Keep your wedding plan on track: 5 milestones

As usual, Martha Stewart answers a question on every nervous spouse-to-be’s mind: how long does it really take to plan a wedding?

According to Stewart, the “bare minimum” time to plan a successful wedding is something like two to three months. That factors in the minimum recommended invitation headway of six weeks. Send out invites any closer to the big day and you’re setting yourself for an unacceptable number of “no” RSVPs. (Unless you’re intentionally trying to trim your guest list; in that case, more power to you.)

wedding venue

© syrotkin

If you’re looking to reserve a popular venue and line up top-shelf vendors, you’ll probably want to lengthen your wedding lead-up to a year, perhaps even longer. After all, the longer you give yourself to plan, the less you’ll have on your plate at any given time.

No matter how much time you allow before the big day, you’ll want to make sure to do these things in order.

  1. Get on the Same Page

Before doing anything else, make sure you’re on the same page with your future spouse. What do you want your wedding to look like? How much can you afford to spend? How many guests do you want to invite? Answer these and other key queries before diving into the specifics.

  1. Size and Purchase Your Wedding Jewelry

Whether you’re using a nationwide jewelry retailer like Larson Jewelers or a local shop in your hometown, size and purchase your wedding bands with plenty of time to spare. Even if you’re not planning a traditional surprise proposal, you’ll want to get your hands on the engagement ring early on, too.

  1. Decide on a Location

Figure out where you want to get married before choosing a specific venue, catering company, or format. “Where,” in this case, means the geographical location (your current city of residence, your hometown, a random destination) and type of venue (park, house of worship, multipurpose venue).

  1. Settle on the Venue

Next, choose the venue. Bear in mind that competitive venues book up months or even years in advance, especially during the spring-and-summer high season; you may want to bump this item further up the list to guarantee your first choice.

  1. Line Up Catering, Entertainment, and Lodging for Out-of-Town Guests

Finally, settle on a catering vendor (if you’re not required to use your venue’s catering), choose a band or DJ to keep your guests occupied, and block out some hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. Remember, your goal is to give your guests at least six weeks to decide whether they can make your wedding; back in accordingly.

Is Your Wedding on Track?

Whether you’re planning a 500-guest extravaganza or an intimate backyard gathering, planning a wedding is hard work. How do you know you’re on track for a memorable event that goes off without any major hitches?

Unfortunately, you won’t know for certain until the big day. But if you’re able to knock out these five to-dos well in advance of the big day, you’ll be that much closer to a successful nuptials. Don’t be afraid to lean on friends and family members who’ve gone before you; wedding trends have changed a great deal over the years, but the basic bones of the affair haven’t moved much in living memory.

Above all else, remember to stop and smell the roses every once in a while. Marriage doesn’t happen every day.


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