Wedding Planning Timeline | 6 Months Before

LESS THAN HALF A YEAR UNTIL THE BIG DAY! How are you feeling? Hopefully the nerves can stay far away because this is SUCH an exciting time for you, and an important moment in your life. We’re starting to enter “crunch time” as far as wedding planning goes, so we’re stepping up the tasks included in this recurring series to illustrate the more important areas of planning in which you should be dedicating your time.

 
Planning a wedding? You won't want to miss the wedding planning tips included in this recurring series by Calli Richards, Logan, UT wedding photographer.
 

It’s time to shop for suits for your groom and for the wedding party! That includes bridesmaid and flower girl dresses, as well. If you are a budget-conscious bride, you might find a lot of savings in renting all apparel from the same place, if possible. Otherwise, if you’re more aesthetically-focus and you envision your wedding with a lot of fine details and unique variety, you can consider individually selecting each gown or suit to “suit” (pun definitely intended) the wearer.

Do yourself a favor by preparing early and booking your appointment with the county clerk’s office to finalize all the legalities of your marriage. It’s customary to give at least three months notice to the registrar and your priest or religious celebrant, or the person you invite to conduct your wedding ceremony. Planning this all out in advance gives you PLENTY of time to organize all the proper documentation and to ensure that nothing important falls to the wayside as you near your wedding day.

Another “organizational'“-type task you can be working on is to renew your passports (if necessary) and arrange appointments to update your vaccinations if you plan to travel abroad for a honeymoon, or for the actual wedding. These are things you can’t really control or expedite, and it’s in your best interest to get them taken care of well in advance.

Lastly, now is a good time for you to consider and perhaps purchase wedding insurance. This can be a relief if you’re planning to marry far away from home or if the circumstances of your wedding are outside your control (like in a season or location with unpredictable weather, and when planning an outdoor wedding). If you’re spending any amount of large sum on the various details of your wedding, you may want to insure these investments.

I’ll check in with you next month with my list of things you can be working on a mere five months prior to your wedding. Until then, happy wedding planning!

let’s plan an adventure together!

 

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Wedding Planning Timeline | 7 Months Before

We’re nearing the six month mark! It’s almost crunch time, but if you’ve been following along with my wedding planning tips in the timeline I outlined, you’ve likely been getting plenty taken care. No need to stress! Today, I’m outlining the wedding planning checklist items that I recommend figuring out approximately seven months before your wedding.

 
checklist wedding planning items seven months before your wedding
 

First, let’s get with the venue and figure out what sort of things they’ll take care, in the way of tables, chairs, marquees and tents, etc. And then find an equipment rental place and reserve everything else you need. Most venues will have table and chair solutions for you, or at least some recommendations for local businesses that they love to work with, but it’s best not to wait until too close to the wedding (or the day of!) to find out that no one bothered to reserve chairs through the event venue coordinator.

You should also start planning and booking your honeymoon well in advance. This gives you ample time to research flights and claim travel deals before things get too hectic with wedding planning. If you’re not big on making all the tiny little choices when it comes to travel, then hire a travel agency to plan the trip for you! I’m big on outsourcing when it comes to wedding planning, and this could easily be one less thing you have to do and save you a lot of time.

Time to feel fancy! Around this time, you should start researching hair and make-up artists and schedule a trial with your beauty team. As you’re getting your engagements and bridal photos done, too, consider having the same team work on dolling you up. You’ll develop a much closer relationship by the time your wedding rolls around and it will make the day that much more special knowing you have the real love and support of your entire getting-ready team!

Another thing you’ll get to outsource is obviously planning the bachelor and bachelorette parties! The only part you may really need to be involved in is setting the dates and getting some gifts for the wedding party members. If you’ve got girlfriends and guy friends who are willing, let them plan a fun evening or getaway weekend that spoils you, just a bit before the wedding, to hopefully relax and remove some of those pre-wedding jitters by spending some fun times with your friends.

