You’re engaged! Let’s take the bliss of a fresh engagement up a notch and set your planning to the tune of a whirlwind romance- Sinatra tunes optional. Your special day will be everything you’ve always dreamed on a timeline that leaves no room for the inevitable slump that comes with year long planning of festivities. Embrace the chaos, charm, and creativity that’s headed your way- you’re about to embark on a one-year adventure to last a lifetime; planning your perfect day.

A one-year planning process is all about the essentials, and you’ve got no time to waste. A year timeline is not only doable, it’s going to be a blast. Peruse our expert tips for maximizing your one year planning experience, and don’t be afraid to get a little messy. There’s a whole lot of fun to be had between ‘we’re engaged!’ and ‘we do!’.

First things first. You and your betrothed-to-be must decide on a budget and stick to it. It’s impossibly easy to spend an exorbitant amount of money on a wedding, but it can be equally easy to find the middle ground and throw an event that dazzles on a budget that doesn’t strand you financially. Next up- a proposed date or two, and your wedding party. This may require a degree of flexibility and resourcefulness. Pick out an ideal date for your wedding as well as a back up, and discuss which friends and loved ones are absolute necessities on your special day. Who can be available for your ‘I Do’s’ might dictate which date you opt for, and your date will be the number one factor in committing to a venue.

It is a good idea to book your venue around a year in advance. If you are running short on time, don’t stress; this is what your backup date is for. Keep some less traditional dates as a back up. Hoping for the Plaza in June? That may be out of the realm of possibility when if you are planning on short notice. Choosing a venue is just one of many big decisions, but is a key decision that may guide all of your wedding details. It is a good idea to consult with your venue of choice when it comes to planning your wedding. For example, at Pine Peaks, we have a long list of preferred vendors that will ensure your big day will run as smoothly as possible.


Once your date and venue are confirmed, it’s time to play with the details. Do you have a specific officiant in mind? This will require syncing their availability and your wedding date, and possibly committing to premarital counseling. In a jumble of madness and excitement, it’s now imperative that you find that perfect dress, debate roses and peonies, buttercream or fondant, ceasar vs vinaigrette, and the tone of your wedding photos. Your dress and cake may influence the theme of your wedding, so finding the dress of your dreams is an important first step when navigating the details. It can get pricey if not impossible to custom order a gown with less than eight months notice, so a great option will be designer sample sales and ready-to-wear shops, or consignment stores. While you’re on the hunt for your dress, scope out the offerings at local department stores. There are some surprisingly perfect bridesmaid dresses available at extremely affordable prices. You also need to be thinking about groomsmen; their suits will very likely need timely tailoring, and are every bit as essential as the bridesmaid dresses you select.

Call around to recommended local bakeries for openings on your big day. Have some fun and try out a cake alternative such as specialty donuts, cake pops, or cupcakes for a twist on the traditional. Booking a great photographer is also an imperative step in the planning process. Like venues, well known photographers tend to book a year in advance, so be prepared to call around a bit to find an opening with a photographer. Disposable cameras placed on tables to be used by guests and creating an instagram account for the photos your guests take are also wonderful ideas to capture moments on the cheap.

A caterer is one detail that you will want to book well in advance. Gone are the days of the meat and potato dinners, so delight in hors d’oeuvre options, culturally specific fares, or bountiful buffets. If you are in a pinch, many caterers don’t need a finalized menu until two weeks prior to your event, so the idea here is to get a caterer on the books, and finalize menu specifics later. You’ll need to think specifics in terms of your wedding flowers however, beginning with the season. For budget conscious planners, non seasonal flower choices become expensive and may not be your best bet. Consider calla lilies, orchids, roses or tulips, beautiful options that are available year round. Start with the bridal bouquet and make additional floral selections based on the arrangement that you’ll be carrying, and look into locally grown produce, or utilizing the blooms you’ve got in your own garden to brighten your big day.

The list for head-to-toe beauty tips can go on and on. Before you get too overwhelmed here, ensure you book your salon. Your beautician may be able to provide you with tips and answer any questions you have without making your head spin. After you consult with your beautician, feel free to take some time to ask your married friends or coworkers about their wedding day beauty routine.

All of your tireless planning would mean very little without the people that you love in attendance, so take extra care to send out save the dates and wedding invitations as early as possible. Wedding invitation etiquette suggests six to eight weeks before your confirmed date. Since you are planning a year in advance, it may be a good idea to consider sending out a save the date. A good resource for this would be your photographer, especially if you would like to incorporate photos from an engagement session.

When that special day comes, it won’t matter which venue was unavailable or how many centerpieces you had to downsize. It will be a momentous affair to remember, a success of a year-long whirlwind of planning and prepping.


– Dave and Julie Peterson

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