Know When To Begin Planning For Your Special Wedding

How much time it takes to plan a wedding varies for each person. So, it depends on how fancy you want it to be, what you like, and how much time you have for planning. Starting early is key because it reduces stress and makes everything easier.

It’s smart to start planning your wedding about 12 to 18 months before the big day. This gives you enough time to book venues, hire vendors, and also sort out all the details without feeling rushed. If your wedding is simpler or smaller, you might be okay starting about 6 to 12 months ahead. But the sooner you start, the better chance you have of getting what you want.

Quinta Cascata dos Sonhos, Venue | Almargem do Bispo, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

When is it too early to plan a wedding?

Planning a wedding can take a considerable amount of time, especially if you want to secure that perfect venue, vendors, and dates. Starting early is good because it gives you more options, and more time to think about all the details and make decisions without feeling rushed. Not to mention it lets you spread out the costs over a long period, which can be helpful.

Planning a wedding 2 years before the big day might seem like a lot of time, but it’s not too early, especially if you have a specific vision for your wedding or if you are planning a large event that requires a lot of coordination.

Just keep in mind that, if you are planning way ahead, trends can change, so you might need to check your plans closer to the wedding day to make sure everything is still how you want it. While there’s no strict rule on when it’s too early, it’s important to stay flexible and be prepared to adapt your plans as needed.

Quinta do David, Venue | Palmela, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

On the other hand, if you plan too late you might struggle to find available venues and vendors. Besides, trying to do everything at the last minute can be stressful. You could try making a list of all the things you need to do before the wedding and see if you can get them done in the time you have left. If it still feels too much, you could hire a wedding planner or ask friends and family to help out.

So, starting to plan your wedding early is fine as long as it doesn’t make you feel too stressed out. Go for it!

Quinta Palácio Dos Antónios, Venue | Aroeira, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Planning Timeline

Planning your wedding is a big deal, and it takes a lot of thought and organisation. Starting at the right time can make everything easier and less stressful. Here’s a simple guide to help you figure out when to start planning for your big day.

12 to 18 Months Before

  • Choose a date and venue: Begin by choosing when and where you want to get married. Popular places can get booked up fast, so it’s a good idea to reserve your spot as soon as you can.
  • Draft a guest list: Start making a list of family and friends you want to invite to your wedding.
  • Set a budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on your wedding, such as the venue, food, and decorations.
  • Hire key vendors: Research and book essential vendors such as photographers, videographers, caterers, and florists. You can also ask your friends for suggestions, read reviews and set up meetings to talk with them. Hire a wedding planner if needed.
  • Start shopping: Begin looking for your dream wedding dress, the groom’s suit or tuxedo, and check out options for bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen attire. Wedding dresses often need several months for alterations, so it’s best to start early.
  • Select bridal party: Ask friends and family to be part of your bridal and groom party. This gives them plenty of time to plan and buy their outfits.
  • Send save-the-dates: Send out save-the-date cards to inform guests in advance of your wedding date.
  • Research honeymoon destinations: Start exploring potential honeymoon destinations and figure out how much money you will need for it.
Quinta do David, Venue | Palmela, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings
Lisbon, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

9 to 12 Months Before

  • Finalise vendors: Confirm bookings with vendors and sign contracts.
  • Choose a theme: Decide on important details like the theme, colour scheme, and overall style of your wedding
  • Design invitations: Design and order your wedding invitations, ensuring they match your theme and style.
  • Book accommodations: Arrange accommodations for out-of-town guests and book a bunch of rooms if you need to.
  • Purchase attire: Decide on bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen attire, and order them.
  • Plan entertainment: Hire a DJ or band for your reception entertainment.
  • Begin Registry: Create a wedding registry to give guests gift options.
Cascais, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings
Quinta Pinhal das Confreirias, Venue | Almargem do Bispo, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

6 to 9 Months Before

  • Order wedding cake: Choose a baker and order your wedding cake.
  • Arrange transportation: Arrange transportation for the wedding party and guests if necessary.
  • Plan rehearsal dinner: Start planning the rehearsal dinner and book a venue if needed.
  • Finalise guest list: Confirm your final guest list and obtain mailing addresses for invitations.
  • Purchase wedding rings: Choose and order wedding rings.
  • Schedule hair and makeup trials: Book hair and makeup trials for yourself and your bridal party.
  • Plan out-of-town activities: Plan any activities or tours for out-of-town guests during their visit.
Quinta das Riscas, Venue | Montijo, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings
Quinta da Suratesta, Venue | Beja, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

3 to 6 Months Before

  • Send invitations: Mail out wedding invitations, including RSVP cards.
  • Arrange marriage license: Obtain your marriage license from the local authorities.
  • Finalise decor details: Decide on ceremony and reception decor details and order any necessary items.
  • Confirm catering menu: Finalise your catering menu and schedule a tasting if necessary.
  • Plan ceremony details: Plan the ceremony order and any special readings or rituals.
  • Purchase wedding favours: Order or make wedding favours for your guests.
  • Schedule dress fittings: Arrange final dress fittings and alterations.
Wedding Dress | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings
Quinta das Riscas, Venue | Montijo, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

1 to 3 Months Before

  • Finalise seating arrangements: Create seating arrangements for your reception and finalise details with your venue.
  • Follow up on RSVPs: Follow up with guests who have not responded to your invitations.
  • Confirm details with vendors: Confirm details and timelines with all vendors.
  • Finalise day-of timeline: Create a detailed timeline for the wedding day.
  • Attend pre-wedding events: Attend any bridal showers, and bachelor or bachelorette parties.
  • Prepare wedding vows: Write your wedding vows if you plan to personalise them.
  • Pack for honeymoon: Begin packing for your honeymoon and confirm travel arrangements.
Quinta das Riscas, Venue | Montijo, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings
Palmela, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Week Of The Wedding

  • Confirm final details: Double-check all arrangements with vendors and venue to ensure everything is in order.
  • Delegate tasks: Assign tasks to family and friends to help things run smoothly on the big day.
  • Rehearse ceremony: Have a rehearsal for the ceremony with your wedding party.
  • Get pampered: Schedule any final beauty treatments like messages for the wedding day.
  • Pick up attire: Pick up your wedding dress and any other attire needed for the day.
  • Relax and enjoy: Take some time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends before the big day!
  • Get married: Finally, enjoy your wedding day and celebrate your love with family and friends.
Aroeira, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings
Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, Church | Nazaré, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Remember that every wedding is unique, and timelines can be adjusted based on your specific needs and circumstances. It’s important to stay organised and flexible throughout the planning process to ensure everything goes smoothly on your special day!

To sum up, it’s best to start planning your wedding with enough time to get everything done without feeling rushed or stressed. This could mean starting several months to a year ahead, depending on how big and detailed you want your wedding to be. But the most important thing is to choose a time that works well for you and makes you feel comfortable.

Meco Beach Photoshoot | Sesimbra, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings
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Pedro Cruz

Wedding photographer and videographer from Lisbon, Portugal. Here is Pedro Cruz's short bio.

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