Just Engaged? Start Wedding Planning with Our Stress-Free Guide
Just Engaged? Here's When to Start Wedding Planning and How to Make It Stress-Free
Embarking on the wedding planning journey immediately after getting engaged can be overwhelming. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you determine the best time to start planning and make the process as smooth as possible.
How Long Should You Wait to Begin Wedding Planning?
The waiting period between getting engaged and starting wedding planning varies for every couple. It's essential to savor the excitement and joy of being engaged, but also consider the timeline you have for the big day. Here's a breakdown of when to begin wedding planning based on your engagement length:
For Engagements Over 18 Months
For couples with a long engagement, enjoy at least one month of the "just engaged" phase before diving into wedding planning. This timeframe allows you to celebrate with loved ones, take your time, and reduce stress.
For Engagements Around 13 Months
The average engagement length is 13 months, which provides a comfortable planning timeframe. Allow yourself three weeks to revel in your engagement before embarking on the wedding planning journey.
For Engagements Less Than 12 Months
If you're planning to get married in less than a year, give yourself two weeks to enjoy the engagement period. This timeframe allows you to relax and prepare mentally for the upcoming planning process.
For Engagements of 6 Months
For couples planning a wedding within six months, you can take about a week to bask in the "just engaged" glow before diving into planning. This ensures you maintain momentum and enthusiasm for your big day.
For Engagements of 3 Months or Less
If your wedding is just around the corner, it's crucial to start planning as soon as possible. Take a couple of days to collect your thoughts and then use a short-term wedding planning checklist to guide you through the process.
Essential First Steps in Wedding Planning
Once you've enjoyed your engagement and are ready to start planning, follow these initial steps to set the foundation for your wedding:
- Determine the wedding location: Before setting your budget, decide whether you'll have a destination wedding, a local event, or something in between. This decision will impact your overall expenses and set the stage for the rest of your planning.
- Establish your wedding budget: Based on your chosen location, research the average cost of weddings in that area. Consult with any financial contributors and set a budget that works for everyone involved.
- Choose your wedding style: Decide on a theme or style that reflects your personalities and preferences. This choice will guide your venue selection and help create a cohesive look for your big day.
- Create an estimated guest list: Draft a preliminary guest list to determine the ideal venue size. Consult with your families to ensure you include all essential attendees.
- Hire a wedding planner: If you opt for a full-service wedding planner, start the search early. Once hired, your planner will assist in selecting a venue and building the rest of your vendor team.
- Pick your wedding party: Choose your maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other attendants to support you on your special day.
- Select a wedding venue and set the date: Research venues that align with your wedding style and size. After booking your dream venue, your wedding date will be officially set.
- Hire your wedding vendors: Assemble a team of professionals to make your wedding vision come to life. Consider hiring a caterer, florist, officiant, photographer, videographer, cake baker, band or DJ, stationer, hair and makeup artists, and transportation services.
- Create your wedding website: Set up a website to keep your guests informed throughout the planning process. Include essential information such as the wedding date, venue, accommodation options, and gift registry details.
The Wedding Planning Timeline
To help you stay organized and on track, follow a comprehensive wedding planning timeline tailored to your engagement length. Here's an outline of what to expect at various stages of the planning process:
- 12-18 Months Before the Wedding
- Announce your engagement and celebrate with loved ones.
- Set your wedding date and book your venue.
- Begin researching wedding vendors and schedule consultations.
- Create your guest list and send out save-the-date cards.
- Start shopping for your wedding attire.
6-12 Months Before the Wedding
- Finalize your vendor team and sign contracts.
- Choose your wedding party attire and accessories.
- Register for gifts and update your wedding website with registry information.
- Plan your honeymoon and make travel arrangements.
- Schedule and attend pre-wedding events, such as engagement parties, bridal showers, and bachelor/bachelorette parties.
3-6 Months Before the Wedding
- Order your wedding invitations and start addressing them.
- Finalize your menu and cake design with your caterer and baker.
- Book accommodations for out-of-town guests.
- Confirm transportation for the wedding day.
- Schedule a hair and makeup trial.
1-3 Months Before the Wedding
- Send out wedding invitations and track RSVPs.
- Attend dress fittings and make any necessary alterations.
- Confirm the wedding day timeline with your vendors.
- Purchase your wedding rings.
- Create a seating chart and finalize other reception details.
2-4 Weeks Before the Wedding
- Obtain your marriage license.
- Finalize any last-minute details with your vendors.
- Pick up your wedding attire.
- Host a rehearsal dinner to run through the ceremony with your wedding party.
- Prepare and pack for your honeymoon.
- The Wedding Week
- Confirm arrival times with your vendors.
- Delegate small tasks to your wedding party or family members.
- Relax and enjoy a spa day or other self-care activities.
- Attend your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
- Get a good night's sleep before your big day.
By following these steps and adjusting your planning timeline based on your engagement length, you'll be well on your way to a successful, stress-free wedding planning experience. Remember to stay organized, prioritize communication with your vendors and wedding party, and most importantly, enjoy the journey to your special day.