Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist

Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist

72% of brides are engaged for with the average engagement being 21 months

QUICK SUMMARY

Your wedding day will be the best day of your life.

It’s full of love and celebration with your friends, family, and husband-to-be. You have the ring and the love of your life and now all that’s left to do is plan the day.

They say that planning your wedding is in the top five most stressful things to do in life (after divorce and moving house!) So, try to keep calm, and think about the bigger picture.

Here’s a short checklist that covers the main elements of your wedding.

Step 1. Venue, registrar, and catering for the big day.

Take your time here and visit as many different options as possible.

This is the fun part, so enjoy it! You’ll walk around hotels, bespoke venues, and castles trying to imagine your perfect day.

When you find the right venue, you know it’s the one. This will also go for the registrar & the cater, you will know when you meet them.

Here is a link to choosing the
perfect venue 

Step 2. Guest list and invitations

Once you’ve decided on your dream venue, you can start making a list of guests! Try to find an appropriate place to draw the line. Do you really need to invite your Great Aunty Betty’s cousin?

The invitations can get quite costly, so it’s worth looking for a budget solution here. If you’re handy and good with crafts, you could make them yourself.

This link could help you find your inspiration
free wedding invitation designs

Step 3. The Dress

The most important part of the day (obviously). You need to start looking at least nine months before your wedding.

That will give you time to choose, have it made, and altered for size.

The dress will make or break your big day. If you don’t feel comfortable in it, you’ll feel miserable all day, but remember to keep your budget in mind. Don’t try on that amazing dress that you can’t afford.

Take your maid of honour and your mum along for the fittings. You can always rely on them to give you their truthful opinions!

Step 4. The Rings

Well, you can’t get married without them. Make a decision on budget and style early on and start keeping your eye out.

If you’re on a tight budget, most jewellers have a range of secondhand rings that are just as beautiful as the brand new designs.

Step 5. Photographer, cake, entertainment, and flowers

That might sound like a long list, but it’s a good idea to group these lot together.

Book them all at the same time and keep in contact up to the big day. Some of them may have to negotiate with each other, or liaise with your wedding planner (if you have one).

PS Did I tell you that Forever Yours, Flowers specialises in the world of one-of-a-kind hand-painted artificial flowers.

Step 6. Hair and makeup

Lastly, it’s time to focus on you!

You probably already have an idea in mind about your hair and makeup. But, it’s always best to make an appointment with the experts.

Wedding packages usually offer you one or two trial styles before the wedding day. That way you can get it just right on the morning.

All that’s left to do is get married!

Remember, planning the wedding should be exciting. Take your time and enjoy the process.

Congratulations and good luck and most of all HAVE FUN!!!

Where to Start with a little bit more detail.

A wedding folder or binder … 
Begin leafing through bridal, lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design, and food magazines for inspiration. You can create this on your computer or phone but I find it is better to have it where you can physically see it. 
.

Click to learn how to create a Mood Board 

Work out your budget …

Determine how much you have to spend, based on your families’ contributions and your own.
Wedding Budget Calculator

Pick your wedding party …

As soon as you’re engaged, people will start wondering who’s in.

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.) Decide whether to have separate locations for the ceremony and the reception, factoring in travel time between the two places.

Hire a planner, if desired …

A planner will have relationships with—and insights about—vendors.

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 your officiant …

This is someone that you can and will have to work with, so choose wisely.

Research photographers, bands, 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.

EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE

Hire the photographer and the videographer … 

No need to talk specifics yet, but be sure that the people you hire are open to doing the shots that you want.

Book the entertainment …

Attend gigs of potential acts to see how they perform in front of audiences, then reserve your favourite.

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.

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 …

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.

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1. How to Create a Wedding Website That’ll Get Your Guests Excited for the Big Day

2. Top Five Wedding Website Builders (Updated for 2018)

SIX to SEVEN 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 …

This is extremely important if people are traveling from interstate or overseas.

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).

FOUR to FIVE 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 shower …

Provided you, ahem, know about the shower.

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 …

What should be playing when the wedding party is announced? During dinner? To kick off the dancing? Keep a running list of what you want—and do not want—played.

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. Also don’t forget the shoes, you need to be wearing them around the house before the event, so that you don’t get sore feet on the day.

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 …

Discuss specific shots, and walk through the locations to note spots that appeal to you.

Review the playlist with the band or deejay …

Though you probably won’t be able to dictate every single song played, you should come prepared with a wish list. Remember to remove any songs that may offend family, you know the ones … maybe with just too much swear words …
Grandmamma may just not like.

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. Traditions rarely ever disappear completely and this is just that something special for the oldies.

Enjoy a bachelorette party …

Arranging a night out with your girlfriends generally falls to the maid of honour. 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 …

This is usually reserved to close family and friends but it’s your choice who you invite.

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 …

This keeps the vendors happy, if they don’t have to chase final payments they can concentrate on your special day.

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. Also you do not want to have people ringing you on the day because they are lost.

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 re-sketching the entire setting.

Purchase bridesmaids’ gifts …

You’ll present them at the rehearsal dinner.

Write vows, if necessary …

This is where that special person may be able to help you if you are stuck. They know you and can advise you what to write. But remember you have to write the vows because they come from your heart.

Get your hair cut and coloured, if desired.

Guess what the ‘THE WEEK OF THE WEDDING’ has arrived

Reconfirm arrival times with vendors …

This will make your day flow so much smoother and you will be able to relax.

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. You don’t want to be worrying about things they others can do for you.

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. You know that person that is always late or disorganised, give them the weapons to be organised.

Pick up your dress …

Or make arrangements for a delivery. Personally I would want the wedding attire at least 1 to 2 weeks ahead of time, just for my nerves … LOL

Check in one last time with the photographer …

Supply him or her with a list of moments you want captured on film.

Set aside cheques for the vendors that need to be paid on the day…

And put tips in envelopes to be handed out at the event. Usually you have already organised a Direct Bank Transfer for all the little extras.

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.) Remember to not to try something new, just in case you have a reaction. You don’t want red skin on the day. 

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 … 

If you haven’t started, please start NOW!!!

Assemble and distribute the welcome baskets …

Time for your honeymoon … have fun packing.

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