My last recommendation for this period of time is to schedule your transportation for the big day. Just like your tables and chairs, this is a make-or-break piece of the wedding day that you do NOT want to miss out on, heaven forbid you be late to your own wedding! It’s a super simple phone call to schedule, and then you’re done. Assign a member of the wedding party to follow up the week before, but beside that, it’s an easy task that keeps you on schedule for all the other wedding planning tasks, without getting overwhelmed.

Stay tuned for more wedding planning tips and to see my suggestions for things you can be working on next, about six month before your wedding day!

let’s plan an adventure together!

 

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Wedding Planning Timeline | 8 Months Before

As you move closer to your wedding, remember that it’s just a day. It’s a grand, special day that you’ll always remember, but it’s JUST a day to celebrate you and your spouse. Don’t let the stress of planning and preparation keep you from enjoying this season of life, your last few months before you tie the knot! I’m sharing today a few of the things I’ve designated on our ultimate wedding planning timeline that you could be taking care of this month, eight months before your wedding day.

 
wedding planning timeline checklist things to do eight months before your wedding day
 

Pay attention to the distance your expected guest list will have to travel to attend your wedding, and consider coordinating with some local hotels to block out some rooms reserved for your guests to book. This is a little touch of convenience that will make things so much easier for your guests, and they’ll be grateful! It’s this consideration that will confirm your status as a good host, and all it takes is a quick phone call or two.

One more exciting thing you can finally get started on: chatting with your florist. Come to your initial meeting or phone call with plenty of ideas for the direction you want to go, but also an open mind to be able to trust the guidance of your expert vendor. After all, they’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that they know the best recommendations for you and your wedding depending on the season, location, and bridal party.

This next step can be such a stressful thing for a lot of brides, but really, it shouldn’t be! This is around when you should be thinking about and choosing a wedding cake. Sample a few varieties from your caterer or local bakery once you’ve chosen the best experts for the job. And keep in mind that the simple flavors are definitely more crowd pleasers! From all the weddings I’ve attended, I have a pretty good handle on what flies with most guests, and the fancier, flashier cake options always seem tasty, but don’t vibe as well with the reception attendees.

While you’re in the food and catering mindset, you can also be taste testing food options and wines or other refreshments to serve on your big day. Shop around to find the flavors that best fit you and your wedding style, and don’t be afraid to keep it simple! I would recommend you shoot for something less casual than what you’d expect at a birthday party or barbecue, but not as fancy as a seated, anniversary dinner, especially if you have a more family-friendly crowd in attendance.

Lastly, use this time before things get REALLY crazy to pick out your wedding stationery. You can find a friend to help you design something yourself and get it printed at your local printer, order something online through a template site, or hire a professional calligraphy artist or paper suite designer to create a custom look for your invitations that suits your wedding style! (And if you’re looking for a super unique way to announce your wedding or showcase the order of events on the big day, check out my friends Betsy and Rachel at Unlike Juliet who design custom wedding magazine invitations and programs!)

Stay tuned for more wedding planning tips and to see my suggestions for things you can be working on next, about seven month before your wedding day!

let’s plan an adventure together!

 

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My Favorite Boho Headpieces and Crowns

Let’s chat floral crowns. Though currently a raging bridal accessory (that I’m totally on board with), they actually aren’t a new thing. For generations throughout the world, floral crowns have been adorning bride’s hair to symbolize love, fertility and celebration. So along with your something old, new, borrowed, and blue, consider adding a floral crown to your wedding day ensemble. I love the idea of adding something sentimental that you can personalize yourself!

 
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Whether you’re a traditionalist seeking to keep customs alive, or looking for a customizable statement piece at your wedding, a floral crown might be for you! Check out a few of my favorite headpieces and crowns that speak to my wild, bohemian heart.

