Keeping Everything in Line: Your Timeline for Planning Your Wedding
Getting engaged is a moment that officiates the beginning of a new chapter in you and your partner’s lives. When starting to prepare for this important occasion, it's crucial to tackle the planning process efficiently. There are venues to tour, invitations to design and send, decor to choose, food to taste and so much more to do before you tie the knot! Here are several tips from The Breakwaters at The Dunes for creating a timeline while planning your wedding.
12 + Months Until Your Big Day: Draft a Guest List, Set a Budget & Secure Your Vendors
Take a step back and really look at the people who matter in your life. You want to be surrounded by those you love. Try to picture the core people who bring you and your partner the most joy. It’s okay to not invite everyone who knows that you are engaged. Extending an invitation to your wedding is not a social obligation.
Next, at a year or so out from your wedding date, set a budget. Know your limits financially not only as an independent couple, but also discuss who may be willing to help and how much they will contribute. In modern-day weddings, most costs are a joint effort between parents of those getting married and the couple themselves.
Find and secure your venues. You should have your guest list curated before you choose the venue of your dreams. There is nothing more disappointing than falling in love with a venue that cannot accommodate the number of guests you are planning to invite. When choosing your venue keep these three basic ideas in mind; convenience, impression, and affordability. Once you love a venue, set a wedding date!
12 + Months: Put Together Your Wedding Party & Choose Your Registry
Ask people who love and support you to be groomsmen and bridesmaids. Remember, having an even number of wedding party members is a myth. The people you care about will most likely not come in pairs, and that's completely okay.
Set up your registry with ease online. There are hundreds of both national chains and local stores that have great benefits and discounts. Refer to our March blog for an in-depth step-by-step guide on how and where you should register.
9+ Months: Order Your Wedding Dress & Get Your Tuxedos Measured and Fitted
It can take up to nine months for a dress to be altered perfectly. The dress should fit you, you should not fit the dress! Reduce your stress, and pick one early so that you not only avoid rush fees, but it can also check off one of the most memorable parts of your planning process.
9+ Months: Book the Caterer, the Photographer, & Decide if You Want a Band or a DJ
If your venue does not provide food, you will want to start looking at catering companies now. Booking with The Breakwaters at The Dunes means that you have access to an event coordinator to help you choose from an array of wedding packages. Food is a major asset, and a tasting is usually complimentary.
When hiring a photographer, be sure to ask to view an entire wedding they shot, not just the highlights. These pictures will document some of the most beautiful and candid moments that you will experience on your wedding day. Choose a photographer that aligns with the way you want these memories to be captured.
Deciding between a band or a DJ does not hinder the great entertainment experience that your guests will have on your wedding day. However, choose entertainment that represents the vibe of the wedding overall. A small intimate wedding may call for a DJ, a bigger black tie affair may be better suited for a band.
6+ Months: Order Your Stationery & Book the Florist
Your invitations are the first peak at what your guests will experience. Share your wedding vision accordingly. If you are planning an elegant, formal wedding, sending an invitation overly casual with large lettering and bubble fonts could inadvertently prepare people to dress inappropriately.
For your wedding you are going to want a beautiful bouquet and centerpieces, but keep in mind that florals won't just end there. Flowers can be utilized during the ceremony, in the aisles, on the chairs, or on a canopy or chuppa. Because flowers offer a large presence, you need to remember to choose blooms that are in season. If specific flowers are important to you, try and plan your wedding around when they will be available. Also keep your budget in mind, as there are a lot of new trends for floral alternatives like the use of pampas grass, potted succulents, ferns, and branches.
6+ Months: Order Your Bridesmaids Dresses & Plan Your Honeymoon
Your wedding dress being altered to perfection isn't the only thing to consider when it comes to looking the part. Each of your bridesmaids should have their dress ordered at least six to seven months prior to your wedding date. First, choose whether you want them to wear solids or prints, and then decide whether you want them to be uniform or to have mismatched dresses. You can do this by choosing a designer online, and your bridesmaids can choose specifically from that selection.
It might feel too early to plan a honeymoon; however, all travel plans require a structured amount of time. It’s cheaper to book flights further away from your travel date instead of waiting until the last moment. Brainstorm with your partner about where you would like to explore your first moments as newlyweds, then choose a location that is within your budget.
4-6 Months: Lock in Your Food Choices
There are a fews musts when choosing the kind of food you want to have, and how it will be served or displayed at your wedding. The food and cake should reflect you as a couple and it should easily tie in with the other elements that surround your venue and celebration. If your wedding is black tie, it will make more sense to hold a cocktail hour and then a sit down plated service. A cocktail hour will require a series of stations with small bites. You can even add signature cocktails that represent both you and your partner's favorite drink ingredients.
