The Wedding Planning Timeline
Fab news. You’re engaged. Congratulations. Now the wedding planning begins in earnest and we suspect you might just be entering panic mode.
If, right now, you are thinking things like ‘There’s so much to do. Where do we start, what do we do first?!’ – take a breath and relax. We’re here with a wedding planning checklist to help you get planning – based on a 18-month planning schedule.
We see a lot of couples and they are looking at a wedding date in 18months to 2 years time. Because of this many venues are being booked earlier and earlier. So, if you are set on a particular location, it’s worth chatting to the venue early so you’re not disappointed. This timeline also give couples time to save for the things they really want to have as part of their wedding day.
https://www.confetti.co.uk/organising-planning/countdown-to-your-wedding-the-ultimate-checklist – downloadable checklist
The wedding what to do and when list
A year in advance – 12 months to 18months +
- It’s a bit important this one: Set the date!
Then kick start your wedding planning twelve months or more in advance of your selected date. This way you have a chance of getting your choice of venues and suppliers at good prices.
If you’re on a mission to save money consider booking a mid-week wedding instead of the usual Saturday. This is also a cost-effective way to do the legal stuff if you’re planning an alternative ceremony of some sort – humanist for example.
- Decide now if you’re willing and able to do all the planning yourself
You can do it yourself of course. Or you can decide to call on the worth-its-weight-in-gold expertise of a wedding planner. In which case, we’re to help!
- Send out save-the-date cards
Because you don’t want your guests to have booked their skiing/sun/city break when you plan to make your vows.
- Set your budget
The key points here are:
- Be realistic – no wedding is worth going into debt for
- Add in a bit extra for a contingency – because you just never know
- Draw up the guest list or lists
Compromise and communication are needed here. Do your best to keep it equal and appease both families. You might find it easier to have a separate evening guest list for work colleagues and family that are close – but not close enough.
- Book your venue (s)
The sooner this is done the better. It’s almost impossible to plan anything else until this one is sorted out. You’ll need to:
- Book a venue for your ceremony – church, registry office or licensed civil wedding venue
- Book a venue for your reception, your wedding breakfast, disco or whatever after-dinner entertainment you have in mind.
Things to think about are:
- Seating capacity
- Room hire costs
- Catering options
- Indoor and outdoor settings for photographs.
It’s possible to save wads of cash by having your wedding out of season. Plenty of venues have wonderful winter offers.
- Select your wedding party: bridesmaids, ushers, best man etc.
It’s ideal if the people you want to ask live close by. And are responsible! Browse our wedding section for inspiration for ‘ask gifts’ for your maid of honour and bridesmaids, and your bestman and groomsmen .
- Book your photographer and/or videographer
Our pointers here are:
- Look for someone who offers you the style of photos you want – traditional, contemporary, reportage or a mix.
- Meet them in person
- Ask to see their portfolio and a complete wedding album.
The Fab Gift Boutique know numerous people in this field so if you’d like us to point you in someone’s direction we’d be happy to. Just give us call.
- Meet your minister/registrar/celebrants
Go armed with all your questions about the ceremony. They’ll help you find suitable readings and music if you want them too.
- Book your DJ/Band/dancing girls/chamber quartet – or whatever it might happen to be
Whatever after dinner entertainment you have in mind now is the time to get them booked up.
- Book caterers if needed
It might be that your reception venue isn’t doing your catering. In which case, you’ll need to think about hiring outside caterers. If your budget is super tight then party platters from your supermarket are an option to consider.
- Book your cars/bus/horse and cart/motorbike and sidecar
Assuming your wedding breakfast is going to be somewhere other than the church you’ll need transportation for the wedding party. Rather than several individual cars a vintage double decker bus would be great fun – and photogenic. Tickets please!
- Book your florist
You’ll need to think about how many flowers you want and where you’d like them. For the budget conscious silk flowers are worthy of your consideration. There’s many other factors in their favour too. Read about the benefits of silk flowers and foliage in our blog.
- Book a toastmaster or master of ceremonies
Worth thinking about. Such a person can be worth their weight in their gold to make sure everything goes to plan and people are where they should be when they should be.
- Book your honeymoon
Book it in your maiden name with your existing passport. Then change all your documents to your new married name when you get back.
