The Ideal Wedding Planning Timeline in 2023 (or 2024!)

Are you recently engaged and ready to start planning your dream wedding in Michigan? Congratulations! The journey ahead of you is exciting, and I could not be happier for you. When it comes to planning your wedding, I know you are going to be bombarded with information.

This won’t be your typical wedding planning timeline, with 112 steps and the month to do it in. Instead, I want to share with you the general order you want to follow in your wedding planning timeline, and then you can choose what you want from there! Those long step-by-step timelines are meant to help you plan an average wedding (and you are not average!). If you are like me, you might want to spend a little extra time working on the decor and the details. You do you! From booking a wedding planner to securing your essential wedding vendors, here are my personal recommendation (as a Detroit wedding photographer)!

outdoor wedding ceremony setup in Detroit, MI

Should you plan your wedding for 2023 or 2024?

Should you get married in 2023 or 2024? Although a wedding planning timeline in 2023 might feel tight, planning your wedding actually doesn’t take as much time as you think! Often with a longer timeline, you may actually find it less enjoyable because you spend more time struggling with indecision. Trust me on this! Not to mention, with inflation many wedding vendors are charging a premium for 2024 so you might save a little money with a shorter wedding planning timeline too! With that said, ultimately it is up to you! You need to choose a wedding date (and timeline) you can get excited about.

Regardless of whether you have a 2023 or 2024 wedding date in time, contact me here to inquire about current availability.

wedding invitation flat lay for wedding planning timeline

Step 1: Book Your Wedding Planner & Find a Venue

The first two steps to planning your dream wedding are to book your wedding planner and find a wedding venue. If you need more convincing that a wedding planner is a necessity, check out this post here. Your wedding planner will be with you every step of the way, helping you make decisions, coordinating vendors, and making sure everything goes off without a hitch on your wedding day.

Meanwhile, finding a venue is key as it sets the stage for everything else on this wedding planning timeline. Not only do you need to find a place that fits within your budget (and guest list), but also one that brings your vision to life.

Etre Farms wedding venue

Step 2: Book Your Caterer, Photographer, Videographer, and Entertainment

The next step is to locate those “big” vendors – the ones that will also take up a good portion of your wedding budget and/or be with you the majority of the day. For most weddings, this will be your caterer, wedding photographers and videographer, and your DJ/live band for your wedding reception. Don’t forget to read reviews; they can help give insight into the quality of each vendor’s services before committing to them.

If you are looking for a wedding photographer, you can learn more about the experience at Brittany Allen Photography here, or schedule a time to chat and see if we are a good fit here.

black and white wedding photos

Step 3: Find Your Wedding Dress

When you are searching for the perfect wedding dress, it is important to start the process early. Most bridal boutiques require a minimum of 6-8 months for the ordering and fitting of your wedding gown – this timeline can vary depending on the designer, fabric, color, and other customizations you choose. Don’t forget to factor in time for alterations too.

While you are shopping for your wedding dress, don’t forget to consider accessories and jewelry too. Accessories like a cathedral veil (one of my personal favorites!) can make a big difference in your overall wedding day look.

tulle wedding dress

embroidered cathedral wedding veil

Step 4: Design your wedding day!

Now, it’s the exciting part! Now, you get to book the wedding vendors that make the biggest difference in how your wedding day looks. If you fall in love with all the wedding day details (like I do!), this will likely be your favorite step. From florists to rental companies to wedding calligraphers, your options are truly endless here. It’s time to start thinking about how you want everything to look on the big day! This means selecting colors and flowers for bouquets, centerpieces, linens – the list goes on and on.

wedding reception decor with overhead floral chandelier

Step 5: Book Everything Else (from Wedding Favors to Your Wedding Cake!).

Last but not least comes all the other details — from transportation services for guests to hair and makeup artists for everyone involved. I always love to think about what vendors to bring in next in chronological order of the day. First, you’ll want your wedding invitations (which we will photograph during your getting ready photos). You might want to order bridesmaid robes and of course, hire a makeup/hair team. The list goes on and on! Every little detail matters when it comes to creating an unforgettable experience for both yourself and everyone attending!

wedding menu cards purple wedding cake seating chart champagne

Your Wedding Planning Timeline (Made Easy!)

Planning a dream wedding in Michigan requires attention to detail throughout every step of the process – but there is still plenty of opportunity to make it ful. Following this timeline will ensure that nothing slips through the cracks but also makes sure that you don’t feel like you need to follow a rigid checklist and be overwhelmed with 300 things on your to do list. Breathe. Take one step at a time. Congratulations!

Want more wedding planning inspiration and tips on the regular? Make sure to follow me over on Instagram.


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