Timeline Genius

How Long Does it Take to Plan a Wedding?: Pro Wedding Day Timeline Tips for Every Type of Affair


From high-budget affairs that are years in the making to intimate elopements that seem to come together in no time flat, weddings can take anywhere from 18 months to a mere matter of weeks to plan—and, as the wedding planner, it’s your responsibility to keep on top of all of the details and ensure the overall planning timeline is on track. Today, then, we’re rounding up all you need to know about wedding day timelines for everything from grand events to intimate affairs. Read on for our top tips to help you stay organized.

When You are Planning a Wedding in 18+ Months

Most weddings that fall into this category tend to have large budgets and can be multi-day long affairs with long vendor lists and—no surprise here—complicated wedding day timelines. Most planners will discourage clients from spending more time than this planning their wedding because of the possibility of tastes changing over a long period of time. Plus, with so many moving parts, getting meetings on the calendar, mock-ups done, and final decisions made can take a long time. The challenge for planners here can be making sure that everything keeps moving at an appropriate pace, as there can often be weeks or months in between major decisions being made. To help keep things on track, make sure you’re working from a defined workflow or checklist with due dates and reminders set.

TG PRO TIP: Because these multi-day affairs have so many details, it’s super important to run wedding day timeline drafts by your vendors to make sure everything is captured correctly. With Timeline Genius, you can seamlessly send email drafts or PDFs of your wedding day timelines to vendors for their feedback.

When You are Planning a Wedding in 12 Months

If you’re asking yourself How long does it take to plan a wedding?, 12 months is typically a safe-bet answer. In other words, if there’s a standard amount of time it takes to plan a wedding, this is it. While a 12-month planning process may mean you’re not managing as large of a budget or vendor team as you are with an 18-month planning process, it’s still important you have a workflow defined. (This will save you time—and help you avoid missteps—as you go.) You can also set yourself up for success in the 30-day window by having added all of your vendors to your Timeline Genius account as they were booked and then leverage one of your timeline templates to quickly build an effective, accurate wedding day timeline—minus all the unnecessary stress.

TG PRO TIP: Make sure you’re adding vendors to your Timeline Genius rolodex as they get booked, so you don’t have to do it all at once.

When You are Pulling a Wedding Out of Nowhere in a Matter of Weeks

Every once in a while, you might get hired to pull a wedding out of thin air (good thing your planning powers are superhuman, right?). When this is the case, everything gets compressed on the planning time—vendor meetings and design mockups and decisions that would normally take months to make happen have to be finalized in a matter of weeks (or, worse, days). This is when having invested time building your wedding day timeline templates (before a client like this falls in your lap) becomes an absolute lifesaver.

TG PRO TIP: If you haven’t created wedding day timeline templates for your most frequently booked services, block the time and do it now. Your future self will thank you.


The bottom line? The answer to the question How long does it take to plan a wedding? can range from two weeks to over a year—but taking proactive measures, like templating out your wedding day timelines ahead of time, is the key to planning any party to pure perfection…whether you have 20 days to do so or 20 months!

Want even more pro wedding day timeline tips? Browse the rest of the Timeline Genius blog.