If your choice is an LDS temple wedding ceremony, lessen your stress by prioritizing the venues and services you’ll need to reserve. With so many Utah weddings taking place around the same time, coordinating the temple, reception venue, luncheon venue, guest list, and things like the photographer can take quite a bit of manipulating.

With years of experience helping brides and grooms time everything perfectly, we’ve come up with a step-by-step guide to setting up a schedule and making reservations for an LDS wedding.

Here’s what we suggest.

  1. Be flexible with a date. We know that certain dates can carry personal meaning, but the more wiggle room you have with your wedding date, the better. In fact, our experience shows that weeknights are the best times to hold a wedding reception if you want the entire family to be able to attend. Thursdays, in particular, are an ideal LDS wedding day.
  1. Book the reception center first. If you’ll be using a reception center, this is where you should start with your date planning. Higher-end reception centers tend to go quickly, and if you have your heart set on a specific setting, you’ll want to lock down that date as soon as possible.
  1. Book a temple time immediately following your reception reservation. Temple times are easier to obtain that times at reception centers, but that doesn’t mean they’re open-ended forever. By booking these two times as close together as possible, you’re much more likely to get things perfectly planned.
  1. Time the events accordingly. Most temple sealings require three hours (from the start of the sealing to the start of your next wedding event), so if you are planning on having a luncheon, you’ll need to book the temple before 10:30. This will allow you enough time to get to the reception center for a meal service around 12:30-1:30.
  1. More wiggle room is better than less. If you can’t time things to the exact hour, opt for longer times between events instead of trying to squeeze it all in. This will give you time to take extra photos or plan fun transportation between sites.
  1. Book your photographer. After the venue and temple times have been booked, the next step is to find and contract a photographer. After reception sites, they tend to have the fullest schedules, so find the one you want early on and secure their services.
  1. DJs, florists, and other service providers come next. In terms of flexibility (and availability), these providers are the most readily available. Although it’s always a good idea to book their services early on to avoid a timing conflict, you can take some time to find the perfect one for your event.

Once all the dates and details are settled, you can start thinking about sending out your Save the Dates and wedding invitations. From there on out, you’re free to focus on all those details that will make your wedding and reception unique—not to mention all the joys of your upcoming union!