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The Magnolia Collective Playbook: Navigating the 12-Month Wedding Timeline

12 months seems like plenty of time to plan a wedding, right?

Well, sure- but we are here to tell you that twelve months in the wedding planning world goes by FAST. And by fast, we mean blink your eyes or snap your fingers and you're in the middle of your first dance!

Molly & Wes First Dance

So what does a TRUE Twelve-Month Wedding Planning timeline look like? There are several different answers, depending on who you ask- but being in the business for over 13 years, we have a pretty good idea of what it looks like- and we are here to help! At Magnolia Collective, there's a very specific roadmap we like to follow with our brides (even when we need to condense it!) and we are going to break that timeline down in the next few blog posts.

Let's start with 12 months out. Here are some *KEY* things you should be focused on in the 9-12 month time-frame:

  • Develop a budget- and a plan to STICK TO IT!

  • Start a Pinterest board or a wedding notebook and create a preliminary color palette (a Pinterest board is SO helpful to your wedding planner and those helping you make your vision a reality!)

  • Speaking of that....HIRE a wedding planner! Seriously, we will make your life so much easier! :)

  • Pick your wedding party

  • Start on your guest list (it is never too early- and this is an area you will visit several times, especially as you begin to understand your budget!)

  • Book your top 2 vendors, and set your date. This will typically be your venue and your planner- all other vendors will need more firm dates.

  • Start researching other vendors (Photographer, Caterer, DJ, Rentals, Bakery for Cake, etc.)

  • Start gathering addresses for your Save the Dates

  • Set a date and location for your engagement party (if you choose to have one!)

  • Choose your bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl and ring bearer, and invite them to be in the wedding

  • Create a list of any traditions or wedding customs that you want to incorporate into the wedding

  • Discuss ceremony & reception entertainment preferences (do you want a DJ, or maybe a live band?)

And there you have it, lovebirds! You've successfully completed the first leg of your wedding planning marathon! As we start to dive deeper into the nitty gritty details, don't forget to take breaks and remember WHY you are doing this. Treat yourselves to date nights that have nothing to do with drafting guest lists or setting up venue tours. After all, a little romance and laughter along the way will infuse your wedding day with an extra sprinkle of magic. And if you don't have a planner and need some help along the way- we are here for you!

Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we will work through the planning process for months 6-8! In the meantime, enjoy a few photos of some of our FAVORITE venues <3

The Barn of Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC


The Maxwell-Raleigh, NC


Photographer: Jaclyn Auletta

Market Hall - Raleigh, NC


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