Cut your to-do list into bite-sized pieces to make wedding planning a breeze!
The question always pops up: you have a shiny ring and stars are in your eyes, but now what? With so many details to arrange; planning a wedding can seem overwhelming! However, with enough time to plan and enough time to sort the tasks into a structured wedding-planning checklist and timeline ( and of course with a *fab* wedding coordinator like me 😉 ), the job becomes fun and a whole lot less stressful. Tackle the planning process one step at a time to ensure that it is far less overwhelming!
Planning the perfect day does take time and therefore I suggest about 12 to 14 months to plan your wedding celebration. (If your engagement length is shorter, you don’t have to worry as I just condense the wedding schedule.)
12 Months Out
Determine Your Budget
It’s time to crunch some (not-so-fun) numbers. Before you can start anything, you have to figure out who’s paying for what and determine your wedding’s total budget. From there, you’ll want to break it down — what’s a priority and what’s not? — and start allocating funds accordingly. Keep track of your spending on an Excel spreadsheet and make it easy to adjust numbers along the way.
Make a Guest List
If only you could invite everyone! Chances are, you can’t, which is why you have to put a cap on the invites. When deciding your head count, consider your budget (how much can you afford?) and your venue (how many people does it accommodate?). Next comes cutting, negotiating, and cutting some more until you reach the final number.
Hire a Wedding Planner
This will depend on your budget, but if your funds allow – or if your peace of mind depends on it – now is the time to select your coordinator for your big day. This person will be your right-hand person and will guide you in all decisions, from selecting a venue to tracking your budget and handling all the logistics.
Select the Venue
Choosing the venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll make right now. Seriously, the location affects almost everything else, from how many people you invite to what kind of flowers go on the table. That’s why it is super important to explore your options, visit the top contenders, and ultimately select a place that fits your guest count, style, and budget.
Decide Formality and Overall Theme
Now’s the time to sit down and have another heart-to-heart conversation with your significant other. After all, the ‘vibe’ of your wedding needs to be a mutual decision between the two of you. Ask yourself: What is important to us and why? What do we value? Also, ensure your venue complements your overall ‘look and feel’.
11 Months Out
Choose a Colour Scheme and Start Thinking of Overall Design
Get the inspiration going on your Pinterest board. It’s time to select a colour palette, and create a mood board. Look at various wedding photographers’ Instagram pages and see what other couples are doing that you really like. Also, have a look at the venue’s social media accounts to see what works in the venue space. This is a great way to imagine your wedding in the space.
See the latest wedding trends blog post we recently posted for more ideas.
Hire your Suppliers – Including Your Photographer, Videographer, Make-up Artist, DJ, and Caterer
These are the people who play really important roles in your wedding. Your photographer will probably capture the images you will frame and put up in your home; You need a video so that you can relive the amazing memories over and over again; Your make-up artist will make you look amazing; Your DJ will make sure your night is fun for all of your guests; And last but not the least; the food is always something your guests remember and therefore this needs to be delicious, fit in your budget and deliver high-quality service.
10 Months Out
Start Shopping for Your Wedding Dress
You may know exactly what you want or you might not, which is okay too. Also, finding a gown may be a matter of trial and error, as you may not look amazing in the dress that you saw online, but you may look amazing in something completely different to your initial idea.
Accommodation close to the venue might be booked out due to other venues in the area that also have weddings on your wedding date. So, secure your accommodation ASAP.
Create Your Save-the-date, Invitation or Wedding Website
Get your save-the-dates out to all of your guests to ensure they keep this *very* important date available.
I also definitely suggest looking at creating an all-inclusive wedding website as your invitation. This ensures that guests can find all the important information in one place. This will include the date, venue, directions, RSVP date and form, dress code, accommodation options in the area, engagement photos, bridal party details, gift registry, and more. Once you have your save-the-date sent out; already start designing this so that it is ready to send out 5 months before the big day.
Take Engagement Photos
Now is a great time to practise being in front of the camera, especially since most photographers include a session in their packages. This might help couples who are extremely camera-shy to grow confidence and get comfortable with the photographer before the wedding.
9 Months out
Ask your Bridesmaids & Groomsmen
It is really lovely to build a bridal box to ask your bride tribe for the big day. Add items such as bubbly, lipstick or lip gloss, tissues, maybe a robe, personalised sunglasses, a pair of earrings, a small mirror, foldable hairbrush, hand cream, face mask, a sweet treat, etc. For your groomsmen, you can add a personalised flask, cuff links, personalised badge, small bottle of whiskey or brandy, socks, tie or bow tie, maybe even a cigar, etc.
Meet With Potential Florists
Much like hiring other vendors, you want to make sure that you have an amazing florist that can make your wedding look amazing and of course suit your budget. Remember to select flowers that are in-season for the month you are getting married to avoid import costs, make sure your vendor is close to the venue to avoid high delivery costs, and lastly; ensure that they can bring your vision to life within your budget.
8 Months Out
Register for Gifts
You and your partner are building a life (and home) together and the gift registry will depend on if you already live together or not. When registering at a shop, it’s smart to ask for staples that you don’t have – like sheets, pots, pans, and so on – but it’s genius to think about what you really want – like that air fryer that you have been thinking of buying for months now.