When choosing the food menu, if you are indeed doing a black tie affair, it's important to incorporate everyone. If you're adding a fancy hors d’oeuvre item, like The Breakwaters at the Dunes’ fresh tuna ceviche, make sure you compliment that with an equally delicious array of chicken and lemongrass dumplings or grilled beef skewers.
For the main menu items, keep in mind any allergies or food sensitivities of your guests. It’s always safe to have at least three entree options. You can't go wrong with chicken, some sort of seafood like salmon or scallops, and a vegetarian option. If you are looking for something a bit more upscale, consider switching chicken for a filet mignon or ribeye. Everyone wants to enjoy great food! With The Breakwaters team in hand, our select wedding packages can be tailored for the perfect experience.
4+ Months: Book Rentals
As your wedding day quickly approaches, verify what is included with your venue and confirm any rentals needed for tents, tables, linens, etc. The great thing about choosing a venue like The Breakwaters at The Dunes is that we offer round dining tables, cocktail tables, reception chairs, white porcelain china, glassware, cutlery, and linens all with an on-site event team to make sure that everything is exactly how you envisioned.
2+ Months: Mail Invitations & Plan Your Service
All invitations should be sent out at least six weeks ahead of your wedding date. This allows for adequate time for your guests to respond, and it will ensure the most reliable headcount.
Your wedding service is all about you and what makes you and your partner comfortable. Designing a ceremony service that best suits you is so important. Whether you want a standard entrance order with the groom first, followed by the wedding party, then the bride and her escort or you prefer to have other family members go down the aisle, planning the ceremony service ahead of time will make the flow flawless. Planning your service can also depend on religious beliefs. For example, a traditional jewish ceremony is much longer than others. If this pertains to your event, make sure that there is an ample amount of seating for those who can't stand during certain points of the celebration. Keep your guests comfortable. You can also personalize your ceremony service by choosing songs or readings or by romantically writing your own vows.
2+ Months: Book the Hairstylists & Makeup Artists
Schedule your hair appointments for at least three hours before your wedding ceremony, and make sure you have the right amount of stylists. If you have more than eight or nine bridesmaids, two stylists will not be enough. Also make sure you count any others who may want to get their hair and makeup done. This includes the mothers of both people getting married and grandmothers or close relatives as well.
6 Weeks: Finishing Touches
At this point in the timeline, your ceremony should be finalized, but don't forget about the small remaining details. Arrange your final seating charts, confirm those who will be giving speeches, write your vows, and work with your vendor on the final touches of your ceremony program and day-of schedule. Communication is key, and if everyone is on the same page there are less possible chances for timing mishaps.
2 Weeks: Confirm Details
Check that your photographer knows the exact shot list you want. Your shot list will include pictures with family members from all sides of the new family tree. Your family members should also be informed when they need to arrive for pictures before the ceremony. This time should be optimized to go over your final head count with any caterers you will be using. No one wants to be left hungry! It’s essential that there is enough food for everyone. This can also be a time to put together favors and/or welcome bags for guests that will require lodging. Consider a water bottle, a snack, a wedding weekend program, and a welcome card as the perfect welcome bag that can be placed in your guests rooms.
Day Before the Big Day: Final Arrangements
Relax and get that mani pedi! You’re going to need a soothing break the day before your wedding. Confirm times with your transportation and head over to your rehearsal dinner to practice your wedding service. Practicing your wedding ceremony is of the utmost importance as it will not only ease you and your partners nerves, but also everyone who is involved in the ceremony.
Day Of: Get Married!
On the day of your wedding there will naturally be butterflies, but don't forget to take care of your body for the events that lie ahead. Keep yourself hydrated! Regularly take sips of water and choose a bridesmaid or event coordinator to remind you! Also, eat breakfast. Having food in your system is vital. Food is your friend! Be sure you are a blushing bride not a fainting one.
The Breakwaters at The Dunes
Being a beach venue, The Breakwaters at The Dunes will ensure that your wedding is a picturesque celebration. With a perfect backdrop only steps away from the Sea Isle beaches, we have a great selection of wedding packages that include all of your ceremony and reception needs. The Breakwaters at The Dunes has on-site wedding planners and rental accommodations for you and your guests. For any questions you have regarding taking the next steps on planning the perfect wedding, contact our incredible event coordinator, Sarah, who is here to be a lending hand on the path that lies ahead.