This is a 10 month guide that will take you step-by-step through the planning of your rustic barn wedding. This detailed timeline will help you plan your wedding day. It can be intimidating to prepare for the most important day of your life. When I started planning my barn wedding I had no idea where to begin, much less have a 12-month road map. We humans tend to overestimate our ability to accomplish things in a few days, but under-estimate the amount we can achieve in several months. Rome wasn’t constructed in a single day, as they say. This guide has been divided into easy-to-digest segments. You can avoid stress by completing the tasks within each segment of this timeline. You may need to squeeze some tasks into the first few months of planning if your wedding date is less than a year away. It’s better to get those things done now than a week or two before the wedding! This is your guide to planning a barn wedding.

A barn wedding 5 months in advance

1. Choose the perfect venue: The first step to planning your barn wedding, is of course choosing the right barn! The fun part is finding the perfect rustic wedding in Rotorua. It is very easy to find pictures and videos online. It’s hard to find a date that is available, since some barns are booked up to 2 years in advance. You should also pay attention to what amenities and extras are offered by each venue. Many Barn Venues will not have bride and groom suites or indoor plumbing for the ceremony preparations. Be aware that many of these venues operate illegally and without the proper permits. They could close down before your wedding! Choose wisely and do your research to find the perfect barn venue.

2. It’s almost impossible to book your wedding date without first finding the perfect barn venue. These venues are in high demand, especially Saturdays. This is the most popular wedding day. When booking a barn, I’d suggest being flexible about the date of your wedding. Barn venues that are fully booked on Saturdays may have availability on Fridays and Sundays. Some will offer a discount if you book those dates. It’s a good idea to be open about your wedding dates if you want to save money on your wedding budget. Keep in mind that the season and weather of the date you choose for your barn ceremony is also important. Air conditioning and heating are available in the best barn venues, eliminating any issues with seasonality.

3. Establish Your Wedding Budget. The budget for your wedding is an important factor in planning a wedding. Take some time to determine a realistic figure before making any decisions. Start by calculating the wedding venue cost first. The setting for a barn-themed wedding is a memorable and important part of your special day. Visit each barn before budget planning so you can select the one with the best amenities. Leave room in your budget for any minor mistakes or additional expenses that may occur during this 12-month journey. Your budget should be designed to reduce the stress associated with spending by staying within your budget.

4. Make Your Guest List. Once you have a budget in mind, you can start putting your guest list together. Confirm the maximum occupancy for your barn venue. This number can be a good way to begin your list because it provides a number that you don’t feel guilty about. This number is a good tool to use if you have relatives or friends who are pushing for more guests to attend your wedding. It is easy to tell people that the venue capacity has been reached, without hurting their feelings.

List everyone that you can imagine inviting to the wedding. Include your immediate family, closest friends, colleagues, distant relatives and any other people that come to mind. Then, cross out anyone who you haven’t spoken to for more than two year unless it is immediate family. Next, circle any guests you must have at your wedding. You can then go through the list to circle the names of any additional guests that you want at your wedding.

5. Booking Your Photographer: Wedding photographers can book up to one year in advance. So, find a photographer as soon as you begin planning your wedding.

It is an excellent way to locate wedding vendors quickly, as you can see them all at once.

6. Start planning your engagement party: Usually, the parents of the bride or groom host the party. But, whichever the case, you should start planning it now. Pick a date and venue. Also, create a list of guests. It is the first party you will have as a couple.

7. You can never start too early with your dress shopping. I’m going to start early because I don’t know what I want and what looks best on me. I started by creating a Pinterest Board with wedding dresses that appeal to me. It’s a good way to be inspired and create a point of reference for your bridal shop visit. Be aware that you might not love the dresses you choose once you try them on at the bridal store. It’s okay! Take a deep breathe and continue trying on styles and fits until you find a dress that you love. Bring along your closest family and friends to make this an enjoyable experience.

1 Months Before Your Barn Wedding

1. Select Wedding Party. Choosing your wedding party is a stressful aspect of planning a wedding. Take your time. This is the number one lesson I’ve learned. It is difficult to change your decision once you have invited someone to your wedding party. This is not a process to rush! Select people you consider to be your closest friends and family. Don’t worry about who will be upset if you don’t include them. Instead, focus on the people you want to stand next to you at your wedding. You can choose the size of your wedding party, but keep in mind that you will need to consider both the budget and size of your wedding.

