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