You’re engaged! Congratulations! Now all the questions begin : SO, When’s the Big Day? Where are you getting married? Who’s coming? Who is going to be your Maid of Honour?
Planning a wedding can be daunting, but if you are organised and work to a good schedule, then you should have no trouble.
Follow this simple guide for our top tips on How to Plan a Wedding
18 – 12 Months Before
- You might have always dreamed of getting married, and in your mind you probably already know exactly what you want. Now, the hard part is bringing these thoughts out, to show other people, so that they can help you create your dream wedding. CREATE A SCRAP BOOK filled with bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design, and food ideas for your wedding. This way can you show someone what you like when you are explaining what you really want
- BUDGET! This is very important, unless you start with a good budget, and stick to it, you will end up massively overspending. You certainly don’t want to start the rest of your “Happily ever after” worrying about how you are going to pay for your overspent wedding. Your budget should include what you are going to spend, plus any contributions from family members giving you a GRAND TOTAL to spend on the wedding.
- Try and work out early on who you want to invite, this will be important for your budget. Are you basing it on 20 people or 200 people? Are children invited? The whole family right down to second cousins once removed, or just the immediate family? Plus, everyone will soon start asking you who’s invited.
- Once you have your list, it is important right at the start to make sure you have a proper RSVP database. This should include: The persons name, are they attending, are they bringing a partner, the partners name, contact details – mobile and email.
- Now is a good time to get a wedding planner involved if this is the way you are going to go. They will be able to help you source venues, suppliers, themes and will also have lots of insight to help you.
- Choose your venue – you may have to visit a few before you find the right one, but as soon as you do find it, put the venue on hold. Good venues get booked up really quickly.
- Choosing your venue will also help you make the decision on whether you want the wedding ceremony to be separate from the reception location, or all together
- Once you have the venue, book your officiant. It is important to book them early as they too get booked up very quickly.
- Start asking around photographers, bands, florists, and caterers. Going with RECOMMENDATIONS is usually best. Also, don’t be shy to ask them to show you work they have done or are going to do. If you are looking for a band, ask them to tell you where their next gig is so you can go and listen to them live. If it is a florist, ask if you can see their next wedding set up etc.
- Make it official in public – Now is the time to throw a fantastic engagement party!
12 – 6 Months Before
- Now that you have your supplier recommendations – it is a good idea to reserve them before they get booked up. This includes: Photographer / Videographer / Caterer / Florist / Band / Venue décor
- Once you have selected the caterers – ask them to prepare a menu tasting for you, so you can be sure you are getting what you want
- Dress shopping – make sure you do this early enough that you can find the perfect dress and have any alterations you need made.
- Out of town guests – make sure you advise guests travelling to your wedding where they can stay. Create a list of hotels in the area in order of price and list their website, advising people to book their accommodation early to get the best deals.
- Gifts, Glorious Gifts! No-one wants 3 toasters and 5 sets of wine glasses, so make sure you register your gifts at suitable retailers. We suggest you list with 2 or 3 different retailers to give people the feeling of choice and to ensure that you get what you really want. People can then go online or to the store and order these items for you. It makes everyone’s life much easier and ensures happiness all round.
- The Modern wedding – many people today create a “Wedding Website” to use as a reference point for everyone. This would include: The date of the wedding, travel information, and accommodations. You can then send the website link to everyone as a save the date!
5 – 4 Months Before
- Book the rehearsal and rehearsal-dinner venues. Make sure you try negotiate the costs down! You are having your wedding here, surely they can offer some discount for the rehearsal dinner?
- Check on the wedding invitations. Ask your stationer for samples of the finished invitations before they do the full print run. Now is the time to revise them to suit your needs if any changes need to be made, before the print run is complete.
- Select and order the cake. There are many suppliers to choose from, so try and attend several tastings before committing to any baker. Get your bridal party involved and make a day of it!
- Send your guest list to the host of your Hen Party….. unless of course … “shush it is a surprise!”
