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Blog - Planning a Wedding - Wedding Planning Timeline with checklist

Planning A Wedding

A Wedding Planning Timeline with suggestions on when to start you wedding planning and what you need to do…

By: Niagara Wedding Helper | October 2017

Blog - Planning a Wedding - Wedding Planning Timeline with checklist

Recently Engaged? Planning a Wedding? Not sure when to start to the planning process or where to even begin? Planning your wedding does not have to be stressful. is a free online wedding directory and a great resource when planning your wedding in the Niagara and surrounding area. It offers you links to the areas finest Wedding Professionals and Venues, along with many helpful wedding planning tools!

One extremely helpful wedding planning tool that Niagara Wedding Helper offers is a Wedding Planning Timeline and Checklist. These helpful tools give suggestions on when to start your wedding planning process, what you need to do, and when to start booking what. Here is Niagara Wedding Helpers Wedding Planning Timeline & Checklist  with tips to plan your perfect wedding:


12 Months Before Your Wedding or Earlier…

Realistically, you should start to plan your wedding a minimum of 12 months a head of time…if not even sooner. One of the main reasons for this is that Wedding Professionals and Venues get booked up fast and if you want to book your first choices you need to do it sooner then later.

To begin your wedding planning process, you need to decide on a date. Do you have a favourite season? Is there a month/day that has special meaning to you? Do you want a weekday or weekend wedding? Choose at least one or two backup dates in case your original choice falls through.

You then need to decide on the type of wedding you want, and create a Wedding Budget based on that type of wedding and your income. Do you want a big or small wedding? Do you want your wedding to be indoors or outdoors? Theme wedding, casual, or formal? What kind of colour scheme do you like? In your opinion, what are the most important aspects of a wedding? The venue? The food and drinks? The entertainment? The décor? These decisions will help determine what you want to spend most of your budget on. If you are unsure of what type of wedding you want or how to create a budget, hiring a Wedding Planner might be a good idea.

Once you decide on the type of wedding you want, and your budget, you need to pick a location for your Ceremony and Reception. Planning your wedding will become much easier once this is taken care of as you will have a concrete date, time and place. Do you want your ceremony and reception to be in the same location or at separate places? Do you want your cocktails and reception to occur right after the ceremony, or do you want to have time in between the two for photos? How many guests do the venue(s) accommodate?

Within this time frame you should also start organizing your wedding party. How big of a wedding party do you want? Who will be your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen? Who will be your Maid of Honour and Best man, etc. Make sure that you confirm their participation. Also, what type of wedding attire do you want them to wear and are the people in the wedding party paying for their own attire? How much are they willing/able to spend? It is a good idea to talk to each member and get their opinions. This however can become overwhelming if everyone has different ideas and suggestions. As much as you need to make compromises to make everyone happy, remember this is your special day and these people are agreeing to be part of your wedding party to be there to support you and your partner.

Now that your wedding planning is starting to take shape, you should start looking at, and obtaining estimates for, your Officiant, Photographer, Videographer, Caterer, Wedding Cake, Florists, DJ Service and/or Live Entertainment, Wedding Decorator, and the Wedding Dress. A good place to start is by attending Wedding Shows. These shows allow you to meet and speak to many different Wedding Professionals and Venues, all in one location. If you do plan to attend a Wedding Show, read my Wedding Show Blog for some great tips! Be sure to look at Wedding Professionals within your wedding budget and find out if your date is available before considering them for your wedding. Check out the Wedding Planning Checklist Page on for some great organization sheets to help keep track of all your information.


9 – 12 Months Before Your Wedding…

You are now nine to twelve months away from your wedding. It may Seem like you still have lots of time left, but that is not always the case. Time goes by fast…trust me. If you have not already started booking your Officiant, Photographer, Videographer, Caterer, Wedding Cake, Florists, Wedding Decorator, DJ Service and/or Live Entertainment, now is the time to do it. Remember, the sooner you book these Wedding Professionals, the better chance you have of booking your first choice. Again, make sure you stay within your budget. Find out what kind of contract they require, deposit dates, etc. This is also the time to pick out and order the Wedding Dress and your Bridesmaid Dresses. The Bride and Bridesmaids will most likely require multiple fittings and you need to allow for time for the dresses to be ordered.