 
  1. Minimalist Leafy Halo

 
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Simplicity can speak volumes, and this crown is turning up the amp. Unruly, yet polished, this vibrant green crown is sending out some earthy vibes while perfectly accenting that lush bouquet and pure white gown.

 
 

2. Dainty Flower Headband

 
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Adorning effortless waves, this more dainty headpiece adds the perfect amount of femininity to accomplish a more complete look. Its delicate detail further accentuates the lace in that perfect, boho, goddess-like dress.

 
 

3. Floral Halo Crown

 
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Balance. Balance is what makes this bridal look work! With a dress that can only be described as sexy, minimalist-perfection, this bride can afford a more romantic, unkept hairstyle. Add a floral crown into the mix, and the results are more than enchanting.

 
 

4. Woven Floral Comb

 
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Have you ever had such a great hair day, that you are almost sad to go to bed because you know that it won’t be the same the next day? Yeah? Well, I’m positive that is how this girl is feeling..unless her hair happens to look this majestic every day..in that case, I don’t want to know about it. But seriously, this look is nothing short of poetic. Perfectly woven into a braid, the hues in this comb add soft earthiness without taking away from the precision of her look.

 
 

5. Statement Crown

 
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Need a few seconds to take in the splendor? I’m appropriately naming this one the “Statement Crown.” Everything about the arrangement is so purposeful! That vibrant crimson rose packs a punch (and even matches her deep red lip!), but is offset by the softness of that perfectly arranged greenery. If you’re looking for perfection, this is it.

 
 

let’s plan an adventure together!

 

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My Three Favorite Engagement Session Client Outfits

One of the things I KNOW my brides stress out a lot over is what to wear to their engagement session. They want to dress the perfect part, a balanced, cohesive look that is both bohemian and urban, both casual and close. My best tip or recommendation when choosing your outfits is that you should dress nicer than you do every day. But whether that means a nice sweater for each of you and some chunky jewelry or a full-on boho vibe with open weave cardigan and Chacos, it’s totally up to you!

 
My Favorite Engagement Session Client Outfits Logan Utah Engagement Photographer Calli Richards
 

Since I know some people are looking for a little more direction than that, today I decided to share some of my fool-proof, always-a-winner engagement outfit combinations in case you simply need examples to look off of as you’re making your outfit choices.


The Just Be You

This is where you pick an outfit entirely surrounding your vibe as a couple. It’s probably a bit more laid-back, but it’s still worth grabbing a couple new pieces to feel fancy. But the good news is that these new pieces are totally functional because they’ll fit nicely into the rest of your wardrobe!

The Date Night Classic

This is where you keep it comfortable, by still wearing pants, but you step up your game from what you’d normally wear. Pretend that your boy toy is taking you to a nice dinner, and you want to look stunning, but you’re not committed enough to wear the heals and a dress. Dress him in a sweater or a button up, and wear a bit of jewelry.

The Photographer’s Choice

I love it when my clients are as ready as I am to go adventuring up a mountain or down in a valley by a lake, and the energy behind the eyes of the couple is really apparent when you look at those types of engagement photos. My choice for you is to wear something that you ROCK and feel so confident in, but also allows us to have the adventure of a lifetime as we capture your love. That probably doesn’t look like a dress, and it probably doesn’t look like a suit for your man.

let’s plan an adventure together!

 

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Wedding Planning Timeline | 9 Months Before

We’re less than a year away! Nine months before the wedding, you’re starting to feel the excitement of the engagement slowly feel normal as you identify as a fiancé, and you feel a little anxious at one day identifying as a “wife”. You might still feel like you’ve got plenty of time before the wedding, but trust me: you’ll be much better off to tackle a few of things outline below this month than to leave them for later.

 
wedding planning 9 months before the big day wedding planning checklist timeline getting ready for the wedding
 

Many brides consider the wedding as the day they want to look their very best. If you plan to start a healthy diet and exercise regimen, then about nine months before your wedding is when you should look into and start working with a personal trainer or health counselor who can make sure that you look and feel your best and you’re nearing the big event.

