12 Month Planning Guide for a Stress Free Wedding

Plan your own wedding in 12 months

So you’re planning a wedding! Don’t know where to start? Well look no further. Here’s my guide to taking the stress out of planning your wedding in 12 months.

12+ Months Before

  • Set a budget. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but once you’ve got an idea of how much you plan to spend, the shopping can begin!
  • Pick a wedding date and time – but have a couple of back up dates in mind in case your dream venue is already booked.
  • Start planning your guest list.
  • Ask friends or relatives to be in your wedding party – Best Man, Maid-of-Honour, Bridesmaids, Ushers, etc.

8 – 10 Months Before

  • It’s time to start thinking about that dress… Let the shopping begin!
  • Plan the entertainment – String quartet while walking down the aisle, DJ, band for the evening or a magician to keep the kids happy?
  • Research and book your vendors – Photographers, florist, videographer, etc.
  • Contact rental companies if you need to hire anything for the day such as chair covers, crockery, marquees, tables, chairs & table centres.
  • Register for gifts if you’re thinking of having a gift list.

6-8 Months Before

  • Book musicians for the ceremony.
  • Shop for / order Bridesmaids’ dresses.
  • Start planning your honeymoon! The exciting bit 🙂
  • Send ‘save the dates’. Such a good idea to let guests know the date well in advance so they can pop it in their diaries early.

4-6 Months BeforeCool Wedding Invites

  • Shop for invites (and other matching wedding stationery) and, if you don’t already have them, chose your rings.
  • Renew passports and apply for any visas – for that wonderfully exotic honeymoon you’ve planned last month!
  • Have a ponder about your wedding cake and contact bakers / wedding cake makers. Think about flavours, colour, design – go online, there’s plenty of inspiration on Pinterest.

3 Months Before

  • Order your wedding cake. There are so many options; traditional tiered, cupcakes, cheese-cakes.
  • Order men’s formal wear.
  • Hire wedding day transport – limousine, classic cars, the Mystery Machine from Scoobie Doo (!!) the possibilities are endless!

2 Months Before

  • Write and post your wedding invitations.
  • Write your own vows.
  • Purchase gifts for your wedding party, anyone who has helped out, and for each other.
  • Book a hairdresser and have a trial run. Go with pictures and ideas. You don’t want any disasters on the day!
  • Book a make-up artist and have a trial run. Again it’s good to have an idea of what you’d like. Natural & minimal? Dramatic & glamourous?

1 Month Before

  • Have a final dress fitting; bring your Maid-of-Honour to practice how to hook up your train, so you can party the night away in comfort.
  • Confirm with Bridesmaids that their outfits are complete.
  • Start planning the wedding breakfast seating chart.
  • It’s Hen/Stag do time! Hopefully those Best Men and Maids-Of-Honour have planned you a fab time!

2 Weeks BeforePicture1

  • Review final RSVP list and chase any stragglers. You want to get those numbers locked down!
  • Provide a ‘must-have’ shot list to photographer for the formal and fun photos you can’t live without, include group shots, all your cousins, Bride’s family, Groom’s family, ‘Bridesmaids’ re-enactment shots, etc.
  • Create a playlist for the DJ or band with any special songs you’d like played or know will get your family and friends dancing.

1 Week Before

  • Provide your venue / caterer with a final guest list – highlight any dietary requirements and allergies.
  • Complete the wedding breakfast seating chart.
  • Print place cards and table plans and pass them to the venue for set up.
  • Confirm with all vendors any final details and make sure they have the Maid-of-Honour / Best Man’s number to call on the day rather than yours. You don’t want to deal with any issues on your wedding day!
  • Make sure your venue has a list of set up and arrival times for all deliveries, plus contact details.
  • Groom to collect formal wear.
  • Best Man should collect groomsmen’s outfits and distribute them.

2-3 Days Before

  • Organise the positioning of the wedding party for the processional and recessional.
  • Call the car hire company to confirm collection times and locations.

Day Before

  • If needed, decorate your venue for the ceremony or reception.
  • Chill out. Enjoy time with your family and friends before your big day.

Day Of

  • Eat a good breakfast.
  • Make sure you have plenty of time to get ready.
  • Make sure the Best Man / Maid of Honour / Ring Bearer have wedding bands to hold during the ceremony.
  • Get Married!!
  • Present parents, wedding party, any special helpers and each other with gifts.
  • Assign a member of the family to help the photographer gather people for group photos.

Post Wedding

  • Make sure you write and send thank you notes. It’s nice to include a photo from the day as a keep sake.
  • Take wedding dress to dry cleaners – you don’t want it to get smelly!
  • Change name on drivers licence, passport, banks / building societies, etc.
  • Create new email address.
  • And the all-important..… Facebook name change to make it official!


This is for a traditional wedding with 12+ months planning time. If you have less time then you’ll need to condense the ‘to do’ list.

Contributing Author: Elaine Fraschini