Here at Wolfe Heights, we know a thing or two about weddings! Whether you need some inspiration for wedding day decor, or helpful reminders on when to book your vendors, we are here to help guide you and make the wedding planning process as stress-free as possible! Feel free to roam about our website and look at photos from previous weddings in our wedding gallery to help get you started.
While every couple is different and moves at their own pace, we want to do everything possible to assist our soon-to-be newly-weds in any way we can. One helpful planning tool we offer is a general wedding planning timeline specific to our venue. This is not to substitute the use of a wedding planner/coordinator by any means! As you will soon learn, your coordinator will become your best friend!
First things first…it never hurts to plan early in advance, especially after the Great Wedding Boom of 2020. The average engagement in the US is about 12–18 months, but please keep in mind that we are currently booking far in advance due to the pandemic…So feel free to customize this timeline in any way you see fit, while still keeping these benchmark dates for “big ticket items” in mind. Happy planning!
If you are recently engaged, CONGRATS!! This is such an exciting time and we hope you savor every moment of it! There is plenty to do (trust us), but take your time to enjoy one another, celebrate with family, and pop open a bottle of Wolfe Heights sparkling wine to kick-start the countdown to your special day. If you are not yet engaged, start dropping the hints 😉
Not much else can be done without having an official location and date set in stone. After touring the estate and signing contracts with our event manager, you can start all the other planning there is to do. Please note that if you would like to use the Estate for your rehearsal ceremony/dinner, you must book that when you book your wedding date.
Although it may seem early, around the 1-year mark is when you should definitely start dress shopping. If you wait too long (even 9 months out), you may have to pay a hefty fee to expedite the dress. *Also take into consideration the additional costs of alterations and accessories when planning your dress budget.
With all the craziness of rescheduled/postponed weddings and long wait times, comes the same wait time for wedding photographers. Lock yours down as early as possible to ensure they will be available for your date! Please note that if you choose to go with a photographer not on our preferred vendors list, they will have to do a walkthrough with our event manager at least 60 days before the wedding to familiarize themselves with the Estate. There are so many beautiful, picture-worthy spots at our venue, and we want to ensure that you can get to every one of them with enough time before sunset. (It is a good idea when you book your photographer for you wedding day, that you also schedule your engagement photoshoot date!)
Here at Wolfe Heights we require that at the very least you have a “Day-Of” coordinator for your event. This is to ensure that your day runs as smoothly as possible. They will help with things like additional rentals, decor, and creating the overall timeline for the day of the wedding.
Find a caterer that suits your style and will also make you and your guests happy. Are you more formal, or do you prefer a casual dinner? Will you be serving plated appetizers or a charcuterie board before dinner? Do a few tastings with different catering companies and see which fits your preferences. Be sure to ask questions and take notes while you’re there in person! In terms of your cake, while you don’t need to have your flavor and design solidified at this time, you should nail down your date with a bakery so they can put you on their calendar. Please note that if you want a caterer not on our preferred vendors list, they must be approved by our event manager before signing any contracts.
You know all those beautiful centerpieces you’ve seen on our website? Those had to be booked with a florist far in advance to ensure they would be available to create you some of the most Pinterest-worthy tablescapes. Again, you do not need to have everything picked out at this time, but you should choose who your florist will be so they have your date on their schedule.
Music will be playing for a large majority of your wedding, so figure out what style is right for you! The dj is responsible for the sound system during both the ceremony and reception—the music for walking down the aisle, the microphone used for saying your vows, and of course, the dancing! Please note that while live music such as piano, harps, guitars, etc. are okay, we do not allow bands at our venue.
This is a great way to get to know your wedding photographer! This is also a good time to finalize the guest list so you can send out save-the-dates with plenty of time for your guests to mark their calendars. Some companies will even send you a wedding stationary sample pack when you order your save-the-dates so you can see what options you have down the road for official invites.
