrous, but truly, relax for a moment. You’ve done the work. Anything that happens beyond this point is out of your hands. Focus on enjoying your wedding and all the magic that comes with it.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline. Bride and groom sharing laughs with each other during their golden hour wedding shoot with Nikk Nguyen.

Important Note

It’s important to remember that this is a wedding planning timeline exclusive to larger, more traditional weddings. Elopements and micro weddings have their own, often shorter, wedding planning timelines. 

Conclusion

There you have it, the ultimate wedding planning timeline! It seems so daunting when it’s all laid out like this but trust me, it flies by in a matter of moments. When you get to your special day, you’ll forget all about the stress of planning your wedding and will instead be happy to finally get to say ‘I do’ to the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with!
If you want to collaborate with a photographer who wants to be more than just another vendor, be sure to reach out on my website! I can’t wait to talk all about your special day and the finer details of what we can achieve together.

DID YOU ENJOY THIS BLOG POST? PIN IT FOR LATER…

Bride and groom walking back along the aisle while smiling at their guests during their wedding; image overlaid with text that reads The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline
Bride and groom gently pressing their foreheads against each other while sharing an embrace during their wedding shoot with Nikk Nguyen; image overlaid with text that reads The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline

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