Your Wedding Planning Checklist
Planning your big day can be one of the most exciting yet challenging events that you’ll ever have to plan.
You want the perfect venue, the Pinterest-inspired theme, the stunning decor and memories that will last a lifetime.
Whether you’re just starting out, or have been dreaming of your wedding for years, it’s always good to ask the experts for a little guidance.
So, our team of experienced wedding planners have compiled a thorough checklist to ensure no small detail is forgotten, leaving you to enjoy some pre-wedding relaxation…
12 MONTHS TO GO…
Set the date.
Start your wedding planning twelve months or more in advance, to ensure you have plenty of time to plan, and enjoy the process. Decide on the ideal date, and bear in mind that popular venues book up quickly in Peak seasons. You may also consider a weekday wedding for more flexibility on choice and price.
Send Save-the-Date cards to make sure your guests keep your chosen date available, especially during the summer or Bank Holidays when many family members and friends may be making other plans.
Set your budget.
Begin with a realistic budget that will allow you to have the wedding you want, at a cost you can afford. Once you’ve established a comfortable budget, add 20% for emergency extras and potential hidden costs.
Book your venue(s)
You’ll need to book a venue for your ceremony (either a church, registry office or other licensed civil wedding venue) and a venue for your reception, unless you opt for a venue that will do both. Consider the seating capacity based on your ideal number of guests, plus room hire costs, catering options and the area around you for those all-important wedding photographs.
Choose the wedding party
Appoint bridesmaids, a best man and ushers
11 MONTHS TO GO…
Book your photographer and videographer. Spend time getting to know photographers you meet with. Look at examples of their work and get a feel for whether they can match your vision for your own wedding day photographs.
Meet your minister/registrar. Your Registrar will provide you with answers to many questions you will no doubt have surrounding the ceremony. They’ll also help you find suitable readings and music to walk down the aisle to.
Book entertainment. Whether you plan to hire a DJ, a live band or classical musicians for your reception, popular acts can book up well in advance. Consider what you think your guests might enjoy. It doesn’t necessarily have to be musical – many couples also provide magicians, comedians or celebrity lookalikes to keep their guests entertained.
Book caterers if needed. If the reception venue you have booked doesn’t not provide catering, or you have something different in mind, now is the time to start speaking with outside caterers about serving your wedding breakfast.
Book your cars. You’ll need to book one car for the Bride and her Father, plus a second or third car for your bridesmaids and parents. Whether you plan to arrive in vintage style, or funky fun, secure your transport in advance to avoid disappointment.
Book your florist. Once you’ve considered the theme for your wedding, think about the colour and type of flowers you’ll use to dress the venue, and include in your bouquet. Find a reputable florist who will be happy to shot you examples of wedding arrangements.
10 MONTHS TO GO…
Book a toastmaster. A Toastmaster, or Master of Ceremonies will help to ensure your day goes smoothly and on time. Many venues will include a Master of Ceremonies as part of your wedding package.
Book your honeymoon.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect honeymoon destination, take out wedding insurance. It’s not expensive and could save you thousands if a supplier suddenly lets you down. It’s worth it just for peace of mind!
The Dress! Decide what kind of wedding dress you want. If you’re having a couture bridal gown made for you then you’ll need to start the design process now. If you’re ordering a designer dress, allow 4-6 months. When purchasing your dress, take into account the cost of alterations to ensure it fits you perfectly on the day.
Cake. Head out to taste some samples, and choose a wedding cake that fits your theme. Have an idea of your guest numbers to ensure you have enough for everyone (your cake-maker will advise you on the correct cake size for your guest numbers).
Shape Up! Many brides and grooms like to shape up for the big day, to ensure they look their very best. If you’re embarking on a diet and exercise programme, start adjusting your daily routines now. Go to the gym together as a couple or go with a friend for an extra motivational boost! A Personal Trainer will also be able to advise you on getting the very best from your diet and exercise regime.
6 MONTHS TO GO…
Invitations. Order your wedding invitations. If you’re making them yourself, start now to give yourself plenty of time to perfect them. Don’t forget additional wedding stationery you may wish to include, such as: orders of service, place cards and thank you cards
Accessories. Buy your wedding shoes and accessories. Get your shoes in good time for your first dress fitting, and your tiara/veil in time for your makeup and hair trial. Consider which pieces of jewellery you will wear, to ensure the whole look fits well together. The morning of your wedding isn’t the time you want to be deliberating over which set of earrings works best.
Your Wedding Look. Book your make-up artist and hairdresser. Speak to several to find the one that’s right for you. Ask to see photographs of hairstyles they have created, which styles they feel work best with your hair and face, plus how long you’ll need to create the look on the big day.
Book a hair and makeup trial, complete with your tiara and veil if possible. This will give you confidence in your chosen look, well before the big day.
Their Wedding Look. Buy your bridesmaids’ dresses, suits for the groom, best man, ushers and any flower girls or page boys.
Your Wedding Night. Book the honeymoon suite at your venue, or your chosen accommodation for the night.
3 MONTHS TO GO…
Final alterations! Have your wedding dress altered to ensure a perfect fit. Try it on with your shoes to check the length, and any accessories to complete the look.
Draw up your guest list(s). Try to make it equal between you, to keep both families happy. If you plan to invite a selection of work colleagues or friends-of –the-family, however don’t know them well enough to have them at your ceremony, consider creating a separate Evening Only invite list.
Start having regular facials to ensure your skin is healthy and glowing on your wedding day. Try out a rejuvenating facial at The Mere Spa…
Buy your wedding rings. Make sure they are both the right size and that your wedding ring will sit comfortably alongside your engagement ring, if you plan to wear them together.
Send your wedding invitations. Include information for your guests on overnight accommodation, transport, parking and any dress code if appropriate.
Include reply cards to ensure all guests RSVP 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 it available to all your wedding guests (mention it in your invitations also!) and your wedding website if you have one.
Choose wedding music and readings. Your minister/registrar will be able to advise further.
Buy gifts for the Best Man, ushers and bridesmaids and bouquets of flowers 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 with the help of your Best Man and Chief Bridesmaid respectively.
Make time to relax! The planning process should be an enjoyable experience for you both. Embrace it, enjoy it, and look forward to a truly magical day.