What to Do 9 to 11 Months Before Your Wedding
Nine to 11 months before your wedding, you'll make some crucial decisions and finalize a few major details like your guest list and venue choice. It's also when you'll start to shop for the most important piece — your dress!
Use the checklists in this chapter to help guide you through the planning process. If you have any questions about finding your dream wedding dress along the way, reach out to us at Alexandra's Boutique, where our bridal consultants will be happy to help.
It's been a month or so since you got engaged, so it's time to start taking action. Here's what to do 11 months before your wedding:
Start checking out your favorite venues and ask plenty of questions. Find out if each venue is available on your desired date and ask about pricing. As you tour your few favorite locales, take note of how each one fits with your vision, budget and guest list size. Consider other essential elements like parking lot size, location, catering restrictions and overall vibe. Discuss the various venues with your partner before you make a decision, and weigh the pros and cons of each.
Research and Interview Caterers
If your venue does not offer a caterer, you'll have to hire an outside one. Think about the type of food you want and research caterers. You might also ask the venues you're interested in to provide a list of recommendations.
Once you find a few caterers who appeal to you and your fiancé, meet with them to ask questions and explore options that fit in your budget. If possible, schedule tastings so you can get a better feel for their catering style. Lastly, it really helps to have a solid idea of how many guests you plan to invite, as this will affect your budget for catering.
Plan an Engagement Party
Consider if you want to have an engagement party, and decide whether you want it to be a casual occasion or something more formal. Either way, your engagement party should be all about having a great time with loved ones.
Pick Your Color Theme
Think about colors as you tour different venues. Consider colors you love and how they affect mood. For example, deep, jewel-tone colors like ruby red or sapphire blue add drama, while light peaches and greens create a fresh, light feeling perfect for a springtime wedding. Have fun with it, and remember that everything doesn't have to match perfectly.
At 10 months before your wedding, make decisions based on the information you gathered the previous month. Use this checklist for assistance:
Secure Your Venue
You don't want to wait too long to book your venue, because this will set your wedding date. Your venue will also determine how many people you can invite. Choose a venue that fits your budget and, most importantly, represents you and your partner as a couple.
Book Your Caterer and Start to Plan the Menu
It's time to make a final decision about your caterer. You'll need to think about your budget when making your selection, but you'll also want to choose a caterer who's flexible with menu items, responsive to your inquiries and happy to meet your needs.
Hire Your Officiant
Research potential officiants and get to know them a little before you make a decision, as this person will play an essential role in your wedding ceremony. The officiant should be someone you and your soon-to-be feel comfortable with, and they must be ordained to do the job. If you and your fiancé would be thrilled to have a friend or family member perform the marriage ceremony, know that it's pretty easy to get ordained online.
Research and Reserve Vendors
Consider the type of professionals you want to hire for your special day, such as photographers, videographers, bands, DJs and florists. Research professionals and look for those who match your vision and budget. Schedule appointments to meet with them, and don't wait too long to book.
Shop for Your Dress, Shoes and Accessories
Make an appointment at a bridal shop and start your wedding dress search. It can take time to get the perfect fit and style, so it's important not to wait. Ideally, you'll want to start shopping for your dress soon after you book a venue, so you have time to choose a gown you love that goes with the overall tone of your wedding. A bridal consultant can help you select a dress that suits your dream design and looks gorgeous with your wedding theme.
Create a Wedding Website
Your wedding website will keep guests updated and should include information like travel details and, eventually, registry info. You'll also want to print the URL on your save-the-dates, so that's why you want to start your site sooner rather than later. There are plenty of easy-to-use online tools and templates available to make the process a piece of cake. For example, a few popular options include Wix, Zola and Minted.
With nine months left until your wedding, here's what you'll want to prioritize:
Finalize Your Guest List
It's time to make a final decision about who you want to invite to your big day. Once you and your partner narrow it down to friends and family you absolutely must have at your wedding, you'll want to organize their information. Create a spreadsheet that includes contact info, RSVPs, gifts and other important details. You'll need to complete your guest list before you can send out save-the-dates.
Take Engagement Photos
After you book your photographer, take engagement photos — especially if you want to use them on your save-the-date cards. To create unique engagement photos that reflect you and your partner's personalities, choose a location that's meaningful to you both, like a favorite hiking spot or the place you had your first date. Don't be afraid to get creative and let your personalities shine.
If you plan to work with a graphic designer to create custom invitations, you'll want to start the process early. Otherwise, you can wait until six months before your wedding to order invitations.
Choose Your Bridal Party
Wait until the excitement of your engagement calms down a little before you decide who will be in your bridal party so that you don't make a rushed decision. Once you know who you want to be your wedding VIPs, you can have fun popping the question. For example, you might host a casual dinner party to ask your closest companions to be part of your big day, or give them each a special treat and a note that asks them to be your bridesmaid.
Book Hotel Blocks
If you're inviting guests from out of town, they'll need a place to stay after your wedding. Hotel blocks are an excellent solution for out-of-town guests, as well as for anyone who doesn't want to worry about transportation after celebrating. You'll want to book hotel block accommodations as soon as your date and venue are confirmed, especially if you live in a larger city. Hotel blocks can book fast if a large event is coming to town, so you don't want to wait.
Order Your Gown
Depending on the customization needed for your dress, it could take several months to create your dream gown. You won't be left to navigate the gown-ordering process alone, and bridal consultants will help you every step of the way. Now's the time to work with them to finalize your gown and order it.