2. Your wedding colors will play an important role in your wedding planning, as they are the colors that tie together all of your wedding themes. Your wedding colors will be used in many different aspects of your wedding, from bridesmaids’ dresses to centerpieces. It is therefore important that you choose colors which reflect the mood and style you want to create. Pinterest was my source of inspiration once again. I searched “Barn Wedding Photos”, and then pinned all of my favorites images until I had a board full. After scrolling through my images, I discovered that nearly all of them followed only two color schemes. Then I picked my favorite and voila, I had my wedding colors. Remember that each bride will have a different opinion about the color schemes they see. There is only one right choice. Imagine which color scheme “fits” your personality.

3. Book Officiant. If you belong to a local congregation, speak to your pastor/priest about the requirements for getting married. It is best to book your officiant as early as possible. Some churches require premarital counselling. You can search for a local wedding officiant if you’re not a member of a particular church by using a website. Many states have websites that list the contact information for your local notary or justice of peace. You can also have a close friend or family member become a minister through online training.

4. Finalize guest list: It is time to finalize the wedding guest list. Now that you have had your list for two months, it is time to make any final additions or cuts. You don’t have to worry about offending people, because you reserved the Venue before anyone else. This fact can be used to justify why you weren’t able to invite all your guests. When making your final decision, keep in mind that you have a budget.

5. You can now start collecting addresses of your guests after you’ve finalized the guest list. Most likely, you already know the addresses of your closest friends and family, but many people don’t keep an updated address book. You can ask your guests directly for their addresses. This method is a quick and easy way to obtain addresses by text or email. You can be discreet by claiming that you need addresses for your Christmas cards or new address book. If you are lucky, you may have a relative, like my grandmother who keeps an addressbook for the whole family. Thank You Granny.

6. Engagement Party: Around 10 months before the wedding, celebrate your engagement party. This is the big event for the wedding party and it helps everyone get excited about your big day. This is also a great opportunity for everyone in your wedding party to bond and meet. Call them a couple of days before or after the event to let them know you’re thinking about them. Even if they’re far away, your bridal party will enjoy feeling included in the planning of your wedding.

7. Select Your Save the Dates. You have completed your guest list and collected addresses. Now it’s time to select your first official wedding invitation. Save the Dates are a reminder to guests and especially for those who have to travel. You can make it as elaborate or as simple as you like. However, most people opt for something simple to be put on the fridge of their guests so that they don’t lose or forget. I just ordered “Save the Dates” and I’m super excited to find something rustic and magnetic that will tie in with my “Barn Theme”. I’ll post pictures of them on a future blog.

2 months before your Barn Wedding

1. It is important to send Save the Dates at least 8 months prior to your wedding. I have many guests who are traveling from outside the area, and I want to allow them enough time to plan their travels and budget. By sending the save-the-dates far in advance, you will increase the likelihood that your guests can attend.

2. Book Florist. If you plan to have real floral arrangements or bouquets in your home, you will need to research the best and most affordable florists in your area. Ask someone who was recently married in your area for their florist. This will give you a good starting point. In smaller towns, there are fewer choices. This can simplify the process. Refer to your budget plan to determine how much money you have to spend on flowers. The larger the wedding is, the more flowers will be needed. The same applies to the number of guests if you plan on using fresh boutonnieres/bouquets.

3. I’m personally very excited to be able to taste and book cake as part of the wedding planning process. I can’t wait to taste the cake with my fiancé until our stomachs bulge. Do not let a good cake deter you from sticking to your Wedding Budget. You need to look for a bakery with delicious cakes at affordable prices. You can also look into upcoming bridal shows to find a variety of bakeries, as well as other wedding vendors.

4. You can also find your wedding DJ or band at bridal shows. You have many choices when it comes to wedding music. The first thing you need to do is decide on the type of music that you want to hear at your special day. You can then get recommendations, attend bridal shows or search websites to find your perfect wedding music. You can find a musician to play an instrumental at your wedding by looking into the music department of your local college. This is a good and affordable option. You can post a flyer, hold auditions or ask a professor of music for recommendations.

5. Register for Gifts. The registration process for each couple will differ, depending on their wants and needs. To add to the excitement, both the bride and groom can do this. Register for gifts at all price ranges so that guests can shop according to their budget. Wedding etiquette dictates that you should never include your registry information with your invitations. Use word-of-mouth or include registry details with your bridal party invites.

