Planning your wedding
It might seem hard to plan your wedding as there are so many parts to think of. It doesn’t need to be that tough though – speak to the professionals and you’ll be amazed just how much information we’ll all give out. We’re passionate about weddings and we want your day to work – give us a call and pop in!
Below is a checklist used by many (our clients also have a timeline builder in the online portal to help plan the day)
- Start a wedding folder or binder.
Begin leafing through bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design, and food magazines for inspiration.
- Work out your budget.
Determine how much you have to spend, based on your families’ contributions and your own.
- Pick your wedding party.
As soon as you’re engaged, people will start wondering who’s in.
- Reserve your date and venues.
Decide whether to have separate locations for the ceremony and the reception, factoring in travel time between the two places.
- Book the big things
DJ and/or Band
If you are looking to have a choice, these are the ones to book as soon as you know the when and where. Once they are booked, the finer details can be looked at later, such as timings.
- Start the guest list.
Make a head count database to use throughout your planning process, with columns for contact info, RSVPs, gifts, and any other relevant information. (Want to keep costs low? It may be brutal, but the best way to do it is to reduce your guest list.)
- Research the things less important to you like florists, and caterers.
Keep their contact information in your binder.
- Throw an engagement party, if you wish.
But remember that your invitees should be on your wedding guest list as well
- Send out Save the Date cards or email?
If you have friends you would really like at your wedding, are some of the them in jobs where they need loads of notice to get a day off? Are they going to have to travel? They might need to save up too!
Eight Months Before
- Meet caterers.
If your wedding venue doesn’t offer its own catering service, look for one now and hire the service this month or early next. Make sure they’ll do you a good tasting session!
- Purchase a dress.
You’ll need to schedule time for at least three fittings. Veil shopping can be postponed for another two to three months.
- Reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
Pick three hotels at different price points close to the reception venue.
- Register your gift list providers.
Sign up at a minimum of three retailers.
- Launch a wedding website?
Create your personal page through a free provider such as weddingchannel.com. Note the date of the wedding, travel information, and accommodations. Then send the link to invitees.
Seven to Six Months Before
- Select and purchase invitations.
Hire a calligrapher, if desired. Addressing cards is time-consuming, so you need to budget accordingly.
- Start planning a honeymoon.
Make sure that your passports are up-to-date, and schedule doctors’ appointments for any shots you may need.
- Shop for bridesmaids’ dresses.
Allow at least six months for the dresses to be ordered and sized.
- Meet with the officiant.
Map out the ceremony and confirm that you have all the official documents for the wedding (these vary by county and religion).
- Send save-the-date cards.
If you’ve not done so earlier.
- Reserve structural and electrical necessities.
Book portable toilets for outdoor events, extra chairs if you need them, lighting components, and so on.
- Book a florist.
Florists can serve multiple clients on one day, which is why you can wait a little longer to engage one. Plus, at this point, you’ll be firm on what your wedding palette will be.
- Arrange transportation.
Consider limos, minibuses, trolleys, and town cars. (But know that low-to-the-ground limos can make entries and exits dicey if you’re wearing a fitted gown.)
- Start composing a day-of timeline.
Draw up a schedule of the event and slot in each component (the cake-cutting, the first dance). Our online portal for clients has this built in.
Five to Four Months Before
- Book the rehearsal and rehearsal-dinner venues.
Negotiate the cost and the menu. If you’re planning to host a day-after brunch for guests, book that place as well.
- Check on the wedding invitations.
Ask the stationer for samples of the finished invitations and revise them to suit your needs.
- Select and order the cake.
Some bakers require a long lead time. Attend several tastings before committing to any baker.
- Send your guest list to the host of your hen party.
Provided you, ahem, know about the hen party.
- Purchase wedding shoes and start dress fittings.
Bring the shoes along to your first fitting so the tailor can choose the appropriate length for your gown.
- Schedule hair and makeup artists.
Make a few appointments with local experts to try them out. Snap a photo at each so you can compare results.
- Choose your music.
Our music request system handles the special tunes, other requests and there is even a link you can send out to your guests to allow them to put their favourites in too.
Three Months Before
- Finalise the menu and flowers.
You’ll want to wait until now to see what will be available, since food and flowers are affected by season.