You can also use this time to research and maybe even book the rest of your wedding day vendors that might not need as much of a head’s up, like your florist, hair and makeup artist, your decor suppliers, and even the bakery for your cake. This nine month head’s up is perfect for these vendors to plan their schedule, especially if you’re getting hitched during peak wedding season.

Since you’ve been researching wedding dresses for a couple months now, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for in a gown and where you want to buy from. At this point in the wedding planning process, it’s time to take a deep breath, and bite that bullet. Order the dress of your dreams. Choose a dress that represents you and your personality and style, and also makes you feel empowered as the main attraction of the big day. Choosing your dress around this time gives you plenty of opportunity for repeat fittings to make sure it’s exactly right for you on your wedding day.

Another big to-do item is to choose and book your catering service. While the menu might get fleshed out later on when it’s closer to your wedding season, you should at least reserve the company that will be handling your food and work out logistics like travel to and from the kitchen to the venue, special access for the catering and wait staff, etc.

And lastly, one more fun thing you can do at this time is to submit your engagement photos to your local or hometown newspapers to announce your engagement. Now that you hopefully have your wedding registry up and running, you can graciously receive all the well-wishes from neighbors and extended family and friends, and then direct them to your online registry if they wish to extend their congratulations in the form of a gift with which you may start your new life together.

Stay tuned for more wedding planning tips and to see my suggestions for things you can be working on during the 8th month before your wedding day!

let’s plan an adventure together!

 

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Wedding Planning Timeline | 10 Months Before

If you’re planning a wedding for the end of next year, it may seem like a long ways off, but today I’ll be sharing all the things you can do right now, well in advance, to make sure that crunch time doesn’t get too stressful. The things I’m talking about today are things I’ve classified as tasks you should handle 10 months before your wedding, but there is no time like the present to get all these things planned, and you are more than welcome to treat this more like a rough guideline when planning your own big day. Be sure to check out the other posts in this series!

 
ten months before your wedding planning checklist tips for brides
 

If you’re getting married abroad, or if you know that your wedding day is going to be during a busy time of year for your friends and family, be sure to send out your save the dates super far in advance. Ten months before the big day is a good time to start letting everyone know, “Hey! I’m getting married this day, so if you care about me at all, please save this day to celebrate with me because I want you there!” People will appreciate the head’s up so that they can get to planning their accommodations, work schedules, and travel details.

Other people that would appreciate this level of advance notice are your band, your photographer, and your videographer. These are all people who would probably like to discuss their contribution to your event at an official meeting, so scheduling them ahead of time will make sure you can get a spot on the calendar of your favorite vendors. As a photographer, I especially appreciate a client who comes to me far in advance of their wedding date as it allows me to plan trips and other sessions and get a feel for when my busy season will be.

Another thing you can work on at this time is to begin your wedding dress research. The perfect dress might prove to be a little more elusive than you’re thinking, so give yourself PLENTY of time to visit boutiques, order samples, and meet with designers. You’ll really appreciate starting early when it comes time for all the other wedding-related tasks and you know that this one is already taken care of.

After you’ve booked your photographer, now would be a great time to plan your engagement photos. These would be fun to include in your save the dates, and by planning this far ahead, you can also have a little bit more say in what type of season and setting you take your photos in. Taking professional photos with your fiancé also gives you the chance to try out some professional hair and make-up artists for the big day, too.

Finally, this is about when you should start a wedding registry. Once you’ve sent out your save the dates, the congratulations will start rolling in, and wouldn’t it be absolutely lovely if you had a place you could direct the kind souls asking about what they can get you two to help you start your life together? Sites like Zola.com make it super easy for you to register for things from around the web, and your family will appreciate the convenience!

Stay tuned for more wedding planning tips and to see my suggestions for things you can be working on during the 9th month before your wedding day!

let’s plan an adventure together!

