bride with bouquet at zion springs wedding venue

9-Months Wedding Planning Timeline

By Terry Meadows

Are you a bride-to-be with a heart full of dreams and just nine months to turn those dreams into a dazzling reality?

Feeling the excitement of your upcoming wedding but also a hint of overwhelm?

Wondering how to transform your vision into a picture-perfect day without sacrificing sanity? 

Look no further because, in this comprehensive guide, we'll answer those questions and more, providing you with a meticulously crafted 9-month wedding timeline. At Zion Springs, we have helped over 400 brides through the wedding planning journey and understand the stress and anxiety intrinsic to making your wedding day the best day ever.

Download this timeline and check each item as you complete it.

Getting Ready for a Wedding in 9-Months

Before starting your 9-month wedding planning journey, ask yourself three questions:

Do I need to book the wedding venue quickly?

Do I have a meticulously crafted wedding budget

Should I consider hiring a wedding planner? 

Booking a Wedding Venue as Soon as Possible

Choosing the right wedding venue is is one of the first major decisions in the wedding planning process, often requiring booking months in advance to secure your desired date and setting. If you are struggling to find somehwere, you might consider alternative venue types or non-traditional days like weekdays or Fridays for the event.

Creating a Wedding Budget

Setting a budget is a critical early step in wedding planning. It helps you focus spending on what's most important to you, preventing financial surprises and allowing you to invest in your wedding's key aspects.

Is a Wedding Planner Necessary?

Wedding planners can greatly reduce stress and time spent by offering their expertise, connections, and creative ideas, ensuring your day runs smoothly. However, they do come with extra costs and may lead some brides to feel they have less control over their wedding details.

Month-by-Month Wedding Timeline

This checklist gives you hints and suggestions for each item.  Use our downloadable timeline for a simplified version. 

Month ✔ Tasks Notes
9 Set your wedding budget and priorities list This dictates the size of your wedding, the number of guests, and where you want to spend most of your money.
Start your guest list with names and contact information You will be adding to this list, and starting it early with your must-haves makes it easier when it comes to editing your list.
Narrow down what venues appeal to you Much of this is determined by how many guests you plan to invite. Do you want something romantic, rustic, modern, industrial, or natural?
Research venues

