Congratulations! You're engaged!
That is one of the most popular questions I get from mountainside readers. “Now what?”
Yeah, it can be confusing. Like many of us, you have never planned an elaborate party for 150 of your closest friends and family before now, so of course you don't know what to do.
Luckily we have those little timelines and checklists that come with every bridal magazine and wedding planning book, right?
Except they kinda suck.
And they kinda overwhelm you.
And it's kinda embarrassing to be overwhelmed this soon in the wedding planning process.
I know! When I was planning two mountain weddings in 6 months with a tight budget, I took one look at one of those timelines and nearly wept! There were items on there that I hadn't even dreamed of, let alone considered.
The good news is: a wedding planning checklist is meant as a guide. It's not a mandate. In fact, those checklists and timelines can be very helpful if you understand one crucial thing: you are in control!
Here are 5 Wedding Planning Timeline Hacks that Put You Back in Control of Your Wedding Plans
Establish a Budget
Your budget is the linchpin that holds everything else in your wedding planning world together. It will dictate your vendors, your venue, your priorities, and the size of your guest list. This is not a step to miss. For help on establishing your budget? Start here:
- 5 Money Saving Tips Bride Overlook
- 3 Wedding Budget Mistakes Brides Don't Know They're Making
- How to Book Vendors when Your Budget is Small
- Wedding Budget Hacks | 3 Little Known Ways to Protect Your Funds
Establish your priorities
Typically, when you first get engaged you are likely excitedly discussing what kind of wedding you'd like. This is when your TRUE priorities will come out. This is a pure moment before you're chucked headlong into the world of wedding planning with its intricate details. You may blurt out to your fresh fiancé: “I want an outdoor wedding with lots of dancing and amazing food!”
Those are your priorities.
Now of course they are not locked in. you may realize that photography is important to commemorate the day, or maybe you've always dreamed of the perfect wedding dress.
These shifts and changes are fine, but you want to get them set BEFORE you start spending money. You cannot have, as Rogue Bride did, you priorities change as you move down the checklist.
Click for tips on setting your wedding planning priorities.
Now it's time to ruthlessly edit that list until it is useful to you!
Cross off anything on the checklist that doesn't fit
Get out a nice black sharpie and cross off EVERYTHING on that wedding planning checklist that doesn't fall into your priorities. Not going to have a ring bearer? Cross “order ring bearer pillow” off of your list. Skipping the engagement party? Cross it off.
Do it now. Do it with a big black marker so you can't peek. You can't un-cross it off.
A warning: DO NOT cross off things that you plan to DIY.
DIY still costs money and takes time and resources.
For example. If you plan on having your graphic designer friend design and print you wedding invitations. You don't have to “book a stationer.” Rather you would want to change that line item to “settle on a wedding invitation design.”
Don't be afraid to customize the hell out of your checklist and budget in order to make it work for YOU!
Figure out your timeline:
This is a big consideration. Some of you may have a “perfect” 12-month planning window, but many of you will have slightly more or less time. How much time do you have to plan your wedding, depending on when you got engaged and what season you want your wedding to be in?
Some of you are planning in 6 months, others in 14 months, and some intrepid brides have 18 WEEKS!
Therefore, most wedding planning timelines and checklists–i.e. those that offer a 12-18 month breakdown of what you should do and when–need to be modified.
You've already established your priorities. You know your timeline. If you're planning a wedding in less than 12 months, condense any items that you need to. For example, If you're got engaged in December and want a summer wedding, you have 7-9 months. You'll want to see where you can condense the first couple of months of your timeline.
Don't get overwhelmed if it seems like you the initial list you end up with is impossible. Instead, refer back to your priorities and focus on those items first.
If you're taking more time, linger in the inspiration stages a bit longer.
Look, ultimately this wedding is about you and your partner. To a lesser extent, it's also about celebrating an amazing turning point with your closest friends and family. There are no wedding police out there who will take away your wedding if you slip up or don't follow a set of wedding planning rules. No one can ruin your day or your process unless your allow them to. So, don't let wedding planning books, blogs or magazines take up negative space in your heart or mind. Relax. Breath and try to enjoy the process.
Bonne chance, mon cheri!
Additional wedding planning resources and articles
- The Simple Wedding Planning Step Bridal Magazines Won’t Tell You
- Plan a Wedding in less than 6 Months with these Simple Steps
- Gorgeous and Easy to Use Wedding Planning Timeline and Checklist