First I’d like to say, Congratulations on your engagement! Now it’s time to start planning you Wedding day. I wish I could tell you that planning a wedding is fun all the time and you’ll never be stressed. However the reality is, it can be stressful.
To keep stress levels to a minimum whilst wedding planning it’s best to organise everything and set a timeline for everything.
If you’re feeling lost and don’t know where to start, here is a timeline for you to follow and some tips for planning your wedding.
Set a date
Have a date in mind of when you’d like to get married. You may need to be flexible depending on venue availability so it’s best to have a month in mind rather than a specific date.
If you are wanting a weekend wedding you’ll need to book early especially in summer months. Choosing a midweek date will give you more options and will save you a lot of money. However be aware of the possibility that not everyone can make it due to work. Some of your guests may also complain about having to book a couple days of work.
Think of a theme
This could be as simple as a colour scheme or as elaborate as a carnival theme. You’re theme should to reflect to two of you as a couple. The formality of the wedding will also tie in with the theme. If you want a laid back, relaxed wedding it may not fit with an ultra glam theme.
If you’re going for a rustic theme or a glamorous theme, your choice of venue will help reflect it.
Set a budget
Make sure your budget is realistic without sending you into debt. Always have a contingency just in case.
Have an idea of a guest list
Having a rough idea of how may guests you’d like to invite will help during the venue viewings. There’s no point viewing a venue that only hold 50 people when you want to invite 100.
View different venues
Have a look at different venues from churches, hotels, barns etc. You may have one place in mind, however make sure it fits your requirements. Look at catering options, capacity levels, different packages they offer. It’s always a good idea to meet with the organiser at each location so you can discuss exactly what you’re ideal wedding is.
If you are booking a hotel for your wedding, whether it be for the ceremony and reception or just the reception, remember you’ll need accommodation as well as some of your guests. Book out some rooms for you and your guests when you book the hotel.
View and meet different photographers
Have a look at different photographers and videographers in your area. Look at their styles and see what you like. Have a look at previous weddings they have done.
You may need to book a caterer for your venue so have a look at one’s in your area. Venues often have a list of recommended vendors which can help you choose who to book. You’ll also want to look at bands/DJs, entertainment, florists and possibly a wedding designer/decorator if you’re venue is a blank canvas.
Book your registrar
Again, your venue may have a contact for to use when booking your registrar.
Book your cars
Think of how many cars you’ll be needing. You’ll need one for the bride and her father and a second or third for the mother of the bride and the bridesmaids. If you want to take a different approach you can book a vintage red bus so you can all travel together.
Take out wedding insurance
Wedding insurance isn’t costly but it can save you thousands if one of your suppliers lets you down. It’s worth it just for peace of mind.
Start shopping for your dress
Try on different styles; you may be surprised by what you like and what suits you. The shop assistants are always on hand to help you out as well.
The first time you go, take just one person with you or two. You may get overwhelmed if you take a big group of people to help you out.
Start your health and fitness program
You’ll never have better motivation for getting fit and healthy. Start you program now whether you want to lose weight or tone up.
Select bridal party
Choose who you’d like to ask to be your bridesmaids and maid of honour. Why not have a girls night in when you decide to ask them. You can also give your girls a keepsake as you ask them. It could be a necklace, a photograph or a bottle of wine with a personalised label. It’s something they’re sure to treasure forever.
Also consider if you want flower girls and page boys at your wedding.
Choose who you’d like to ask to be your best man or men and your ushers. The same with the bridesmaids, you can give them a keepsake as you ask. I witnessed a groom asking his best men (he had 3) by giving them a “hand of a king” pin (all you Game of Thrones fans will know what that means). Another asked his best men and ushers by giving them a bottle of their favourite beer with a tag on it saying best man or usher.
Decide on bridesmaids dresses
Have a look at different dress styles and colours. You may choose to have the same style dress but different colours or shades. Or different styles for each bridesmaid but in the same colour. Remember, what may look good on one bridesmaid may not suit another.
Start compiling guest list names and addresses
It’s best to start now ready for when you want to send out the invitations.
Sign up for gift registry
This is if you choose to have a gift registry, many people nowadays don’t have one. Sign up now and choose things you feel you need or have wanted for a while.
Celebrate your engagement with your friends and family. It’s the least you deserve with all the planning you’ve been doing.
Finalise guest list.
Make a list for everyone you wish to invite to the day and a separate list for the evening.
Shop for wedding stationary
Remember you’ll need invitations for day guests and evening guests. Your invitations should complement the theme of your wedding. You can always look at wedding programs during this time as well.
Some of your out of town guests may need accommodation so book out rooms in near by hotels.
