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Just Got Engaged? Here’s a Guide on How to Plan a Wedding and When to Get Started

Congratulations on your engagement! Although weddings certainly take time to plan, you don’t need to jump into the nitty-gritty details of how to plan a wedding right after the ring touches your finger.

The first thing you and your fiancé should decide on is the length of your engagement. Short engagements take around eight months or less, while long engagements are about 18 months or longer. Generally, the average length is around 12 to 14 months.

Knowing how long you want to stay engaged will determine how much time you have for planning. Now, let’s get started!

Wedding Planning Tips: The Ultimate Timeline Guide

Weddings are not a race; planning at your own pace is the best way to go. If you need a little bit of help staying organized, this timeline guide will come in handy and make the experience a lot less stressful.

A Few Weeks After The Engagement

Right after the engagement, it’s easy to get stressed about when to start planning a wedding.

But there’s really no need to rush at this point! An engagement is a milestone that calls for a celebration of its own. You deserve to live in this moment instead of actively discussing wedding details immediately after your engagement.

A few weeks after the engagement, you can start to discuss:

  • The Budget

    One of the first things you should have on the agenda is the budget.

    The budget will help determine many of your choices — from the wedding dress down to your invitations. It will make the decision-making process much easier and might even spare you from the heartache of falling in love with, say, a venue or dress that’s too expensive.

    Money is probably one of the hardest conversations you will have, but getting your finances in order will make things a lot less stressful for you and your fiancé down the line.

  • Who Will Help You Plan?

    Will you and your fiancé plan this all alone? Your immediate family, in-laws, or bridal party could also help you plan. If it’s within your budget, you could also hire a wedding planner to do the work for you.

  • Decide on the Number of Guests

    Who will you invite to celebrate with you? You need to know how many guests you’ll have so you can pick the right venue size.

    Having too many guests in a small space could make the area feel cramped. Too few guests in a large space, on the other hand, could make it feel empty and awkward.

    Start by setting a total guest count with your fiancé. A good thing to note is to create
    rules (like limiting plus-ones) that will keep the number to the amount you prefer.

 Dinner tables beautifully arranged and decorated for a wedding event at The Loft on King

10 to 13 Months Before the Wedding

  • Pick a Venue

    Between venue visits to discussing pricing and other inclusions, choosing a venue is one of the most time-consuming tasks.

    Popular sites get filled up months or even years in advance, so make sure to start scouting at least 10 months before your wedding.

  • Finalize the Wedding Date

    Once you’ve decided on a venue, finalize the wedding date. You should have at least three wedding date choices, just in case there’s conflict with the venue’s availability.

  • Pick Your Vendors

    Not all the elements of a wedding can be DIYed. Think the officiant, photographers, videographers, florists, bands, hairstylists, etc.

    Fortunately, some venues also provide catering which will save you time and energy. So be sure to check out what other wedding services your venue can provide.

8 to 10 Months Before the Wedding

  • Start Searching for Your Dream Wedding Dress

    Scouting for a wedding dress is fun, but between narrowing down your choices and scheduling fittings, it’s also very time-consuming. Not finding the right dress early on means either paying extra for expedited rates or even picking something off the rack!

  • Decide on Your Wedding Colour

    It’s recommended to choose a maximum of three colours. Imagine how each would look inside the venue. This will help you narrow down your theme, decor, cake, and flower choices.

6 to 8 Months Before the Wedding

  • Send Save-The-Dates

    You want to make sure all your guests can clear their schedules for your wedding day. Sending out invites early will do wonders in ensuring (almost) perfect attendance. This is even more important for guests who will be coming from out of town.

  • Reserve a Block of Hotel Rooms for Out-of-Town Guests

    Once your out-of-town guests confirm, reserve a block of rooms in a nearby hotel where they can rest and stay leading up to the event.

  • Plan Your Honeymoon

    Are you immediately taking off on a honeymoon after the wedding? If you are, it’s time to book that flight, hotel, and other activities you plan to do during your trip.

4 to 6 Months Before the Wedding

  • Decide on Your Menu for the Reception

    Whether your venue has an exclusive caterer or not, it’s time to decide what food to serve your guests. Work with your caterer for a tasting session and finalize the menu.

  • Order/Rent Bridesmaid Dresses and Tuxes

    Rent or have bridesmaid dresses and tuxes made for your party Choosing them is going to be easier because your wedding palette has already been picked at this point.

  • Book the Venue for a Rehearsal

    To ensure everything goes smoothly on your wedding day, practice is necessary. Make sure to talk to your venue and wedding party for a rehearsal.

A woman wearing an engagement ring in a wedding dress

2 to 4 Months Before the Wedding

  • Paper Stuff

    This includes menus, programs, guestbooks, place cards, etc. and whether you will order them or print them yourself.

  • Schedule a Dress Fitting and Buy the Wedding Rings

    Bring your shoes and all the accessories you’ll be using for your wedding so you can see how they all look together. This is also the best time to buy your wedding rings.

  • Get a Marriage License

    Getting married is one thing — making it official is another. Don’t forget to call your local courthouse to check how much a marriage license costs and what documents you’ll need to get it.

A Month or Two Before the Wedding

  • Finalize the Small Details

    Figure out the structure and schedule of the events that will be taking place. What time should the bridesmaids get their makeup done? Do you want to have send-off rice or sparkles? This is the time to iron out whatever details you may have missed.

  • Wedding Day Transportation

    Not all your guests will have their own cars. You can rent a party bus or a limousine but either way, you need to figure out how to transport them from the ceremony to the reception.

2 to 4 Weeks Before the Wedding

  • Take Care of Yourself

    Now that all has been taken care of, you can focus on grooming and priming yourself for the big day. Cut and colour your hair, go to the spa, get a facial, do everything that will make you feel as special as your wedding day will be.

  • Final Check-in

    Check in with your vendors one last time. That could help reassure you that everything’s in place.

One Week Before the Wedding

Set aside a little time for the final touches — break in your shoes, pack your honeymoon bags, or get your spouse a gift if you like. The final week is really the time to just relax because, at this point, everything has already been planned.

A flat lay of a clipboard, two pens, and a wedding planner with tick boxes beside a to-do list

Plan The Wedding of Your Dreams with The Loft on King

We hope we’ve given you an idea what to do when and how to plan a wedding. But if you need a helping hand in picking a venue, curating your catering service, and other details, we’re here to do the heavy lifting.

The Loft on King is a unique wedding event space in downtown Toronto where you can make all your dreams become a reality for your special day.

Connect with us to learn more about our venue, exclusive catering options, and other services. Simply call, visit our website, or fill out this form — we can’t wait to hear from you!