What should I be planning 18 months ahead of my wedding date?

posted 10 months ago in Ceremony
Post # 2
1239 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

I got engaged 19 months before my wedding. I actually bought my dress really early (right after I got engaged) because I already knew which one I wanted. I didn’t regret it, but I know there are a lot of people who would dissuade you from dress shopping early in case you change your mind later on.

This early, I think it’s totally reasonable to book your venue. Many of those are booking up over a year in advance now. You may also be able to lock-in 2017 rates. If there are other vendors (photo, makeup, hair, etc) that you just KNOW that you definitely want, you could go ahead and book them too to ensure you get them. 

I booked my big stuff (venue, band, photographer) over a year ahead of time. It’s been nice because I haven’t had to do much planning in a while. My wedding is June 2018 and I’ll have to start doing some more specific planning soon, but it’s been nice to have the big things squared away and not worry about them.

Post # 3
3174 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

tpursl :  It totally depends on where you live.  Our is in May 2019 and we’ve booked our venue, photographer and florist because things book up fast.  We couldn’t even get a Saturday booking it this early. 

Post # 4
2167 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

tpursl :  We had a 18 month engagement and I started planning everything straight away! We put a deposit on our venue at 18 months out. I would also start finding (i.e. researching, contacting and setting up meetings with) all your other vendors e.g. your photographer, videographer, DJ, ceremony musicians, officiant, florist, hair and makeup artists etc. 

You have a good amount of time to hopefully get your first choice on dates and vendors, so I would start working right away! Depending on where you live, like PP said, some of the dates you may be looking at for venues could already be booked. 

Post # 5
1071 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

We booked our venue 2 years in advance. You can definitely book that. I would start thinking about your photographer, in case you want someone who is very popular.

Post # 6
538 posts
Busy bee

First, congrats! 

Second, I had my date planned for May 2019 too, but we moved it up. 

Third, you sound like you have a lot of major things out of the way. With it being proposal season, I would make sure you have a venue/reception area booked by no later than Feb. 2018. I also would start to look for photographers at the same time and get them booked. Outside of major things – just look to Pinterest or boards like here or The Knot for ideas. I would have a think about people you want involved (bridesmaids/groomsmen) and a color theme as well. Flowers would also be another “major” thing to think about. 

Not sure about your area, but bridal shows where I am are super popular around Jan/Feb/March. Just research bridal shows in your area and try to attend them! They have plenty of vendors, plus sometimes you can sign up to win a free honeymoon.. never hurts to go for ideas!

Post # 7
1118 posts
Bumble bee

Definitely start resercing the “must-have” vendors as soon as possible.  If you have your date, you know you’ll need a venue, photographer, florist, caterer, etc.  Even if you don’t know the exact flower details yet, get with your florist to get them booked.  Start going over food and cake samples.  The earlier you get those booked, the more time you will have for specific details, like favors and wedding day touches. 

Post # 8
529 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

My wedding is August 2019 and I’ve already booked my venue! Not too early for the big things. 

Post # 9
145 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

Also think about money- if you book early you have more time to pay it off in smaller doses. So if that’s something that appeals to you, Early is amazing! I don’t think the bigger ticket things like venue and photographer are a bad idea, just remember once you’ve put the deposit down to stop searching for those items, so you don’t get a wandering eye. 

Post # 10
2073 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

We got engaged last January (our engagement will be roughly 20 months). 

At 20 months we booked:

– Venue

– Started a very rough guest list (to get a count idea)

– budget and started saving

– florist (booked in march so about 18 mo ahead)

– caterer + did food tasting

– Also in march we booked photographer, videographer, DJ, officiant, party bus, photo booth, hair and makeup

Post # 11
4229 posts
Honey bee

I would book the big things that usually get booked up quickly- veune, photographer, caterer. Since you’re still over a year out, you should have your pick of dates. 

I would also start thinking about money and how you will budget it.

I would get a loose idea of the kind of decor, etc. that you want- you may be able to get some good deals on stuff. I had a summer wedding and the summer before my wedding, I was able to get a few things for my outdoor ceremony at a huge discount because they were on clearance. That being said, you have to be pretty certain about what you want, otherwise you’re just wasting money on things you won’t use. 

I personally wouldn’t look for a dress this early, but I would definitely start thinking about what I wanted. 

Post # 12
9744 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

your highest importance stuff, IMO, should get booked first–venue and photographer, for me, were it.  They are two items I care a lot about and there’s only one (that would be your favorite). 

DOC is another great one to book early on, but IMO not quite as “omg if you don’t act now you won’t get your favorite option!” I had 2 great options to choose from and chose based on a few small small things.

I waited till pretty late in the game to book caterer–loved the food we had but I’m sure if we’d gone a different direction it’d have been great too.  I did book the florist early-ish and at the time I was like “whatever” but in retrospect I’m SO glad we had the florist we did: she was amaaazing.

Oh, and I do wish I’d looked for a DJ earlier because I wanted one that was (very) cheap but good and that’s a super hard combo lol.  I did find one who I was happy with who was in my budget, but the pickins were slim!

DO NOT: buy anything physical, yet.  Vendors can adapt a little bit if your tastes grow over the next 18 months.. a dress, tablecloths, etc.. cannot.  I suppose you could be like “but amanda, a venue is physical” and to that I say: yeah but you can’t book anything else without your venue so..

Post # 13
73 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2019

I got engaged June 2017 and I’m getting married in September 2019. We booked our venue in July and secured 2017 pricing for a 2019 date. I don’t know where you are located but where I am located, weddings are pretty big. Our venue was completely booked for 2018 as of July 2017 anyways. Our venue is also our caterer so we don’t have to think about that.
We booked our DJ, photographers, limo and florist. Again securing 2017 pricing. With our florist, we just put down a deposit because we may change our minds and what not. So she will just deduct the deposit from the final total.
We’ve asked most of our bridal party.
I also purchased my dress in September 2017. It does take quite some time to come in so I shouldn’t expect to have that until at least March – April 2018. Some people would tell you not to do this. I was looking at the same style of dresses so I knew what I wanted.
We also booked our stag and doe venue. I don’t know if you do stag and does where you are, but we do and they are very big here. The venue we wanted is highly in demand so we got on that early.

I’ve now taken a break from planning and am enjoying the holidays and being engaged.

My next plan will be to start looking into shower venues, make up artists and hairstylists. I started contacting make up artists a few weeks ago and one was completely booked for 2018… yikes! So I will be looking into that probably January 2018 🙂

Post # 14
871 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

I say do as much as you want! I booked our venue 2 years in advance! But it’s really popular and books minimum 18 months out. Some places you’ll notice the vendors book pretty far in advance so if you want your first choice of vendors I would continue moving forward. Booking early not only means you usually get your first choice, but it also gives you more time to make payments on things, and you may be able to lock in prices before they jump. Really the only negative I can see is if you are indecisive and think you will change your mind later.

Post # 15
1239 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

One more thing- I set up a wedding savings account right after I got engaged (I did an online bank account through Ally, but there are a bunch of other online banks you can use too or you can use your usual bank) and I have an automatic monthly transfer set up from my checking account to my wedding account. Booking some vendors early allowed me to know exactly what things were going to cost me, and I’ve been able to spend the last year saving up money. I’m feeling pretty good about not bankrupting myself when I have to pay all the vendors in 6 months.

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