Whether you are asking a family member or close friend, or hiring a professional officiant, be sure to do so around the 8-month mark. If you are asking someone you know personally, you want to make sure you give them enough time to get ordained…and rehearse!
While a bridesmaid dress does not take quite as long as your wedding gown, it is still not the same as buying a dress off the rack to take home with you. You will need to make sure your bridesmaids can go in-person to get their measurements taken, and then custom order the dress in their size. (If you have bridesmaids that live out of town or cannot make it the day you go shopping, you can always have them get professionally measured somewhere else and then send their measurements to the store you are ordering the dresses from.)
If you have planned a vacation recently, then I’m sure you’ve realized just how far in advance accommodations need to be made. Start researching destinations, costs, and activities. Depending on where you are considering for your honeymoon, you may need to start booking things like flights, hotels, and even dinner reservations now!! If you plan to go out of the country, be sure that both you and your soon-to-be spouse have up-to-date passports.
This is the one day when all eyes will be on you…ALL DAY. So when considering who to have for your hair and makeup, look to things like their social media for examples of recent work, talk to them on the phone, and see if you can schedule a trial (they will probably charge for this) to see if they can make your vision of how you will look on your big day come to fruition. If you are wanting hair and makeup for your bridal party as well, be sure to book that when you book for yourself.
There are so many options when it comes to unique and fun additions to a wedding. Things like photo booths, ice cream carts, trailer bars, and large “LOVE” signs are some of our favorites we’ve seen here. Additionally, if you are wanting tables and chairs other than those we provide—circular tables and white folding chairs—you will need to rent these through a rental company. If you are considering any other furniture pieces, like a loveseat for the sweetheart table or other lounging furniture (ottomans, couches, chairs, etc.) for guests, you should take those into account around this time as well. You should also meet with your coordinator to confirm table decor—table runners, candle holders, centerpieces, etc.
If you are planning on going to a restaurant for your rehearsal dinner, you should definitely make those reservations as soon as you can! Hopefully anyone invited to the rehearsal dinner will be more of a given attendee and not a situation where you have to wait for an RSVP…so you should be able to give at the very least, a close estimate of the number of people the reservation will be for. If you are thinking of hosting the rehearsal dinner at someone’s home and will have it catered, get those details taken care of now as well.
After having a month or two to research and give your honeymoon some thought, start setting things in stone. If you have not yet done so, book flights, car rentals, hotels, restaurants, and any activities/excursions that require reservations. Now is also a good time to plan your itinerary for things that do not need reservations—shopping day, maybe a hike or a bike ride, a picnic, a self-guided tour?
Whether you are renting or purchasing a tuxedo, the groom and groomsmen should go for fittings around the 5-month mark. Hopefully your dress has arrived (or will arrive soon). If so, schedule a fitting to have additional alterations made (hemming, having the dress taken in, etc.). Be sure to bring your shoes with you so your seamstress can accurately measure the hem for your dress.
Will you be wearing a veil on your big day? What about hair accessories and jewelry? And we can’t forget the shoes!! All of these things should be considered around this time to make sure that any custom orders arrive on time.
Wedding day transportation includes: transportation for you and your new spouse (will you take off in a limo, vintage car, etc.); transportation for guests to and/or from the wedding; and special accommodations for family members. (If you have guests from out of town staying at a hotel nearby, it may be nice to have some sort of a shuttle service drive them to and from our venue.)
If you are choosing to have a flower girl and ring bearer, now is a good time to figure out their adorable outfits. Additional things like baskets, signs, hair pieces, etc. should also be considered when planning the attire.
If you have not purchased wedding bands already, now is the time! Hopefully both you and your significant other have some sort of an idea of what it is you’re looking for (Pinterest boards are lifesavers!). It is always helpful to go in with a general idea of what it is you like…even if it’s something as simple as the color. Try on different styles and have fun! Maybe even make a whole date out of it and go get dinner at your favorite restaurant after—this should be a happy, exciting moment for the two of you! *Be sure to have a designated, SAFE location to store these until the day of the wedding!
