There’s something in the air at the end of the year that makes it especially romantic, so it’s no surprise that lots of couples get engaged during the holiday season. You may want to bask in the glow of your new status, but when the new year comes around, it’s time for wedding planning to kick into full gear! To make planning stress-free, make sure that you create a timeline and stick to it. Figuring out details now will make your big day more enjoyable as it approaches, and it will also help you book the location and vendors that you really want.
Planning Your Wedding: Set a Timeline
Most planners recommend getting started one year in advance of your proposed wedding date. If you’re looking at a summer or fall wedding for 2017, you’ll probably have to make some adjustments, but it is possible to plan everything shorter timeframe. Just remember: with less time to plan, booking a venue right away is even more crucial.
One Year Ahead: The Big Decisions
The most significant decisions often need to be made first. One year ahead, start your planning by:
- Setting the budget. Establishing a budget is the most critical thing you will do because it will have an impact on all of your other decisions. Consider what you and your spouse are willing to spend and whether or not you will be receiving any contributions from parents or other family members.
- Starting a binder. We recommend an old-fashioned binder for keeping track of budget details, ideas, notes, vendor contact information, and more. This may be the one time in your life where trying to do everything on your phone just won’t work.
- Setting a date. Without a date, you can’t reserve any of your vendors. If you want a specific month and day, you may need to be flexible on your venue. On the other hand, many couples who have a particular site in mind pick a window and work with the venue to find an available date. It’s important to keep weather conditions and location pricing in mind. If your budget is tight, some places may offer lower rates at certain times of the year.
- Booking your venue. Select and book the venues for your ceremony, reception, and rehearsal dinner. Venues should be reserved before you even begin to think of any other details. Many brides make the mistake of rushing out to buy a dress, only to realize that they need to adjust their wedding date to a different season. Don’t put yourself in a precarious situation; book your venues as early as possible.
- Choosing your officiant. Like great venues, officiants often get reserved well in advance. Once you know your date and location, contact your officiant immediately.
Six Months Ahead: The Details
Once the most important elements have been taken care of, it’s time to move on to the details. At six months out, you should start:
- Choosing your flowers
- Planning your menu
- Booking your entertainment
- Sending save-the-date cards
- Looking for invitations
- Reserving linens, chairs, and anything else you need to rent
- Shopping for a wedding gown
Three Months Ahead: More Details
At three months out, start taking care of all the little things that will really personalize your wedding. You need to:
- Make transportation, travel, and hotel arrangements for guests (if needed)
- Plan gifts for traveling guests (if needed)
- Purchase favors
- Order your wedding cake and groom’s cake
- Book your hair and makeup appointments and set up a practice-run for each
Two Months Ahead: Crunch Time
Send out your invitations, assemble favors, and don’t forget to apply for your marriage license!
The Week Before: The Check-In
Check in with your venue and vendors and make sure everything is on track. It’s also a good idea to plan your seating chart at this time with your future spouse. It will be a good pre-wedding bonding experience!
Overwhelmed? Find a venue that will help.
Choosing a venue is possibly the hardest part of planning your wedding, and it should be one of the first things every couple tackles. Sought-after locations fill up fast, so it’s important to book early.
Now more than ever, busy couples are looking for all-in-one convenience in their wedding venue. By choosing a restaurant like Lightfoot, planning can be simplified immensely. Instead of getting a just a location, you get:
- A gorgeous setting (no matter what the weather does)
- One point of contact for food and beverage planning, linens, seating, and table settings
- A trusted partner to help you choose vendors for flowers, decor, and entertainment
Choosing an all-in-one venue also makes economic sense. In many cases, restaurants eliminate the room rental fee and simply set an easy-to-meet minimum food and beverage charge. It’s almost like getting a venue for free!
Lightfoot Weddings: Stress-Free and Elegant
At Lightfoot Restaurant, we work with dozens of couples every year to plan the wedding or rehearsal dinner of their dreams. We take care of everything from the menu and linens to table settings and the cake.
We have several banquet rooms to accommodate weddings and rehearsal dinners of all sizes. We don’t charge a room rental fee; once you’ve met a minimum food and beverage amount based on your party size, the room is on us.
Finally, our experienced, professional staff strive to make your special day as magical as possible. Make an appointment today to meet our fabulous event planner – just don’t forget to bring your binder!