Book your honeymoon
If you’re struggling to decide where to go on your honeymoon then go to a travel agents. They’ll know where’s the best place to go for that time of year and the best areas to stay in.
Choose your wedding cake
This will be the tastiest part of planning your wedding. Book tastings at different bakeries and try different flavours. Decide on the look of the cake, whether you want icing on the cake or a naked cake. Have a think if you want one cake with one flavour or different flavours for each tier, or wedding cake and grooms cake. You may even opt for having smaller, different flavoured cakes instead of just one.
Shop for wedding rings
If the groom decides he doesn’t want to wear a ring but wants one for the ceremony you can always buy a cheap one and save money.
Shop for groomsmen suits
You’ll need suits for the groom, father of the groom, father of the bride, best man/men and ushers and page boys if you have any.
Order wedding favours
There are all sorts of different favours so have a look on different websites and see what you like.
Finalise menu options
It’s best to go for at least one meat dish and one vegetarian. If you have any vegan guests you may need to choose a vegan option instead of vegetarian. Finalising the menu before sending out the invitations means you can add the menu and response card. Also check if any of your guests have food allergies.
Send out invitations
It can be a nice touch to include on the RSVP a song choice for each guests. They can make a request which you pass onto your DJ/band.
Shop for bridal party gifts
Start to shop and look around for gifts for your bridesmaids as a thank you. You can give them out the night before the wedding if you plan to have a girls night in, the morning of the wedding as you’re all getting ready or at the reception.
Choose wedding music
You’ll need music for as the bride walks down the aisle, as you both walk out as a married couple and for the first dance. You may choose to create a playlist for as people are arriving to the ceremony, during the ceremony as you sign the register and before and during the wedding breakfast.
You can kill two birds with one stone if you wish to take your bridesmaids to have their alterations done at the same time. Don’t forget to schedule in when you intend to pick up the dresses.
Contact the formal wear store to confirm the suits and when you intend to pick them up.
Confirm order with florist
Confirm which flowers you chose, how many bouquets, boutonnières and decorations you ordered.
Apply for a marriage license
Marriage licenses need to be applied for at least 28 days before you marry. Add this to your calendars so you have plenty of time and don’t forget.
Start skincare regime
It’s worth going to a beauticians and having regular facials so you have glowing skin on your wedding day.
Choose your wedding accessories
Pick out jewellery, shoes and hair accessories fir you choose to wear something in your hair. This is the perfect excuse for a shopping trip.
For the groom, you’ll need to choose shoes if your suit hire does not come with any and cufflinks.
Visit hair stylist and make up artist
Look at pictures online and in magazines to find the style of hair and makeup you like the look of. Don’t be afraid to take pictures to show to your stylists; its often more helpful if you do take pictures.
Finalise details with venues and vendors
Send out a running order to all your suppliers of when they should arrive. You can always change timings if the suppliers ask. You’ll need to give a finalised headcount to the caterers and venues for the day and evening.
Arrange seating plan
This can be a time consuming task and you may think you have everyone seated until the last table where you realise two people can’t sit next to each other due to bad blood. Take your time with it and revisit it every now and then to make sure you’re happy with it.
Give DJ/band list of songs
This will include your first dance song and any song requests your guests have if you included it on your invitations.
Finalise seating plan
Have another look over the seating plan and make sure you’re happy with it. You can still make changes if need be.
Pick up marriage license
Confirm rehearsal plans
If you choose to have your bridal party, best man/men and ushers at the rehearsal so everyone knows their role.
Organise wedding day attire
Pick up the dresses and suits. Keep your dress/suit, shoes and accessories altogether in a safe place, ready to go.
Pack for your honeymoon
If you are going on your honeymoon straight after your wedding or a couple of days later, it’s best to pack now. Don’t forget to pack your travel documents.
The groom should get a haircut before the wedding so go a week before the wedding. Going a week before gives you time to get used to your cut and get used to styling your hair.
Pack a bag
If you’re staying the night before the wedding in a hotel you’ll need to pack a bag for a couple of days. Make sure you have everything you need for the wedding.
To get your nails looking picture perfect for your wedding photos have a manicure the day before.
Give rings to the best man
If you have more than one best man then you’ll need to choose one of them to look after the rings.
Pack a wedding day emergency kit
You may not need it but it’s best to be safe than sorry. Pack hair clips, lipgloss, mini deodorant, compeed patches and a sewing kit.
Have a good breakfast
Eat something healthy and filling so you don’t feel bloated in you dress/suit. You’ve got a busy day ahead of you so you’ll need something filling to keep you going. Opt for something full of protein like porridge or eggs and salmon.
Have someone check the reception site
Ask someone you trust and knows how the room is supposed to look.