This Blog contains much information regarding the planning timeline of your wedding which is well documented in many places. I have thought about many aspects of what is required and what needs to be done and also put my own spin on it too. I hope this will help to give you a starting point from when you decide to get married as to what is required to help you stay in control of your wedding date rather than letting the date control you! I have included links to other blogs that I have written that are relevant to the point in question to illustrate some of my reasoning, for you to copy & paste.
Your Wedding Planning Timeline from when you become engaged to the Big Day.
18-24 months before the big day.
• Sit down with your other half and discuss what you both want from your wedding to make sure you're both on the same page. Maybe a theme, colour scheme, simple or extravagant? It’s your wedding, there’s no right or wrong way, so do it your way. http://www.stevebriers.co.uk/blog/themed-weddings-32
• Draw up an approximate budget
• If both sets of parents are yet to meet, arrange a get-together and decide what tasks need completing and who is responsible for what with regards to booking and paying for services etc. This is crucial, as you don’t want the bride booking a DJ for her wedding, then 12 months later, the groom’s mother books another DJ. This happens when there are too many people getting involved thinking that they are helping and ‘doing their bit’, so define this and set the rules now. It’s your wedding, so do not be dictated to by others. Accept their help and advice, but make it your own.
• Share your good news with close family and friends
• Research local wedding services and suppliers like Venues, Entertainment, DJ’s, Florist, Cars, Suits, Dress, Photographer, Stationers etc. By all means use Google, but, for example, do not rely on someone who pays to be on Page 1 of Google. They may not necessarily be the best or most experienced option. Ask around, use local knowledge and always check out testimonials of services that you are looking to engage and try to validate also what is being said to promote that business because false words and false claims could end up spoiling your big day. All my testimonials are validated and I have the original documentation to back them up Have a look at my Testimonials Page on my website: http://www.stevebriers.co.uk/testimonials
• Start planning an initial rough guest list. Decide on approximate number of guests. The numbers will reflect your budget, but at the same time, until you have decided on your venue and discussed wedding packages and prices for your wedding breakfast and evening party, you cannot fully do this. My advice is to make a list of people that you need to and want to invite to your wedding breakfast, keep it tight if you are on a limited budget. This is your ‘A’ list. Then, make a ‘B’ list of guests that you want to invite and who you would like to join you for your wedding breakfast if the budget permits. Then, make a ‘C’ list of all your friends, workmates and family members who you would like to join you for your evening wedding party. Based on this initial list, you have approximate numbers to work with when you start looking at Wedding venues as the first question they will ask is “what numbers are you looking at for your wedding breakfast and how many more for the evening party?” Remember as well, everyone wants a Saturday and therefore Saturday dates are premium and rightly so, it’s the old supply and demand situation that dictates so much in life, so look to get prices for a Saturday, then ask if a deal can be done for a Friday or midweek booking?
• Pick potential wedding dates and maybe just check these dates with important wedding guests, in case they have a holiday booked or are not available. Research potential wedding venues, like hotels etc. and likewise church if they are separate. However, you need to be a bit flexible at this stage as your chosen wedding venue, church or hotel may not be available and crucially, if it’s a civil ceremony, the date has to be a date that the registrar is available. This is obviously the same scenario with a church wedding. So, that first appointment/meeting with the registrar or vicar and therefore the finalisation of the date will dictate where you go from here. To avoid cramming your special day into a half day, an early wedding is really important if possible, say 11am or 12 midday. Have a read of my Blog (paragraph 3) to give you more of an insight into the reasons for this:
• Choose and ask your bridesmaids, beat man and groomsmen etc.
• Send ‘Save the date’ notifications with venue details to abroad or out of town guests
• Enlist any helpers/talented friends of family with aspects of the wedding (for the cake, flowers, dresses etc.)
Once the date is booked (At least 12-24 Months before the big day if possible):
• Make appointments with Bridal boutiques for your dress and considerations too for your chosen colour scheme and the bridesmaid’s dresses.
• Likewise make a decision on whether the groom and his groomsmen are to hire or purchase their wedding attire and make appointments to visit local shops for this.
• Choose your witnesses, bridesmaids and groomsmen.
• Book your Wedding DJ for your evening entertainment. This is an important decision as the wrong or unprofessional inexperienced DJ can wreck what is otherwise a perfect day. Please have a read of my Blogs for some good sound advice: http://www.stevebriers.co.uk/blog/more-things-to-look-out-30
• Book your photographer and videographer if you choose to have one. Again, an important decision for the aforementioned reasons.