6. You should book hair/makeup in advance if you want to get the best service at the lowest price. Ask your hairdresser or friends for recommendations. 

7. Groom’s attire: The “theme” of your wedding will dictate the kind of suit that the groom needs to buy. You should choose a traditional tuxedo or suit if you’re planning a formal ceremony. If your wedding is more casual, then you may want to opt for a vest with slacks. Finding what works with your wedding style is key. By your, I mean your bride. So, men, make sure you know the wedding colors, themes, and expectations of your bride. Try on several styles until you find one that fits your body.

3 months before your Barn Wedding

1. Booking a Caterer is a must. Wedding catering can cost hefty amounts, so it’s important to book and confirm your caterer well in advance. You must first decide what type of food to serve your guests. Decide on a budget per plate and stick to it. Then, you can start calling local caterers to inquire about pricing and availability. You should schedule a taste test after you’ve compiled your list of caterers that are available and within your budget. Choose a caterer who has a good reputation and reviews to make sure you hire the best option.

2. Order invitations: There are two factors to consider when choosing your wedding invites; the theme and the budget. Knowing what you can spend on wedding invitations will narrow your options. The invitations will help to create excitement for your wedding. Sticking to the theme of your wedding will only enhance this. My rustic-barn themed wedding will have rustic invitations. You can select a formal invite if your barn wedding will be formal. Finding an invitation to match your wedding theme is key.

What To Include In The Invite: You should include a RSVP card that guests can fill out and return. This card should be stamped to ensure you get RSVPs from all guests. You can include the entree choices for guests on your RSVP card if you are having a formal dinner. If you’re holding the wedding and reception at different locations, include a separate reception card with your wedding invitation.

3. You can now start shopping for attire for the rest. Included in this are bridesmaids and groomsmen as well as flower girls, ring-bearers, ushers, and groomsmen. The wedding party should wear clothes that reflect your wedding theme and colors. Your wedding party should also be dressed in formal attire if your wedding is formal. There are many options for how to dress the wedding party. Have fun and experiment with different accessories until you find what suits your style. I selected four dresses in different styles, but all the same color. This way, my bridesmaids could choose the dress they liked best. My wedding will have a rustic/country theme so I’ve chosen for everyone to wear cowboy boots rather than heels. You might be attracted to the idea of suspenders or bow-ties if your wedding has a semi-formal, old-fashioned theme. Browse wedding magazines and Pinterest boards before you go shopping to get a general idea of the style that you want.

4. Budget for Honeymoon Planning: Your budget is the first step in planning your honeymoon. You will soon discover that the best way to minimize wedding stress is to set a budget and stick to it. After you have set your budget, you should sit down with your partner and discuss your expectations for your honeymoon. Relaxation? Adventure? Foreign Lands? Foreign Lands? Once you’ve decided on a destination, it is important to make a decision on when and where to go. This will ensure that you get the best deal. If you are planning a honeymoon, book accommodations near the focal point. For example, a beach resort close to skiing or a cabin nearby a ski area. Check online or with friends to see if the location is highly recommended. You don’t need to book the honeymoon immediately after your wedding. You and your partner should choose a date that is convenient for both of you, as well as coincides with ideal weather conditions for your destination. My fiance and I are planning to go to the Bahamas for our honeymoon, so we’ll be going in a warmer month.

5. Order Wedding Favors. Your wedding favors will allow you to thank your guests for attending the big day and send them home with something special. Consider the theme of your wedding when choosing wedding favors. Find great ideas for wedding favors on Pinterest, Etsy or, if you are crafty, try making your own. Choose something within your budget, as the more guests attending, the more favors you’ll need to buy/make.

6. DIY/Buy Centerpieces: Your wedding centerpieces can be as elaborate or simple as you like. It all depends on your theme and budget. Find out if centerpieces and vases come with the rental of your wedding venue. You may even find that some barn wedding venues have matching centerpieces and table decor. You can use the centerpieces that are available to replace or change your chosen wedding colors and flowers. When choosing your wedding venue, this is an important factor to take into consideration.

You can order or make centerpieces if your barn wedding venue does not include them. You can order custom bouquets through your wedding florist or custom vases and jars on Etsy. Or, you can make a DIY Barn Wedding Centerpiece using my blog. You can choose to use your wedding theme and flowers in this design.