Search online

Ask friends and family for suggestions and recommendations

Choose and reserve a venue Narrow down your list to 3-4 venues that fit around your timeline. You may need some flexibility if you marry during a busy season.
Set your wedding date and time Your date might be determined by the venue. If possible, be open unless you have a particular date in mind. This offers you more venues that might be available.
Hire a wedding planner A wedding planner can eliminate the stress of planning your wedding, and their experience and knowledge enhance your celebrations.
Book your wedding officiant/celebrant If you are marrying in the busy season, you want to make sure you have somebody available. It doesn’t hurt to get them scheduled early.
Select your wedding party Maid of honor and bridesmaids, best man and groomsmen, flower girl and ring bearer.
Start shopping for dresses for the bride and bridesmaids Include the veil, shoes, and accessories. You must start early because of the lead time required for making the dress and alterations.
Shop early to avoid those very costly “rush fees.”
8 Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests You will need this info to include with the invitations.
Reserve your wedding night accommodation See if your venue has a (complimentary) bridal suite.
Set your theme and color scheme for your wedding If you use a wedding planner, they can help with suggestions.
Use Pinterest for inspiration.
Start shopping for groom and groomsmen attire Use your color scheme to compliment your theme.
Create a wedding website Central place for all announcements, information, and updates.
Choose and order your wedding invitations and Save the Date notices Base the number of invitations on the venue occupancy limit if you haven’t completed your guest list.
Hire a catering vendor Select the menu and set up a tasting date, beverage, and bar options.
Apply for destination wedding travel documents (if required) Make sure your passports and visas are up to date.
Select your vendors (if they are not included in an all-inclusive venue package) Florist
Rental furniture
Flatware, glassware, and linens
Purchase wedding insurance This covers damages and loss for both you and your vendors.
Set up a gift registry Post this to your wedding website.
Plan and book the honeymoon Remember to check if passports and visas are up to date if traveling abroad.
7 Research wedding ring designs
Reserve transportation This includes shuttles and limousines, as well as transportation from airports for out-of-town guests.
Wedding dress fitting On average, it takes 3-6 months for your dress to be delivered. Schedule your fittings for alterations.
Take engagement photos Often, the wedding photographer will include these in your package.
Send Save the Date notices Online announcements are acceptable if you choose not to send them through the mail.
Set up a tasting date and hire a cake vendor See if the caterer includes the wedding cake and set up a tasting date
Rent bathroom trailers (if required) If you are getting married in a natural setting, you will possibly need ablution facilities. Select from basic through to luxury.
Research and order wedding favors
6 Book the rehearsal dinner venue Make sure it is close to your ceremony venue as it is usually held the same day.
Remember to send out invitations and RSVPs.
Send bridal shower and bachelor party guests’ contact information to the maid of honor and best man
Purchase the wedding rings Give extra time for engravings
5 Check in with your florist They can give you updates on special orders and flowers in season.
Decide on a playlist and share it with your DJ/musicians Remember to add your choice for the bride and groom dance.
Check in with your sound and lighting vendors Let them know of any specifics in your playlist that require action from them.
Purchase thank-you gifts for the wedding party These are often presented during the rehearsal dinner.
4 Schedule make-up and hair appointments Schedule test runs.
Groom and groomsmen suits and schedule alteration fittings Suits, ties, tie pins, shoes, cufflinks, etc.
3 Organize childcare arrangements and activities if required Post the details on your wedding website if you plan on providing childcare.
Send wedding invitations Include information on
o Accommodation
o Transportation
0 Childcare arrangements and activities
o Dietary requests
2 Choose ceremony readings and write the vows and reception speeches Share the readings with the wedding party members you selected to read so they can practice.
Apply for the marriage license Research online for requirements.
Valid for 60 days before the wedding day.
Finalize the menu with the caterer Advise them of dietary requirements of your guests based on the RSVPs.
Bachelor & Bachelorette party Your maid of honor and best man organize the celebrations.
Create and share the run-sheet with vendors The run-sheet is the checklist for vendors to know the detailed schedule of your wedding day so they can plan the set-up and break-down of their services.
Buy day-of accessories Guest book and pen, toasting champagne flutes, cake knife and servers, unity candle, ring pillow, etc.
Order the wedding programs, menu cards, and thank you notes These are possibly part of the wedding stationery package keeping within your theme.
Start creating the seating chart Anticipate there might be last-minute or unexpected guests, and determine how to accommodate them in your chart.
Follow up tardy RSVPs Let your vendors know if there are any changes in numbers.
Confirm the ceremony running order with your celebrant/officiant
Confirm the shot list with your photographer and videographer
Confirm your song list for the ceremony and reception with your musicians/DJ
Schedule hair and make-up test run Check if your stylist includes a package for both test-runs and the day-of.
Purchase wedding decor This includes decorations for the ceremony and reception sites.
Finalize your full-day timeline
Finalize your seating arrangements Share this with your caterer and venue.
Confirm your honeymoon bookings Include the rental car if applicable.
Give a final headcount to your caterer and rental vendors
Finalize with your vendors Check that everything is on schedule.
Make sure your wedding planner or someone you trust has a copy, too.
Confirm the arrival and delivery times.
Print the seating chart table and cards
Confirm your rehearsal dinner booking Let them know of any special requirements for your guests, and confirm the numbers.
Assign somebody to collect your gifts and belongings after the reception This is usually your wedding planner or a member of your wedding party.
Assign somebody to oversee the return of rental items, including tuxes, the day after the wedding
Set up your support team They handle problems or issues during the ceremony and reception in your place. They include the wedding planner and wedding party members.
Give your wedding planner a final timeline
Break in your wedding shoes You want to avoid those blisters on the wedding day!
Begin packing for the honeymoon
Pack emergency kit pain-killer/headache pills
sewing kit
wet wipes
laundry wipes/spray
pen & paper
small bottle of water
Confirm transportation arrangements Confirm both wedding day and out-of-town guests’ transportation
Review contingency plan with the venue in case of bad weather
Make gratuity envelopes for vendor staff if not included in the invoice Have a wedding planner or wedding party member hand them out after the reception.
Day before Pick up rental tuxedos (if required)
Deliver special items to the venue and the wedding planner Decorations, wedding favors, ceremony items, posters, etc., with written instructions.
Check the weather report and pack essentials for inclement weather
Have your marriage license and rings ready and in a safe place
Ceremony rehearsal
Rehearsal dinner

Planning Your Wedding in 9 Months

Have you heard that you need 12 months to plan a wedding? That is because you usually need a year in advance to ensure you can reserve a specific date for your wedding venue.  But don’t despair; there are still plenty of ideal venues.  

In this 9-month wedding timeline, we've covered everything from the initial planning stages to the magical moments of your wedding day. 

Explore expert tips and insights on what you need to ask when visiting a wedding venue and discover our guide to finding the perfect setting for your special day.

All photographs in this article are courtesy of Zion Springs' in-house photographer