Let the fun begin…
Here is a guide to where you should be in the planning process in the run up to your wedding day.
Try to keep everything as organised as possible. Invest in some office stationery, folders and binders etc.
A scrapbook is great for keeping any ideas you have and will be great to resort back to for inspiration.
Create a mood board if you are having a certain theme for the day.
18 TO 12 MONTHS TO GO – WORK OUT YOUR BUDGET
Work out what your budget is before you start booking any suppliers. Keep at least a 5% back as a contingency for any unexpected expenses. If you don’t spend it, see it as extra spending money for the honeymoon!
If possible, set aside a separate bank account for your wedding.
DECIDE HOW MANY GUESTS YOU WISH TO INVITE
This will have an impact on your venue choice, and your budget, so it’s important to make a decision at an early stage about whether to include long lost distant cousins, or simply your nearest and dearest on your invite list.
Remember to separate a day list from the night list, where you may decide to invite extra people.
SELECT A VENUE
This is the fun part. Go and visit lots of different venues to get an idea about what you like and where you would prefer to hold your wedding.
Choose your preferred dates and check on availability when deciding on which wedding venue to book. Before you commit to a venue, double check that the date is compatible with any other bookings, if you should be having the ceremony and reception at two different locations.
CHOOSE YOUR BRIDESMAIDS AND BEST MAN
Ask them early on as you may be grateful of the help throughout the organisational process.
START GATHERING IDEAS
Start gathering ideas for your wedding theme, flowers, dresses, colour schemes and everything else.
Put together a scrap book with images you find in magazines. If you are mainly looking online, consider setting up a Pinterest board for all of your wedding ideas, as this will keep them located handily in one place.
CHOOSE YOUR WEDDING SUPPLIERS
There is a whole list of different wedding suppliers available, so decide on what you need for the day. Depending on your preference, it might be worth creating three different categories. High, mid and low priority.
Remember many sought after suppliers can be booked up over a year in advance, so move quickly to secure a booking with your favoured suppliers.
Keep a list of quotes and availability and find out if the payment terms will be compatible with your budget constraints.
Hire the official wedding photographer. You don’t need to go into any great detail of exactly where and what will be in the shots, but make sure you are happy with their work and that you will feel comfortable with them being around you both for a large percentage of the day.
Look at booking the band and DJ. Try and to get to see them play live first, but if they are a full time wedding band, this may prove to be impractical. A good resource is YouTube for checking out past performances. Also check out their Facebook or Twitter pages and testimonials if possible.
9 TO 6 MONTHS TO GO – BUY THE WEDDING DRESS
Visit as many different stores as possible. When trying different dresses on, don’t be unrealistic about losing large amounts of weight before your wedding day. Get a dress that fits you right, rather than end up feeling uncomfortable on the wedding day. .
BUY THE BRIDESMAID DRESSES
Agree bridesmaid dress styles with your bridesmaids and get these fitted and ordered.
START LOOKING FOR HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS
Double check that your passports are up to date and check if any paperwork is needed to be filled out, should the bride be changing her name.
Check that you have the correct vaccinations.
CREATE YOUR WEDDING GIFT LIST
Decide what you want for your wedding gifts. Will you choose a particular store to purchase the majority of the gifts? Or you may just prefer money towards your honeymoon or new home.
BOOK THE FLORIST
Leaving it a little later than the other suppliers gives you a little more time to realise what style and colour you will be looking for on the day.
BOOK TIME OFF WORK
Book time off with work for the wedding day and honeymoon. Consider taking some days off before the date as well, for last minute organising.
INFORM YOUR GUESTS TO SAVE THE DATE
Send out save the date cards or emails to ensure your guests can make their plans around your wedding date.
SORT OUT THE LEGAL AND OFFICIAL PAPERWORK
Meet with any officiants and make sure that you have all the correct paperwork and legal certificates in place for the ceremony.
BOOK YOUR WEDDING TRANSPORT PROVIDER
Keep in mind the season and weather. An open top car might be great for a hot summers day, but maybe not for a winter wedding. Also think about practicalities with your dress, when entering and exiting the car.
6 TO 3 MONTHS TO GO – DECIDE ON YOUR MUSIC OPTIONS
Make some choices of music for the ceremony and first dance. If any are to be played live then make sure the musicians are aware leaving them enough time to rehearse them.
