So… you are getting married.
The first thing to do is set a budget. This is the most important step, because all plans can run aground if halfway through it becomes clear your money is not going to cover what you have planned.
Tell everyone you know that you are getting married, recommendations are invaluable and everyone knows someone, using the DJ that someone else has used or the caterers is a great idea and can prevent things not being as you want them.
Whether you use a paper day-to-day planner, or a spread sheet on your computer, you must remember to write everything down, you need to know at any given time what has been settled and what is still to settle! You will use this for constant reference… your handbook, your bible.
The two next most important decisions to make are the date of the wedding and the venue. Once you have decided on the type of venue that will suit you both, have a look at several and speak to the wedding coordinator at each, so that you can be sure of exactly what each place has to offer.
If your wedding is to be family centred and you want families with very young children to attend, you may want to hire a baby sitter service, so see if the venue can provide a room for this purpose – you might also consider some form of entertainment, in addition to a disco, which might suit older children as well as adults. These would be very thoughtful and very much appreciated touches if they are within your budget.
It is really important not to allow this, the planning period, to become too stressful. There will of course be times when you will feel stressed, but try to remember that you are planning for your real, your actual ‘Big Day’ and this plan, and acting on it, is part of the process towards making your Big Day into the most amazing, unforgettable Day. It is in fact a real adventure. Enjoy it, embrace it, and don’t forget to make time for you and your fiancé to spend some time doing things you both like that are totally unconnected. A trip to the pictures, going to see a show – choose something that will take your mind away from constant planning and settle any anxiety you may be feeling while you are trying to reach out for perfection.
TWELVE MONTHS – Choose the Venue for the ceremony and the reception.
Meet with the Priest/Vicar/Minister or Rabbi and with the Wedding Coordinator at the Reception Venue- if this is two separate places-discuss dates and plans.
Finalise the date and book each venue.
You and your fiancé should decide who the key members of the wedding party are going to be – Bridesmaids, Best Man, Ushers.
Choose your invitations and matching thank you cards.
Decide how many guests are to be invited to the ceremony and the reception, how many will be invited for the evening only. Then make a Guest List, and send out a Save the Date email or card to each of them. This is especially important if your Wedding Date is during the Summer High Season, your guests can then work their holiday plans around your wedding day.
You may want to consider taking out Wedding Insurance, we think it is worth every penny. Some reception venues will only allow a booking if you have arrange dPublic Liability and this is usually included in a good policy. They don’t need to cost the earth, you can often pick the bits that suit you.
NINE MONTHS – You should now pick out your Wedding Dress and the Bridesmaids dresses. You will probably have a strong idea of the sort of dress you would like. But do try on lots of different styles, because what we think looks one thing on a hanger, can look very different when we have the dress on.
Look at shoes, you might like to consider that while you might wear shoes with fairly high heels during the day, by the evening your feet will be feeling it. So some soft ballerina shoes or even a foot thong for the evening, when lots of Brides give in to the wonderful feeling of bare feet!!
Start looking at accessories. Your jewellery and Tiara, or comb, will usually depend on the style and decoration on your dress. If the dress is very busy then simple jewellery, picking out some elements of the dress – such as pearls, crystals or diamantes. Remember that when Kate married William her earrings didn’t match the rest of he jewellery, they don’t need to need to. Take a look at our ‘Choosing your Tiara’ tips, if you could do with a little help.
Take the time in between to research things, such as, photographers, florists, cake makers and cars/transport
Now order your chosen invitations and thank you cards.
Double check your guest list and print out some maps to go with the invitations, as well as details of Hotels or Guest House for those that live out of town. If thee are guest facilities at your reception venue, they will often offer special rates for guests to stay overnight
If your wedding is in the peak season then send out the invitations, with an RSVP, include a wedding present list.
SIX MONTHS – Hopefully your research is complete, you should now be ready to book your photographers, florists, the caterers if your wedding venue doesn’t include the food.
If you are having a honeymoon, then this should be booked now and don’t forget that you will need to get a new passport if you plan to travel in your married name. Arrange travel insurance now, this should always be done at the time of booking a holiday. Be careful to allow enough time for a new passport application to be processed, if required for the summer. Now would be a good time to prepare for changing your name on legal documents, find out what is necessary and how long each process takes.
Check that your fiancé is organising the outfits that he, his best man and ushers will wear.
The plans for the service should be completed , including the music so talk to your Church minister about this and also any reading that you may have in mind.
You should now have had your wedding cake tasting sessions and be ready to make a choice and place an order.
THREE MONTHS –
The action will really hot up now – this last few months will test your budgeting skills as well as your anxiety levels. Do enlist the help of ,maybe, your Bridesmaids or good friend, some support or at least someone to listen while you go over your plans and talk through any niggling choices, really does help stress levels.
You should buy your wedding rings.
There will be dress fittings.
Bridesmaids and attendants gifts to buy.
If you haven’t already done so then book your wedding night accommodation.
You will need to check in with the minister to book a slot for a wedding rehearsal, which usually takes place a a few days or a week before the wedding.
Book the Wedding Cars, Hairdresser and makeup artist. Also book in a trial run with your Hairdresser, so you can take along your Tiara or whatever headpiece you have chosen, so your style has been decided on. Make sure you get someone to take a picture, so that on the day your hairdresser is in no doubt how she is to style your hair.
You should have a run through with your fiancé, although he may not have as much to organise, it will be as well to check everything. You may each want to discuss your Hen and Stag Nights with the Best Man and Bridesmaids.
TWO MONTHS –
Enjoy some shopping for your going away outfit, honeymoon clothes, toiletries etc and items such as wedding favours, decorations and a guest book
Double check your guest list and contact any guests who haven’t yet replied to the invitations. Confirm numbers with your venue and caterers.
If you are writing your own vows, then they must be done now.
Once you have the final numbers of guests, you can set about deciding the seating plan, if you are having a sit down meal.
ONE MONTH –
You may be feeling a little nervous now, but if you are sticking to your plan then at least your nerves will not be out of control.
Final dress fitting. Wear your wedding shoes at the final fitting and also wear them a little around the house so you are sure of comfort on the day.
A practice Hairdressing session – don’t forget the camera.
You should now have Place cards for the table and a Seating plan for the entrance of the reception area. Decide where the guest book will be placed.
ONE WEEK –
Collect your dress.
The Groom and Best Man should practise their Speeches/Toasts
Arrange currency if you are going abroad and pack your overnight bags for the Wedding night.
Confirm all your requirements with everyone – Caterers, DJ, Venue, Florist, Cake maker, Transport etc then you can be confident that you have done everything possible to make sure the day is as you want it to be.
Go out and enjoy your Hen night, you have done a good job so don’t stress.
ONE DAY –
Delegate the job of dropping off the Guest Book, Pen, Favours and Seating Plan to the venue.
Have a pamper day, soak in the bath then perhaps a manicure, relax everything is now in place.
Have an early night and plan to be up in time for a leisurely breakfast, before your wedding day begins.
Your day is going to be wonderful,