I hope you’re all fine and dandy.
This time last year, I was in full wedding planning mode, which was overwhelming at times. I remember feeling like I wasn’t quite sure which order to get jobs done in, and like I might’ve forgotten something really important.
So to all brides to be, here is a handy checklist of what you should be organising and when…
9-12 months before you say I do
- First things first, set your budget. Work out what you want to spend and on what. Different couples will have different priorities, what’s yours?
- Set your wedding date (be flexible with this, as your ideal wedding venue may already be booked).
- Choose your wedding venue and ceremony location (you want to do this pronto, as they can get booked up waaay in advance) and book your officiant while you’re at it.
- Draw up your initial guest list; depending on how many guests you have, this may impact on which venue you choose. Think about numbers, are you including children, plus ones?
- Send out your Save the Dates. Eeeeek! SO exciting.
- Now’s the time to decide on your wedding party and invite your bridesmaids and ushers.
- Book your photographer – again the reeaally good ones will get booked up quickly. Think about what style of photos you like (reportage, traditional, contemporary etc.) and find one that works in a similar fashion. It’s also important that you both get on with, and feel comfortable around your photographer, as you will spend a lot of time with them on your wedding day. Are you planning on having a videographer too?
- Are you thinking of having live music or a DJ? It’s worth mulling over and booking them.
- Book your florist – you don’t have to know which exact blooms you’re having yet but it is worth securing your wedding date with them.
- Book your hair and makeup artist sooner rather than later. The trial will come later on but again it’s worth getting your wedding date in their diary. You will also spend a lot of time with your hair and makeup artist on your wedding day, make sure you like them!!
6-9 months before you say I do
- It’s time to think about food – yum! Do you need to source a caterer or do they come as a package with your wedding venue?
- Speaking of food, what are planning on having for your wedding cake?
- Buy your wedding dress – easier said than done, but now’s the time! Take good neutral underwear with you when you go shopping, and don’t be fooled by the tiny box of lies (that they make you stand on in bridal boutiques). It’s also a good time to think about bridal accessories, shoes, veil etc.
- Now you’ve got your dress sorted, go bridesmaid dress shopping. Have a think about what kind of thing you like beforehand and discuss your ideas with your ‘maids. What do they like? Consider their colourings, shape and size. They don’t have to be matching, just complement each other.
- Although you won’t send out the invitations for another couple of months, it is worth ordering/designing/creating your wedding stationery now.
- Hurrah! It’s time to start planning your honeymoon! Things to bear in mind –do you both have more than six months left on your passports, if you’re going abroad? Also do NOT book your honeymoon in your married name, if your passport is in your maiden name (assuming you’re changing your name). Do you need visas or jabs for your destination? It’s worth getting this stuff sorted out now.
- How are you planning to travel on the wedding day? A wedding car for you? Transport for wedding guests? Get it booked!
- Create a gift list now so you can send the details out with your wedding invitations.
4-6 months before you say I do
- Give notice – it’s a legal requirement that formalises your intent to marry, irrespective of religion, culture or beliefs.
- Get your Order of Service sorted. Choose readings and music for your wedding ceremony. Once you’ve made your selection, ask your readers. It’s a good idea to meet your registrar or vicar to discuss your Order of Service.
- What’s your fiancé planning on wearing on your wedding day? What about the ushers? If you’re hiring suits, reserve them now.
- Are you reserving hotel rooms for guests? If you’re getting married at a particularly busy time of year or in a popular location, it might be worth doing.
2-4 months before you say I do
- YAY! It’s time to send out your wedding invitations (I loved this!).
- Choose and order your wedding rings – if you are having them custom made or designed, allow time for this.
- Are you planning on giving wedding favours? If so, what? In lieu of wedding favours, we donated the money we would have spent on favours to charity. Are you buying gifts for your wedding party? If so, now’s the time to do it.
- Finalise the wedding cake design and also your menus.
- Now’s the time to think about your hair and makeup appointments – get those trials booked in. For tips and tricks to get the most from your bridal trial, click here.
- Start working on the seating plan for the reception – be warned, it can take longer than you think!
- If you’re hiring anything for the wedding, now’s the time to do it.
6-8 weeks before you say I do
- Finalise the guest list – chase up all of those who are yet to RSVP. You need to know who’s coming and who’s not.
- Organise a rehearsal before the wedding and ensure all the most important people in your wedding party are there. This is more handy than you think.
- Church of England wedding? Your Banns will be read usually three consecutive Sundays before your wedding day. Make sure you attend at least one of those services.
- Ensure you’ve got that bridal glow sorted by booking all other beauty treatments, apart from your bridal trials, (facial, fake tan, manicure, pedicure etc.). Trying to navigate wet nail vanish on your wedding morning is just not worth it.
2-6 weeks before you say I do
- If you’re saying your own vows, write and PRACTISE them now. That also goes for if you’re giving a speech.
- Print the table place names, seating plan and Order of Service.
- Have your final dress fitting – super exciting! Take along all your accessories, shoes, veil etc. so you can see the full picture. If there’s anything missing, now’s the time to pop out and grab it.
- Confirm all the details with the venue and caterers. In fact, confirm all the details with all your suppliers (photographer/florist/band etc.) to avoid any surprises or disappointments on the day.
1 week before you say I do
- This week tends to be quite busy, so try and be prepared for lots of bits and bobs cropping up at the last minute. I reckon it’s worth taking a couple of days off work, if you can.
- Create a list of things the wedding party can help with and then delegate as much as you possibly can.
- I created a wedding day schedule which each supplier and member of the bridal party had a copy of. It’s really handy if everyone knows what’s happening (or supposed to be happening) at what time. It also saves everyone asking you the same question over and over again.
- Now’s the time to make all final payments to suppliers. If you’re paying anyone in cash, make sure you have this ready for them.
- Finally, it’s worth thinking about what you want to do the evening before your wedding and who you want to spend it with.
I really hope you found that useful.
Until next time, cheerio chums x