Whether or not to do wedding favors is entirely up to you, and you can get as creative as you want! One of the most popular options couples tend to go with are our miniature organic olive oil bottles—you can even customize the labels with your names to match your stationary! It’s nice to leave guests with something that you know they will get good (and delicious) use out of!
Now is the time to send out the official invitations with your wedding details (Wolfe Heights address, start time, menu options, RSVP’s, etc.). Now it’s no secret that stationary can get expensive. So if you are looking for a way to save on costs in this department, consider utilizing a QR code for your guests to RSVP with! This will save you money on additional paper and stamps! All you have to do is google search “custom QR code” and link it to your wedding website’s guest list/RSVP section. You can either then add the QR code directly to your invite, or create business card-sized prints with a photo on the front and QR code with instructions on the back. Your guests will scan it with their phone and RSVP directly through the link!
Here at Wolfe Heights, we require a final walk-through with your caterer 90 days before your wedding. We also advise that you do finalize your dinner menu with your caterer anywhere from 2–3 months before your wedding. If you haven’t already, schedule a tasting to go over menu options, as you caterer may offer something different than what you had at your original tasting (depending on what is seasonally available, etc.). . Additionally, double check that you have confirmed all linens, serving-ware, plates, glassware, and utensils with your caterer (if you are renting these things through them).
If you chose a photographer that was not on our preferred vendors list and has not been to the Estate before, we require that they come do a walk-through at least 60 days before the wedding with our event manager. This is so they can familiarize themselves with all Wolfe Heights has to offer, and plan accordingly for when to get what pictures and where to be at what time on the day of the wedding.
The term “guest book” does not literally mean you need a book; however, this is a great option if you are wanting to display more of your engagement photos, or have your guests take photos of themselves and tape into the book when they arrive. There are tons of unique options when it comes to your guest sign-in “book.” From enlarged frames to custom cutting boards, the sky is the limit! Just keep in mind what you will be doing with said sign-in when all is said and done. Will you be displaying it in your home? If so, do you have the space to do so? A book is a good option if you do not plan on displaying because you can easily store it away and bring it out when you need a little reminiscing.
Have you given any thought as to what you plan on doing for your vows? Will you go the traditional route? Or will you be reading custom vows in front of everyone?…Or will you do a combo of both? If you would like for your custom written vows to be shared only with each other, you can plan a time with your coordinator to do so before/after the ceremony. Whatever route you choose, be sure to discuss with your officiant so they can have a sense of what the feel is you’re looking for. Just some things to consider!
Make it official! Before you get consumed with all the last-minute details, make sure you get your marriage license! It can take a bit of time before you receive your requested copies, so plan ahead. After your ceremony, your officiant is legally required to file your license within 10 days.
Consider how you will thank your bridal party and family members that are helping to make your big day happen! It is nice to have these ready and with you to hand out at the rehearsal dinner or on the day of the wedding.
By this point, hopefully most of your guest list has responded so you can start to get an accurate head count to give to both your venue and caterer. Of those that have not yet responded, reach out and see what their plans are.
It’s time to let those in your bridal party and immediate family members know the official plans for your rehearsal dinner/ceremony. Be sure to finalize your dinner reservation or catering headcount at this time as well.
Just in case…do one final dress fitting to make sure your gown fits like a glove! You never know how things may have changed since your initial alterations appointment…
Now that you have a more accurate idea of the number of attendees, figure out how much alcohol you will need to purchase. There are a number of alcohol purchasing calculators online that will give you a ballpark number of bottles of wine, cases/kegs of beer, and hard alcohol to purchase based on the number of guests you input, how many will actually be drinking, etc. While we do allow kegs, we typically recommend purchasing cases of beer as apposed to kegs simply because it is easier in every way imaginable—less stress getting the beer there, you can purchase more styles/flavor options, and whatever you have leftover you can actually take home and enjoy later! Please note that the only hard alcohols we allow here are Brandy and Cognac.
