← All Posts

Wedding Planning Series: Creating a Custom Planning Calendar

Photo by Randy & Ashley Studios

You're engaged, now what? Check out the sixth part of Grace & Gold's "Wedding Planning Series," for our guide to creating a custom planning calendar! We have all the timeframes and deadlines for making all of the major decisions that will go into wedding day!

I have my budget, wedding date, wedding venue… what’s next?

Let’s start planning! You now can (sort of) jump in to selecting your vendors, deciding details, creating your Pinterest boards…. Go wedding dress shopping? There really are so many things to do, it can get overwhelming quickly! So now is a good time to discuss with your partner (and your planner) to come up with a game plan for how and when you’ll be making a lot of these decisions. Basically you’ll be creating your own custom planning calendar to help guide you, giving yourself some deadlines for selecting certain vendors, ordering specific items, etc.

So without further ado, here is Grace & Gold’s general format for a planning calendar. This assumes you have 9-12 months to plan your wedding, but hey—we’ve planned weddings in under 3 months before. Adjust these suggestions as necessary. If there are big decisions to make early on in the process, and you are past that point in your own planning timeline, then you might want to get on that specific thing now! At the same time, think about your personal ability to make decisions. Last year I was planning a wedding for 2 awesome brides who straight up said, “For any deadline you give us, move it up 2 weeks earlier because we are excellent at procrastinating.” That was super helpful and it was great that they were so honest with themselves (and me) that early in the process.

9-12 Months Prior to the Wedding

  • The basics to have ready: wedding date, venue, budget
  • If needing a lot of planning help, hire wedding planner
  • Create a first draft of the guest list
  • Decide on a color scheme
  • Hire photographer and set a date for engagement photos
  • Select bridal party
  • Create wedding website
  • Start looking for and purchase wedding gown
  • Start hotel block (if having)
  • Send out save the dates!

6-9 Months Prior to the Wedding

  • Select bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen attire
  • Select and hire music/entertainment: ceremony musicians, DJ, band
  • Schedule dress fittings
  • Select and hire: videographer, florist, officiant, caterer (if needed)
  • If having only a day-of coordinator, hire now! 

4-6 Months Prior to the Wedding

  • Select and schedule rental items (décor, furniture, linens)
  • Create/purchase all paper products: invitations, programs, menus, etc
  • Schedule rehearsal dinner if having
  • Purchase wedding accessories: shoes, jewelry, undergarments

2-4 Months Prior to the Wedding

  • Schedule and have menu tasting
  • Select cake and desserts (or select outside vendor)
  • Purchase wedding favors
  • Finalize all décor: if anything needs to be purchased, if anything is being made
  • Purchase wedding rings

1-2 Months Prior to the Wedding

  • Mail invitations (8-10 weeks suggested), create RSVP tracking sheets
  • Select hair and makeup artists, finalize trial appointments
  • Finalize timelines, floorplans, and details with coordinator
  • Finalize music selections with musicians (both ceremony and reception)
  • Purchase wedding extras: toasting flutes, ring pillow, card box, guestbook, etc.
  • Select and purchase flower girl/ring bearer attire
  • Finalize food and beverage selections

Final Month!

  • Have a final walk-through with coordinator at venue
  • Final gown fittings
  • Finalize flowers, possibly have floral mockup
  • Finalize guestlist and seating chart
  • Write vows
  • Final hair cut and spa appointments
  • Go to courthouse and get the marriage license (rules vary by state!)

Final Week
Your coordinator should go through with you what to expect for this week: when guest counts are due, making any final payments to vendors, any changes to the timeline, etc. But the key is to just relax and start enjoying everything!

Whew! That’s quite a list, and I’m sure I’ve missed lots of things that your individual wedding might need. So ask me, anything else you need to know? Any deadlines you would want to change?

Happy Planning!

xoxo Emma

Need some custom help with your planning process? Reach out to us today at hello@graceandgoldevents.com, we are always here to help!