I Dos and Don'ts: Wedding Education for the Modern Bride + Groom | Andi's 5 Phases of Wedding Planning



Andi Compton, our Public Relations + Vendor Outreach Director, planned her own birthday parties as a girl, spent hours making wedding collages as a teenager, and worked at the largest bridal store on the West Coast during college. She eventually answered the call to turn her organization and creativity into a business, Now That’s a Party, wherein she coordinates weddings primarily for Catholic couples.

Over the upcoming months, Andi will be here to guide you through your planning and share her insights from the wedding industry, from engagement all the way through newlywed life. Consider it an open invitation to ask your wedding planning questions in the comments and on our social media!

Traditionally, wedding resources break up the planning process into 12 months, the length of an average engagement. While this works for many couples, I’d like to offer a different interpretation of that typical timeline.

Here’s an overview. Instead of a month-by-month breakdown, I divide the planning process into five different sections you can put your own timestamp on.

Phase 1: Planning

This phase is all about setting your expectations, budget and guest list, along with figuring out who the key players will be. The goal is to create a solid, basic vision to use from here on out. Having that solid vision in place before you start approaching vendors is just so helpful for all parties. For example, when you’re able to tell a florist how many bouquets, centerpieces, and other arrangements you’ll need and can provide them with some visuals, your floral meetings are so much more fruitful and clear than they’d be otherwise, and you’ll be able to get the most accurate quotes.

Phase 2: Booking

Now that you have a solid vision and plan in place, you can start looking for and booking all the major players: your church, venue, wedding coordinator, photographer, videographer, dress, florist, stationery, and so on. This phase of planning is where you can expect to spend the most money, because it’s when you’ll be purchasing big ticket items (the dress!) and paying deposits to all your vendors.

Phase 3: Details

Now is the time to work on all your Pinterest projects and focus on the details of the wedding: spend time selecting the readings and music for your wedding Mass. Hire a calligrapher. Start crafting 150 mini rosaries for your guests. Accessorize yourself and your maids. Register for gifts. 

Phase 4: Month of the Wedding

At this point, it’s time to start putting final details together. All DIY projects should be done by now, with the exception of a seating chart and place cards. If you hire a “day-of coordinator,” bear in mind that it’s more like “month-of coordination.” Expect your coordinator to start gathering all your vendor information and contracts and creating a timeline; plan to meet with him or her at least one to two times this month to give them all your information.

You’ll also be packing up all your decor items for the ceremony and reception, finalizing honeymoon plans, and packing for your trip. Lastly, this is an important time to stay on top of your budget because you’ll be taking care of all final vendor payments and gratuities. And, be prepared for any last minute expenses!

Phase 5: After the Wedding

After the whirlwind of the wedding day and honeymoon it’s time to settle into your marriage and savor newlywed life. There is just nothing like it. A couple of big tasks still loom, particularly thanking your guests and changing your name. This is also the time for storing, selling, or passing on wedding-related items (something to consider while you’re purchasing said items).

This timeline is just a framework and a different way of grouping all the to-dos that make up a wedding checklist. In the coming months I’m looking forward to delving deeper with you into all the different decisions that are part of the planning process!

About the Author: Andi Compton is Spoken Bride's Business Director. She is the owner of Now That's a Party where she coordinates weddings, fundraising galas, and social events. Read more