Timelines and To-Do’s of Event Planning

Event planning on your own can be an overwhelming experience. As scary as it may seem, fear not! We’ve put all you need to do in a timeline and shopping list to help make your dream event come together within budget. Read through the list below, or download our Interactive Spreadsheet to help you get planning smarter.

Get the Interactive Spreadsheet

The Event Timeline

Timing makes all the difference between feeling pangs of panic or a collective calm just day before the big event. The ideal starting point of planning is 10 months to one year before the tentative date. With all of the venues and vendors involved, things can be easily lost in the shuffle. To sooth your worries, we’ve made a checklist to help you through your event planning journey. Read below for our recommendations or enter your email address below to get the printable checklist.

10-12 Months Before

  • Visit prospective event venues and finalize date, time and location
  • Visit ceremony site and finalize date, time and location (as applicable)

7-9 Months Before

  • Find a print company for “Save the Date” cards and invitations
  • Make necessary arrangements for lodging, such as hotel room
  • Mail “Save the Date” cards
  • Find a shop for wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses
  • Find a shop for grooms and groomsmen tuxedo

6-7 Months Before

  • Find entertainment professionals (DJ, performers, Master of Ceremony)
  • Find photographer/videographer
  • Find baker for cake or catering for food and beverage
  • Find party supplies rental service (if tablecloths, flatware, furniture and other items are not available through venue)
  • Find florist for floral arrangements
  • Find officiant (as applicable)
  • Find transportation company
  • Find make-up artist/hair stylist
  • Find rehearsal space and schedule rehearsal

4-5 Months Before

  • Send invitations
  • Conduct tastings and finalize menu items
  • Shop for favors
  • Reach out to venue to determine layout for the following:
    • DJ/Entertainment
    • Dressing Room
    • Photo Booth/Setting for Pictures
    • Path of Entrance for Dinner
    • Cake Table
    • Gift Table
    • Dinner Table Set-Up
    • Dance Floor
    • Cocktail Location
    • Seat Arrangement Table

3-4 Months Before

  • Work with DJ/entertainers/Master of Ceremony to curate the event playlist and day-of event timeline
  • Perform make-up/hair trial

1-2 Months Before

  • Finalize guest count and complete seating chart
  • Assemble favors (as applicable)
  • Complete dress fitting

1-2 Weeks Before

  • Follow-up with all vendors and venue to run over logistics, delivery time/pick-up time and event timeline
  • Go to City Hall to apply for marriage license
  • Perform rehearsal dinner
  • Review delegated tasks to event liaison (maid of honor, event volunteer, etc.)


The Shopping List

Before diving into the checklist, event planning often starts with the budget. While staying within the budget can be a challenge, knowing how much is available in your wallet helps with negotiations and decision-making. To help you prepare, we’ve created a spreadsheet to help you shop smarter from start to finish.

Get the Interactive Spreadsheet

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