 

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Wedding Planning Timeline | 11 Months Before

How is wedding planning going? I hope you’ve had fun starting to day dream and build up your Pinterest board with ideas and inspiration for the big day. If you pace yourself with the planning and remember to outsource as much as you can to minimize stress, this can be a really fun time that brings you closer to your fiancé.

Today I’m sharing a few things that I think you could be taking care of this eleventh month before your wedding day. Check out our last post on this topic to see what things should already be handled one year prior to your wedding or earlier!

 
wedding planning timeline what to do eleven months before your wedding prep checklist
 

The first task I’m setting for you for this month is to decide if you want to hire a wedding planner. Here are the benefits to hiring a wedding planner: they’re well-versed in all the language and processes for weddings and understand better than you how things work best, they have lots of connections, they can refer you to great vendors, and they’ll take the day-of stress off your plate by handling all the last-minute things, and the things you need to be doing during the event like handing out final payments, making sure the rentals get returned, coordinating the transportation, etc. There are many other reasons, but these are just a few in support of outsourcing the bulk of the wedding planning to an expert.

Now that you’ve decided if you’ll be planning every last detail yourself or with help, you can make some bigger decisions like choosing a venue for the ceremony and your reception. Remember your budget and don’t let this reservation eat up too much of your finances. There are still so many more financial preparations and planning to come! Consider simplifying things by having your ceremony at the same place as your reception. Saves you the cost of transporting your bridal party to the second location and the cost of printing up additional directions, but it also saves you a ton of time and potentially money on the reservation of the space.

Next, you can book your officiant. This is one of the earliest things you want to work on, especially if you find your preferred officiant to be in demand. Choose someone that you have a special bond to or who you truly admire. It can make the big day even more special if your officiant is a friend or loved one! Give them plenty of heads up so they can be prepared, and they’ll appreciate you for it.

Now that the date and location are set for your wedding, it’s time to start gathering addresses for the friends and family that you’ll be inviting to your big day. My suggestion is to start a shared Guest List Google spreadsheet with columns for all the details you need (last name, first name, spouse (if applicable), full address, RSVP, dinner choice, plus one, etc). Share this spreadsheet with your fiancé and maybe even a few family members, like the mothers, and then ask them to help you gather all this information for both sides of the family. This Guest List will come in super handy later when you need to do a quick sort or count of who’s coming and other details so that you can tell your vendors.

And finally, in addition to your officiant, you should give your bridesmaids and groomsmen plenty of time to prepare for the big day by asking them to be part of your wedding party several months before your wedding. This gives you all enough time to prepare however you see fit, planning activities with your bridal party, ordering suits and dresses, arranging travel and clearing your calendar, etc. Show them how much you appreciate them and want them to be part of this special day in your life with a little gift as you ask them to join your wedding party.

Stay tuned for more wedding planning tips and to see my suggestions for things you can be working on during your 10th month before your wedding day!

let’s plan an adventure together!

 

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Wedding Planning Timeline | 12 Months Before

Congratulations on your engagement! I’m so excited for you, because marriage is the best ever! As you prepare and plan for your big day, you’re sure to have a lot of questions, especially if this is your first time doing this (which it probably is!). I’ve been to almost a hundred weddings in my time as a photographer, so I’ve seen it all. All the mistakes and successes, all the planning woes, and all the forgotten pieces.

Take advantage of the tips I’m share here and stay tuned for the future posts as I outline what I know to be the best checklist for making sure everything gets done before the big day. Today we’ll be talking about the things you should work on a whole year before your wedding.

 
wedding planning checklist 12 months before the wedding things you should do a year before you get married wedding prep timeline
 

The first thing you’ll need to do, as most every other bit of planning relies on this, is set your wedding date. Make sure that neither you nor your fiancé have conflicting plans on the proposed date, and it’s also a good idea to double check with the important people in your life before you finalize a date and set it in stone.

