Wedding Planning Timeline - How to plan a wedding

What’s your wedding game plan - from the moment you get engaged, what comes next?


To get started set a budget and write a list of all the costs that you are going to have over the next few months (there are some helpful wedding cost checklists on Pinterest which you can download for free). Try to be specific with how much you want to spend on each part of your wedding. For example, photography may be really important to you so this might be an area where you splurge a little but you might need to save money somewhere else to make up for this.

Planning your wedding timeline
Wedding budget planning

Start saving for your wedding! One of the most common costs that aren’t accounted for are deposits from your vendors. When a Bride and Groom ask to book me I have a $500 deposit which is non-refundable, a lot of vendors will have a similar upfront cost.

Once you have an idea of the budget you can start writing a guest list. Depending on numbers, this might mean some changes to your budget. Start with close family members, close friends and close co-workers because these are the people who you can’t imagine your wedding without.

Writing a guest list for your wedding
Invite family and friends to your wedding

Next comes the venue and setting a date. This is a biggy and can take a little bit of time and research. You’ll need to know your budget and guest count before you can confirm a venue. There are two main things to consider, the first being the location and the second being do you want the venue to cater for both your ceremony and reception.


Let the fun begin! Once you have confirmed a date and venue you can start looking for things like a dress, photographer, celebrant, hair stylist, make up artist, florist, cake and reception entertainment.

You might decide to throw an engagement party or send gifts to your best friends asking them to be your bridesmaids.

Throw an engagement party or send gifts to your best friends asking them to be your bridesmaids.
Planning your wedding


You’ll want to give your guests plenty of notice so make sure you send out save the date invites. Queue cute wedding stationary! It’s usually around 4 months when you send the final wedding invites.

Your hair and makeup artist may ask you to book in a trial, this is a good time to start thinking about the styles you want and book in a time to see them.


If your vendors are organised they will start asking for a timeline of events. I try to encourage couples to talk their timeline through with me so I can make sure enough time is set aside for photos. This is also a time to start finalising seating plans and the dinner menu for your reception.

Finding a wedding venue
Dinner menu for wedding reception


As you move closer to the wedding start thinking about your vows and speeches, otherwise you might find yourself on Google frantically trying to write these a few nights before the wedding.

Apply for a wedding license. In New Zealand you’ll need to arrange your license at least 3 working days before you get married. It expires after 3 months, at around 1-2 months before the wedding this is a good time to arrange this so it isn’t a last minute stress.

Have your final gown fitting and bring your dress home! Make any last minute adjustments with vendors and book any beauty appointments that you will need a week or so before the wedding. This is a great time to pamper yourself and take some time off.

Writing your wedding vows
Apply for a wedding license in New Zealand