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  • Writer's pictureWura Manola

When should you start wedding planning?

Research shows that it takes 12-18 months to plan a wedding. Of course every wedding is different and how long it would take you depends on a number of factors like where your wedding is, how big or small your wedding is and how simple or complex your wedding is etc. To give you an idea, if you are planning a big wedding of 400 guests with multiple celebrations you might want to start as early as 12-18 months compared to if you are planning an elopement. Also, if you are having a destination wedding you might want to start planning ahead in order to give your guests some time to prepare.

Now that we know how long it takes to plan a wedding I am going to list some factors you should consider that can affect your decision on when to start wedding planning

1. Your wedding venue

Many sought-after wedding venues have been booked up 1-2 years in advance! Yes, some venues have a 2 year waiting list! If you also think about it there are only 52 Saturdays in year, so this doesn't leave much prime dates. In addition there are peak wedding seasons like spring/summer and some special dates people want to get married. If you are after a sought-after venue and want to get married during peak wedding season or on a Saturday then you want to start wedding planning early.

Pro tip for those who don't have much time* if you still want your dream wedding venue then consider getting married on a weekday. It would be cheaper but your guests would have to take a day or days off work, also if it is a kid friendly wedding the kids would have to take time off school if your wedding isn't during a school holiday.

2. Your wedding vendors

Similar to wedding venues, sought-after wedding vendors are booked in advance, some up to 2 years. Yes, really popular photographers, videographers, makeup artists, get booked up in advance. Everyone wants the best for their wedding, so the really good ones get snatched up quickly. You have to bear this in mind and start wedding planning ahead of time in order for you to be able to get really good vendors.

*Pro tip for those who don't have much time: like your wedding venues if you get married on a weekday you might get the chance to work with these sought-after vendors, but bear in mind that they might have other jobs during the week, if not a full time job then photo shoots, editorial/tv etc. Also, there are many good wedding vendors that are not as popular, that would tend to be available on shorter notice. Don't be afraid to use them, especially if you like their work, just make sure you do your research and ask for reviews/feedback from clients.

3. Your wedding dress

It takes approximately 6 months to get your wedding dress made (also factoring in fittings and alterations) and if you choose to go with an independent designer and not a bridal retail shop it could take up to 9months to a year for some sought-after designers. You also want to factor in the time it would take to gather inspiration and then go wedding dress shopping. Putting all of this together and in order to not feel rushed starting the bridal dress shopping a year in advance is advisable.

*Pro tip for those who don't have much time: you might be able to pay expedited costs to get your wedding dress made in time. For the budget-conscious brides, consider getting wedding dresses on sample sale or off the rack. These are the dresses you try on in store that could be bought instantly and altered to fit you. Pro is that you can save money (up to 50% off in some cases) but the con is it might not be a unique dress for you, it would have been tried on in store so might not feel new. If you are not bothered by that then go for it.

4. The time you have to plan a wedding

It is estimated to to take about 500 hours to plan a wedding, that is 1hour 30mins a day, everyday for 1 year. If you were getting married in 6 months that would be 3hrs needed every day. You probably have a job and in some cases a business you are running or other commitments that would eat into your time meaning it might then take longer to plan your wedding. Also, wedding planning involves a lot of research, admin, negotiating, meetings, that can take longer if you are planning your wedding yourself. You should consider starting wedding planning early so you have time to plan.

*Pro tip for those who don't have much time: if you don't have much time, get a good wedding planner. A good wedding planner has the resources, knowledge and skills to plan a wedding in a short time frame.

5. The size, cost & complexity of your wedding

The bigger your wedding is, in most cases will take more time to plan. Also, because you are having a bigger wedding you might add on more details like having 2 or more wedding dresses, more bridesmaids, food stations, a longer wedding, which all need time to be planned. In terms of complexity, you might have different parts for your wedding like a traditional wedding and in some cultures celebrations that go on for days, all this will need time to plan. You might also be planning a destination wedding in which instance you would not only need time to plan but also need to give your guests enough time to plan towards. In terms of cost, a lot of people cannot afford to put down the total cost of their wedding in a short frame of time, so in order to spread out the costs and also to not feel stretched you might want to start planning earlier.

*Pro tip for those who don't have much time: if stretched for time and have the funds for a big and complex wedding then get a wedding planner. For those that are budget conscious, consider having a smaller and more simple wedding that you can plan within a shorter frame time

That's it, those are my 5 factors to consider when deciding when to start wedding planning. You would have to think about how much you have and how long it would take you to afford your wedding, also don't forget to take into consideration the sought-after wedding venues and vendors and lastly, don't forget to get a wedding planner who can steer you in the right direction. Contact us now if you need a wedding planner, we'd love to hear from you

All my best,

Wura Manola


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