Your 12 Month Countdown To The Big Day
A month by month checklist to plan your perfect wedding.
- Ideally, planning should begin 12 months before the big day. Decide on the style of wedding you want.
- Booking your reception venue is a priority.
- Book reception entertainment/musicians/DJ.
- If you’re employing a wedding consultant/planner, choose a professional with a good reputation. You’ll be spending a lot of time together, so be sure that you select a person you can get along with.
- Book your photographer and/or videographer. If the ceremony is to be held in a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious building, check that you will be permitted to take photographs or film there.
- Choose your attendants, best man and ushers and get the wedding date firmly in their diaries.
- If you’re holding your reception in a marquee on your own land, reserve all the equipment you will need, including marquee, chairs, tables, etc, and book a caterer.
- Choose your cake maker and cake design.
- Confirm the menu with the reception venue.
- You’ll have given plenty of thought to your wedding outfits, and those of your attendants. Make your final decision. Allow at least six months for a made-to-measure dress to be completed. Start looking for accessories.
- If you are hiring formal wear for male members of the party place your order.
- Choose your wedding ring(s).
- If you have made a final decision on your dress, your bridesmaids’ dresses and the general theme, choose your florist and organise bouquets and buttonholes, and flowers for the church or reception. If you’re marrying in church, check that it is appropriate for you to decorate the church (the ladies who normally decorate the church might do it for you by special arrangement), and confirm with the reception venue whether or not they are including floral decoration as part of the package.
- If you’ve set your heart on a particular honeymoon, book it early to avoid disappointment. If you’re undecided, start browsing the brochures and book as soon as you’ve made your choice. Remember that exotic destinations may require vaccinations and that some courses of vaccinations or drugs must start several weeks before you leave (and continue after your return). Book your flight ticket in the name on your passport.
- Organise your gift list.
- If you’re arranging a church wedding, chat to the vicar and/or organist about music. Discuss possible dates for a rehearsal, if required, and finalise the form of the service and the readings prior to having the invitations and order of service printed. If you’re having a civil wedding, choose any readings that you wish to include in the service. Send copies of your chosen readings to the person you have asked to read, so that they can practice.
- Have another look at your provisional guest list.
- Order your stationery, which includes invitations, place-cards, orders-of-service, thank-you notes, napkins, matchbooks, favours, little boxes for posting wedding cake, etc.
- Start looking for clothes for your honeymoon. Check the expiry date of your passports and renew them if necessary. Some countries will deny entry if your passport is close to expiry.
- Book your wedding transport or make firm arrangements with family and friends about lifts or borrowing vehicles. Arrange reliable back-ups.
- Buy gifts for best man, attendants, etc.
- As soon as you have your veil, tiara or other head-dress, make an appointment with your hair stylist to discuss and try various styles.
- Visit beauty salons/make-up counters to discuss and try ideas.
- If you aren’t spending your wedding night at your reception venue, book accommodation.
- Either make bookings for guests (remember you will probably be able to negotiate a reduced rate for a block booking) or give them a list of local hotels/guest houses to make their own bookings.
- Confirm that everything you have booked so far is on course and that all friends and family involved in the arrangements are sure of their role.
- If the stationery hasn’t arrived, chase it up.
- Give the caterers your estimated number of guests.
- Send out the invitations and keep an up-to-date list of refusals and acceptances.
- Send out your thank-you notes for gifts as they arrive and keep a record of who has given what.
- Try on all your wedding clothes. If you are unhappy with anything, take action now.
- If you have left anything to others to organise, check that they have done it.
- Confirm your honeymoon booking. Check whether you need visas. Arrange foreign currency if necessary.
- Work out a seating plan for the reception.
- Arrange your hen and stag nights or delegate the task to your chief bridesmaid and best man. Do not hold either the night before the wedding.
- In all the hustle and bustle of wedding preparations, don’t forget each other. Make time for each other and if you can, don’t discuss wedding preparations. Buy each other little gifts and remember why you’re doing this.
- Make a plan of timings for the day and distribute a copy to everyone concerned. Make enquiries about any other events being held on the same day that might create traffic delays.
- If you will be moving into a new home after the wedding, arrange forwarding of post and any important changes of name.
- Buy a guest book to place at the reception so your friends and relatives can record messages.
- Delegate tasks to your friends and relatives. Make sure that somebody has your handbag, make-up, hairbrush, tissues, etc, handy, and a large umbrella in their car/in the vestry just in case.
- Write your speech(es).
- Enjoy your hen and stag nights. The planning should be over by now and it’s time to unwind, relax and look forward to the big day.