A wedding is sometimes considered the first (and biggest) project you and your fiancé will tackle together as future husband and wife. Some even say it’s more complicated and challenging than buying a house, because a house is in just one place and you only have to speak with one or two people. But with a wedding, there’s a goodly amount of scheduling to do. So how do you time it right? Which schedules and teams should you nail down first? When do you do all these things? All these questions and more are tackled here, so read on!
- The Date and the Venues
After the initial euphoria that comes with being newly engaged winds down a bit, couples buckle down and start the tasks that lead them to their wedding day. The first two things you need to finalize will be the date of your wedding and the venues for the ceremony and the reception. What will come into play here would be:
- A significant date, such as getting married on an important occasion, or being strategic and choosing December or a holiday to make celebrations easier and more convenient, or choosing a date that is hard to forget, such as July 1, 2017 (7-1-17)
- A date that allows people to attend your wedding, especially if they are particularly important to you and will play a part on the actual wedding day
- A date that coincides with the season you prefer to be married in (weather, logistics, even styling concerns)
- And as for the venue, the earlier you shop around the higher the chance of booking the venue that you really like on the date you want your wedding to be. This is especially true if you are booking a venue that is very much in demand. Some brides go as far as booking a whole year before the wedding just for the luxury of being able to choose the date they want, while others do so maybe eight or six months prior and run the risk of negotiating a different day or venue.
And as for the venue, the earlier you shop around the better your chances of booking the venue that you really like on the date you really want. This is especially true if you are booking a venue that is very much in demand. Some brides go as far as to book a whole year in advance of the wedding just for the luxury of being able to choose the date they want, while others do so maybe six or eight months prior and run the risk of needing to negotiate a different day or venue.
- Confirming Your Entourage and Wedding Presider
Once you have the actual date and venue down, you need to confirm with all the people in your entourage that they can be there on your special day. Telling them early gives them time to plan their personal and professional lives such that they can be there, and this is especially important for those who live across the country or overseas and need to book a flight and accommodations.
As for your wedding officiant, put that task to bed by booking him or her early on. At the same time, consider a backup in case there is an unavoidable emergency and your first choice won’t be able to preside at the ceremony.
Hint: Having a friend officiate—legally!—is easy to set up.
- Your Wedding Gown Designer and Hair and Makeup Artists
Some brides prefer a customized wedding gown to something bought straight off the rack or online. If you are this bride then you should consult a bridal retailer at least ten months before your wedding. The same also goes for your makeup artist and hairdresser. Since you are not the only client, you will want to have ample time to meet and discuss how you want your look to turn out. You will also have at least three fittings spaced over the time left before your wedding, and if by some reason you suddenly do not fit in your gown in the weeks leading to the wedding then it would be good for your retail consultant to have enough time to make the adjustments.
- Booking Your Hosts and Entertainment
If you are going to have a program host or a special band for your reception, it’s best to book six months before the event – even earlier if you are getting a popular person or group. Events hosts and performers are busy and have schedules booked months in advance, so secure them as soon as possible. If you are getting a friend to do the program for you, three months before the wedding should be ample time. For a band, six to three months before should give them enough time to perfect their repertoire and master the songs you want played at the ceremony and reception.
- Wedding Caterer
You might want to book your caterer at least three or four months before the wedding to ensure that you have enough time to sit down and discuss the menu and even the table settings for the big day. This is important if you are hiring outside catering, but if you are getting your food from your reception venue, you’ve killed two birds with one stone.
- Wedding and Event Stylist
For those who choose not to go the DIY route, three months before the wedding is the maximum that you can book an event stylist, one who will transform your wedding space into what dreams are made of. Earlier is better, (think eight months prior) if you are doing a more complicated affair, or if you want to ensure that you get the person you want for the big day.
- Have a Wedding Command Center – In Your Bag
It may seem passé, but getting a binder or an appointment notebook, which you write in by hand, will really help a lot in getting your schedules in order for your wedding. You can pencil in and erase dates, store samples and prototypes, and use it for hurriedly written lists of wedding-related tasks. After the wedding, you will thank your wedding binder for helping you keep it all together!
- All Else Fails, Get a Wedding Coordinator
For some brides, they would rather hire a wedding coordinator who will handle all these details and more so they can instead focus on other concerns, or simply to lessen the stress of wedding planning. Book your wedding coordinator as soon as you finalize your venue and your reception so he or she can get on with the task of coordinating with these vendors early.
Scheduling is important, so if you attend to these things early on you are practically half done with what you need to accomplish for the wedding!