Skip to main content

The 10 Stages of Wedding Planning

Here are all of the stages of wedding planning you’ll experience before you make your way to the altar.

While every couple has their own unique and magical pre-nuptial experience, there are ten familiar stages of wedding planning that pretty much everyone will go through. From the shiny and new phase down to the frantic final stages, you’re going to encounter them all.

Here are the 10 stages of wedding planning you’ll go through.

Stage 1: It’s All Brand New

You just got engaged, your stomach is filled with butterflies and you’re so pumped up with joy that you want to shout about your love from the rooftops. You try to fit the word fiancé(e) into every conversation - maybe even at times when it’s not necessary - and your engagement ring has become a staple in your Instagram photos. But you’re not the only one making a big deal of it - you’re inbox and answering machine are most likely flooded with well wishes and your friends are cheersing you every time you have a wine glass in hand.

Stage 2: Pinterest Queen/King

Your engagement glow is still strong, but you’re beginning to realize that you need to get down to business. No, you’re not ready to sign any contracts or put down any payments, but your Pinterest account is alive and well. You’ve begun creating boards dedicated to wedding bouquetscateringvenues and table decorations, and you’re not stopping anytime soon. Your mom is sending you wedding planning articles in the wee hours of the morning and your bedside has been overtaken by bridal magazines. In short, you’re in the exploratory and inspiration phase and you can’t wait to uncover the hidden gems that will make your wedding memorable.

Stage 3: Cutting Down

After spending a few weeks - maybe even months - collecting all the essential data, you’re ready to start making some decisions. At this stage of wedding planning, you're not quite ready to start reviewing the paperwork and booking your wedding vendors but you’re beginning to become a bit more realistic with your vision. You’ve realized that strapless dresses aren’t exactly the best idea for outdoor fall weddings and that steak frites might push you over budget with your estimated guest count. You’ve got some general ideas, like your colour scheme, wedding budget and season nailed down, but you aren’t crazy committed to any specific details.

Stage 4: Getting Real

No, you haven’t dedicated hours to finding deals on Groupon and you aren’t exactly begging your parents for money (yet) - however, you have started to become aware of how to divvy up your wedding budget. You’re crunching the numbers and you’re starting to get more realistic about what you can and cannot have at your wedding. You’ve also chosen your wedding date, location and wedding party and begun working on your wedding guest list, considering contracts and choosing your vendors.

Stage 5: Committing

You’ve already accepted a ring, so you obviously know a thing or two about commitment. Now you’re starting to say yes to people other than your fiancé(e), namely your vendors. You’ve begun signing contracts for your venue, stylists, photographer and other core members of your wedding team. Heck, you may have even sent out your save-the-dates. Your wedding now feels like less of an idea and more of an actual thing. Get pumped!

Stage 6: Dressing It Up

You’ve sorted out all of the scheduling and contract details, so now it’s on to obsessing about style. You’re well-versed in lighting fixtures, you know every type of wedding centerpiece vessel on the market and you’ve woken up in a hot sweat after dreaming about choosing the wrong bouquet at least once. You’ve also filled your DVR with episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings and The Great British Bake Off. Your mission is creating the most aesthetically pleasing wedding on earth and nobody can stand in your way.

Stage 7: Consumed by Planning

At this stage of wedding planning, you’re slowly beginning to realize that your life now revolves around your wedding. You’ve swapped girls night outs for wedding planning nights in and you fill your days with dress fittings, wedding cake tastings and appointments with your stationer. It may be time to take a step back and do something unrelated to your big day, maybe plan a weekend getaway with your BFFs or do bellinis and brunch with your pals. You don’t want to forfeit your entire social life in the name of your wedding!

Stage 8: It’s Go Time!

Time to tick off all those boxes on your wedding checklist because your wedding is approaching - fast. Hash out all those unfinished details and get ready to get married. Remember, you’re not in this alone, so assign some tasks to your crack team (AKA your wedding party) to make sure everything gets done and goes smoothly.

Stage 9: The Beginning of the End

You’ve got everything planned and paid for, so now you’re on to tying up the last of the loose ends. You’re sad to say goodbye to wedding planning but you’re excited to walk down that aisle. Savour your last few moments as a fiancé(e) and prepare to embrace being a newlywed.

Stage 10: Keep Calm

When you reach the final stage of wedding planning, use the wise words of James Bay and just “let it go, just let it be”. You’re in the final stretch, there’s no time to change your floral arrangements or buy new table linens, so just sit back and relax. Dedicate your time to getting excited for your big day, not freaking out about all the little things. It’ll all work out.

Keep organized with WeddingWire's FREE wedding planning tools »