WEDDING PLANNING TIMELINE
The Floral Perspective
Y'all, it's already OCTOBER! Where has this year gone?! We are wrapping up a busy season, and also preparing for next year's couples. Which, if you're reading this, congrats on getting engaged! We find that many couples do a lot of wedding planning during these fall and winter months. We also can tell you that every single wedding professional is booking out earlier than ever before due to COVID. So, to answer some common questions, we wanted to share more about the wedding planning timeline from our perspective as a wedding floral and event design studio! When should you book your wedding florist? What wedding vendors should you book first? And how far in advance should you start doing all this stuff? We know that planning a wedding can feel a little overwhelming, especially right now. So we hope to share some knowledge that will help!
SETTING YOUR WEDDING VISION
Listen. Some wedding planners might disagree with me here. But I personally think that when you start this process, you will automatically have some idea of what kind of wedding you want. Many folks have ideas before they even get engaged! This knowledge will guide your next steps, including who you hire as your wedding planner. There is no time frame attached to this, because your vision will continue to evolve and change. Just give it a tiny bit of thought before you go to the next step! Some things you might want to think about here include:
- The season you would like to get married in
- Specific dates you'd be interested in
- The type of location (for example, a hotel ballroom vs. an outdoor venue)
- Your guest list and wedding party
- Your wedding aesthetic and style
Hiring A WEDDING PLANNER: 18-20+ MONTHS OUT
If I could shout it from the rooftops, I would. You need a wedding planner! You already have a job, and unless you want another one, hiring a wedding planner is a no-brainer. Almost all of our clients have planners, and they are all happier for it! Clients that hire planners later in the process wish they had done it sooner. So, please, make this your first stop. Hire a badass wedding planner who you really vibe with.
Your wedding planner can help you will all sorts of start-up tasks before you get any further. Wedding planners will help you outline your priorities, determine your wedding aesthetic, and locate venues and vendors that will make all your dreams come true. For more on this, I'd love for you to check out my wedding planner colleague Hannah's blog about this. (We also did a fun interview together about sustainability!) I've worked with so many amazing planners over the years. It's really important to find someone you trust here, because once you do, it will make life so much easier!
FINDING A WEDDING VENUE: 18+ MONTHS OUT
Booking a wedding venue is typically the first thing you and your planner will book together. This may require a lot of visiting various venues, assessing pros and cons, and in Seattle, making sure you have a rain plan if you need it! Venue selection will definitely depend on your number of guests and your overall aesthetic. Luckily, we have so many wonderful wedding venues here in the Seattle area, from literal castles to laid-back resorts. You can check out some of our favorite outdoor wedding venues here!
Booking your wedding vendors: 12-18 months out
In the Before Times, many wedding vendors would book out about a year in advance, on average. That is no longer the case - with COVID, we are seeing unprecedented demand for weddings and events. I cannot tell you how many couples I've had to turn away for 2022 events because we're already booked. So, please ignore the big wedding sites telling you to wait 9 months before your wedding, because that's not going to help you now. That advice is out of date! You need to start looking at all of your wedding vendors 12-18 months in advance now. You also need to allocate time for meeting with wedding pros and making sure you review their portfolios. Obviously, if you hire a wedding planner well in advance, they will help you build the perfect team. Here are some of the wedding vendors you should be thinking about, in the order they are typically booked:
- Photography and videography
- Floral designer and event rentals (you can inquire here!)
- Stationer and calligrapher
- Cake baker
- DJ or band
- Hair and makeup
- Wedding attire
REFINING DETAILS: 6-12 MONTHS OUT
This is part of the wedding planning timeline that we don't often see with our clients! Once we book clients and become part of the vendor team, we check in regularly and work hard behind the scenes to make their vision a reality. We also work with planners to make sure everyone has the info they need. We'll make sure we understand your table layouts, venue rules, and potentially do a site visit if needed. But on your end, you will probably be doing things like:
- Building and refining your guest list
- Finalizing your wedding party
- Sending out save-the-dates
- Creating your wedding website
- Planning your pre-wedding fun, like bachelor and bachelorette parties, bridal showers, etc.
- Creating your registries
LAST MINUTE DETAILS: 0-6 months out
Finally, you are close enough to your wedding day to make sure all of those plans come together! From the floral perspective, here's what we are doing in that time:
- Ordering your flowers and "hard goods" like vases and supplies
- Making last tweaks based on guest counts and seating arrangements
- Updating your proposal with any final changes
- Working with your planner and venue to finalize logistics
- Ensure we have the right team the day of your wedding
During this time, you will probably also be meeting with your planner more regularly. Together, y'all will be doing things like finalizing seating charts, getting your marriage license, attending dress fittings, and all the other fun last-minute details! We don't get to see all of that happening behind the scenes, but we do love hearing what y'all are up to when we check in leading up to your wedding.
BONUS: The FLORAL PLANNING PROCESS
We have our own way of conceptualizing the floral planning process - sort of separate from the wedding planning timeline. We help our clients with every step of this process, sometimes in collaboration with a wedding planner, and sometimes on our own. It's really fun! Here are the 7 steps:
- Develop a Vision. This is the most fun part of wedding planning! In this stage you are dreaming about your wedding floral design, thinking about your likes and dislikes, and finding inspiration from others.
- Outline Your Priorities. Sit down as a couple and determine what your biggest wedding priorities are, and where you might have room to negotiate, including what flowers are most important to you. (A wedding planner would help you with this, as well.)
- Shop for a Designer: Think about your needs and what flowers are most important to you, and then make a short list of floral designers whose work you admire. Viewing each designer's portfolio is key here!
- Attend Initial Consultations. Meet with a designer whose work you love, AND who you immediately click with. You are building a team, so make sure you hire people who will go to bat for you!
- Book Your Designer: Once you have found the right magical person, and you have a proposal you are happy with, you can cross wedding flowers off your list!
- (Design Work). This is where designers work behind the scenes in the months leading up to your wedding to make sure it is a huge success.
- Your Wedding Day! Time for that vendor research, consultation time, and design work to pay off!
We hope this peek into the wedding planning timeline from a floral perspective has been helpful! And since you now know that you need to book a bit earlier than you thought - you can inquire right here!