A Wedding Planning Timeline
You’ve said yes to the big proposal and are all set to marry the love of your life. Now it’s time to prepare for the big day, but with so many aspects of a wedding day to think about, where do you start? It doesn’t really matter if you’re planning an intimate wedding for a handful of guests or a huge extravaganza with a cast of thousands; getting your wedding planning timeline in place with a to-do list is essential.
Most weddings take between 12-18 months to plan, but that’s certainly not cast in tablets of stone, and longer engagements – or much shorter ones – mean that you’ve either got more or less time to get organised.
We’ve put together a handy guide to ensure that getting hitched goes without a hitch – and, of course, how we can help you along the way.
Setting the budget
At the very start of your planning, the first thing you need to do is set your budget – and start to write your guest list. You need to know what number you’re working towards on both accounts as these will impact everything else in your wedding decisions. How many people you want to invite will determine things such as which venue you can choose, and then you need to realistically think about how much per person you want to spend when it comes to food and drink packages. If you have family who are contributing or even paying for it, you need to have a conversation with them about it so they can set expectations; this will help you decide what is affordable and what is out of reach.
With those basics in place – the countdown can begin…
12 months before
Choose your Venue
Desirable wedding venues can sometimes be booked years in advance, so this is one of the most important first decisions. If you’ve got your heart set on a specific place, you could also look at midweek ceremonies rather than weekends – that often comes with the added bonus that costs are usually less too. Remember that if you’re not actually tying the knot at the venue, you also need to look at registry office/church bookings.
Decide on your Theme/Colours
Creating a mood board to help establish the look and feel of your wedding and the colour scheme should be done at this point – your colour scheme will contribute to numerous things, such as flowers, bridesmaid dresses, and wedding stationery!
Finalise your Guest List
Once you’ve done this, you can start sending out your save the dates! If you’ve been wondering when to send save the dates, 12 months prior is a great time to give everyone the notice they need not to make any other plans. Save the dates are a great opportunity to get creative and there are so many save the date ideas out there to choose from. From a caricature of the happy couple to images that will reflect your wedding theme – the options are endless.
Get Wedding Insurance
Things going wrong are not what anyone wants to think about, but this is definitely worth looking at – after all, better to be safe than sorry!
Start looking for the Dress
It’s never too soon to start thinking about how the bride will look on the day, and remember that if you want something extra special, it may take time to get it. You can start suit shopping too!
Choose your Bridesmaids and Best Man
These people will help make your day special, so give them as much notice as possible.
10 – 11 months before
Book your Wedding Photographer/Videographer
The person who captures your day forever has to be a priority – so start looking now. Ask for recommendations and find someone who suits your style – do you want formal images or reportage style? Meet with them and see what they’ve done before to find the perfect match.
Book the Entertainment
Live band or DJ? Magician or bouncy castle for the kids? Once you’ve found your favourite, tie them in for your nuptials.
If you’re not using a traditional venue where the catering is part of the package, you need to consider wedding breakfast ideas. Are you wondering what a wedding breakfast menu is? It doesn’t have anything to do with breakfast! It could be a formal sit-down dinner, or you might want something like a hog roast or even a fish and chip van.
8-9 months before
Choose your Florist
Another essential item for the big day. Again, ask for recommendations to find someone who suits your style and can bring your theme, and the venue, to life.
Order your Wedding Invitations
By now, your save the dates should be long gone. When to send wedding invites? Around nine months before is a good rule of thumb. Personalised wedding invites are crucial so that your wedding is as unique as you are. You no longer need to stick to plain white and gold lettering – unless you want to. Think of different colours, unusual kinds of paper, and off-the-wall shapes – the sky really is the limit.
6-7 months before
Order your Cake
The best cake makers get booked early, so find a supplier you like asap. Have a tasting session to see your preferred flavours and explain your theme and vision.
Book your Transport
Not only the wedding cars but any transport you may provide to get the guests from the ceremony to the reception if they’re not in the same place.
Book your Hair and Make-Up Artist
You want to look picture-perfect, so book the people who can bring your dream looks to life.
Book your Honeymoon
Got a dream destination in mind? Now is the time to turn it into a reality. Check your passports to ensure they have at least six months left. And don’t forget, as soon as it’s booked – buy holiday insurance!
4-5 months before
Buy your Wedding Rings
Remember, you’ll hopefully wear this forever, so choose something you love and looks great on your hand.
2-3 months before
Arrange your Seating Plan
It can be a minefield, so getting some support on a wedding seating plan is often good. Who wants to sit next to who? Who doesn’t want to sit next to who? It’s a massive jigsaw that needs to be put together. When it comes to the design of your seating plan, there are some great wedding seating plan ideas out there which can add an element of fun and create a real talking point. For example, why not give the tables’ names instead of wedding table numbers? It could be something linked with the event or something the couple are known for. Other wedding table number ideas can also reflect a much-loved hobby – are they a Star Wars or Disney fan? Take the theme all the way!
Remember individual wedding table name cards to ensure people are sitting in the right place.
1 month before
Chase any Guests who have not RSVP'd
You’ll need to give suppliers and the venue final numbers, so follow up with any quiet guests!
Time to see if any last-minute alterations are needed.
Write your Vows
Take time to make sure you can say whatever is in your heart.
1 week before
• Final clothes’ fitting.
• Break in your wedding shoes
• Last minute check with all your suppliers/the venue.
On the day
Enjoy yourselves – you’ve planned everything to the last detail, so it should hopefully all go seamlessly. It’s the biggest and best day of your life – have a ball!
After the event
Your wedding will all have passed in a blur, and now you can sit back and enjoy the memories. There are still a few things to be done, however.
As you will likely have received gifts, it’s essential to acknowledge that with wedding thank-you cards. They can reflect your colours and theme, and you may even want to send out wedding thank you cards with a photo from the day.
If you’re wondering what to write in wedding thank you cards, try making it as personal as possible. Don’t just say thank you for the lovely gift – that’s very generic. Show your gratitude by mentioning the specific present as it makes it more personal, i.e. “we greatly appreciate the toaster” or “that wine rack will come in so handy.” Personalised wedding thank you cards show good manners and show your guests that they are appreciated and that you were grateful to share the most important day of your lives with them.
Wow... what a list to go through! There are so many things to think about in the run up to the big day. But with our help, we hope we can make your planning journey that little bit smoother. Here’s to forever!
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