Yes, it’s a big undertaking, but you’ve totally got this. Planning your wedding is all about having a plan and that is what I am here to help with.
12 months before your wedding
Wedding planner: This is a good thing to do first. The wedding planner can take a lot off your plate, reduce stress, have your back. The guidance and advice from a great wedding planner is key.
Wedding venue: When it comes to the question of when to book your wedding vendors, this is big! It’s like you haven’t really set a date until you’ve booked your venue. Whether you decide to have separate ceremony and reception venues or host your wedding all in one location, it’s best to book your venue or venues as soon as possible. They get booked super early! There are SOOOOO many amazing options in here in Nashville.
Hair and makeup artist:Remember, no leaving this to chance.
We have LOTS of experience. Plus we even travel and educate other artists. We have worked the Runway shows at NY Bridal Fashion Week for Carolina Herrera multiple times. I mean, if Ms. Herrera loves us….
10 months before your wedding
Photographer: Definitely a major one. When looking for a photographer, it’s important to consider his or her style and cost, but also make sure that you get along well with your photo pro—you’re going to be spending a lot of time with him or her on your big day!
Videographer: Your wedding videographer will create a cinematic film of your wedding day, featuring motion and sound—an essential memento of your wedding day. Research and secure this vendor early. The good ones get booked pretty fast.
Officiant: Your wedding vendor timeline should also include a licensed, professional officiant. Without one, you won’t actually be married! Whether you are marrying in a religious or secular ceremony, it pays to hire an experienced, professional officiant who can help you craft and execute a meaningful and personal ceremony.
Florist: Florals make the ceremony. Research your ideal florist early on so that you can have your “pick” of flowers (like what I did there?)
Caterer: Don’t let your guests get hangry! If your wedding venue doesn’t include a caterer, you’ll need to include an outside caterer in your wedding vendor timeline, in order to provide abundant and delicious food for your reception. Your caterer will help you decide on your reception’s serving style as well as provide a pre-wedding tasting to help you pick out specific dishes.
Reception music: A good wedding band or pro DJ will create your reception’s ambiance with music. Whether you choose to hire a wedding band or a DJ is your call, but be sure to allow ample time to find a music pro that you love—whether it’s a DJ with a great personality or a band that has a fantastic sound and playlist.
8 months before your wedding
Ceremony music: Hiring live musicians to perform at your ceremony will give this special moment a traditional and romantic feel. From a solo musician like a harpist or guitarist, to a group like a string quartet or jazz band you’ll want to match the musicians to the vibe of your big day.
Guest accommodations: If you’re hosting a lot of out-of-town guests, we recommend booking a block of rooms at a few hotels near your wedding venue. Not only does this ensure that there are rooms set aside for your guests, but it can also help your guests save money on their accommodations. Be sure to list hotel room block information on your wedding website or on your save-the-dates or invitations. Again, tons of options in this category and finding hotel blocks can be done on Wedding Wire and many other sites that compare prices and venues.
Now, if you are in Nashville, or planning a bachlorette party here, check this out:
Note: Urban Cowboy is a B and B and it has VERY limited availability, so for this one, you’d want to book ASAP. We’d give it even longer than 8 months, if possible. Every suite is unique and space is limited, but if you are looking for a really special Nashville experience when it comes to accommodations, this place is amazing. They also book events at the B and B as well as photo shoots, which could be a super-fun Nashville addition to your wedding experience.
Wedding dress: Buying a wedding dress is far different from purchasing a t-shirt from your favorite store. It can take time (like months) from the moment you order your gown until it’s in your hands. But one of the most GENIUS solutions to wedding dress whoas, that we have ever seen is something called Build A Bride. Yup, you got it. Just like it sounds. Totally built by YOU which means you get your PERFECT dress. It’s easy and stress free because you get to select every part of your gown and put it together exactly the way you like it.
Annnndddd…your bridal appointment takes place in the comfort of your own home. Whattttt???
So what is this Build A Bride concept?
So, I first saw this girl on Instagram. Her name is Sarah. I just couldn’t believe she had a mobile bridal dress boutique complete with all of the elements a dress could possible have, all separate, all customizable. Literally, you can design your own dress! From the neckline, to the fabric, to overlays, accessories, head pieces and veils. Over 40,000 combinations are possible with Build A Bride.
PLUS you get to have your friends and family all there, in the comfort of your own home sharing the experience with you. No worrying that an elderly grandparent or someone close to you won’t be able to get out and share in the experience with you, Everyone is comfortable and happy while you are solely attended to by your bridal gown stylist. In Nashville, your go-to girl is Sarah Smith, but Build A Bride has consultants in cities across Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio with more coming soon!
You literally can have anything you want and any combination in a dress. Yup, even pockets.
No matter where you look for your dress though, be sure and allow yourself ample time to shop for the right one-(the average bride tries on between four and seven dresses before finding “the one”), and don’t forget about alterations!
Stationer (save-the-dates): If you’re hosting a destination wedding here in Nashville, and you don’t live here, we recommend sending out save-the-dates as soon as you have your wedding location booked (more like a year in advance).
7 months before your wedding
Cake baker: Your cake baker will create a wedding cake that’s both gorgeous and delicious—and they only take a certain number of orders per week, so it’s best to book far in advance if possible. Once you’ve selected your cake baker, you will schedule a tasting to pick the flavors for your wedding cake (yum!).
Bridesmaid dresses: While bridesmaid dresses don’t take as long to order as a wedding dress, they can take months to arrive. Visit salons with your ‘maids to come up with a look that you can all agree on.
6 months before your wedding
Stationer (invitations): Your invitations will give your guest a hint as to what your wedding style will be. While you don’t have to send your wedding invitations until six to eight weeks before your wedding, ordering the invites themselves from a wedding stationer (and addressing and assembling them!) can take time.
Rentals: If your venue does not provide rentals like tables, chairs, linens, china, flatware, etc. or if you’d like more options, you’ll need to hire a rentals company as part of your wedding vendor timeline. Work with your caterer, venue, and florist to ensure that you rent the items you need, in the proper quantities.
5 months before your wedding
Men’s attire: Suit or tux? To rent or to buy? Whatever you decide, you’ll want to lock it down a few months before your wedding day. This goes for both groom and groomsmen—you can often receive discounts if you rent or buy your attire at the same time.
Accessories: Veils, headpieces, shoes, undergarments, and more—be sure to purchase any wedding-day accessories you’ll need with enough time before your wedding day. Brides will want to purchase shoes and undergarments so that they can have those accessories on hand for their first fitting.
Transportation: Hiring a wedding limo, shuttle bus, or other transportation is a good idea to ensure that your day runs smoothly and everyone arrives safely and on time. Finding a reputable transportation company to help you with all the logistics is an important part of your wedding vendor timeline.
- In Nashville, Check out Vintage Auto Props for a twist on traditional limo service
3 months before your wedding
Favors: The wedding favors you choose should reflect your wedding style—and there are lots of great ideas to choose from! Be sure to purchase your wedding favors with enough time to allow for any personalization or special packaging.
Wedding rings: Your wedding ring is a piece of jewelry that you’ll wear every day for the rest of your life (no pressure!), so take your time shopping for your bands.
So that’s a pretty good list of who to hire and when.
It’s a lot. I know. Like a LOT lot.
But hey, I created a a little something else for you that I think will help keep you sane. It’s a 12 month, wedding planning checklist that breaks down this process of wedding planning into bite sized pieces.
It’s just a little gift I made for you. So grab it right here
Happy planning and I will be checking in soon.
Please comment with any thoughts you may have and feel free to reach out if we can help you in any way!