Woohoo! Somebody presented some symbolic jewelry, proposed to somebody and that person said “yes” or something yes-adjacent.
Congratulations! Somebody is getting married. Now the real work starts.
If you are really, really fortunate and lucky in love, getting married is something you only do once in your life. And you want to do it to the best of your ability (not to mention finances). And whether you are going all out with an impressive amount of pageantry or keeping it humble and simple, there are lots of plans and preparations to be made so that one of the most memorable and happiest days of your life can go off smoothly.
At the end of the day, it’s your wedding — and we’re assuming you aren’t employing the talents of a wedding planner and instead are taking on most of the planning (hopefully with friends, family and assorted loved ones helping out when possible). Arrange and execute it how you see fit, but it helps to have a proper timeline of when and how things need to get done, so you won’t be scrambling and stressing out at the last minute.
Thus, we scoured the hallowed halls and resources of Wedding 101 knowledge to lay out when certain aspects of the planning for your nuptials should occur.
So get your day-planner out, bride/groom-zilla — it’s time to get to work.
First things first: Pick a date
Some people like to plan weddings up to 16 months out, which probably is very practical and necessary if your ideal wedding hinges on a specific and highly desirable venue or location. So figuring out when the big day is going to be is the first step before all the other important steps can take place. Speaking of which …
Way in advance: Who, what and where?
Whether you’re giving yourself 16 or nine or even six months to prepare, figure out your budget, the location, the guest list and the venue. And since this is a gay wedding, this is when and where you need to figure out which potential venues and guests to weed out in order for your wedding to be stress-free and as gay-friendly as possible. Send out invitations far in advance so attendees have ample notice to free up their schedules.
Around this time, you’re also going to want to get your wedding professionals, like photographers, lined up and hired. Also, if you are planning a destination wedding or have a lot of people coming from out of town, this is the time to find the right hotel and make arrangements to reserve a block of rooms. Additionally, order your rings around this time, as those kinds of orders take time and you want to give yourselves a cushion.
Four to six months out: Details, details, details
Around this time, if you haven’t already, start mapping out the theme and décor of your wedding, as well as picking out bridesmaids dresses (if applicable), your cake, food and entertainment for your reception. This is also when you want to create your invitations, pick out your wedding-party gifts, choose your music and order your flowers.
Also, if you are planning to leave the country for your wedding or your honeymoon, you should have applied for or gotten your passports in order by now.
One to three months out: Get your team together
Start getting your stylists and photography locations lined up and meet with them to discuss your expectations. Book whatever spa and beauty treatments you are going to want or need. Get your marriage licenses. Plan and finalize details for your reception and rehearsal dinner. And, most importantly, write your vows.
The final few weeks: Crunch time!
Confirm everything with everybody involved. Blow off some steam at your bachelor or bachelorette party. Attend your final fittings. Make sure your hair and/or makeup arrangements are set. Send your schedule to your wedding party. Pack for your honeymoon. Make any last-minute adjustments.
Good luck. Don’t stress too much. And never forget that you can always hire a professional to do all this grunt work for you. n