Timeline Tips for Planning Your Wedding
Who Needs a Wedding Timeline?
You've got the person you want to marry, and you've got the engagement ring. Now, what do you do? After the magical buzz that comes after "saying yes" starts to wear off and reality sinks in, you might start dreaming about the big day and all the work that goes into planning, and you may start feeling stressed.
For most engaged people, a wedding is their first experience planning and executing a significant social occasion. There are many things to accomplish and boxes to be checked before getting to the altar and making it official:
- Choosing a venue
- Making a guest list
- Choosing a wedding party, if you decide to have one
- Send out save the dates and invitations
- Book vendors, like photographers, DJs, and videographers
- Finding a caterer in your area
- Purchasing your special rings, like custom-made gemstone engagement rings
- Picking out wedding gowns, suits, or tuxedos
- Creating a registry
The inevitable arts and crafts projects
This list is just a snapshot of some of the things you'll need to complete - and it can be overwhelming! If you've never arranged an event like this, don't intend to use a professional wedding planner, or are not a very organized person (no judgment!), you might consider using a wedding timeline to help you stay on track and make your day go a little smoother.
A wedding time is used to record essential elements, from the engagement party to your honeymoon vacation. Depending on when you decide to get married, it can cover a few months or even a few years! It will help you organize all aspects of the wedding and provide a cheat sheet for the big day. Here are a few tips to get you started creating a timeline that will help your day go off without a hitch.
Take Time to Visualize
Before you create a timeline for the big day, it's essential that you have a clear vision of what you want that day to look like for both you, your future partner, and your guests. If you decide to have one, you should know the theme and style of the event. You'll also need to narrow down a budget of how much you can spend. If you need ideas, countless magazines and websites offer inspiration on how to plan your wedding. Some things to think about:
- Do you want a big affair or a small, intimate gathering?
- What style of music are you wanting? Will you need to hire a DJ, or will an mp3 player and a trusted friend provide the atmosphere you desire?
- Consider having activities available for guests to keep busy during the cocktail hour or reception.
- Are you going to get married in a traditional church or synagogue, or perhaps in the backyard of a beloved family home?
- Are there any family traditions you hope to incorporate?
Answering these questions will help guide the timeline you craft for your wedding day and ease some of the stress that comes with planning.
Make a Master List
After you've spent some time dreaming about what kind of wedding you want, it's time to start making the first of many lists. Consider dedicating a specific spot just for your wedding planning activities. This space can be as small as a shoe box in which you keep everything wedding-related or as large as an entire room with a table to spread out paperwork. A dedicated space will allow you to close the box or the door to the room when you need to take a break from organizing.
Wedding planning time is also an excellent opportunity to learn some spreadsheet-wizard skills. While you can go with traditional pen and paper, there will likely be a lot of information you'll need to share with family, friends, and vendors, so keeping a digital spreadsheet with everything you need is a good idea.
Once you figure out how to organize your information, create your master list of everything you want to be included in your wedding. This master list will take some time to set up, but once you have it, it will be a reference you can look back to through the entire process. For each item on the list, you should:
- Make a note of the items that are a top priority for you.
- Include an estimate of how much time it will take to execute.
- Put a deadline for when you would like it accomplished. This deadline will depend on several factors, including where you live. Ask friends in your area (or poll local online groups) for advice on how far in advance you need to book specific vendors.
- Break the task down into actionable items. (i.e., instead of "picking out wedding rings," start with researching personalized fine jewelry stores to narrow down a brand and style that fits you.)
Keep in mind that some things will fall off the list, so prioritizing is a great way to make sure that the things most memorable and vital to you get accomplished. Some things take longer than others. You may be able to find a last-minute DJ, but ordering customized wedding rings will take a lot of work to accomplish in the 48 hours before the big day.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Your friends and family are excited about your big day, and you will likely get many well-meaning offers to help. Referring back to your timeline can help you to delegate tasks without getting overwhelmed and trying to do it all yourself – because unless you're a professional wedding planner, you can't. Delegating tasks is especially important if you work on a tight timeline or with a small budget.
Whether picking out flowers or handwritten place cards, asking the "key players" on your team to help you out can help relieve some of the pressure on you and give you more time to enjoy the planning process. Give them all the necessary information — including how much time they have — and set clear expectations, so everyone knows how best they can be helpful. You can share your timeline with them, so they can see the overall big picture and better understand what you're looking for. Remember to give clear instructions and deadlines to work with or you may end up frustrated.
When you stay on top of your planning, you can avoid stress and have a wonderful wedding day. There's no need to get stressed out with wedding day details. Keeping everything organized will make the experience less stressful and more enjoyable. A timeline can help you accomplish that so you can focus on the joy of each moment.
Written by guest author Tess DiNapoli