When you get engaged: choose your wedding date, or at least the season if you want some flexibility with wedding venues. If you want to have a very laid back approach, contact a wedding planner right away!
18 months prior: start scouting for locations. You can check my different guides to find the best wedding venues in France on my blog! You should also start looking for a caterer and a wedding photographer.
16 months prior: once you have a shortlist of all your favorite venues and vendors, plan a little trip to France to visit the venues, taste the food and meet your photographer (if possible).
15 months prior: start looking for your wedding dress. If you want something custom-made, the sooner the better!
12 months prior: start looking for a florist. Your photographer/venue might have someone to recommend! You can also start contacting celebrants if you’re planning on having a secular ceremony. Ask your caterer about wines, and also about the dessert as some caterers don’t offer them. Send your save-the-dates!
9 months prior: start looking for your entertainment. A DJ, a group or a band might be a great idea depending on the theme/ambiance of your wedding! You can also contract a wedding insurance policy for destination weddings. Once you have your theme pinned down, you may contact rental companies for decor like chairs, tables, arch, candles, fairy lights, if yhey are not provided by the venue.
6 months prior: renew or get a new passport! You can now send your official invitations, and buy your wedding rings. You can also order some place cards and menus for the tables. Start contacting beauty artists and ask them to come directly to your accomodation.
3 months prior: check your final guest list in order to see how many people will be attending so far, and book accomodation if necessary (most destination wedding venues in France have on-site accomodation).
2 months prior: start writing your vows. Purchase your wedding favors and ask your venue if you can have them delivered there directly.
1 month prior: have your final wedding dress fitting and make sure it’s perfectly adjusted. Create a wedding programme if necessary. You can also plan for in-room welcome baskets for your guests (and have them delivered to the accomodation/venue as well).
2 weeks prior: check your RSVPs and make final adjustments. Send the final number of persons to your caterer and accomodation/venue. Confirm with your wedding vendors. You can buy a little travel steamer for your wedding dress and you future husband’s outfit, as they may suffer some wrikles from the travel.
1 week prior: have everything ready and shipped to the venue so you won’t have to travel with anything heavier than your wedding dress. Try to pack light, but don’t forget anything!
3-2 days prior: you have now arrived in France and are ready for your big day! You can simply enjoy! Don’t forget to have all your vendor’s details and remaining balances.
The day of: offer gifts to your parents and bridesmaids/groomsmen! If you have any enveloppes with checks/cash for your vendors, hand them to your best man/maid of honor so he/she can give them to the different vendors.
After the wedding: have all the rentals returned to the vendors, take your gown to cleanup (so you can wear it for an amazing post-wedding session with your photographer!). Don’t forget to pay all your vendors. You can also send thank you cards about a month after the wedding. Enjoy your wedding pictures for the rest of your lives!