CHOOSE A MENU
Attend tasting sessions and choose a menu for the wedding breakfast.
BOOK YOUR HAIR APPOINTMENTS
Book in with your hairdresser for your wedding hair. If you are planning on lengthening your style, leave it as late as possible for any practice sessions.
ORDER YOUR WEDDING CAKE
Make a final decision about the style and size of your cake, and place your order.
Make sure any accessories have been purchased including shoes, hairpieces, tiaras, broaches etc.
SEND OUT YOUR WEDDING INVITATIONS
Send your guest wedding invitations now so that you can get your responses as early as possible. There may be some extra planning to do if certain guests are unable to attend.
FINAL DRESS FITTINGS
If you have been dieting for the wedding, it will probably be a realistic time now for the final dress fitting.
Arrange suit fitting for the groom, best man and groomsmen.
3 MONTHS TO GO – FINALISE THE CEREMONY
Finalise the running of the ceremony and decide on readings and readers during the ceremony.
Also, organise who will be giving a toast during the speeches and ensure everyone involved is as informed as they need to be.
FINALISE DETAILS WITH SUPPLIERS
Send the details out to suppliers to make sure they are all in the know with all the relevant parts of the day, which may affect them.
THE FINAL TOUCHES
Decide on wedding favours, table plans, place cards and any other decorations. Purchase wedding rings and check if they will need adjustment.
Insure the wedding rings.
8 WEEKS TO GO – FINALISE DETAILS WITH SUPPLIERS
Double check with all your wedding suppliers that everything is still good to go. Finalise any deposit payments and pay any that need the balance to be paid.
It’s also a good time to bring up any questions you might have for them. This also gives them chance to ask you anything that they may need to know on the day.
Meet with your photographer. Consider meeting at the venue to take a look at possible locations.
FINALISE THE WEDDING MUSIC
Decide on musical choices for outside of the ceremony and first dance.
If you are having live music during your drinks reception then liaise with the musicians to request the styles of music you would like them to play. The same applies for the evening band. Make sure the DJ has a list of styles of songs to play, and crucially, inform them of any songs you don’t want them to play.
ARRANGE YOUR STAG AND HEN PARTIES
Now might be the time have the hen and stag parties. Gone are the days of the groom turning up to the ceremony with a black eye and a hangover from the previous nights party.
4 WEEKS TO GO – FINALISE THE GUEST LIST
Make sure everyone invited has responded.
FINALISE THE LEGAL DETAILS
Ensure all legal documentation and paperwork is up to date, in preparation for your marriage license.
BOOK THE WEDDING REHEARSAL
Book any rehearsal times for your ceremony or any other parts of the day.
3 WEEKS TO GO
Now you should know the exact number of guests, make sure everything corresponds, from wedding favours to drinks.
Any high heels or shoes you are planning to wear on your wedding day need to be broken in.
2 WEEKS TO GO
MAKE FINAL PAYMENTS TO SUPPLIERS
Any final payments, apart from on–the-day payments, need to be made, so check that you are financially up to date with your suppliers.
FINALISE TIMES FOR THE DAY
Ensure all guests and suppliers know directions and have finalised times for the day.
Look at buying any gifts for bridesmaids, groomsmen, each other and any other family and friends who have helped organise the day with you.
GROOM HAIR CUT
Make sure the groom visits his barber a week or too before, to avoid that ‘slightly too short’ look.
Start watching what you eat and drink (if you weren’t doing before), making sure you include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet to make sure your skin is in perfect condition on the big day. Drink plenty of water too.
48 HOURS TO GO
THE FINAL FEW BITS AND PIECES
Make sure the appropriate person has the rings, (the next time you put the rings on will be down the aisle).
Take any items to the venue that will be needed on the day, from decorations to wedding favours.
If you are honeymooning immediately after the wedding, make sure you are fully packed and that your passports are ready to go. Check online that there have been no changes to the flight times.
Take your dress and accessories to your room, along with any other items you will wear on the day.
Try as hard as you can to take an hour out of the day where you can relax. Resist the temptation of a drink the night before to settle any nerves.
Try to get an early night and have a friend call you in the morning in case your alarm doesn’t go off.