If you are reading this, you might be recently engaged and for that – Congratulations!
Wedding planning is a huge and exciting (and sometimes stressful) job to do. We’ve compiled a list of tasks and a general timeline to hopefully help you break down these jobs into manageable pieces to keep you from feeling overwhelmed (and more excited)!
At Least One Year in Advance
o Get Inspired! This is where a lot of brides head to Pinterest, favourite blogs, or search hashtags on Instagram to find inspiration for their own wedding. From there you can choose a colour scheme and style that you love.
o Work out a budget – remember this is your day and you should prioritize where to splurge and where to save. Having your budget set will help you stay on track.
o Choose your wedding party members
o Begin your wedding guest list
o Hire a planner
o Reserve your date at your venue – these book up quickly so make sure you spend some time narrowing where you want to host your wedding early. Check out some of the amazing venues we love here.
o Research and start following photographers (like us!), bands, DJ’s, caterers, florists, officiants, rentals, décor etc. Following along will help you get to know not only their style but their personalities as well.
o Start a wedding folder to keep all of your estimates, business cards, brochures etc. in one place. If you are a bride of ours, don’t forget to stop by the Bridal Lounge for all of this already sent to you and other free swag.
At Least 9 Months In Advance
o After you’ve secured your venue, hire your photographer. Some vendors (venues, photographers and officiants and popular makeup artists tend to book 1-2 years in advance here in Ottawa). If you are holding your wedding during peak season (think May through October) start conversations with your preferred photographers early. We book up quickly and often a year or more in advance.
o Take your engagement photos! Yay! – this is so fun for us and gives us some time to get you relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera before the big day. We walk you through the whole process from locations, what to wear, what to expect and more.
o Go dress shopping and buy your dress – We love supporting local so make sure you check out our favourite Ottawa bridal boutiques!
o Create a wedding website – Squarespace makes it really easy!
o Meet with caterers
o Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out of town guests
o Register at your favourite brands – don’t forget to include this on your website!
o Book the officiant
At least 6 Months in Advance
o Purchase your invitations – stuck on ideas? Check out tips from the pros.
o Finalize your guest list and request addresses
o Begin to plan your honeymoon
o Choose bridesmaid dresses
o Reserve any rentals you may need (tents, chairs, linens etc)
o Book a florist
o Arrange transportation
o Send out Save-The-Dates
At least 4-5 Months In Advance
o Order your cake
o Check on the status of your wedding invitations
o Schedule and meet with Make Up Artists
o Send your bridal shower guest list to your host
o Choose your processional music and reception playlist
o Schedule a dress fitting appointment and shop for any accessories you may want
o Purchase or rent groom’s suit
o Book accommodations for the wedding night
o Provide guest lists to Best Man and Maid of Honour for bachelor/bachelorette parties
At Least 3 Months in Advance
o Print programs for guests
o Print menu cards
o Purchase wedding bands
o Work with caterer to finalize the menu for reception
o Finalize florals for the wedding
o Finalize event schedule and start creating the day-of-timeline
*TIP – Meeting with your photographer to go over the best time of day for portraits will allow you to have killer wedding day photos to go up on the walls and in your wedding album
o Order wedding favours
o Meet with officiant
At least 2 Months in Advance
o Review the playlist with the band and DJ and provide them with a “must play” list
o Send out wedding invitations
o Let loose at your bachelor/bachelorette parties
o Send out as many final payments as you can (remembering that most banks have daily transfer limits and to spread out the spending)
o Touch base with all vendors
o Make sure that the groomsmen suits have been purchased or rented
At least 1 month in Advance
o Get your marriage licence
o Go to your last dress fitting
o Confirm times for all vendors and resend your day of timeline again
o Create seating chart for the reception
o Purchase wedding party gifts
o Write vows
o Call guests who have not yet RSVP’d for final headcount
o Make sure all members of the wedding party know their roles for the wedding day
At Least One Week In Advance (Yay! You are getting so close!)
o Outsource any small day of tasks to a day of coordinator
o Make sure everyone in your wedding party has the day of timeline
o De-stress at the spa! (it’s on the list, so why not treat yourself to some downtime)
o Send the final numbers to the caterer
o Dance around in your wedding shoes (we don’t want you to have to break in those shoes on the big day)
After the Wedding
o Send out Thank You cards
o Officially change your last name