Timeline Tips for Planning Your Dream Wedding

With dozens of decisions and logistical details, planning your dream wedding is a daunting task. It’s no wonder that so many brides hire a wedding coordinator for their big day so they can focus on the fun. However, if you’re managing it yourself, just approach it with a professional mindset and you can pull it off. The most important thing is to know what is supposed to happen, and when.


Dos and Don’ts Organization Guidelines

With only about 12 months to plan your wedding and reception, you may be wondering where to begin. Whether your binder is overflowing with ideas for the engagement party, gown, reception and honeymoon or you’re starting with a blank slate, establishing a timeline is critical. Check out these timeline organization tips to help you plan the ideal wedding.

  • Set the date. It may seem obvious, but setting your wedding date is the ideal way to get the planning started. It may depend on when the venue is available, or whether you want an indoor versus outdoor wedding. Favorite venues, photographers, vendors, DJs and bands book up well in advance. Work backward from the date to prioritize what needs to be handled right away. This will help things move forward and keep you from becoming overwhelmed. Now that you have the date, don’t forget tell everyone to save it, such as with save the date cards and creating your wedding website.
  • Choose your colors. Choosing your color palette is another critical determination that sets other major preparation components in motion, including flowers, invites, bridal party gowns and flowers. Traditional wedding colors for spring and summer are softened pastels. For a fall or winter wedding, think deep, dark colors or a combination of red paired with slate gray. Shades of beige, such as taupe, cream and mushroom, are also modern, contemporary choices. An effortless way to envision your color scheme is with color charts from your local paint store.
  • Determine your overall vision. Do you picture your wedding as modern, traditional, romantic, rustic or vintage? Similar to selecting the colors, once you have a clear vision, it will help you choose décor, create your invitations and add all the little personal touches to make your wedding unique.
  • Environment and venue. Choose the venue that matches the atmosphere you are trying to create. Whether it’s a formal ballroom, outside among nature, in a vineyard or beachside, select an environment that emulates your particular style.
  • The gown. Once you set the date, begin wedding dress shopping. Finding the perfect one and going for fittings takes time, so it’s important to cross off this essential element from your to-do list as early as possible. If you need inspiration for all of the accessories, consider attending a bridal fair or dress trunk show.
  • Create a beauty plan. Now that you have found the perfect dress, it’s time to start contemplating hairstyles and makeup to complete your look. Book a gentle facial, but avoid new skincare products to prevent a last minute bad reaction. Try a hydrating hair mask for super-shine and flexibility.
  • Mail your invitations. Using the post office to mail your invitations is traditional, classy and classic. No matter how environmentally conscious or tech savvy you are, make the effort and send all of your guests a physical invitation. As the wedding gifts start arriving, make sure to follow up with handwritten, mailed thank-you notes.
  • Photos last a lifetime. It is imperative to hire a professional photographer. A current trend in wedding photography is more journalistic and less formal, capturing the bridal party and also unique details such as shoes, rings or lace on your gown. Close ups highlighting natural expressions are attractive and personal. Make sure you have a good understanding of your photographer’s style by asking many questions and viewing their past weddings.
  • Entertainment. Don’t sacrifice money in this area. Your guests will enjoy fantastically fun music, and entertainment is a major element that draws people together and creates experiences that everyone will remember long after the party ends.
  • Hire professional help. Even if you have coordinated all the details of your wedding, giving a professional coordinator the logistics on the wedding day will ensure that all elements of the vision you have worked so hard for are carried out. It will also allow you to experience your special day and enjoy your guests.
  • Anticipate challenges. Things can and often do go wrong, and it’s best to be as prepared as possible for the unexpected. For instance, have a plan for who sews a bridesmaid into a dress with a broken zipper, who sets out the place cards, and who handles the leftover favors and alcohol.


Always remember to keep the process in perspective. Even the best-planned wedding is not perfect, and that’s OK. Try to enjoy the planning as much as your big day. The excitement of your wedding day is also in the fun of the decision-making and celebrating your engagement.

Bryan Passanisi is an online marketer living in the Redwood City, California area. He graduated from The University of San Francisco with his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. He has managed and written for a popular wedding blog and had the opportunity to create viral content. He currently writes for Shutterfly