Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

February 7, 2024

Wedding Wednesday: 9 Months Out Checklist + Early Wedding Planning Q&A

       Welcome back to Wedding Wednesday!! We are officially nine months out from our wedding month... November 2024! (Yes, this spring and summer lover is going to be a late fall bride! Who would've thought?!) I thought it would be fun today to share a little checklist of things I've done so far and things that I'm hoping to do between now and the six-month mark. We got engaged less than a week before Thanksgiving 2023, so with the craziness of the holiday season I didn't really start wedding planning until after New Years. But we sure got a lot done in January, which I feel really good about. I'm excited to share my first wedding planning checklist here on the blog today!


      I originally wanted to get married in Spring 2025. I liked the idea of a year and a half engagement to really space out all of the planning and such. We ended up deciding to move things up to November 2024 (I'll probably talk about why in another Wedding Wednesday post!). I was nervous at first that I wouldn't have time to accomplish everything in just a year, but now that we have actually gotten some of the big stuff done, I am feeling a lot more confident! I think exactly a year engaged is actually the perfect timeline now.

      Here's what I / we have done so far:

  • Researched Virginia Beach wedding venues - November & December 2023
  • Did venue tours at our top choices - January 2024
  • Researched and interviewed photographers - December 2023
  • Booked our ceremony venue (church) - January 2024
  • Booked our reception venue - January 2024
  • Booked our photographer - January 2024
  • Attended local bridal expo - January 2024
  • Asked friends who have gotten married locally in Virginia Beach a ton of questions about their favorite vendors - November & December 2023
  • Bought my wedding dress - January 2024
  • Made rough guest list - December 2023
  • Made budget / talked to both sets of parents about wedding finances - January 2024
  • Asked the bridesmaids to be in the wedding - January 2024
  • Set a date for our menu tasting at our reception venue - January 2024
  • Set a date for engagement photos in a couple months - January 2024
  • Set a date for our engagement party - December 2023
  • Designed engagement party invitations - January 2024
  • Mailed my passport for renewal - January 2024

      Here's what I / we need to do in the next three months:
  • Interview and hire a day of coordinator
  • Finalize guest list
  • Take engagement photos
  • Design and send save-the-dates
  • Make wedding website
  • Interview and hire a DJ
  • Interview and hire a florist
  • Interview and hire a cake baker 
  • Ryan ask groomsmen to be in wedding
  • Set dates for bridal showers
  • Decide on if doing bachelorette trip or not
  • Research hair stylists and makeup artists
  • Research gifts for bridesmaids
  • Research potential registry items
  • Research honeymoon locations + decide if using travel agent
  • Ryan passport appointment
  • Think about wedding day timeline
  • Think about wedding day transportation logistics 

     And here are a few questions that y'all sent to me on Instagram!

      Will you share your venue? - I will not be sharing our ceremony or reception venue names on my blog prior to the wedding, for privacy reasons. 😊 But I am looking very forward to recapping all about our wedding day after it happens, and of course that will include venue information and why we picked the places we did!

      Sit down or buffet? - We will be doing a sit-down dinner! Not only is it cheaper at our venue (and most of the other venues we looked at too), but I feel like the food is always hotter / better presented for weddings that do sit-down vs. buffet. 

      Do you have any inspiration pictures of what you want your wedding to feel/look like? - Yes! But similarly to not sharing the venue before the wedding, I don't want to share all that here just yet. After the wedding I do think it would be fun to do a blog post comparing my wedding Pinterest board with photos of what my wedding actually looked like! 

      Is a coworker from your radio station going to DJ your wedding? - This is a great question! Radio hosts often have side hustles as wedding and event DJs. However, none of my current coworkers actually do this. If they did, I'd have been open to using a coworker. But since that won't be an option, I'll just have to hire a DJ from elsewhere! It's all good though. I am so excited for finding a DJ... fun fact about me is I strongly dislike live wedding bands. I'm Team DJ all the way! 

      Are you planning to incorporate any country elements to the wedding in tribute to your job? - Fun question! There will definitely be some country music in our wedding playlist! I am even considering a country song for our first dance (we haven't chosen a song yet). But aside from that, probably not? We aren't getting married at a rural venue, nor will I be wearing cowboy boots with my wedding dress. 😊

      What are you most looking forward to for the planning process? - For actual things that I plan, I'm very excited for our reception venue tasting and cake tasting. I am also looking forward to taking our engagement photos and designing our save-the-dates and invitations (I'm such a sucker for a nice invitation). For other things during the engagement season- I'm so excited for our engagement party and my bridal showers! Bring on ALL the celebrations please! 

       What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day? - I am by far the most excited to absolutely tear up the dance floor at my wedding! I've been working on my wedding playlist for years (seriously) and dancing my butt off at my wedding with all of the guests is something I've truly been dreaming about for years. Other things I am excited for: my first look with my bridesmaids (they won't see the dress until that day), walking down the aisle towards Ryan, and of course just marrying the love of my life! Ryan is going to be such a wonderful husband. I know that there will be disappointments in the months leading up to the wedding day and even on the day itself, and I don't want to let those things get to me. The bottom line is I'm marrying Ryan! That's what I want to stay focused on. 

       Do you have a theme or color palette picked out? - Sort of. I'm struggling with finding a defined theme to be honest! Ryan knows what color he wants himself and the guys to wear, and I am 99% sure I know what color I'd like the bridesmaids in. But I don't want those two colors to be the main ones for the whole wedding. I love all sorts of colors! I want very varied and colorful florals and decor. If I could describe the wedding vision so far, I'd say: "Traditional wedding with a couple of untraditional touches. Classic yet colorful. Spring and summer colors despite the November date.

      Will you and Ryan be writing your own vows? - No, we will be just using the traditional standard vows! We are both on the same page with this.

       Any fun DIYs you'd like to do? - I definitely want to do some DIYs for the wedding. Probably a unique DIY seating chart? And there is a bridesmaids' gift I might try to attempt that would DIY as well. If you have any fun wedding DIY ideas though- please DM me and send them my way. I'm all ears!


     Thanks so much as always for reading! It has seriously been so much fun to share these Wedding Wednesday posts since we got engaged. I'm excited to keep writing more as this year goes on, and next year to recap our wedding! 

      Past Wedding Wednesday Posts:

Our Proposal Story // My Ring Shopping Experience // Local vs. Destination Wedding // My Wedding Dress Shopping Story // 

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese


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