- Take out wedding insurance
It doesn’t need to cost much and might save you a packet if you’re suddenly let down by a supplier. There’s no price on peace of mind.
- The Dress
If you haven’t already – start now! If you’re going to have a couture bridal gown made then you must start now. To buy a designer dress allow 4-6 months. For off the peg or second-hand then 4-6 weeks should be sufficient for necessary alterations.
- Get going with your healthy eating and exercise programme
If you feel the need to lose weight or simply tone up for the great day and the ensuing honeymoon, start now!
6 months +
A note about DIY
Now is the time to get going if you’re planning any DIY aspects: invitations, table centres, cake or favours. You’ll need practice time as well as production time. So get cracking!
- Order/make your wedding invitations
Not forgetting all the other wedding stationery including: orders of service, place cards and thank you cards.
- Order the wedding cake
Or cupcakes or ‘cheese cake’, or have your wedding cake home-made.
- Buy your wedding shoes and accessories
You’ll need your shoes in time for the first dress fitting. And your tiara and veil in time for your make-up and hair trial run.
- Book your make-up artist and hairdresser
Speak to several to find one you feel comfortable with.
- Buy: bridesmaid’s dresses, suits for the for groom, best man, ushers and flower girls and page boys
- Book the honeymoon suite
3 months +
· Get your wedding dress altered
If you need to. Then try not to lose or gain weight!
· Kick off a regular facial routine
You want glowing skin on your wedding day?
· Buy the rings
Check that when they arrive they’re the right size and that your wedding ring sits comfortably alongside your engagement ring if like most of us, you are going to wear them together.
· Send out the invitations
It’s tradition to send them out 6-12 weeks prior to the wedding. But if you prefer – do it sooner. Information to include on them:
· Overnight accommodation for your guests
· Dress code if applicable
Include reply cards to make sure you get RSVPs and ask your guests for dietary information.
· Order venue décor and table decorations
An alternative to buying is to hire. Do check out our For Hire section.
· Set up your gift list
Make your list available to your guests and have it on your wedding website if you have one.
· Choose readings and music for the ceremony
· Buy gifts for the best man, ushers and bridesmaids
Take a look at our bespoke sets for the ‘ask gift’. If you’re presenting bouquets to the mothers of the bride and groom order them now.
· Arrange any necessary vaccinations for your honeymoon
· Start planning your hen and stag parties
1 month before the wedding
· Arrange a final wedding dress fitting
· Double check all arrangements are in place with all your suppliers
Be sure to speak to them and get written confirmation of dates, places and times.
· Finalise your seating plan
And make your table planner
· Arrange your wedding rehearsal
· Chase up on guests who’ve not RSVPd
· Arrange a date to collect any hired suits –
making a note of their return by dates. A job for the best man surely?
· Write the speeches
From the heart – then practice, practice and practice some more
1 week before
· Have your hair trimmed and/or coloured
Note: this is NOT the time to experiment with a new colour or drastic changes of hair style
· Have your wedding rehearsal
· Pack for your honeymoon
· Wear-in your wedding shoes
Don’t go to Tesco in them but wear them around the house to get used to them.
· Put together a wedding emergency kit – put your chief bridesmaid in charge of it. Things to include:
A compact mirror and powder, lipstick, tissues, stain spot remover ….
· Order your foreign currency for your honeymoon
Make any other last minute arrangements now.
· It might rain – this is Britain after all. Make sure there’s lots of brollies.
· Have any planned beauty treatments now
Get your eyebrows shaped, fake tan done all in good time
· If you haven’t yet, find your something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’
· Designate someone to look after the contact list of your suppliers
Then forget about it!
The day before the day itself!
· Have an RnR day (ideally, that is what your should do but chance are you will have last minute things to do. Be sure to surroud yourself with people who are going to take care of you and help you enjoy the special moments)
Spend the day with friends or family and don’t do anything more exhausting than a manicure.
· Try to get an early night
After all – you’re getting married in the morning!
Our parting shot:
Keep in mind that this day is the beginning of your marriage. So if anything goes wrong on the day – best laid plans etc. – focus on your marriage rather than your wedding. That’s the important part – that’s what will make it a day to remember!
We hope you’ve found this useful. If the Fab Gift Boutique can help you with any aspect of your wedding give us a call on o7511 842 451
And if you’re not sure if we can help you be sure to give us a call anyway!
Until next time!