Being engaged can be such a wonderful time! It's a time to grow closer as a couple while you look toward the future together with renewed unity and purpose. It's a time to treasure the love that surrounds you from family members and friends. It is even a time to add new people into your circle as you get to know those who have impacted the life of your spouse-to- be. But we all have to admit that along with this magic there might be a teeny tiny bit of stress too. Nobody ever said that planning a wedding was easy! In fact, a lot of couples will look at each other at some point in their engagement and say with frustration, “Can’t we just elope?” The wedding is often the biggest, most important event in a person’s life so it’s easy to understand why it can seem overwhelming! But don’t give up on a day you’ll treasure forever. Don’t let stress overshadow all the wonderful things about being engaged. One really good way to kiss some of that stress goodbye is to have a rocking wedding timeline. One thing we like to do for our brides during their consult, is offer them our beautifully hand crafted wedding magazine to help them on their way to a better wedding day. In the meantime, we hope this blog post will be your guide as the days and months lead up to your most special day. It will be your anti-procrastination coach (so to speak). So where to start? We’re here to share 5 steps to creating a Stress Free Wedding Day to get you going.
The first thing you’ll want to do is to set a date for your wedding. Creating a timeline for your wedding is going to depend a lot on how long your engagement will be. This is a very personal decision with a lot to consider so don’t feel like you need to rush into it. The range of time for an engagement can be from a few months to a few years with an average being anywhere from 7 months to 18 months. Ultimately the decision is for you and your sweetheart to make. Once a date is settled upon, it’s a great idea to let the people you love know so they can save that date on their calendar. Couples can do this in many ways but quite a few decide to send postcards or even magnets to everyone they hope to see at their wedding. Picking a date and letting all your friends and family know can be incredibly exciting. Suddenly it’s all real! You have an actual real-life day on the calendar to look forward to, talk about and plan for.
Next you’ll want to figure out your venues and officiator. This means you’ll need to select where you’ll be married and who’s services you’ll be using to make it all official. You might already have some options in mind. Perhaps you’ve had recommendations from people you trust or have been admiring a certain location your entire life. Maybe a friend of yours is an officiator and would be honored to marry you to your beloved. If so, you’re already headed in the right direction. If not, you’ll need to do a little research at this point. A good thing to do is to start by deciding a location for your wedding and reception first. Once you’ve decided on where you’ll be saying “I do” and throwing the bouquet, set up a preliminary meeting with venue representatives right away. The venues will often provide services and advice that can assist you in further planning your timeline. Many of them even have vendors that they work with (which we’ll talk about in a bit). At the very least, this will confirm the availability of your chosen venue. Finding an officiator is another important thing to consider straight out of the gate. In your preliminary meetings with the officiator and the venues, make sure to communicate and record the important dates and times on your timeline. These might include things like when your vows should be ready, when the wedding practice is going to be, when the officiator should arrive on the wedding day and etc. Just taking these first two steps in creating your timeline will significantly reduce your stress. But don’t stop here. There are still more details to consider.
The next step in creating a stress free wedding day is to tackle clothing. This includes the all-important wedding dress, the groom’s suit or tuxedo and the clothing for the wedding party. At this stage in the game, you don’t need to panic and try to get all these clothing items picked and ordered. The important thing is to figure out how much time each of these clothing items is going to take and to put it on your timeline appropriately. For the wedding dress, call your local bridal shops and get an idea of how long the process of selecting and altering a dress typically takes. Then put it on your timeline with about a month to spare. The dress is definitely not a detail you’re going to want to put off to the last minute. That being said, if you’re not planning to get married for a year, it might be wise to complete the fitting and alterations closer to your wedding date. This will ensure that it fits you perfectly when the day finally arrives. Obviously the more custom your gown is, the more time you’ll need to allow. Discuss this with the bridal shops ahead of time so you’re not unpleasantly surprised later. For the groom, the timeline will most likely be fairly straightforward. You’ll need to decide if you’re buying or renting a tux or suit. From there you can narrow down a few locations and determine when you’ll need to go in to select your formal wear and get fitted. While the bride and groom traditionally handle the bridal party clothing, more and more couples are choosing to let their party pick their own clothes within certain parameters. Either way you’ll need to get some dates set on the timeline. If you are planning to order the clothing, calendar a fitting for your wedding party several months ahead of the wedding. Add more time if you’re ordering the clothes online. Also write in the date when you need to have everything ordered. This should allow the clothes to be ready a few months before the wedding. This will give you time to make any alterations that might be necessary. For couples that are letting their guests make the choice, fill in a reminder date on your timeline when you’ll follow up and see how progress is going. When it comes to wedding clothing, sticking to your timeline is one of the best ways to keep stress down.
The next thing you’ll want to do is to figure out what vendors you’ll be using for services like catering, decorating, rentals for tables, chairs etc., photography, flowers, music, entertainment, and anything else you’ll be including in your wedding or reception. In our bridal magazine, we have a list of preferred vendors, that we have personally worked with and would highly recommend. While it’s not necessary to figure out all the details with these vendors quite yet, you do need to get these meetings on your timeline. If you’re using venues that offer these services you should have that information from your preliminary meeting with them. For services not included with your venue, once you have narrowed down your vendor selections, call each potential vendor and ask them how far in advance you should be planning the details. This is a great time to have them save the date for the services you’ll need. Put them on your timeline with some room to spare. This helps in case something unplanned comes up and you need to make adjustments. After this step you should have a pretty great timeline coming together. You should be able to see what times are going to keep you the most busy and you might be able to move things around that are needing your attention during those times. At this point you might feel like you’re done writing your wedding timeline, but you’ll be disappointed later if you skip the final step.
Now that you’ve gotten all of your dates down from your wedding date to the venues and officiator, to dates you need to pay attention to for wedding clothes, to your vendors, it’s time to put in the dates that will be the most important when you look back at this time. This is where you get to take a moment and think about what is really meaningful to you. It’s time to make time for personal moments. Look at your busy timeline. All of these details are important, but what will be more lasting are the moments you take with the people you love. Did you or your sweetheart have any bucket list items you wanted to do before marriage? Put them into your timeline. Did you want to take special moments with your parents and parents-to-be before the big day? Put that in your timeline as well. If you are having bachelor and bachelorette parties (which you should totally do) put those in your timeline too! Did you want to go on a road trip with your besties before you tie the knot? Put that trip on your timeline! Did you want to make sure your sister is with you when you look for a dress but she lives states away? Pick a time to fly her out and put that on your timeline! If you want to take your favorite niece out to lunch and chat about life and love, for heaven’s sake…put it on your timeline! This may seem a little unnecessary or even a little extreme. But trust us. These are the real moments that you don’t want to leave to chance. Sometimes we get so busy with the details of life that we forget to live. There is no shame in writing down what moments are truly important to you and then carving out time to make sure they happen.
We hope that these handy 5 steps will help you as you build your wedding timeline and create a stress free wedding day. Remember how special this time is. Engagement only comes around once in your whole married life! Don’t waste it being stressed out. Really feel what this moment is and let that sink in. And remember, if your best planning falls apart and the wedding starts to feel impossible, you have the person who loves you the most right there with you. At the end of it all, you will be sharing your life with the one that inspires you more than any other person on this planet. That is really the only detail that truly matters after all is said and done.
Equipment and Vendors: Film gear used | Fuji 400 and Portra 800 | Film Scanned and developed by @thefindlab
Planning & Design @heatherbengeevents
Assistant Coordinating @raeventdesign
Hair & Makeup @lenashkreliandco
Furniture & Rentals @eventtheorymi
Men’s Accessories @thegroomsday