If you have recently become engaged, chances are you are having a fabulous time looking round all the wedding fairs that are everywhere at this time of year. These can inspire you, but with such an array of suppliers and products, you may also be getting wedding overload and just too many ideas.
So, we suggest take a little step back and make a plan. To help ease you through the whole process, here is the Tree of Hearts Guide to planning your wedding. We have used a 1 year timescale as a rough guide, but you can easily adapt it to your timescale.
12 months plus
- Sit down with your fiancée and have a chat about the sort of wedding you would both like – size, style, location etc. Agree what is important for the two of you. I can never believe on “Don’t Tell the Bride” that the couple haven’t discussed what they like when they first got engaged.
- Have an engagement party – it doesn’t have to be formal – everyone likes an excuse to celebrate.
- Discuss the budget with your partner and/or parents if they are contributing
- Write down a rough guest list to get an idea of the size of venue you will need
- Decide on the type of venue, whether you are having the ceremony at a different location to the venue and the time of year – these will be influenced by your budget (it is cheaper in the winter or midweek) and the size of your guest list.
- Start a wedding file which will include details of all your suppliers
- If you are getting married at peak season you should book your venue(s) as soon as possible.
- Once you have set the date, send out Save the Date cards – I know it seems early but many people book up their weekends months in advance.
8 – 12 months
- Have some fun and start browsing pinterest, wedding magazines and researching those suppliers you met at the wedding fairs.
- Select and invite your attendants: bridesmaids, best man and ushers.
- Make a list of all the services you need for the wedding – many venues have packages that include food, drink, chair covers, entertainment etc – so you may already be able to tick them off your list.
- Book the officiant for your wedding if you are getting married at a civil venue
- Meet with several photographers and videographers and book the one(s) you like
- If you need a caterer, meet at least three and taste their samples, make sure they can cater for a variety of dietary requirements, and book the one you like.
- Decide on a colour scheme or theme for your wedding
- Start meeting other key suppliers and discuss your theme with them.
- Order your dress – even if you are buying “off the peg” or from the internet, you will need plenty of time for alterations
- Reserve hotel rooms for your guests
- Set up your present registry if you are having one
- Take out wedding insurance
6 – 7 months
- Book your florist, transport (including any transport you are providing for guests between the venues), any venue dressing you need, entertainment for both the evening and during the ceremony and your cake. (Taste before you book).
- Order bridesmaid dresses
- Book your honeymoon
- Organise hen and stag dos
- Select your stationery design and agree which wedding stationery items you need, both before the event and on the day (invitations, order of service, table cards, seating plan etc)
4 – 5 months
- Finalise your guest list and all the details you wish to include on your Guest Information Card or RSVP
- Book any other events for the weekend as appropriate
- Send out invitations
- Sort out shoes, lingerie and jewellery for you and the bridesmaids – they will be needed for the final dress fittings
- Book hair and make-up – you may also want to book a rehearsal appointment too.
- Book any menswear that will be hired
- Choose the music you would like playing during the service, at the reception and for the evening – let the musicians and/or DJ know!
- Choose your wedding rings
- Book in dress fittings for you and the bridesmaids
- Finalise your menu and arrange for menu cards to be printed
- Finalise provision of drinks either with the hotel, caterer or other supplier
- Order favours and any other extras as budget allows eg sweet cart, photobooth, children’s activities.
- Decide upon any readings
- Organise who will be giving toasts
- Finalise Order of Ceremony or Order of Day and book them in for printing
- Arrange for suit fittings
- Reserve a room for the wedding night
- Make sure you have any vaccinations required for the honeymoon
- Contact each supplier to check they have date, time and venue correctly booked and discuss any finer details, particularly flowers and photographs.
- Put the wedding announcement in local press
- Check any legal requirements are in place e.g Notice of Intention to Marry
- Keep a record of all RSVPs you receive and any special requirements
- Enjoy your hen party
- Chase up any RSVPs that have not been received
- Make any final payments that are necessary
- Start drafting the table plan
- Have your hair cut and coloured
- Buy gifts for the wedding party
- Have final dress fittings and collect dresses from the shop
- Finalise guest list and numbers with the caterers and venue
- Finalise table plan and arrange to have it printed
- Delegate someone responsible to be a trouble shooter on the day
- Contact each of your suppliers to check arrangements and to give them the number of the delegated “trouble shooter” for emergencies
- Change some money for your honeymoon
- Pack for your honeymoon
- Have any beauty treatments – leave nails as late as possible
- Arrange for someone to collect buttonholes and bouquets on the day
- Have some breakfast
- Get your hair and makeup done
- Get dressed
- Don’t panic, enjoy yourself
After the Honeymoon
- Change your name on your official documents
- Send out thank you cards
People often spend so much time planning their wedding that they forget there is life after the wedding. Remember, it is just the start of your new life together.