before ever after

The 10 Stages of Planning Your Dream Wedding in 2022 and 2023

posted on April 29, 2022

You said “yes” to each other, and together, you’ve already begun visualizing your dream wedding. You even started a Pinterest board. Now, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of planning your once-in-a-lifetime celebration. The key? Starting early. This is even more important in 2022, which has been dubbed a “boom year” for nuptials. (Predictions indicate that this year will see close to 2.6 million couples tie the knot). So, what can you do to prepare? Here, Newshaw, a Walters Wedding Estates Specialist who’s in the throes of planning her own wedding, breaks down a basic estimated timeline and what to do at each stage. 

Stage 1: Hit the pause button – yes, before you even start

Getting engaged is an exciting milestone in your life, and it’s understandable if you want to jump head-first into wedding-planning. Before you do, pause for a moment. Take some time to really let your engagement sink in – a few weeks is Newshaw’s recommended period for basking in engagement bliss. “Enjoy that time of being engaged,” she says. “Go celebrate yourself. Don’t rush into it.” 

Stage 2: Sit down, and plan your budget and guest list

A year and a half is plenty of time for planning your wedding. One of the first steps? Having a general idea of your guest list and budget. Chances are, this number will spill over your desired amount as you add on more bells and whistles (ones you didn’t even know you needed), so give yourself lots of wiggle room. Once you have that figured out, it’s time to set the wheels in motion.

outside venue
bride with dress on inside

Stage 3: Book your venue, and pick a date

Consider the time of year; What sort of weather do you envision for your wedding? Do you prefer a weekday or a weekend? Are there any birthdays or anniversaries you’ll need to avoid? Once you have a rough estimate, start looking for your perfect setting. Oftentimes, your preferred venue’s availability will dictate your wedding date – especially if the venue is in high demand. “Everything else falls into place once you find your venue,” Newshaw says. 

Stage 4: Hire your key vendors first (Hint: Walters Wedding Estates can help you with this!)

One of the great things about the WWE experience is that we have packages that include some of your key, essential vendors including Catering, Beverage, DJ and Stationery Services. Depending on the collection you are shopping in, we have in-house service packages to help meet your needs. ”You have to ask yourself: What is the most important thing for your wedding?” Newshaw says. Chances are WWE can help you with it! 

Stage 5: Find your dream wedding attire

Your wedding dress or suit should be one of the first big-ticket items to check off your list. “I knew I had to start early because it takes time to order a dress,” Newshaw says. Make sure to purchase your dress 10 to 12 months out (on average). That’s to account for delivery, alterations (especially multiple rounds of it), and fittings. 

Stage 6: Hire any remaining services

By now, you must have a good idea of what your wedding “theme” or aesthetic will look like. (Your venue will also play a part in this.) About 8-10 months out on average, plan to book any remaining services you are seeking. Hint: Walters Wedding Estates helps you with this process along the way, so reach out to our Venue Planning Team to assist you every step of the way! 

bride closeup of hair and makeup
inside wedding reception long table

Stage 7: Plan your stationery, and send out save-the-dates

Your stationery timeline will largely depend on what you are planning for your wedding. Are you opting for save-the-date cards? Then, start several months out. There are many other stationery items to think about including welcome signs, place cards, invitation suites, and so much more. Our expert Stationery team at Lyons Paperie can assist you with all your paper needs!

Stage 8: Set up your registry, and book your honeymoon

Now’s a good time to set up your registry. If you’re throwing a bridal shower, it might be better to start even earlier. Give your guests ample time to pick out their gifts and ensure timely delivery. Most importantly, plan out your honeymoon – rooms are getting booked up fast. This will be your first trip as newly weds and a chance to take a breather after months and months of planning. 

Stage 9: Prep for test runs

It’s almost a month or two till the celebration, and if you’ve done your homework, you should be in the “test run” phase of everything. Have your bridal shower, prep for makeup and hair trials, and schedule those final fittings. Our expert venue planning team and vendors will assist you with final venue details and selections! Touch base with your wedding party, and double-check that everyone knows what they’re in charge of. 

Stage 10: It’s (almost) showtime

You’ve got a couple of weeks left, and at this point, you should have most tasks checked off and ready to go. Ideally, now’s the time for tying up loose ends – and giving yourself a little self-care time before your big day. Spend some time bonding with your significant other; wedding-planning is, after all, an exercise in multitasking. The moment is almost here, be ready to soak it all in, and know that you are in good hands with the team at Walters Wedding Estates. We can’t wait to turn your dream wedding into a reality.

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