- Purchase wedding shoes and start dress fittings. TOP TIP! Make sure you bring your shoes to the dress fittings as this can affect the way your dress needs to be altered. Also, make sure you walk around in the shoes before the wedding to wear them nicely in. There is nothing worse than wedding day blisters!
- Book your hair and makeup artists. Again, we recommend that you have a few appointments with local experts to try them out. A good idea is to take a photo after each hairstyle and make up session, so that you can see what you will look like for real!
- Choose your music. It sounds silly, but this is important because if the music is not right, it can affect the whole atmosphere of the wedding. If you choose songs that you like, then you know it will be a good party!
3 Months Before
- Finalize the menu and flowers.
- Order favours, if desired. There are so many options out there! This can be as simple or as extravagant as you want them to be. Favourites are always edible treats.
- Make a list of the people giving toasts.
- Advise the people who are going to give speeches so they can start to prepare. It takes a lot of time to dig up those horrendously embarrassing stories about you!
- Finalize the readings and who is going to do them.
- Schedule your second fitting.
- Finalize the order of the ceremony and the reception.
- Menu cards are a nice way of telling guests what they are eating, but also of bringing your wedding theme in. These are easy enough to make yourself if they are not in your budget.
- Purchase the rings. This will give you time for resizing and engraving.
- Send your draft event schedule to the vendors. This allows them to come back with any questions or concerns and hopefully any problems can be quickly ironed out.
2 Months Before
- Touch base again with all the vendors. Make sure they are all good with the running order.
- Meet with the photographer. This is the time to discuss specific photos you want and where you want them taken.
- Send out the invitations. These are usually sent out six to eight weeks before the ceremony, setting the RSVP cut-off at three weeks before the event.
- Go traditional and submit a newspaper wedding announcement
1 Month Before
- Enter RSVPs into your guest-list database.
- Phone people who have not yet responded.
- Get your marriage license if this is not being arranged by your officiant.
- Mail the rehearsal-dinner invitations.
- Do your final dress fittings! Now the excitement can really start to settle in!
- Make sure your invoices are all paid up to ensure smooth service for your wedding.
- Confirm times for hair and makeup and all vendors.
- E-mail and print directions for drivers of transport vehicles.
- And the fun begins – seat allocations! Where does everyone sit? This can be done in three easy steps: 1. Get a floor plan of the venue 2. Add in the correct number of tables and number of seats at each table. 3. Use pink stickers for the girls and blue stickers for the boys. 1 sticker per guest, and place them on a chair. This way you can see at a glance that Aunty Mary is sitting next to Aunty Jo and that could be disastrous!
- Purchase bridesmaids’ gifts. These need to be presented at the rehearsal dinner
- Write your vows, if necessary.
1 week before
- VERY IMPORTANT!! Make sure you reconfirm arrival times and all services with vendors – venue, caterer, florist, photographer etc. Make sure everyone is happy and knows what is happening and when. This way there will be no surprises on the day!
- You can’t be everywhere at once, so, delegate small wedding-day tasks to trusted friends and family. It is important to make sure everyone knows what they are doing even if it is small things like: someone to carry your things, someone to be in charge of gifts (especially the enveloped sort), someone to be ushers. The most important person to nominate however is the person who will deal with the venue if you do not have a wedding planner. They will be the go to person with the venue on the day leaving you free to enjoy your day.
- Send a timeline to the bridal party. Make sure you include contact information for everyone, along with the point people you’ve asked to deal with the vendors, if problems arise.
- Pick up your dress.
- Make an appointment for a manicure and a pedicure the day before the wedding.
- Send the final guest list to the caterer and all venues hosting your wedding – this must be done 72 hours prior to the wedding.
- Pack for your honeymoon.
- GET A GOOD NIGHTS REST THE DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING. Tough I know, but you need the down time to relax and get yourself prepared for the big day.
AND THE WEDDING DAY ARRIVES!
All photos provided by Pixabay