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October 19, 2023

A 12-Month Wedding Planning Guide | Part One

It’s hard to believe that one of the most exciting parts of your life can also be one of the most stressful. Sure, the question has been popped, and you’re gearing up to spend a lifetime with your partner – and you’re just starting to daydream about what your big day will look like. Wedding to-do lists, blogs about planning a wedding, and opinions of others can have you feeling overwhelmed, and likely less excited than you should be! But, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. 

Here at Mountain Top Resort, we’ve put together a 12-month planning guide we’ll be sharing over the next few weeks to help you gear up for your big day, no matter how intimate or grand you want your wedding to be. 

12 Months in Advance

Right now, you’re likely a year out, or maybe more! It’s the perfect time to start strategizing and creating a so-called game plan to ensure everything is completed in time. No matter how organized you are, if you prefer to go with the flow or have six different calendars to keep track of things, it’s important to iron out the big details so the smaller things that come up feel like a breeze later on. 

Mountain Top Resort offers dedicated wedding coordinators who make this process easy – and have actually put together this list of recommended actions to tackle at this point in time to solidify the base of your wedding day. 

Break Down Your Budget

While you shouldn’t be stressing every last penny, it’s important to sort out what you’re willing to pay in some of the major categories for your wedding day. This includes: 

  • Venue
  • Lodging
  • Vendors
  • Wedding Attire
  • Stationary
  • Wedding Planner – If Desired
  • Food and Beverage
  • Your Guest List – a.k.a. Your Cost Per Person
  • Welcome Bags or Wedding Favors
  • Transportation

Something to think about when working through a few of these budget items is to consider if your venue is actually inclusive of some of these areas. 

For example, Mountain Top Resort is a venue that includes hosting all events on property, lodging for guests, and catering in-house, alongside a floral team and bridal salon on-site. Being able to combine some of these budgeted items can save you in the long run. 

Decide On  and Plan Your Guest List

You’ll often find that catering – not including your beverages – will range from $85 to $130 per person. The bar type you also select will have prices per person as well. Whether it’s a cash bar, or fully open. 

As you start to plan your list of guests, something to potentially think about is how many may have a plus-one. After all, you create your list! A good rule of thumb is to assume that about 25 – 30% of your list will have plus ones, so consider this in your guest count – or make it clear on your invitations how many guests are invited per RSVP card. You may find your guest list jump from 100 to 150 if you’re not careful!

Secure Accommodations

This is only the case if you have already chosen your venue at this time. While not every venue requires you to secure accommodations, securing room blocks can help your potential guest feel more at ease. This doesn’t mean that you will be responsible for their rooms, but rather you are guaranteeing that those rooms will be filled by your guests and will be a reserved block for your guests to reserve when they are ready. 

There may be fees associated if these blocks are not used up, so plan accordingly. Think of your wedding party, and your close family members, like parents and siblings. 

Start Looking for Hair & Makeup

While not a requirement by any means, if you would like professional hair and makeup, around the 12-month mark is a good time to book a salon or professional artists. You can schedule a consultation, along with a trial to see if they’re a good fit. 

Start Thinking about Photographers, Videographers, DJs, and other Music Options

It’s important to book these vendors as soon as you can, as their schedules fill up nearly as quickly as some wedding venues do. A good rule of thumb is to talk to your venue about their preferred vendors – photographers who have worked at your venue previously may have some good tips or even offer some inside knowledge on the area to create the perfect day. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from other vendors – it truly is up to you! In fact, it may allow the vendors you pick to end up on that list – a win-win!

Schedule Floral and Décor Needs

Some venues have dedicated florists (Mountain Top Resort being one of them, with Meadow’s Edge Floral Design right on site!), or preferred florists similar to their preferred vendors lists. However, it’s important to find the florist and/or designer that works best with your needs and wants. 

A good way to see if you’ll have a good fit is to check their socials – designs they have put together, bouquets, and light fixtures, you’ll be able to see pretty quickly if the “vibe” is there or not. 

10 Months in Advance

A few months later, start to think about some of the areas you’ve budgeted for at the 12-month mark. 

Attending a tasting with a catering company (or your venue if catering is on-site) to find the items that you want to serve at your event. Often, they will host tasting events for you and other couples at the same time in order to simulate a reception date in terms of design and style. 

If you haven’t booked those bigger vendors like music and photos, now is the time! Linens, your wedding officiant (if you plan on having one), and wedding desserts, are just a few others to start to look into as well. 

In line with booking vendors, hair and makeup trials should also be happening around this time. This will allow you to have ample time to find a stylist that meets your expectations. If your venue is all-inclusive, you may be able to book a trial when you attend an on-site tasting, something that Mountain Top Resort often does to accommodate couples that are already visiting the property that may be coming for a destination wedding and don’t have the opportunity to do again. 

You may be asking, what comes after the 10-month mark? We’ll be releasing our second article in this series shortly, so stay on the lookout! 

By MTR Member, Jade Miller

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195 Mountain Top Rd
Chittenden, Vermont 05737
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