Creating your Wedding Guest List is another task you should start taking care of now. Based on the type of wedding you want and your budget, how many guests are you planning on inviting? Again, make sure that your Wedding Venue(s) can accommodate the number of guests that you want to invite. Also, narrowing you list down can be very challenging (especially when your parents what to invite everyone you know). If you and your partner are paying for the wedding then its okay to have your say in the guest list and invite who YOU want; however, if the parent / parent-in-laws are flipping the bill then its best to let them invite (at least some of) the people they want. You should also decide on where you want to get your invitations made and find out how long it will take to create them.


6 – 9 Months Before Your Wedding…

Okay, you still have roughly half a year before your wedding. And you have all the major things booked. You are smooth sailing from here right? Maybe? Well maybe not exactly. Now is the point in the wedding planning process that you are going to start to realize that there are what feels like a million tiny details that you still need to figure out.

During this time frame, you should go over the details of your wedding reception and menu with caterer/hotel manager, make an appointment for first your first dress fitting, make sure bridesmaids go to their dress fittings, assist in choosing your parent’s outfits (if necessary), and review the Marriage Licence Requirements where you live. If you haven’t already, make sure you order your Wedding Cake, Flowers, Wedding Stationary and any other rental supplies you might need/want. And be sure to book and arrange the transportation for you and your wedding party. Some other things that you may want to consider are guest accommodations, guest transportation, and liability insurance for your wedding reception. Oh…and don’t forget your honeymoon arrangements…this is a must! After a year or more of planning for your wedding, you and your partner will want to go away on a honeymoon and spend some relaxing time together.


3 – 6 Months Before Your Wedding…

Your wedding day is so close, but still so far away. The good thing is that most of the wedding planning should be taken care of by now. A few things, however, that you do want to complete during these months include finalizing the guest list, confirming your order with the Florist, confirming your music selection for both your ceremony and reception, and confirming your honeymoon reservations. You will also want to reserve the Groom and Groomsmen’s Wedding Attire, choose your readers for the ceremony and/or reception, and make appointments with the hairdresser and makeup artists. If you are having a Bridal Shower or Bachelor/Bachelorette, then these arrangements will also need to be completed.


2 Months Before Your Wedding…

You are getting closer to your special day! This is when you should start to mail out your invitations to your guests, finalize your reception dinner menu, plan your rehearsal dinner, go to the final wedding dress fitting and apply for your marriage licence.


2 Weeks to 1 Month Before Your Wedding…

Now your wedding is getting really close…and you are probably starting to get really excited! A few things that you still need to take care of include making sure that you have your wedding bands, confirming that your wedding party has all their required attire, calling any invited guests who have not responded, contacting your Caterer and Reception Venue with any last-minute changes, and creating your wedding speeches/vows. The Bride should also do a hair and make-up test run with the headpiece/veil.


1 Week Before Your Wedding…

You are almost there! Just a little bit of planning left. Make sure you call your rehearsal dinner site to finalize plans and give number of people who will be attending; and remind your rehearsal dinner guests of the time/location. Go and pick up the wedding dress, the Bridesmaid dresses, and the Groom and Groomsmen’s attire. And finally, be sure to take care of any last-minute details including finalizing seating plans, confirming your ceremony details, confirming with your photographer/videographer any special photos/video you want taken, arranging all your final payments to the wedding vendors, delivering your marriage licence to your wedding officiant, and arranging to have someone return any rented items after the wedding.


1 Day Before Your Wedding…

Now the butterflies are starting to appear. Although there are a few small things left that you still need to do, its time to start having some fun. Have the Bride and Bridesmaids go get manicure & pedicures. Maybe the guys want to do this to? Confirm all your reservation times (i.e. limo pick up, hair, etc.). Attend your wedding rehearsal and dinner. Hand out your wedding party and parent gifts. And most importantly…get a good night sleep!


The Day of Your Wedding…

Your Wedding Day is FINALLY here. All your wedding planning is done. This day should be all about the couple getting married. Eat breakfast, go to your hair and make up appointments, give cheques that needed to be given that day to best man along with the wedding rings…and most importantly…HAVE FUN AND ENJOY YOUR WEDDING DAY!!!!!

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