• Arrange to visit a Florist to discuss your wedding bouquet, bridesmaid’s flowers, buttonholes for the men and possible flowers for the table decorations.
• Finalise Your Guest List and order and send out Wedding Invitations for the Wedding Breakfast and also evening Wedding Party Reception.
• Organise Wedding Insurance
9 Months before the big day
• Choose a hairstylist
• Choose a make-up artist
• Remind out of town guests to book accommodation and maybe provide them with options and links to local hotel/guest house websites. Better still, a good option, if possible, is to choose a venue with plenty of accommodation to make life easier for your travelling guests and indeed all your guests,
• Choose your gift list
• Go for a 2nd dress fitting
• Choose wedding rings
• Order wedding cake
• Choose bridesmaids dresses
• Book transport for the day
6 Months Before The Big Day
• Discuss the services and banns with your vicar or registrar
• Select Hymns and Order of Service / Choose readings if desired.
• Ensure passports are valid for your honeymoon
• Arrange for a tasting of the food to be served
• Discuss service details with ceremony officials
• Organise Hen Do
• Organise Stag Do
• Meet photographer to decide on what type of photos you want (a storyboard) and to advise of the key people at the wedding. (Meet at the venue if possible)
• Draw up a wedding day timetable. This is important and will be the guidelines for the smooth running of your big day. The venue that you select, as long as it’s a hotel or the like and not a village hall or self-hired marquee for example, will be happy to help you put together this timetable or running order based on their experience.
• Book a make-up trial session
• Book a hair session and be sure to take any veils/headpieces you will wear
• Buy gifts for bridesmaids / parents of the bride and groom
• Contact photographer to re-confirm booking
• Contact DJ to discuss First Dance or any special musical requests for yourselves. Have a read of my Blog regarding Music and Playlists: http://www.stevebriers.co.uk/blog/playlists-music-and-requests-for-33
• Contact hair stylist and make-up artist to re-confirm booking
• Contact your florist to re-confirm booking
• Stay in constant touch with everybody, especially the venue as your big day approaches, even if it’s just a case of touching base and to fine tune and consolidate plans
• Buy gifts for bridesmaids / parents of the bride & groom etc. and wedding favours, if you are to have them.
1 Month Before The Big Day
• Go for your final dress fitting
• Ensure you have paid all of your suppliers
• Review your guest list and contact anyone who has not responded. At this point, guests may have dropped out and you can move up guests from your ‘B’ list to your ‘A’ list.
• Give notice of marriage to your local register office (unless you are marrying in the Church of England/Church of Wales)
• Confirm honeymoon bookings
2 Weeks Before The Big Day
• Sort out local currency for your honeymoon
• Wear in your new wedding shoes
• Pick up wedding rings
1 Week Before The Big Day
• Reconfirm details with your venue (dates, times, location, contact numbers) and advise or reconfirm on final numbers and any special dietary requirements
• Finalise seating plan
• Write place cards
• Reconfirm details with photographer (dates, times, location, contact numbers)
• Reconfirm and touch base with your Wedding DJ regarding any last minute changes of your first dance song etc.
• Organise for a personal and special note or gift to be delivered to your partner on the wedding day (a nice touch)
• Pack for your honeymoon and ensure you leave all details with a friend in case of an emergency
• Reconfirm details with hairstylist & make-up artist (dates, times, location, contact numbers)
• Pick up wedding dress
• Arrange to have your wedding cake delivered to your venue and advise the venue of this. Ideally, give the cake supplier the contact name and number of the wedding planner at the venue so they can liaise and plan the best time and location for the cake table.
• Make up the favours for your wedding day
• Pack an overnight bag for the reception
• Pack for the honeymoon
• Organise money to be paid to wedding suppliers on the day
• Reconfirm pick up times etc. with wedding car company
The Day Before The Big Day
• Help decorate the venue if the room is available. It’s a good idea to arrange with the venue for the room to be available to you the day before if possible. This is best done when you have your initial consultation with the venue.
• Run through the order of the day with the bridal party to ensure everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are
• Get an early night
On The Big Day
Stay calm, enjoy yourself and embrace the happy memories that you are creating.
After the Wedding
• Prearrange for someone to return any rentals.
• Pre plan for attendants to take the bride's gown for cleaning and return the groom's suits, if hired, to the rental shop.
• Write and send thank-you notes to gift-bearing guests and vendors who were especially helpful.