Pre Wedding Events Timeline

There is a lot that goes into planning a wedding with a lot of little to dos and parties that often happen before the day. I’ve made that list easier for you with this pre wedding events timeline.

The important thing to note is that these are all just traditions and it doesn’t mean you have to do them. There is no right or wrong way to do things when it comes to your wedding. You do whatever works best for you!

Planning a Destination Wedding Checklist

For example, my husband and I live in a different state than our friends and family so we never had an engagement party. My husband also never had a bachelor party, other than to go have lunch with some of his buddies.

These are just some fun ways to celebrate your engagement and your love for one another. It also helps the wedding planning process be a little less stressful as you have other things to look forward to before your wedding day.

Pre Wedding Events Timeline

Engagement Party

1-2 months after engagement

Many couples want to celebrate their engagement with friends and family shortly after they say “yes”. Typically, the bride’s parents might host a small get together at their house or a local restaurant.

The key to engagement parties is to keep it simple. For many, an engagement party might be a surprise dinner out surrounded by close family.

Pre Wedding Events Timeline: Engagement Party

We never had an engagement party since we lived out of state and got engaged in Colorado. Instead, it was just a lot of video calls to celebrate.

Explore More: Recently engaged? Head over to my post I’m Engaged: Now What? to help with all of your wedding planning needs.

Venue Search

12-18 months before wedding

Wedding venues book out about a year in advance. When I first got engaged, this was one of the most shocking things to find out when I was trying to plan our wedding for fall in the North Carolina mountains. Everything was booked!

Pre Wedding Events Timeline: Venue Search
Searching for venues in the North Carolina mountains

If you are dead set on having your wedding on a certain date, then be prepared to book a year or two in advance. I recommend having a few dates in mind that could work when exploring venues.

When exploring venues, consider bringing along a parent, wedding planner, or maid of honor. Having just a few other people there might help you consider things you might not have thought of.

Pre Wedding Events Timeline: Venue Search

Hot Tip: If you are planning a wedding with less time, consider getting married in the off season or on a weekday.

Explore More: Headed out on your venue search? Check out my post on Must-Ask Questions for Wedding Vendors.

Ultimate Wedding Decor Checklist

Wedding Dress Shopping

8-10 months before wedding

Wedding dress shopping is a day that many dream of for years before getting married. For me, it was kind of a surreal moment as I looked at myself in a wedding dress for the first time. It seemed like such an adult thing to do when I sometimes still feel like a kid inside.

If you are going to a bridal salon, anticipate ordering your dress 8-10 months in advance. Wedding dresses generally take a number of months to come in.

Pre Wedding Events Timeline: Wedding Dress Shopping

You also want to plan on having multiple fittings if your dress needs tailoring before your wedding. It will likely take a month or two to get it fitted the way you want.

If you are on a tight timeline, then consider ordering a dress online or from a secondhand consignment shop. I bought this beautiful wedding dress from Lulus for our private ceremony where we exchanged vows.

Bridesmaid Dress Shopping

6-8 months before wedding

Bridesmaids dresses generally don’t take as long to order and arrive as wedding dresses. I recommend going bridesmaids shopping after you have chosen your wedding dress. This will help you determine what style you want your bridesmaids to wear.

For my wedding, I picked a color for my bridesmaids, but allowed them to choose the style that worked best for them. They saved time and money by reusing bridesmaid dresses they had worn in previous weddings.

Pre Wedding Events Timeline: Bridesmaid Dress Shopping

Suit Shopping

4-5 months before wedding

Mens suits do not take as long to come in as wedding dresses unless you are getting one custom made. Plan to order your suit four to five months prior to your wedding date.

My husband was able to get one made from Men’s Warehouse for not too much. You can also consider renting a suit or tuxedo as a way to save money.

Pre Wedding Events Timeline: Suit Shopping

Bridal Shower

2-4 months before wedding

Bridal showers are similar to engagement parties and can be a great way to bring together family and friends to celebrate before the wedding. Traditionally, these have been events women would attend but nowadays more and more are involving both men and women.

Pre Wedding Events Timeline: Bridal Shower

Generally, this is an event where guests will bring the couple-to-be gifts. For this, I recommend using Amazon to create a wedding registry to make things easy for your guests. You can check out my complete wedding registry checklist for some ideas.

Explore More: On a tight budget? Head over to my post on how to plan a bridal shower on a budget for more tips.

Complete Wedding Registry Checklist

Bachelorette & Bachelor Parties

1-2 months before wedding

“The fling before the ring” is one of the last events to celebrate with your closest friends before getting married. Couples tend to have their own parties with their friends, but nowadays couples are more often choosing to do something fun together.

Bachelorette and bachelor parties are usually held a month or two before the big day. If you are planning a bigger hurrah, make sure to give your friends an extra month or so to plan accordingly.

Pre Wedding Events Timeline: Bachelorette Party

Since we were having a destination wedding, I didn’t want my bridal party to spend even more money on a bachelorette party. Instead, we celebrated the night before our wedding with a blast from the past party featuring all of our favorite songs and snacks from high school. We then spent the night playing board games together.

Many brides ask, “do I need to have a bachelorette party?” and the answer is, of course not! Consider just going out to lunch or doing nothing at all. There is no law about needing to have a big over the top bachelorette party like you see in the movies.

Rehearsal & Rehearsal Dinner

1-3 days before wedding

Wedding rehearsals are a way for the entire bridal party to know where to stand and the order of events for the wedding ceremony. Coordinate with your wedding venue to schedule this a day or so before your wedding.

You might have to work around other weddings happening at the same venue. Don’t schedule your rehearsal too far in advance as people will end up forgetting what they are supposed to do.

Pre Wedding Events Timeline: Wedding Rehearsal

After your wedding rehearsal, depending on when it is, you might choose to have a brunch or dinner. This is generally just with your wedding party and immediate family.

The rehearsal dinner is a great time for anyone to give a speech that otherwise won’t be doing so at the wedding reception.

Explore More: Check out my post on what to expect at your wedding rehearsal for some advice on what to do at a rehearsal.

Welcome Party

Day before wedding

If you are having out of town guests, you might want to consider a small welcome party. Because we had a destination wedding, we had a welcome picnic for our guests where we had music and served food and s’mores.

Pre Wedding Events Timeline: Welcome Party

What I love about welcome parties are that they allow guests to meet and mingle before your wedding. This helps them to relax more your big day, which translates to more people dancing and having fun.

Pre Wedding Events Timeline

Pre Wedding Events Timeline

Explore More: Now that you know your pre wedding events timeline, head over to my post on how to create a relaxing wedding day timeline so you can enjoy your big day!

Wedding Photos Credit: Asheville Wedding Photography

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