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It is official! You and your significant other have agreed to tie the knot. You are so excited that you want to stay in the engagement bubble for as long as possible, but it’s impossible to stop yourself from rushing to tell your family and friends. As expected, you’ll start receiving endless questions.

When is the big day? Have you decided where to have the wedding? What will you wear? Is it a destination or a local wedding?

With pressure mounting, you’ll have to start planning for a wedding. The big problem is how long before the wedding you should start.

Most wedding planners and experts argue that an average of 8 to 16 months is enough to plan a wedding. However, the timeline is subject to many things, like your schedule, budget, and the kind of wedding you want.

Each wedding will need various periods for preparation.

This article explores when to start planning a wedding, what to do first, and the conversations you need to have immediately.

When to Start Planning

There is no generally established amount of time to plan a wedding. Each wedding and couple are different in many ways meaning that the time to start preparing will vary. Some will elope immediately, while others will need time to prepare.

Of course, some have been planning their wedding day from the first day they saw each other.

Our advice at Curated Events is to take some time and bask in the joy of getting engaged. This ‘engagement honeymoon’ period will help you and your partner to think deeply about what you want in your nuptials.

You need to figure out many things before you start planning a wedding. First, you’ll have to know the period and under what budget you are working.

Your time dictates the speed you spend accomplishing tasks, and the budget governs what you can afford and what vendors to approach. You must agree with your partner based on financial power to avoid conflicts.

What to Do First

A wedding entails more than exchanging your vows and cutting cake. It includes various activities and things you must get right—the different tasks required to make your special day great need different strategies and time to accomplish.

Here are some things you need to do first.

Book a Venue

You’ve always seen yourself saying I do on a sandy beach during sunset or in your favorite holiday hotel. Whichever the case, you’d do anything to get the venue booked for your wedding.

If you love a venue, chances are it is incredible, meaning other people will also want to use it. Due to this, you need to move first to ensure that the venue is open on the wedding day.

Getting the perfect venue can be time-consuming, especially if you don’t get your first choice venue or date. So ensure you start the search immediately after you settle on a venue.

You also need to find out the menus provided at the venue to decide what to serve your visitors.

Find a Wedding Dress

Wedding bride

One of the highlights of a wedding is the wedding gown. Every bride wants their wedding gown to stand out and be the talk of the town for a long time. You have probably been dreaming of it since you were a kid and have gone through numerous Pinterest pictures before.

Getting the wedding dress fitted and delivered on time is critical, even if you know what you want.

Lateness will force you to either shop in a hurry, pay very high prices, or go for something off the rack. Most wedding dress designers need around five to six months to customize a wedding dress and deliver it in time. They’ll also need time to alter it for the perfection you need.

We are sure you’ll not want an unfitting or off-the-rack wedding gown.

Hire Vendors

If you intend to treat your guests to a memorable wedding with unique foods, drinks, decor, and entertainment, you’ll want to book the vendors way before your wedding day.

For example, suppose you want to serve a special Italian delicacy from a celebrity chef or get the services of the best wedding florist. In that case, you need to confirm they are available on your wedding day. To do this, book them around a year before the wedding.

Other vendors you need to book first for your special day include-

  • Wedding Planner
  • Wedding Cake Baker
  • Videographer/photographer
  • Hair and makeup stylists
  • Transport services
  • Wedding officiator
  • Send Save the Dates

If your wedding involves more than just you, your partner, officiator, and witnesses, you must send the dates to your friends and family.

While your loved ones want to show up on your big day, people get held up, and emergencies occur. As a result, they must mark their calendars and set reminders before the day.

Additionally, wedding guests from far away need to make early travel arrangements or miss the wedding. You’ll also need to book a room for them as soon as you decide on the venue.

Choose the Wedding Party

A wedding party is essential. They plan the bachelorette and bachelor parties and are the support system in the planning and execution process.

Therefore, identifying your wedding party in advance is essential. You’ll give the individuals a heads up so that they can save the date and prepare while also knowing who won’t be available.

It also provides enough time to get their wedding outfits ready on time. We assume you’ll have a theme and want them to dress in a specific way.

