You've announced your engagement and you're ready to start planning your big day...hooray! But where exactly should you start? If you're feeling at a loss about where to jump into the whole planning process, here's a rough timeline of the major things you'll need to do over the next 12 months. Use this as a starting point to help you collect your thoughts and then get your planning on. Good luck, Loverlies, and have fun!

12 months before :

- Come up with a tentative budget and talk to your love about what your ideal wedding would look like.
- Decide when you want to get married. If your date is flexible, check with several venues you like to see when exactly they're available and how much they will cost.
- Research venues.
- Draft a guest list.
- Talk to your parents about their ability to contribute and finalize your wedding budget.
- If you've decided to hire a wedding planner, interview and select yours.

10-11 months before :

- Book your ceremony and reception venues.
- Choose your wedding party.
- Book an officiant.
- Find and order your wedding gown.
- Start interviewing wedding vendors and professionals (florist, stationer, DJ/musician, band, videographer, etc.).
- Plot out the decor scheme for your wedding: Will you hang twinkly lights or chandeliers? Line the aisle with candles? Use hay bales for reception seating? Consider any rentals you'll need to execute your vision.
- Meet with caterers; sample and choose reception food.
- Book your wedding photographer.
- Take engagement photos.
- Send out save-the-dates for a destination wedding.

8-9 months before :

- Finalize bar service.
- Register for gifts.
- Reserve any necessary rentals.
- Reserve room blocks for out-of-town guests.
- Book wedding band/DJ.
- Book florist.
- Finalize stationery suite.

6-7 months before :

- Set up your wedding website.
- Order bridesmaid dresses.
- Send save-the-dates.
- Finalize wedding entertainment.
- Order formalwear for the groom.
- Start researching honeymoon travel.

4-5 months before :

- Purchase wedding rings.
- Order invitations.
- Order formalwear for groomsmen.
- Attend cake tastings; choose a baker and cake.
- Choose attire for flower girl/ring bearer.
- Finalize ceremony order; ask friends to do readings.
- Book honeymoon.

3 months before :

- Hire calligrapher for invitations (if necessary).
- Have a wedding shower.
- Book venue for rehearsal dinner.
- Purchase accessories, including jewelry, shoes, veil, cuff links, bow ties, etc.

2 months before :

- Mail your invitations.
- Meet and book stylists/makeup artists and test out wedding hairstyles and makeup looks.
- Purchase gifts for your wedding party.
- Order wedding programs.
- Write or choose your wedding vows.
- Book any necessary day-of transportation.

1 month before :

- Confirm playlist/do-not-play list with musicians or DJ.
- Send rehearsal dinner invites.
- Purchase wedding favors.
- Wrap up DIY projects.
- Have a final gown fitting; ensure your maid of honor knows how to bustle your gown, if necessary.
- Apply for your marriage license.
- Create welcome bags for out-of-town guests.
- Confirm all day-of details with vendors; make any necessary substitutions/changes.
- Confirm all important details with wedding party members (e.g. arrival times, attire fittings, etc.).
- Confirm that necessary space for all vendors and equipment is available at the venue.
- Arrange for care of pets/home during your honeymoon.
- Have bachelor/bachelorette parties.

3 weeks before :

- Contact any MIA guests to get their RSVPs.
- Finalize guest list and give head count to caterer/venue.
- Confirm vendor meals with caterer.
- Prepare must-have shot list with photographer; give names of all VIPs.

2 weeks before :

- Get final haircut and color.
- Confirm all honeymoon travel.
- Plan reception seating chart.

1 week before :

- Print or DIY your escort cards.
- Call all vendors and confirm delivery/setup/takedown arrangements.
- Give your day's schedule to ceremony/reception site managers, including deliveries, setup, takedown, etc. __2-3 days before__:
- Make sure your dress is ready to go; get it steamed or pressed if necessary.
- Pick up the mens' formalwear.
- Finalize bridal party positions and order they'll walk down the aisle.
- Deliver place cards, programs, menus, etc. to appropriate venue or site managers.
- Drop off welcome bags at guest hotels and give delivery instructions to the front desk.
- Designate someone as the emergency contact person and give out their phone number to all vendors. Make sure to pick a trusted relative or responsible member of the bridal party.
- Rehearse ceremony at venue.
- Write final checks to vendors and professionals.

1 day before :

- Attend rehearsal dinner.
- Give gifts to attendants.
- Give marriage license to officiant.
- Print out your vows if you're writing your own.
- Get a mani and pedi.

On the BIG day :

- Eat something hearty for breakfast!
- Give wedding rings to a member of the bridal party for safe keeping.
- Introduce your vendors and site managers to your emergency contact.
- Ensure final checks, including tips, are in envelopes and ready to be handed off to vendors and professionals.
- Eat, drink, and be married!

In the weeks after the wedding :

- Send thank-you notes.
- Return any remaining rentals.
- Have your gown cleaned and/or preserved.
- Return formalwear.
- Enjoy your honeymoon!

Happy planning!

Photo by Warmphoto on Fab You Bliss

You May Also Like

  • How to Make Sure You Get the Wedding Photos You Want

    Read More
  • 8 Ways to Properly Thank Your Wedding Vendors

    Read More
  • 7 Questions You MUST Ask Yourself Before Picking Your Bridesmaids

    Read More
  • How to Brace Yourself for Unexpected Wedding Weather

    Read More
  • How to Make Sure All Your 'Maids Actually Get Along

    Read More
  • 8 Things Your Wedding Vendors Wish You Knew

    Read More
  • How to Field Your Family's Wedding Questions This Holiday Season (Without Losing It)

    Read More
  • 11 Social Media Do's and Don’ts to Keep in Mind for Your Big Day

    Read More
  • 15 Wedding Trends We're Grateful For Right Now

    Read More
  • 15 Old School Songs to Consider for Your First Dance

    Read More
  • 10 Festive Ways to Work the Holidays Into Your Wedding

    Read More
  • Here's Why You Should Consider A New Year's Eve Wedding

    Read More
  • What Your First Dance Song Says About Your Relationship

    Read More
  • This Photographer's Unplugged Wedding Plea Went Viral (and You Should Read It)

    Read More
  • 9 Questions to Ask Before You Add Someone to Your Guest List

    Read More
  • How to Prepare for Your Very First Vendor Meeting

    Read More
  • 7 Wedding Venue Red Flags You Shouldn't Ignore

    Read More
  • The 11 Bridesmaids You’ll Find in Every Wedding Party

    Read More
  • These 13 First Look Photos Will Make You Feel ALL the Feelings

    Read More
  • How to Plan a Wedding in 6 Months

    Read More
  • How to Drop a Hint that You're REALLY Ready for the Ring

    Read More
  • 5 Signs She's NOT Bridesmaid Material

    Read More
  • 11 Things Brides WISH They Could Post on Facebook While Wedding Planning

    Read More
  • 7 Conversations You Must Have BEFORE You Get Married

    Read More