When should I start planning my wedding?
Your weeks, months or years spent as an engaged couple are incredibly special. They should be cherished, enjoyed and spent in bliss. But alongside all the celebration, some wedding planning is likely to be on the cards. During this time, venue searching, invitation sending and much more will start to become a priority. One of the main things couples struggle with when looking forwards to the giant task that is organising a wedding, is knowing when to start. Consequently, in this article we offer some help. We'll answer the question 'when should I start planning my wedding?' and help you understand what should be done, when.
Engagement and planning
Filled with moments to cherish, your engagement is a relatively short and super exciting time in your lives as a couple. Often sprinkled with plenty of celebration and love from those closest to you, it's a blissful time characterised by settling into the new feeling of forever being with your future husband, wife or partner.
For many newly engaged couples, the idea of wedding planning is something which will only get in the way of all this excitement. And that's fine! Enjoy a vacation and hold a party, no one can tell you when to start planning your wedding. You should spend your engagement exactly how you wish.
However, for others, the joyous moments following the proposal serve as a clear sign to embark on their wedding planning journey. From the very instant you slip on your newly acquired engagement ring, you may find yourself instinctively exploring potential wedding venues, delving into calendar dates, and even crafting a preliminary guest list.
Whichever kind of newly engaged couple you are however, there is one inevitable question that arrives at some point: when should I start planning my wedding? And not just that, but when should I start doing what? What do I do first? When do I send out wedding invites? And so on.
In this article, we'll help you tackle exactly this. From beginning to end, we guide you through the process of planning a wedding.
The one wedding planning conversation to have immediately
By no means are we suggesting that the evening of your engagement should you hold a meeting with your fiancé to discuss the future. Absolutely not.
However, when the time feels right, there are a few questions you should clear up between the two of you, which will help set the scene for the near future. Here are a few of those things:
When will you get married?
Soon after your engagement, it's a great idea to decide when you want to get married. No need to find the perfect date, but perhaps highlight a year and a season, maybe even a month. For example, you might suggest getting married in 1.5 years in the summer, or in two years during the winter months. Selecting a time frame will help you to plan for the future, and will allow you to plan for the beginning of the wedding planning process.
What kind of budget will you work with?
Do you dream of a large traditional wedding in the countryside? Or perhaps you've always wanted an intimate wedding in your parent's garden? Discuss your financial situation and set a realistic wedding budget shortly after your engagement.
What's your vision?
Similarly, it might be a good idea to at least briefly discuss what your wedding dreams are. Talk about your vision for the wedding, including the type of ceremony and reception you both desire. Discuss your priorities, such as the guest list size, venue preferences, and any specific elements that are important to you as a couple
Will you plan it yourselves?
Decide whether you will hire a wedding planner or if you prefer to handle the planning yourselves. Discuss your comfort level with managing various aspects of the wedding planning process and make this clear from the start.
How many people do you want to invite?
Although you don't need a complete list of guests from day one, it is generally advised that you note down a rough list of people. This will help you understand whether you're looking at an event for 50 people, or 150. In doing this, the process of finding a wedding venue will be much easier to navigate.
With the above questions answered, many couples will go on to enjoy even a year of engagement without planning their weddings. With the main question marks settled, this will empower you to move forwards with a plan and with purpose. Meanwhile, for those looking to get the process started, these questions will help you to figure out where to start.
How long does wedding planning take?
Let's take thing back to basics before we dive into the wedding planning process. How long does it take to plan a wedding?
Well, that really depends on a number of things, such as the size of the wedding, whether you have a planner, and so on. Regardless, here are some snippets of information which might help you to relax about the wedding planning process:
- The average time it takes to plan a wedding is normally between 6 to 18 months.
- There are however couples who prefer shorter planning timelines and successfully plan their wedding within one month!
- The length of the planning process can also be influenced by a heap of factors such as the level of detail and complexity desired, the availability of preferred venues and vendors, and the size and scale of the event.
- Working with a wedding planner can help streamline the planning process and potentially reduce the overall timeline.
- Ultimately, it's a personal choice.
When should I start planning my wedding?
Given that the wedding planning process typically takes 6 to 18 months, you'll want to plan your wedding about this far in advance of the big day.
However, as we previously mentioned, some couples like to enjoy a slice of their engagement without wedding planning. Totally understandable! If you're thinking along these lines, then consider how long you'd like to enjoy the quiet before plunging into planning mode.
If you'd enjoy a six month period of engagement bliss, then realistically you'll want to plan your wedding for up to two year's time. This will give you enough time for everything you're hoping to achieve.
