Image courtesy of Senior Mac Photography
You’ve got the ring, now it’s time to get planning. We’ve compiled a checklist of wedding planning to-dos to point you in the right direction.
Set a budget
Getting stuck into planning your wedding without a budget is asking for trouble down the line. See our advice on setting a wedding budget and get a free wedding budget planner.
There's really no point in looking at small and intimate wedding venues if you're going to have 120 guests at your wedding. Having a rough idea of guest numbers early on will help you pick the right place.
As soon as possible
Book your wedding venue
Wedding venues get booked up well in advance. If you are planning a two-year engagement, you'll have your pick of venues and dates. Here is our guide to questions to ask your wedding venue.
Book your caterer
Once you've booked your wedding venue, there's really nothing to stop you booking your caterer. If your wedding venue has an approved caterer they will be available for your wedding anyway, but you'll still need to pay a deposit.
Hire a wedding planner
If you're going to have a wedding planner, get them involved from the start. To find out more about what wedding planners do, see our post - a week in the life of a wedding planner.
Personalised Wedding Countdown Notebook by James Ellis £9
12 months to go
Book your ceremony
Don't forget to book your civil ceremony or church wedding at least a year in advance. Registrar's have certain times available for ceremonies and if you book late you may not be able to get the one you want.
Buy wedding insurance
Investing a few pounds in wedding insurance is so important. It now costs around £25,000 for the average wedding and if something goes wrong, e.g. failure of suppliers, you could be left seriously out of pocket.
Book your videographer/photographer
The best wedding photographers get booked up well in advance too. Avoid disappointment and bagsie them early. See our tips for choosing a wedding photographer.
Find your dress
If you're having a dress made, now is the right time to get the ball rolling. If you're buying an off-the-peg gown you can afford to wait a little longer.
Send out save the dates
People lead busy lives and it doesn't hurt to give your guests plenty of notice so they can hopefully keep the day free.
Image courtesy of Naomi Kenton Photography
10 months to go
Book your florist and entertainment
Flowers are usually a large part of your wedding decorations so it is worth involving your florist in your vision and ideas. Musicians, magicians, toastmasters and DJs can make or break your day. Pick people who will work well with your guests and understand your needs.
Get outfits for the groom, bridesmaids and ushers
Often the groom sorts out his and his best man/ushers outfits and the bride deals with the bridesmaids dresses. Remember that bridesmaids may need to have their dresses altered.
Discuss menus with your caterer
Decide on your wedding menu and drinks. This will help you budget and you can get menus printed along with your other stationery.
Book your honeymoon
If you're planning to change your name, you could book your honeymoon in what will be your married name and renew your passport 4 months before the wedding. However, if you want to go away in the meantime it could cause problems. It might be easier to book your flights in your maiden name then renew your passport when you get back from your honeymoon.
See Original Travel's top 10 honeymoon destinations.
8 months to go
Discuss ceremony music, hymns and readings
Speak to the registrar about what readings and music are permitted or discuss your service with your minister. Discuss your plans with musicians too if you're having them.
Confirm running order on the day
Confirm your order of service with the minister and registrar and decide the rest of the timings on the day with the event co-ordinator at your venue or with your caterer.
Order you invitations, menus, table numbers/names, order of service and placecards. Get an extra 10% to cover any mistakes.
Decide on your flowers
Flowers can take up more of your budget than you'd expect so finalising what you're having early can help you budget.
Hollywood Glamour Wedding Stationery Range from £0.25
6 months to go
Book your transport and hair & makeup
Clarify arrival times etc. are in your agreement for both of these suppliers. Book trial appointments with your hair and makeup artist. Think about booking coaches/ minibuses/ taxis for guests too.
Order your cake
Take time deciding on traditional fruit, sponge, cupcakes etc. Remember you can mix and match for a tiered cake if you want to please everyone. Find out which wedding cake suits your wedding venue.
Buy wedding rings
You wouldn't want to realise you've forgotten this step on the day, now would you.
Choose gifts for bridesmaids etc.
Get all of your gift buying out of the way now. The wedding couple usually gives gifts to their bridesmaids, best man, ushers and parents.
Personalised Wedding Mirrors by Sew Very English £9.25
4 months to go
Register with a gift list
If you plan to have a list get it all set up before you send out your invitations. That way you have time to include it in an information insert.
Renew passport if changing name
If you have booked your honeymoon in your married name get your passport renewed now.
3 months to go
Send out invitations
Provide as much information as possible with your invitation such as directions, accommodation, arrangements for parking/ children etc. Include an RSVP by date to encourage early responses.
Have a hair & makeup trial
Have a trial run of your wedding look and make sure you are satisfied with the results.
Image courtesy of Daffodil Waves Photography
2 months to go
Try on your complete wedding outfit
If anything is missing, buy it!
Book final beauty appointments
Make appointments for any final treatments you will need in the week leading up to the wedding.
1 months to go
Discuss playlist with band/DJ
Decide on some floor fillers to get even the nanas up and dancing.
Finalise guest numbers
This is important from a catering perspective and also if you are having a table plan put together. There are almost always tiny last minute changes due to illness etc. but try to have a solid idea of numbers by now.
Confirm all suppliers and deliveries
Ring round everyone you have booked; caterers, photographers, cake maker, etc. Ensure they know when and where to arrive. Send directions/sat nav coordinates if necessary.
Image courtesy of Chris Seddon Photography
2 weeks to go
Final dress fitting
Having a dress fitting close to the big day will guarantee the best fit. Try to maintain your weight by eating normally in the run up to the big day.
Wear in your wedding shoes
You may think you want to wear those 5-inch gorgeous heels for the first time on your big day, but trust us, you don't. Wear them in around the home a few times before the wedding; you will be grateful you did.
Give shots list to photographer
See our tips for must-have wedding photos.
1 weeks to go
Finalise seating plan
Time to put together your table plan/escort cards. Check you venue can provide an easel if you need one.
Collect your dress
Give your nominated person a list of contact numbers
The last thing you want on the morning of your wedding is to be dealing with any queries from suppliers or guests. Ask a friend of family member to be the wedding go-to person who has everyone's contact details including the wedding venue, registrar/minister and caterers, all of your suppliers and your wedding party e.g. bride's mum etc. Give this person a running order of the day and notes of any deliveries and special arrangements. Make sure everyone has this person's name and phone number for on the day.
Final beauty appointments
Waxing, spray tan, manicure/pedicure etc.