No matter where you are in the planning process, this guide has got you covered. We’ve organized common wedding tasks month by month, step by step. Follow our simple timeline to stay on track and plan your big day the Thumbtack way.
Begin Wedding Planning
What’s your wedding vision? How many guests will you invite? Where do you want the ceremony? Here’s where it all starts. If you need help nailing it down, enlist a wedding planner to set you on the right path. Learn what to ask when hiring a wedding planner.
Take Engagement Photos
An engagement photo shoot captures your special personality as a couple. Use the pics to announce the news on social media. Even better, the high-resolution, professional photos look beautiful on save-the-dates or formal wedding invites.
Reserve Your Wedding Venue
Desirable venues fill up quickly, so book now or forever hold your peace. Availability can also drive your wedding date decision, so be prepared to be flexible if you have your heart set on The Plaza in NYC.
Order Wedding Invitations
Calligraphy, custom letterpress, handmade, or foil stamp, now’s the time to put in orders for specialty wedding invitations. When selecting a style, keep in mind the colors and theme of your wedding. Many couples match their invites to their day-of decor.
Plan the Reception
At this point, you should have your guest list locked down, your decor vision decided, and the date set in stone (because you already reserved the venue, remember?). Start to outline what the post-ceremony music, activities, and food-and-drink options will be.
Book a Caterer
Determine your budget per person to help guide your catering choice. Narrow down the cuisine you’d like to offer guests, then make some catering appointments. Chefs offer tasting menus—some for a fee, others included if you book with them—so you can sample the goods first.
Coordinate Day-of Details
Now’s the time to make your wedding unique to you with fabulous florals and distinctive decorations. Your wedding decorator and florist are the visionary team who will bring your dream to life.
Book Wedding Basics
Lock in your officiant, photographer, videographer, and reconfirm your caterer. You really can’t get married without an officiant, so make that one top of the list. If you’re overwhelmed about wedding photos, read insider tips on how to hire a wedding photographer.
Make Sweet Music
Do you want throwback hits, uptown funk, or family-friendly classics? The right wedding DJ can make or break your event. Learn what to look for when hiring your music maestro. Book your ceremony music now, too. An elegant string quartet can elevate a simple ceremony to a heavenly experience.
Enlist a Travel Specialist
At this point, you’ve probably hit a planning wall. Take a break from all things wedding and turn your attention over to the honeymoon and hire a travel specialist to help you out. They’ll be able to get special discounts and upgrades you wouldn’t otherwise know about.
Hire the Wedding Day Beauty Team
Book your wedding hair stylist and your day-of makeup artist now. Consider if your wedding party or immediate family will also want styling or makeup and book accordingly so the pros know to bring assistants.
Don’t Forget Fitness Goals
Recruit a personal trainer and a nutritionist to guide you to the best wedding shape of your life. You’ll feel terrific inside and out.
Everyone needs a photo booth at their wedding. It’s entertainment and a wedding favor all rolled into one. Reserve one now and while you’re at it, hire the bartender too. Liquid courage makes for great photo booth snaps.
Order Your Wedding Cake
Cake tastings—the real reason you decided to get married, right? Lock down the baker of your dreams now, and also reconfirm with your florist, decorator, and caterer.
Plan for Transportation
Will you arrive or leave by limousine? Do your post-reception shenanigans require a party bus to get around safely and be fabulous? Book wheels now.
Dress (and Dance) to Impress
Want to wow your guests during the first dance? Now’s the time to book lessons. Bigger question…what will you be wearing while you dance? It’s finally time to start shopping for your big-day attire, from your dress or suit down to your shoes.
Attend to Alterations
From gorgeous gowns to structured suits, get your wedding-day garments tailored to perfection for the big day. Last-minute alterations are extremely stressful and often, more expensive. Also confirm that your wedding rings are ready and are sized to fit.
Wedding Coordinator for the Win
Wedding coordinators start working 4 to 6 weeks out from your big day. They confirm vendors, arrange timelines, and help bring all the pieces together. If you want day-of coordination, now is the time to book it.
Confirm Honeymoon Travel
Are your honeymoon travel plans all set? Make sure your travel specialist has it handled and that your passport is up to date.
Event Help and Wait Staff
If service is not provided by the caterer, make sure you have enough helpers so you aren’t clearing tables in your wedding finery. You need at least one person to help with setup and break down and keeping the area tidy during the reception.
Day-of wedding coordination is a must. It takes the burden of timeline management, answering questions, and cleaning up messes off of you and your family and onto a paid professional. It’s not too late to invest in some sanity.
Nothing left to do but relax! Book a well-deserved couples massage the week before the wedding. You’ve worked hard this last year to make the day special for you and all your guests. Now it’s time to reap the rewards and feel the love.
From engaged to wed in 12 easy months. You’ve got this. Send us pics!