Remember, if you're hoping to hold a wedding in 6 months from now, you absolutely can! You'll need to consider that your dream vendors and venues might not be available, but otherwise, there's nothing stopping you.
What should I do first?
Where to start planning your wedding? For the purpose of this article, we are going to imagine that we are planning a wedding that will take place in one year from now. As a result, the following will outline what we'd need to do and most importantly, in which order.
One year ahead of time
Secure a venue
Even if you aren't quite at the booking stage just yet, start making enquiries at venues you love. View some in person and gather quotes from different locations giving you a good idea of what styles of wedding venues work with your budget.
Although you don't have to book right away, it's always a good idea to secure your venue as soon as possible to avoid losing your dates. So as soon as you've found the perfect match, go ahead and book.
Finalise your guest list
Congrats on securing your wedding venue! Things are starting to come together. Now that you have a clear understanding of the number of guests you can accommodate, you'll want to make sure your guest list is finalised. To help you out, your chosen venue will provide you with specific details. This will include the maximum capacity for daytime guests, as well as a separate, typically larger number, for additional evening guests that you may wish to include on your final guest list.
Lodge your notice of intended marriage (Australia)
Time to look into the legal part of your marriage. To lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) in Australia, download the form from the official government website of your state or territory and fill it out. You'll then need to find an authorised celebrant or registry office to submit the completed form at least one month before your wedding date. But don't take it from us! Consult the official government websites or relevant authority for more specific instructions and up-to-date information.
Buy your wedding insurance
Sorry to drag the mood down, but wedding insurance is a must. Wedding insurance is a policy that provides financial protection for unforeseen incidents related to your wedding. It covers issues like event cancellation, vendor no-shows, property damage, illness, injury, and liability. If you need to reschedule or cancel your wedding for any reason, wedding insurance will truly save you.
Eight to eleven months ahead of time
Venue booked and some of the less exciting things underway, it's time to really pull together your wedding. At about this time in the wedding planning process, you'll be able to truly personalise your event and make it shine. Here are some of the things you'll want to do during this time:
- Book your wedding photographer and videographer
- Book your DJ or band
- Hire caterers and bar staff
- Assign your wedding roles and the wedding party
- Buy the perfect dress and suit (if that's what you're going for)
- Book any necessary accommodation
- Make an order with your florist
Around this time, it will also be time out your Save the Date cards. Learn a little more about when to send out Save the Dates and wedding invitations here.
Six months ahead of time
Now that some of the bigger things have been taken care of, you'll want to spend some time focusing on the details. From cakes to make up, this is the part where you bring together all the vendors and services you'll need to bring your wedding to life. During this time, you should consider:
- Ordering a wedding cake
- Booking any necessary transport (for you and guests)
- Tasting the menu with thanks to your caterer
- Booking your hair and make up
- Finalising wedding party outfits (for bridesmaids and groomsmen)
- Ordering your wedding invitations
Although we don't recommend sending out your wedding invitations until about 5 months before, you'll want to make a start on them around the six month mark. Browse our wedding invitations here, or learn more about when to send out wedding invitations here.
Five to two months ahead of time
With all the major things underway, during this time it's time to get specific and organised. From about five months before the wedding, to two months before, you'll want to be in contact with various suppliers about final touches. This will include things like:
- Creating a gift registry
- Making a wedding website
- Buying your wedding rings
- Recommending hotels and transport for guests
- Purchasing any necessary accessories to complement your outfit
- Ordering all of your wedding stationery
- Create your wedding favours and other details
- Finalise the timings of the day (including speeches and readings)
- Create a vendor schedule for the big day (for example when should florists arrive and when should the DJ play which song)
During the month before the wedding
You're nearly there! During the final month of the wedding planning process, your main job will be to make sure that everyone has the information they need. Pulling off your dream wedding day successfully will depend on these final organisational tasks:
- Contact any guests who haven't confirmed
- Have a final meeting with your venue
- Finalise the seating plan
- Brief your photographer
- Write your vows
- Make sure you've had your final dress fitting
- Tick off those last minute tasks (for example a wedding scent, perhaps organising an emergency rain kit for the venue, check in with those who have roles at your wedding and make sure they know what to do)
- Relax and let yourself be excited!
Choose Peppermint Press for your save the dates, wedding invitations and wedding stationery
The process of planning a wedding can be a little stressful. At Peppermint Press, we put our customers at ease by taking care of everything for them. We'll involve you in the important parts, and take care of everything else.
From wedding invitations to welcome signs and thank you cards, we offer all things wedding stationery.
Browse our beautiful design collections here.
Check out this list of on the day wedding stationery here.