So you’ve just become engaged, congratulations!
It’s now time to start planning your BIG day, so this should be a very exciting time but with lots to organise, it can also be a very stressful time.
With so much to do to make your day just the way you and your hubby to be would like it to be, your mind will be racing with lots of questions like, How soon should I start planning it all? How far in advance should I book my venue? When do I send out the invites?
Well one simple way to ease the pressure is to have a ‘To do’ list, this will be so useful and it will also make you feel more in control of your planning.
Firstly though you will need to make some important decisions, answering the following questions will help build your foundation and allow you to decide what type of venue you need to look at, what type of dress would be suitable (depending on climate and style), food, flowers and the overall feel of the whole day.
Do you want….
- Modern or traditional?
- A formal meal or a relaxed buffet?
- Sea view or countryside
- Big wedding or small and intimate
- Home or abroad?
- Spring/Summer or festive winter?
- What is your budget?
Now you have set the scene for your wedding day you can start the planning…….
12 Months +
Set the date
Starting to plan your wedding twelve months or more in advance will ensure you have the best chance of booking the venues and suppliers of your choice at the best prices. Think about a mid-week wedding as these generally cost less money than a Saturday wedding.
Decide whether you are going to plan your own wedding or enlist the help of professional wedding planner.
Send save-the-date cards
This enables your guests to book their holidays around your special day.
Set your budget
Don’t get into debt, all wedding days are special whether they cost £1,000 or £40,000 and remember to have a contingency fund just in case.
Draw up your guest list(s)
Stick to who you and your new hubby want to invite, as other people will no doubt have something to say about who they think should be invited. Try to make it equal and keep both families happy. Think about who you want at the ceremony and then who you would like to celebrate with you both at the evening reception.
Book your venue(s)
The sooner you book your venues, the easier everything else will be to plan. If you are having a church wedding, you will need to find a reception venue, remember to take into account seating capacity, room hire costs, catering options etc
Choose your bridesmaids, a best man and ushers
Book your photographer and videographer
Find a photographer/Videographer who offers the style of photos you are looking for, meet them personally and ask to see their portfolio.
Meet your minister/registrar
They’ll be able to answer all your questions about the ceremony.
Book a DJ/Band/Entertainment
Think about the type of entertainment, DJ, Live Band, Magicians, Singer to perform a solo piece at your ceremony.
Book caterers if needed
If the reception venue you have booked is not doing your catering you will need to consider hiring outside caterers, or call on family and friends to help you with the food.
Book your transport
You’ll need to book a bridal car for you and your father and you may also want to book a second or third car for your mother and bridesmaids. Look into other modes of transport, there are lots of other choices to choose from.
Book your florist
Decide how many flowers you would like, bouquets, buttonholes, corsages, church, venue?
Book a toastmaster
If your venue doesn’t provide one think about booking an independent Toastmaster. They really are worth their weight in gold, as they ensure everything goes to plan at the right time, in the right place and with the right people.
Book your honeymoon
If you want to travel in your married name remember to get your passport changed or to save time book in your maiden name and change all your documents when you return home.
Take out wedding insurance
It’s not costly and could save you thousands if a supplier suddenly lets you down. It’s worth it just for peace of mind!
Choose your wedding dress
Have fun trying on dresses, find a style that suits you, that you love and that makes you feel special! Decide whether you want to buy it form a bridal store or if you want to get it made.
6 Months +
Order/Make your wedding invitations
Don’t forget other wedding stationery including: orders of service, place settings and thank you cards.
Order the wedding cake
Or any type of cake you decide on, be it cupcakes or a homemade cake.
Buy your wedding shoes and accessories
Make sure you have your shoes in time for your first dress fitting and your hair accessory and veil in time for your makeup and hair trial. Don’t forget your wedding jewellery!
Book your make up artist and hairdresser
Find a hairdresser and makeup artist that you feel comfortable with then book a trial complete with your hair accessory and veil if possible.
Buy your bridesmaid's dresses and suits for the groom, best man, ushers and any flower girls or page boys.
3 Months +
Have your wedding dress altered
Buy your wedding rings
Make sure you try the wedding rings on with your engagement ring as well to make sure they sit well together.
Send your wedding invitations
Traditionally, invites are sent out 12 weeks before the wedding but you can send them sooner if you prefer. Include all the information your guests might need such as overnight accommodation, transport, parking and any dress code if appropriate. Include RSVP cards to ensure they all reply and ask your guests if they have any specific dietary requirements.
Order your venue décor and table decorations
Including wedding favours and table centrepieces.
Decide on a gift list
Make sure it is available to all your wedding guests. Place them in the invites and/or on your wedding website if you have one.
Choose wedding music and readings
Ask your our minister/registrar for some advice if you can’t decide on what to have.
Buy gifts for the best man, ushers and bridesmaids
And bouquets of flowers or gifts for the mothers of the bride and groom.
Arrange to have any vaccinations done
If required for your honeymoon.
Start to plan your hen and stag parties
If your best man and maid of honour haven’t yet done this.
1 Month Before
Arrange for a final fitting of your wedding dress
Take someone along with you like your mum, sister or best friend.
Reconfirm the wedding arrangements with all your suppliers
Speak to them personally and make sure you have confirmation of dates, places and times in writing from them.
Have your last nights of freedom!
Enjoy those Stag/Hen do’s
Finalise the seating plan
Make your seating plan
This can be quite stressful so have a glass of wine at the ready but only one glass not the bottle!
Arrange the wedding rehearsal
A few days before the wedding is ideal.
Contact any guests who have not replied to your invitation
The venue and the caterers will need to know final numbers at least 1-2 weeks before.
Order your foreign currency for your honeymoon
And make any other last minute arrangements.
Arrange a date to pick up any hired suits
And make a note of when they need to be returned – give that honour to your best man.
Find your ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’
Write the wedding speeches
Don’t over think them and write them from the heart, and then it’s just practice, practice, practice...
1 Week Before
Have your hair trimmed and/or coloured
You want your hair looking it’s best whether you are having an up-do or tumbling locks. Do not try to change the colour or have a drastic cut this isn’t the time to start experimenting!
Have the wedding rehearsal
This will help you know where to stand and when to speak and it will prepare you so that you don’t feel nervous on the day.
Pack for your honeymoon
Your first holiday as Husband and Wife!
Wear-in your wedding shoes
Wear them around the house to make sure they’re comfy on the day.
Create a wedding emergency kit
Include make up, a compact mirror and powder, lipstick, tissues etc – anything you think you might need on the day. Ask someone to take it to the reception for you.
Have your beauty treatments
Go for pre-wedding and honeymoon waxing or fake tanning in good time before the big day. Get eyebrows shaped and anything else that needs doing the week before, not the day before.
Hand over the supplier list of contacts to a designated person
Give the list of all the wedding suppliers involved in your wedding day with their contact details and times they are meant to arrive, in case they need to be contacted, to your best man and/or maid of honour and then forget it!
The Day Before
Have the day off to relax
Don’t go to work, spend the day with friends or family and don’t do anything too exhausting.
Have your nails manicured
Book it for the afternoon to avoid chips and breaks.
Try to get an early night
You’re getting married tomorrow!
And, just one more thing to remember...
Tomorrow is all about you marrying the person you love, any slip ups (if there are any) won’t matter. You will be surrounded by people you love and who love you. Take 15 minutes away, just you and your new husband and take a look around you. The day goes so fast and you may not remember it all, but you will remember those few minutes you shared together.
Here’s to happy wedding planning and a very happy and blessed married life ahead of you!