Planning a Wedding: How Long Does it Take on Average?

They said “Yes”!

Now that the racing heart has settled and sweaty palms calmed down, it’s time to start planning a wedding! Believe it or not, before the cake-cutting and cocktail hour, there are hours of wedding planning to be done. This is going to be one of the most memorable days of your life, and Silver Service Singers are here to help you keep calm and carry on with all your wedding planning needs!

From hair and makeup, save the dates, and wedding invitations. We’ve got a breakdown of how you’d expect your wedding timeline to look so you can be well prepared, ahead of time, and with no stress. We’ve got tips and tricks, a heads up on the most commonly forgotten elements, plus lots of ideas for wedding party songs and quirky wedding ideas across our other blogs. 

Trust us, we’ve got you!

couple talking to potential wedding planner about planning a wedding

How Long Does Wedding Planning Take on Average?

Despite the delays the last few years have given us, a typical wedding takes around 12-18 months from start to finish. You’ll be thinking about venues, food, guest lists, entertainment that’ll suit the whole party, and much more, right down to the finer details like something blue and something borrowed. 

You’ll wanna give yourself this time and not rush it, especially if you’re going for the full wedding ceremony, wedding breakfast, reception, honeymoon and more! Think about it, just planning a holiday alone is enough, so don’t forget to go at your own pace and be ready for each little aspect to fall into place. Be kind to yourself and give yourselves a comfortable framework you can build on, that way you can re-jig some of the planning later down the line. 

As long as you’ve got your four main parts down (venue, food, guests and outfits!) then you’ll be almost there already! So if you’ve got your wedding date, check out our planning timeline to get you ready for the big day.

Timeline to Your Wedding Day

In this blog, we’ll offer a timeline for planning a wedding. We’ll break it down for you, so you can have a clear idea of what to expect over the next 12 months. It’s going to be long. And hopefully, fingers crossed, not be too stressful. 

Planning a wedding is a lot to get through, so if you’re wondering how long it takes to prepare a wedding, take this timeline as a framework to get you started and adjust for your preferences and needs. But there’s a lot to get through, so buckle up, get your notepads ready and let’s dive in!

quirky wedding invites with wax seal

12 months to the big day

With a whole year until the wedding date, it might feel like a long time to get ready, but there are some parts that take a lot longer than expected. And you don’t want to be hit with any nasty surprises. 

Create a guest list ASAP. Getting those save-the-dates out and RSVPs back will have a massive impact on your future planning. This can now be online too, saving you time and money by hosting online E-vites means people can update their plus one, dietary requirements and whether they can make it at the touch of a button.

Setting your budget is one of the first things you’ll want to think about, it will help you make all your decisions. Prioritising certain aspects such as venue, cake or dress means you can distribute the rest of the budget across other aspects evenly. This is where you’ll also want to decide on a theme, as this will have an impact on all of your wedding planning decisions.

The venue can be one of the biggest, and sometimes most stressful to pin down. With so many happy couples looking for their dream venue, you’ll want to lock it in as soon as possible. 

Ask a family member, maid of honour or best man to help you both along the way, and don’t forget there’s always the option to hire a wedding planner to keep you on top of everything before the big day. 

Your next step will be to book those whose services get booked up quickly! From caterers, if not included at your venue, to photographers, or DJs. Although some can handle multiple weddings per weekend, such as florists and bakeries, others get snapped up quickly as they’ll be there for the day. Such as our silver service Singing Waiters, who spend the day getting to know your guests before starting our surprise performance!

6 months to the big day

Say yes to the dress! You might want to start earlier, for those who just can’t wait to try them on. But this milestone is just enough time for a good search, to make your choice and to have multiple fittings and trimmings before the big day. 

Not all of your guests will be from your nearby city or town, so be sure to accommodate all family members by setting up a discount code for your wedding night at a local hotel, or the venue itself. Most venues have deals and packages, so take a look and make sure all of your guests are set for the big day.

With save the dates done and dusted, you’ll want to send out the real deal. Don’t forget to add timings, location, and any specific directions if it’s hard to get to, and maybe even give a sneak peek of what the wedding theme will be with your invitations decoration.

Book your honeymoon! One of the best parts about sharing your love with family and friends is getting to escape to your first travelling experience together as a married couple. Make sure you book this in advance to avoid any disappointments and relax in the knowledge you’ve got that special place to arrive to after all this hard work!

4 months to the big day

Create an online wedding gift list. Also known as a registry, you can set these up on your own site or Facebook page, at specific shops such as John Lewis or even create an Amazon wedding registry. All of these make planning a wedding that little bit easier!

Bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen suits and flowers are your next priority. The bouquets, buttonholes, table decorations and any other flower arrangements you want on the day will need to perfectly match your friends’ dresses and the overall wedding theme. So have a lookout and get creative with your floral decisions. Get the lads looking tip-top and the girls in comfortable yet elegant dresses. (Psst, it’s sometimes best to have a colour theme but different shape dresses, that way your bridal party can still feel unique and have a dress that suits their body shape.)

Chairs, linen, crockery, table settings, these will all have to be decided in order to bring all of your themes and ideas together. Food tasting, cake choosing and menu planning come along with these magical moments just a few months before the wedding! Pick out all the final details around the four-month mark, that way you can get to any last-minute decisions. Don’t forget to also write up a table plan, as some venues may need this in advance.

Book the cars! Figured out how you’re travelling from venue to venue, the ceremony to reception, or hotel to church? Make sure you’ve got the bridal party sorted, so there are no accidental sneak peeks on your special day.

Go wedding ring shopping. Although some opt to do this sooner, four months gives you just enough time for resizing or changing your mind… when it comes to the design of course!

2 months to the big day

It’s getting closer and closer, with the hair and makeup artists already booked, you might one a test run to decide exactly what works for you and how you’ll want to look on your special day.

You’ll now also want to create or buy your wedding party favours. Some go for tailored packages, others more quirky like these party favour ideas on our blog. Whereas some opt for premade tokens to say thank you for sharing the wonderful day together.

As the day slowly approaches, you’ll also want to prepare your vows and speeches, and share these with a close loved one but make sure your significant other gets a beautiful surprise.

You’ll also need to attend another dress fitting at this point, to make sure you’re ready and any adjustments needed can get ironed out nicely. Possibly the most fun part of planning a wedding!

1 month to the big day

Almost there! Make sure to check in with all your suppliers, all dates are ready and invoices are paid. Your secret singing waiters are warming up their vocal cords, the photographer has scouted the venue for great photo opportunities and sugar flowers are ready to be rolled by the baker! All that’s left is to make sure you choose the best tracks for your entrance, ceremony and reception.

Two weeks to the big day

Run through your final checklist! Party favours, done! Corsages arrived, perfect! One last view of the venue? Ready to check in to your flight? And of course, don’t forget to break in your wedding shoes! Noone needs sore toes or heels on the dance floor of the best night ever!

You’re on your own…

Another handy tip for on the day is to hire a ‘day-of’ organiser, they’ll guide your guests to where they need to be, and keep everything in line including your train for when the bride of honour gets a little tipsy! Day-of organisers are one of the best ways to breathe easy when it comes to the big day and make sure all your hard work planning goes off without a hitch!

And that’s it… you’re finally here and ready to enter the world as a married couple. We wish you all the best in your future together and hope that this wedding day planning timeline has offered you everything you need to know when it comes to planning a wedding and being prepared for the special day. Cheers!!

friends cheers good luck on blog about planning a wedding