4 months before your Barn Wedding

1. Send out Your Wedding Invitations. It’s time to send out your wedding invites. To ensure you use the correct stamp per invitation, you can weigh one of your wedding invites at the postoffice. On all RSVP cards, include a return address and a stamp. It is exciting to send out invitations, because it signifies the end of your wedding planning. Congratulations! You have now completed the first 3/4 of your Barn Wedding Timeline!! !

2. After you have chosen your wedding dress, it is time to purchase the shoes. Comfort is the most important factor to consider when choosing shoes for your entire wedding party. Shoes that are comfortable to dance in and easy to wear should be chosen. Consider that not everyone prefers the same shoe. You may want to choose a shoe with a low or flat heel. You should purchase your shoes before you are fitted for alterations.

3. Schedule Alterations. Schedule your alterations approximately four months before the big day. You should allow yourself enough time to ensure that your dress fits perfectly. Custom alterations may take up to eight weeks. Wear your wedding underwear and shoes when you are fitted to ensure that the dress will be altered according to your needs. It is also a good time to arrange alterations for the entire wedding party. Encourage everyone to wear underwear and shoes to look their best.

4. Find Wedding Party Presents. Wedding party presents are gifts you give to show your appreciation for the people you chose to be part of your special day. These gifts should be useful and thoughtful for each member of your wedding group. You don’t have to give the same gift to all your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Use Pinterest to find the perfect gift for each person. I like the idea of purchasing handcrafted items from local artists and entrepreneurs. If you’re interested in this, local art shows and Etsy can be a great source of inspiration.

5. The bride and groom will enjoy this special moment together. Choose your wedding bands according to your budget, your style and what you feel most comfortable with. Your wedding bands must be made from the same medal type as your engagement rings and should match your engagement rings style. You can choose a simple band that interlocks with your engagement ring if you plan to wear your wedding and engagement ring together. You may choose a more decorative wedding band if you only plan to wear your wedding ring. You should choose something you both like, as you will wear these rings daily after the wedding ceremony.

6. Plan Rehearsal dinner: A rehearsal dinner is an excellent way to introduce the guests from out-of-town, as well as the families of both sides. You should plan the rehearsal dinner to coincide with the wedding party’s rehearsal. You can have a formal or informal rehearsal dinner at your wedding venue, restaurant or backyard barbecue. This is a perfect opportunity to give out gifts to your wedding party and to start off the celebrations. Book a restaurant or venue for your rehearsal dinner at least four months in advance to make sure they can accommodate large groups.

5 Months Before Your Barn Wedding

1. Bridal Showers: The bridal shower is usually organized by the bride’s mother, bridal party or maid of honour. You can just show up, relax and enjoy the day. This is a great time to spend with your closest family and friends. The bridal shower usually takes place between 2-3 months prior to the wedding.

2. Confirm vendors: Make sure you confirm ALL vendors at least 3 months before your wedding. Make sure that the vendors are aware of what time you expect them to arrive so that they don’t be late. You should also provide them with any final details that they may need about the service you are providing. Florists need to know the final number of flowers and the time frame for delivery before your wedding. The stylist needs to know how many people will be using their services, and what kind of hairstyles/looks you want. You will have a smoother wedding if you provide your vendors with detailed instructions in advance.

3. Write Vows. Writing vows is a daunting task for both the bride and groom. Keep it brief, honest, and personal. List the promises you’d like to make to a spouse. Include any memorable poems, quotes or moments related to your relationship, and how you fell into love. You can also ask your friends for help in developing a structure or even look up examples on the internet.

4. You should provide any music requests to your DJ or band prior to the wedding. List the songs and dances you’d like to hear (ex. Couple’s First Dance or Mother/Son Dance, Father/Daughter Song). Select songs that you can dance to. The wedding style you choose and your personal preferences will have a major impact on the wedding playlist. Include your favorite songs in different styles and genres of music. Mix up the music so that everyone at your wedding will enjoy it.

5. Wedding Program: A wedding program allows you to easily share your timeline with guests. You can design or order your own wedding programs to match your theme. Some couples also choose to make or purchase a sign visible to all guests. You can create your own individual program, which will include a timeline, the names of all the wedding guests, and the final message from you and the groom. Visit Pinterest to find more ideas for formal and unique wedding programs. Type in “Barn Wedding Programs” and you’ll get a lot of great ideas.

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