18 Month wedding planning timeline

18-month Wedding Planning Timeline by Oregon Elopement Photographer Black Salt Photography

“18-Month Wedding Planning Timeline” by Oregon Photographer Black Salt Photography

Most of the wedding planning timelines you’ll find online are only 12 months (or less). If possible, though, I strongly encourage you to aim for an 18-Month wedding planning timeline.

Here’s why: weddings are EXPENSIVE.

Even if you’re going the cheaper DIY route, you’re still going to be spending a ton of money. And I don’t want you to regret that decision! As long as you budget correctly and make choices that honestly represent the two of you, then it’s okay to have a splurge day.

With more planning time, you’ll also be much less likely to be “forced” into picking something you don’t actually want.

Eighteen months gives you time to think about things and weigh your options – instead of racing the clock to decide on every little detail. When planning my own wedding, I found that most of the photographers I was interested in were already booked for my dates almost 17 months before the wedding (no joke). So if that’s the reality, then 12 months is NOT enough time.

Of course, you can still plan a kick-ass wedding in a year if that’s your only option. Just be prepared to work harder, faster, and with the understanding that you may have to compromise on quite a few details!

To make your life easier, I also created a 12-month wedding planning timeline. Using my experience as a wedding planner and photographer, I’ve organized the tasks by section in order to help you get the most done with the least amount of stress.

Check out the 12-month wedding timeline here.

First, you’ll need to get all the basics out of the way:

16-18 months:

-Choose your date

-Browse Pinterest constantly

-Select your wedding party

-Hire a wedding planner

-Decide on the location (City/state)

-Begin contacting vendors

-Create a rough guest list

-Create your budget

-Plan engagement photos

12-16 months:

-Book your Vendors

(Find out how to decide on your elopement photographer here.)

-Choose theme/colors

-Go dress shopping (try on a lot)

-Create your registry

-Choose an officiant

-Discuss honeymoon options

9-12 months:

-Go cake tasting

-Pick the wedding party attire

-Plan a bridal shower

-Discuss travel for out of town guests

-Buy dress & groom attire

Additionally, you’ll want to start booking and purchasing some items:

6-9 months:

-Book your honeymoon

-Purchase the wedding rings

-Select the attendants’ attire

-Book any hotels

-Plan Bachelor(ette) parties

-Select linens/table decor

-Send out save-the-dates

-Book equipment rentals

4-6 months:

-Get dress alterations

-Send out bridal shower thank-you notes

-Purchase gifts for bridal party, parents, spouse

-Book rehearsal dinner-Purchase/make accessories (candles, aisle runner, favors)

-Decide on hair accessories & jewelry

-Discuss music (ceremony, entrances, first dance)

-Decide on menu

-Discuss transportation

2-3 months:

-Reconfirm all vendors

-Create final guest list

-Send out wedding invites

-Create wedding programs/dinner menus

-Have final Dress fittings

-Do hair/makeup trial run

-Book mani/pedi appointments

-Finalize honeymoon arrangements

-Begin writing vows/speeches

Lastly, you’ll want to check off those final tiny details:

1 month:

-Review the shot list with videographer/photographer

-Send music list to DJ

-Complete preparations for marriage license

-Confirm ceremony arrangement with Officiant

-Create a seating chart

-Make tip envelopes

-Confirm arrangements for everything you aren’t bringing

-Arrange rental returns

-Send out final payments

-Get a final head count

Feel like you want your wedding day to be here even quicker? Check out my Elopement-style wedding planning blog here.

Download my free Absolute Wedding Planning Checklist here.

It’s the ultimate checklist and vendor list so you won’t forget anything (big or small) and can stay organized effortlessly. In the checklist, I guide you through everything you could possibly need to have a perfectly planned wedding. Check off each item with satisfaction knowing you are one step closer!

Black Salt Photography is an elopement photographer and intimate wedding photographer based in Portland, Oregon. Photographing in the surrounding PNW areas and traveling often for destination love stories. Specializing in intimate candids and editorial portraits to craft a one-of-a-kind wedding day for every couple. Her moody photography style plays with natural light and shadow, laced with raw emotional moments, to create an authentic narrative experience. She photographs you as you so you’ll love your photos authentically.

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