- Order favours, if desired.
Some safe bets: monogrammed cookies or a treat that represents your city or region. If you’re planning to have welcome baskets for out-of-town guests, plan those now too.
- Make a list of the people giving toasts.
Which loved ones would you like to have speak at the reception? Ask them now.
- Finalise the readings.
Determine what you would like to have read at the ceremony—and whom you wish to do the readings.
- Purchase your undergarments.
And schedule your second fitting.
- Finalise the order of the ceremony and the reception.
- Print menu cards, if you like, as well as programs.
No need to go to a printer, if that’s not in your budget: You can easily create these on your computer.
- Purchase the rings.
This will give you time for resizing and engraving.
- Send your event schedule to the vendors.
Giving them a first draft now allows ample time for tweaks and feedback.
Two Months Before
- Touch base again with all the vendors.
Make sure any questions you or they had on your first draft have been answered.
- Meet with the photographer.
It’s important to know what the plan and expectations are. We usually do this as part of an engagement shoot.
- Review the playlist with the band or DJ.
You don’t need to dictate every single song played, you should give us a clue of you favourites and styles you like. The online portal deals with the special tunes and the requests. There is a link for you to give to guests (careful about some of your guests though! but then, you can go in and grade their choices…)
- Send out the invitations.
The rule of thumb: Mail invitations six to eight weeks before the ceremony, setting the RSVP cutoff at three weeks after the postmark date.
- Submit a newspaper wedding announcement.
If you’re planning to include a photograph, check the publication’s website: Some have strict rules about how the photo should look.
- Enjoy a hen party.
Arranging a night out with your girlfriends generally falls to the maid of honour or chief bridesmaid. But if she hasn’t mentioned one to you by now, feel free to ask—for scheduling purposes, of course!—if a celebration is in the works.
One Month Before
- Enter RSVPs into your guest-list database.
Phone people who have not yet responded.
- Get your marriage license.
The process can take up to six days, but it’s good to give yourself some leeway. If you are changing your name, order several copies.
- Mail the rehearsal-dinner invitations.
- Visit the dressmaker for (with luck!) your last dress fitting.
For peace of mind, you may want to schedule a fitting the week of your wedding. You can always cancel the appointment if you try on the dress then and it fits perfectly.
- Stock the bar.
Now that you have a firm head count you can order accordingly.
- Send out as many final payments as you can.
- Confirm times for hair and makeup and all vendors.
- E-mail and print directions for drivers of transport vehicles.
This gives the chauffeurs ample time to navigate a route.
- Assign seating.
Draw out table shapes on a layout of the room to help plan place settings. Write the names of female guests on pink sticky notes and the names of male guests on blue sticky notes so you can move people about without resketching the entire setting.
When Lisa and Graeme got married, no-one sat next to their own partner, although they were at the same table. The reason was there were loads of single people and the budget wasn’t going to stretch to +1’s. You sit with your own partner every day, so we mixed it right up. This meant there wouldn’t be a single person sat between two couples and running the risk of no-one to chat with. Everyone was sat next to someone else – it really worked well!
- Purchase bridesmaids’ gifts.
You’ll present them at the rehearsal dinner.
- Write vows, if necessary.
- Get your hair cut and colored, if desired.
Week of the Wedding
- Reconfirm arrival times with vendors.
- Delegate small wedding-day tasks.
Choose someone to bustle your dress, someone to carry your things, someone to be in charge of gifts (especially the enveloped sort), someone to hand out tips, and someone to be the point person for each vendor.
- Send a timeline to the bridal party.
Include every member’s contact information, along with the point people you’ve asked to deal with the vendors, if problems arise.
- Pick up your dress.
Or make arrangements for a delivery.
- Check in one last time with the photographer.
Supply him or her with a list of moments you want captured on film.
- Pay the suppliers.
If you haven’t already, many require payment 2, 3 or 4 weeks before the date.
- Book a spa treatment.
Make an appointment for a manicure and a pedicure the day before the wedding. (You might want to get a stress-relieving massage, too.)
- Send the final guest list to the caterer and all venues hosting your wedding-related events.
Typically, companies close their lists 72 hours in advance.
- Break in your shoes.
- Assemble and distribute the welcome baskets.
- Pack for your honeymoon.