A Southern Belle's Guide to Wedding Planning

Congratulations on your engagement! Now the fun part begins! I am sure you have a zillion ideas flowing through your excited mind, and you have probably already created a Pinterest board Martha Stewart would approve! Well, just in case you are like me and love the feeling of success when you check something off a list, here is a guide that will help you for your big upcoming day!  Don’t get bogged down in the wedding day trenches- remember, keep your focus- you are marrying the love of your life and living happily ever after! 


PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography


- 12 Months -

 Pop the bubbly! You, lovely, are getting married! 

 Buy some wedding magazines and get inspired! 

 Purchase a wedding binder to keep all your magazine clippings, brochures, business cards, and notes in one place.

 Determine your budget.  Make sure to prioritize and have what is important to you two love birds!

 Choose a wedding date.  

 Decide on a color scheme. 

 Select your bridal party.  

 Start making your wedding guest list.  

 Begin looking at venues and narrow down your choices.  Venues usually book a year ahead, so once you have your date set, get your venue reserved! 

 Research other wedding vendors: photographers, DJs, bands, catering, videographers, etc. 

 Create your  wedding “team” and consider hiring a wedding planner.  

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

| 8-10 Months |

 Book your photographer and videographer.  

 Register for gifts at your favorite department stores and hometown shops.

 Buy your dream dress.  

 Take engagement photos- you can uses these for your save the dates!

 Create your wedding website.   

 Research and reserve accommodations for out-of-town guests.

 Book your officiant.

 Decide on what type of food you want, and meet with caterers. 

 Research wedding insurance policies. Yes, these really do exist and are important!

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

| 6-8 Months |

 Finalize your guest list and gather everyone’s addresses.

 Send out save-the-dates.

 Purchase your invitations.

 Choose and book a floral designer.

 Contact rental companies for additional items (tables, chairs, tents, linens, etc.) 

 Choose bridesmaids’ dresses.

Begin planning your honeymoon! 

| 4-6 Months |

 Begin choosing your ceremony music and building your reception.

 Eat cake! Go cake tasting and order your cake(s).

 Book the rehearsal dinner venue.

 Schedule a hair and makeup trial and book artists.

 Go to your first dress fitting.

 Book accommodations for your wedding night.

 If required, attend pre-wedding counseling.

 Check passports for renewals. 

 Rent the groom and his merry men’s formal wear.

 Hire transportation for the wedding day: vintage cars, limousines, a horse and carriage, the skies the limit!

 Finalize your reception menu with your caterer.

 Meet with your floral designer to finalize your event’s florals.  

 Purchase the rings.

 Order your wedding favors.

| 2 Months |

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

 Send out invitations.

 Enjoy your bachelor/bachelorette parties!

 Review your music selections with your DJ or band.

 Make final payments with vendors.

 Correspond with your photographer to discuss day-of plans and specific photos you want to have.

 Send in your announcement to the local newspaper.

 Make sure the groomsmen have purchased/rented their attire. 

| 1 Month |

Attend your last dress fitting. Make sure your mom or maid of honor knows how to bustle your dress. 

 Write your vows.

 Get your marriage license.  

 Send out rehearsal dinner invitations.

 Check off all your RSVPs you have received on your guest lists.

 Purchase alcohol and items needed for cocktails.

 Confirm times for all of your vendors and make a day-of timeline.  If you are working with a wedding planner, discuss your day-of timeline options. 

 Purchase gifts for your bridal party. 

 Call up the girls- make sure they have their bridesmaid dresses ready for the big day!

| 2 Weeks |

 Review the RSVP list and contact any guests who have not yet responded.

 Send your photographer and videographer your final picture list and include who should be included in the formal pictures.  

 Get your prewedding haircut and color.

 Delegate any small day-of tasks to family and friends.

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

| 1 Week |

 Practice dancing in your shoes so that they are broken in and comfy for the big day! 

 Go get a mani/pedi.

 Pack for your honeymoon.  Don’t forget the sunscreen!

 Send your final guest count to your caterer.

 Have final payments ready for vendors. 

 Take a deep breath and relax! 

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

PC: Emily Reedstrom Photography

| After the Honeymoon |

  Write “thank you” cards.

 Officially change your name!

 Have your dress cleaned and preserved.

| Special Thanks |

Photography: Emily Reedstrom Photography // Cake: Lotus Sugar Shack, Hellen Warren // Cake Florals: Bloomwoods //Flowers// Floral Design and Event Planning: Shayna Chapman, S. Chapman Designs // Invitation Suite: Madison Stationery, Katie McCambley // Bridal Gown:  Uptown Gowns