The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide
First things first, one of the most essential parts of the wedding planning process is to determine what type and style of wedding you would like to organise. From timeless, to rustic boho, choosing your preferred style will help narrow down your venue, florist, dress designer and many other suppliers.
Another important element to take into consideration is budget. It is very important to set a realistic budget which will help you work out how much you will need save on a monthly basis, taking the potential contribution of family into account. To do so we recommend starting with creating a provisional guest list as the number of guests naturally have an important impact on costings.
Choosing your wedding venue is an important starting block to secure you're preferred date and to match your wedding decor accordingly. Important areas to consider include ease of access for friends and family, nearby accommodation, capacity, menu offering, sustainability commitments and most importantly the wow factor for you and your guests. Come prepared with a list of questions so that you fully understand what is included i.e. bridal suite, dancefloor, furniture, linen and AV.
Once a date and venue is secured around 12 months in advance is a good time to researching the suppliers who get booked up in advance such as videographers, photographers and bands. Why not ask your venue for their recommended list of tried and tested suppliers:
- DJ/ Bands / Musicians
- Wedding cake supplier
To financially protect your celebrations we also recommend to buy wedding insurance. A typical wedding insurance can cover anything from: Cancellation or rearrangement, wedding rings, failure of suppliers, legal expenses and public liability.
Around 8-12 months out
Registering for gifts
Register for gifts at websites such as The Wedding Shop or Prezola and you can add any ideas for gifts as they come to you over the months. Many online gifting services often offer the option for your guests to buy you experiences, donate to your favourite charities or to contribute money towards your honeymoon if preferred.
Create a wedding website
Wedding websites are a great way to you to summarise all the information your guests will need such as accommodation, taxi numbers, and venue location in one place. Creating a website may be quite daunting for some, however websites such as Wix.com as super user friendly and allow you to create a professional and personalised website in a few hours for free!
If your venue does not have all the items you require included in your wedding package or if you would like to personalise then it is best to start researching hire of items such as chairs, linen and dancefloor. Again your weddings venue will be able to recommend trusted suppliers for this or can give advice on what colours and styles have worked well at the venue in the past.
Send save-the-date cards
To ensure your nearest and dearest don't miss out on your special day it's best to send out save the dates at least 6 months in advance.
Find the dress!
The wedding dress search begins! We recommend to start your dress search around 9-12 months this allows enough time for dresses to be made to order. Most bridal shops require an appointment so do your research first to figure out which shops are in line with your budget and style. You may find it helpful to create a mood board of styles which you like beforehand. Remember to budget for alterations, shoes, accessories, lingerie etc. too. On the day you will be helped in and out of dresses so ensure you wear suitable underwear and make to bring along a pair of heels which will be a similar height to those which you will wear on the day.
3-9 months out
Give your Notice of intent
A Notice of Marriage or civil partnership is a legal statement that you must sign. A notice states the names, age, marital status, address, occupation and nationality of the people intending to marry or form a civil partnership. It also states the intended venue for the ceremony. The notices are then displayed to the public for 28 days
Normally, notices should be with the registrar about eight weeks before the marriage. But if either of you have been married before, the notices should be with the registrar 10 weeks before.
Bridesmaid and groomsmen outfits Time to shop for the bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits! Whether you are hiring, having custom made creations or shopping via retail outlets there is a vast array of outfits to choose from therefore it’s important to listen to your bridal party to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the style of their outfit. They won't enjoy the night if they feel uncomfortable! Also consider the season and formality if the day. Consider a colour that will compliment your wedding colour scheme and flatter your friends’ skin tones.
The best way to beat the post wedding blues is to book an incredible honeymoon to look forward to! Click here to read our blog on top recommendations for honeymoon getaways.
This is an exciting part of the wedding planning which you can enjoy together. Often jewellers offer preferential pricing if you purchase both rings together. Ensure that your rings protected against loss and theft on your wedding insurance.
The cutting of the cake is always a fabulous photo opportunity. Why not ask your florist to add some garlands for a special touch. You may even wish to look into alternate options such as a cupcake tower, croquembouche or a cheese wheel cakes. You will need to have a good idea of your number of guests before you start planning your cake.
Research Hair and makeup artists
Time to start looking into hair and makeup artists. If you have a large number of bridesmaids then you may need to book several.
Book any transport required for the bridal party and guests if necessary.
We recommend to get your measurements taken by a professional and that you ensure that the suit matches the style of your wedding. Lastly make sure that the suit is comfortable so that you feel at your absolute best!
2-3 months out
Post your invitations.
Send your invitations to your guests and remember to include a deadline for RSVPs and a request for any dietary/allergy info. This is a good opportunity to include information on accommodation and transport links or alternatively the link to your wedding website. We recommend to advise guests to arrive at least 15 minutes before the ceremony is due to start.
Start writing wedding vows / speeches
Avoid the last minute panic of leaving the Vows until the night before and start writing these a months out. Then you can keep coming back to this in the coming weeks to make it 100% perfect!
Trial run hair make up
Book in a hair and makeup artist for a trial run to fine tune your look for the big day. This is also particularly important if you have sensitive skin and are prone to reactions from certain make up products.
One of the most exciting parts of the wedding planning... Choosing your wedding menu! Menu offerings vary from venue to venue and your but for most these are arranged a couple of months prior to the wedding date since menus change with seasonality.
1 month out
Time to go back to your seamstress for your final dress fitting to make sure that everything fits perfectly!
Two weeks out
Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet sent a response.
Deliver must-have shot lists to your photographer and videographer.
Create a list of your favourite songs and your 'avoid list' for your DJ and band
One week out
Final head count for catering including outmess (that's anyone who needs feeding such as your band and photographer)
Send your venue a list of your suppliers with contact details of your suppliers and a main point of contact on the day such as the best man or maid of honour.
Finalise your place cards, menus and table plan
Reconfirm pick up times with transportations such as your bridal party cars and guest transportation. Ensure your transport company is fully aware of any road closures in the area.
A few days out
Confirm with ceremony venue and reserved seats for your nearest and dearest
Determine wedding party positions during the ceremony and the order of the party in the processional and recessional.
Drop off any items such as favour, table plan to venue
Rehearse ceremony. Meet with wedding party, ceremony readers, immediate family and your officiant at the ceremony site to rehearse and iron out the details.
On the day
Give wedding bands to the appropriate person to hold during the ceremony.
Introduce your wedding planner and photographer to the main point of contact if they are not already familiar
Have the best day ever!