The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline by Katie O’ Weddings & Events

The Katie O’ team photographed by Indigo Pine

You’re Engaged, now what?

We LOVE engagement season and love to see all the sparkle, happiness, and hope for brighter days ahead flooding our news feeds. If you are among the newly engaged, we have some helpful tips on what your first steps should be in order to make this time more fun and less overwhelming.

1. Enjoy your engagement!

Try to take some time as a couple to truly enjoy just being engaged before
you dive headfirst into planning. Celebrate with a bottle of champagne,
dinner for just the two of you or your close family. This is such a unique time in your life and you should try to treasure the celebration and excitement for as long as you can.

2. Communication is KEY!

Starting from the very early stages of planning you must be communicating
with your partner. Open, honest, and straightforward conversations about
everything will help to make the process easier for everyone. Share your
overall vision and expectations with your partner to make sure you are both on the same page. Determine your “top 3” priorities surrounding your
wedding day and build from there.

Photography by The Wayfarers

3. Determine your budget.

Once you confirm how much you have to spend and where the money is
coming from, you will be able to relax and set yourself up for success when
starting to identify your date, venue, and vendors. It doesn’t help anyone to
start reaching out to venues or vendors when you are unclear on what you
have to spend.

4. Create your guest list.

The number of guests you invite will drive your budget up or down, plain and simple. You will need more of everything if your guest list number is high. Space in a venue, paper for invitations, booze for an open bar, transportation, hotel room, etc! Once you have a maximum number (based on your budget) this will make planning much smoother. After you have addressed these very important points you can get started planning. Here is a glimpse of what the first few months should look like…

Photography by Dyanna LaMora

12-10 months prior

Do all of the above and then start your venue search! Note that due to COVID, there are many venues that will have limited dates available in 2021 and are starting to rapidly fill 2022. We advise securing your venue and date ASAP.

  • Hire a wedding planner or “day-of coordinator”
  • Find/secure a venue for your date
  • Book your caterer
  • Book your photo/video team
  • Book your band or DJ (consider ceremony and reception musicians)
  • Shop for your wedding gown, once you find and purchase, get started on bridal attendant attire
  • Confirm who will perform the ceremony
  • Consider hotel room blocks
Photography by YTK Works

10-8 months prior

  • Create your wedding website with all hotel and local details for your guests
  • Mail/email a Save the Date (you can send as early as now, no later than 6 months prior)
  • Create a well-organized pinboard that you can share with vendors who will need to know your vision
  • Meet with a stationery designer
  • Book your florist
  • Secure hair and make-up services
  • Secure rentals if needed
  • Select your bridal party attendants
  • Consider location for rehearsal dinner and brunch if hosting
Photography by Matt Ramos Photography

8-6 months prior

  • Consider groom and groomsmen attire
  • Work with designer on invitation wording, design, and printing timeline
  • Allow time for assembly, applying postage (to the RSVP and outer envelope) *Plan to mail no later than 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding date
  • Schedule tasting with caterer and choose meal selections if to be included on invitation
  • Start your wedding registry
  • Confirm bridesmaids have ordered their dresses
Photography by YTK Works

6-4 months prior

  • Think about welcome bags for guests, favors, card box, and extra detail items
  • Order/reserve groomsmen attire
  • Purchase your wedding bands
Photography by Dyanna LaMora

4-2 months prior

  • Mail invitations (6-8 weeks prior)
  • Apply for your marriage license (research requirements for your state online)
  • Finalize ceremony readings, details, and song selections
  • Review any required insurance needs for venue/vendors
  • Finalize “day of printed items” (programs, escort cards, etc)

One month prior

  • Confirm/track all RSVP’s
  • Start your seating chart
  • Provide final counts to your vendors
  • Create a timeline for the day to share with vendors
  • Final calls with photo/video, DJ/Band, caterer
  • Review contract for final payments
Photography by Rob Spring Photography

Katie O’ Events and Weddings is a event coordination company based in New York’s Capital Region serving the Greater Northeast. You can learn more about their services here.

Katie O’ Events and Weddings is a long-time Creative Partner of Mazzone Hospitality. To learn about this group of experienced wedding vendors, see the full list here.

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