This is more of a crossing all t’s and dotting all i’s sort of list item. You should have everything booked (at least all the big things as previously mentioned in the 6–8 month section), but it is always a good idea to confirm that everything is good to go. If there are any final details you’ve decided to add on, definitely get those taken care of now as well!
Please send our event coordinator, as well as your caterer, your final guest count at least one month before the wedding so we can be sure to have the correct number of tables and chairs set up. If you were on the cusp in terms of venue pricing for the number of guests, and need to update what you originally booked and paid for, let us know so we can make necessary payment adjustments.
Coordinate with your day-of planner on creating a seating chart according to the finalized guest count. Layouts may vary depending on whether or not you are using circular or rectangular tables, where you would like the sweetheart table, etc. It will be beautiful no matter what!
At Wolfe Heights, we require that every couple does a final venue walk-through with our event manager as well as your day-of coordinator at least 30 days before the wedding. This is to go over all of your wedding day wishes and dreams in detail with you and your coordinator! At Wolfe Heights, we want to make sure to provide absolutely everything you need to have an amazing day, and part of that process is learning how you would like the space to be set up, understanding the timing of your vendors arrivals, and going over the wedding day timeline. The walk-through will also give you time to walk the venue with your coordinator to discuss any last-minute details!
You are officially one week away! WOW!!! This is around the time you should be having your rehearsal ceremony and dinner.If you are having either/both at Wolfe Heights, this is a time to ease your nerves and practice your ceremony. You will have the opportunity to schedule a 1.5 hour rehearsal to go through your processional and recession with your event coordinator as many times as you would like! After the Rehearsal, it’s time to celebrate and enjoy a meal together with your family and wedding party. The Estate House or Farm House are great locations to host a rehearsal dinner (remember to have to reserved this in advance though!)
Work with your day-of coordinator on creating a wedding day checklist and timeline. The checklist should include things to remember to bring like your gown, accessories, bridal party gifts, etc. The timeline should be an overview of how the day will progress. It is of the utmost importance that your day-of coordinator and our event manager are on the same page when it comes to the timeline. We want your day to run as smoothy as possible!
Coordinate with your caterer, florist, baker, and any additional vendors what time their arrival will be expected on the day of the wedding.
You are getting married in one week and have done SO MUCH planning leading up to this (and probably have dealt with some stress along the way). Take some time to relax—even something as simple as a bubble bath or yoga…whatever it is YOU enjoy! Remember this is your last week as an engaged couple…cherish it and spend some stress-free time with one another.
The day is finally here! Make sure you have everything organized and ready to go for tomorrow—gown, veil, accessories, tuxedos, shoes, etc. (this is when your wedding day checklist will be extremely useful to reference!).
With all the photos that will surely be taken up close of your hands, make sure you have your nails looking all nice and fresh! Get a manicure (and pedicure) with your bridesmaids. Maybe do an at-home facial? Whatever it is that you need to do to be ready for tomorrow!
You never know what will happen, but it’s better to have something and not need it, than to need something and not have it…Having said that it is a good idea to pack a just-in-case emergency kit. This could include: anything health/wellness-related such as Advil, cough drops, deodorant, etc; beauty items like chapstick, tweezers, hairspray, etc.; snacks and drinks to have on-hand such as water bottles, granola/protein bars, and gum; and those just-in-case random items like scissors, extra boutonnière pins, and even tape.
Um hello, you are getting married TOMORROW!!! This is so exciting! So give yourself time to enjoy being excited and try not to stress about how the day will go. We are professionals here and will be doing everything in our power to make your day as perfect as you’ve imagined. Maybe it’s time to open up a bottle of Wolfe Heights wine and do a pre-wedding night toast with your fiancé 😉