Plan your Honeymoon

Are you planning to head for your honeymoon immediately after your wedding? We won’t judge; who doesn’t want to spend some time away with their partner immediately after the ‘I Dos’?

However, if you want a smooth honeymoon, you need to plan it as early as the venue. If you have a specific destination in mind, you need to book the hotel rooms in advance and book the flight and local tour guide if you are going out of town.

We recommend you do this around six months in advance.

The One Conversation to Have Immediately

I just got engaged!

Once the ring is presented, the idea of marriage is now on the table. While we suggest that you enjoy the excitement and joy for a while before starting to plan a wedding, there is an important issue you and your partner must deliberate on; will yours be a long-term or short-term engagement?

Engagement periods differ from couple to couple. Each period has advantages and will not affect the planning period if you are well prepared. Nevertheless, deciding how long you’ll remain engaged gives you an idea of when you want your wedding to take place.

You don’t have to settle on the actual date immediately.

If your wedding is more than 18 months away

If you decide to have a long engagement period of more than a year and a half, you’ll have an easier time preparing for your wedding. You can take the first few months to enjoy and bask in the engagement and start your wedding plans slowly and comfortably with less pressure and stress.

With 18 months notice, you’ll likely find and book your perfect venue and vendors.

You’ll also have enough time to discuss and agree on what you want for your wedding day. You can even try your hosting skills through a small engagement party!

If your wedding is a year or more away

Most couples will say their ‘I dos’ within a year of their engagement. Over here, we think that is the perfect duration to plan a successful wedding.

Start by taking a few weeks to live in the moment and appreciate your engagement. Shortly afterward, you can slowly jump into the planning process with a clearer mind.

Take a task at a time and avoid juggling things; you’ll get tired quickly, confused, and eventually frustrated. Instead, start with the small things, like determining your budget and the number of people you intend to host.

List down the venues you’ll want, starting from the most preferred, and start researching. Chances are very high that you’ll find your first or second choice open, depending on the location.

After you settle on the venue, you’ll need to start looking at the vendors immediately. Remember to also look at the venue’s policy on vendors.

If your wedding is in less than a year

If you intend to move from ‘Will you Marry me?’ to ‘Do you accept..?’ within 12 months, you can still have a stressless planning duration.

You could have settled for a year for many reasons; your preferred season to wed is coming up, or you just don’t have the patience to wait for more than a year. Whichever the case, you still have time to make things perfect.

Take a week or two to yourself before jumping into preparation mode. You could even take a short vacation out of town before coming back to prepare.

You’ll need to decide on a date and check out the venue you want immediately, as less than a year is a short time.

You may have to be prepared to settle on your second, third, or fourth option as someone may have already booked the venue for the same day. You may also want to contact your vendors immediately.

If your wedding is six months away

Six months is a short time frame to plan a wedding, but it is doable. Around a fifth of couples will usually take half a year to move from ‘just engaged’ to ‘just married.’

While the time frame is short, you can take a week or two off without compromising much time.

However, to avoid stress, you’ll have to start planning almost immediately and get to know that you may miss your preferred venue and vendors.

Start by researching for venues starting from your top choice; you never know, the venue may be open. You’ll also want to check their catering options; if the menu and services match your needs, they are the easiest option. Also, get in contact with other vendors as soon as possible to prepare them for the big day.

If your wedding is three months away (or less than that!)

If you want to get married immediately after your engagement, you may have to start making arrangements immediately. It doesn’t mean you avoid taking some time off; a week should be enough but begin as soon as possible.

You can plan a wedding in a matter of days if you have the urge and will. First, however, you must be ready to make a lot of concessions, like using a venue not on your list and having fewer guests than you would want.

Nevertheless, three months is long enough to plan and execute a successful and memorable wedding.

Final Thoughts

Weddings are unique, and everyone will want the day to be smooth and successful. As such, you’ll have to prepare sufficiently and on time.

You have to book your preferred venue, contact vendors, get the wedding gown and outfits, and invite guests. The time you take to do this will vary as each wedding has its own needs.

We recommend you take around a year if time permits. However, you can plan a wedding in as short as a month if that is what you desire.