The next thing I recommend doing is having a party to celebrate your engagement. Planning a wedding can get a little hectic, but I want you to remember why you’re doing this and let yourself feel the love from those around you who want to celebrate your love with you! This is a chance for you to sit back revel in the joy from your recent engagement before things get harried and technical.

Before you start getting too far into planning, you and your fiancé should also discuss your budget for your wedding. Will you be funding it just the two of you? Will your parents or anyone else be contributing? This may even factor into your actual wedding date. Ask the tough questions now to get them out of the way and make sure you’re on the same page. You should also have this discussion with anyone else financially contributing to your wedding planning. Knowing the finances ahead of time will keep things operating smoothly down the road, and will help you avoid rocky situations. Especially when it comes to family, you want to show the utmost respect for all those involved because it can be an emotional time! You’ll be better off for having this conversation sooner rather than later.

Another thing I find it most helpful to plan early on is to decide on a number of guests and put together a tentative guest list. With your budget in mind, work together to make a list of the most important people in your lives with whom you want to share your special day. Be respectful of each other’s feelings and sensitive to any unique situations. I’d rather pay $20 a head for a couple extra people to avoid burning bridges and ruining a friendship, any day.

The last task I’d give to you for this month, a whole year before your wedding day, is to start a Pinterest account, if you don’t already have one. Pinterest is a treasure trove of helpful information and beautiful inspiration to help you with visualizing and actually planning your wedding. You can easily pin the things you want to remember and find related pins, which is especially helpful once you’ve chosen your theme and your colors - it makes it a breeze to see other decor examples or styles that fit your aesthetic all in one place!

Check back soon for more wedding planning tips and to see what you should be doing 11 months before your wedding day! Now that I’m married, I love sharing this valuable information I’ve learned that I’m never going to have the chance to implement when planning my own wedding every again. Take my knowledge and put it to good use!

let’s plan an adventure together!

 

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30 of the Best Father/Daughter Dance Songs for Your Wedding Reception

Between all the giddy, smiling moments on your wedding day, there will be those that call for tissues. Your father, daughter dance is sure to be one of them. After all, your dad is the man who loved you first. For him, transitioning from playing endless games of peek-a-boo, (whose shocking appeal never wavered), to now twirling you into the arms of your husband tends to be symbolically sentimental. To soften the blow, chose a song that represents your relationship with your dad! Let your song serve as a gentle reminder that you will forever be his little girl. 

Check out these 30 timelessly, twirl-worthy tunes, that are sure to make your dance with your dad a special one - 

 

Butterfly Kisses - Bob Carlisle

Sweet Pea - Amos Lee

How Sweet It Is - James Taylor

Daddy's Little Girl - Michael Bolton

I Loved Her First - Heartland

My Little Girl - Tim McGraw

Lullaby - Billy Joel

Have I Told You Lately - Rod Stewart

Daughters - John Mayer

You Are So Beautiful - Joe Cocker

My Wish - Rascal Flatts

Your Song - Elton John

It Won't Be Like This For Long - Darius Rucker

I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack

Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder

The Best Day - Taylor Swift 

My Girl - The Temptations

Make You Feel My Love - Adele

Not While I'm Around - Kat Jennings & Angela Lansbury

Michelle - The Beatles

When You Need Me - Bruce Springsteen 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Isreal Kamakawiwo'Ole

When You Say Nothing at All - Alison Krauss

The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra

Gracie - Ben Folds

Sweet Child O' Mine - Sheryl Crow

Father and Daughter - Paul Simon

Dream Away - Frank Sinatra

I Will Walk With You - John Fogerty 

Just the Way You Are - Billy Joel

 

Add these songs to your wedding playlist on Spotify!

 

Planning for an upcoming wedding? Follow me on Pinterest for wedding inspiration, bridal tips, and amazing wedding planning resources!


 

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