Start selecting the Bridesmaid Dresses, Groomsmen suits and Bridal Party Accessories
They have to wear their dress or suit in front of a crowd of hundreds so make sure that you think of each individual and what would suit everyone. Also keep accessories in mind while you’re at it.
7 Months Out
Order Rental Items, Such as Specialty Chairs, Linens, Draping, Lounge Furniture, Dance Floor, Decorative Lighting, Etc.
You may think of these as extras, but that is not the case. Great rentals essentially act as the bones of your wedding-day décor. Conclusion: Don’t skimp on upgraded chairs and cosy lounge furniture (your guests will thank you) if your budget allows.
Hire an Officiant
You’ll need to hire someone to make it official! Couples can use a professional or take a more intimate approach and ask a close friend or family member to do the honours. Also make sure that you check in with your lawyer about a marriage contract to ensure you can give the relevant information to your officiant about your marriage type.
6 Months Out
Send out Invitations/ Wedding Website Details
Get ready to be spammed with RSVPs from your guests – as it is time to send out your invitations.
5 Months Out
Book the Newlyweds’ Transportation (Limo, Specialty Car, etc.)
Time to think about you two. Whether you’re into getting a limo, or all about a vintage Volkswagen bus – book this now to ensure you get around in style.
Book the Honeymoon
Traditionally, wedding etiquette states that the groom plans a surprise honeymoon for the bride. However, if you will both be planning the honeymoon; try to have things semi-sorted by this five-month mark.
Buy or Rent the Groom’s Tuxedo
Step one is choosing between a tux or suit, based on the formality of your wedding. Next will be to decide whether you are buying or renting. A well-made outfit will be flattering, but also allow your groom to show off any and all embarrassing dance moves without fear of splitting seams.
4 Months Out
Have Your Final Tasting With the Caterer
The tasting has become increasingly important as more and more couples choose to customise everything. If you’re nervous about heart-eyes obstructing your taste buds’ judgement; then bring your planner or consultant. They’ve likely attended tastings before, and will be your clear-eyed trouble-shooter.
Choose Your Cake
Some people skip this completely, but if you are one for traditions, ensure you start looking at the look, flavour and height you want for your wedding cake. Don’t stress about pleasing your guests. This is your cake as a couple. Find a reputable baker who’s available on your date, and happy to take on your dream design for an equally dreamy price.
Buy Wedding Bands
Does your fiancé (or you) know the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding band? Make sure you go shopping or find the perfect jewellery designer to get your wedding bands made.
Hair and Make-up Trial
Help the pros help you by researching some particulars before you go in for trials. Look back at old photos of yourself to find something that’s worked before and ensures you still look like yourself. Bring the inspo photos and be as specific as possible with the stylist about what you do and don’t want.
3 Months Out
Create a Seating Chart
You have now arrived at the seating chart challenge – another daunting balancing act of relationships, egos, and crisis management. You’ll want to think about your venue’s floor plan, whether or not you’ll have a head table and who will be sitting at it, and choosing a cool design.
Create and Print your Stationery
Choose the designs for your other stationery items such as menus, seating chart, individual names, table numbers, order or event cards, ceremony programmes etc. This still needs to be designed to suit the ‘look and feel’ of your wedding and then be printed.
Book a Photo-Booth Rental
Photo booths have become a reception staple, but if you’re hoping for something with a little more pizzazz than the standard step-and-shoot, ensure you brainstorm and see if your budget allows and what is unique for your celebration.
Meet With the Officiant & Select Readings
Lots of things to consider when asking someone to marry you, but your main concerns are availability, eligibility, fee, and fit. Once you’ve chosen, make sure they are on the same page as you about expectations and the overall tone of the ceremony.
Book your MC
This is another super important person that needs to be booked and ready for your special day. If you want a professional, book them now – or you can even ask a friend or family member who you think can crack a few jokes and ensure the flow and timeline is followed.
2 Months Out
Schedule this for now to ensure you have enough time to make changes, if required.
Do a Floral Mock-Up With Your Florist
This is not a ‘must’ (as your budget needs to allow for it) but you might not be able to visualise your floral for your wedding without it. Now is also the time to talk about tweaks and finalise your delivery and care strategy.
Give the Song Selections to Your Band or DJ
If you need music suggestions, make sure you complete the DJ’s questionnaire and even ask your guests to give some song suggestions. Remember all those important moments such as walking down the aisle, confetti shower, entering the reception, first dance, father-daughter dance, etc.
1 Month Out
Pay Vendors in Full
The last awkward situation you want to deal with right before your wedding day is a vendor asking for their final payment. Avoid that by keeping careful track of when and how much you need to pay each vendor and by when their final payment should be made.
Break In Your Wedding Shoes
Strut down your hallway. Dance in the kitchen. Do everything in your power to avoid painful blisters on the wedding night.
Congratulations! You’ve made it all the way to the final week of wedding planning! Deep breaths now, most of the hard work is over at this point. Now all that is really left is the nitty-gritty details. Take care of things like:
- Refreshing your hair colour
- Getting your eyebrows done
- Having a massage (why not make it a couple’s massage?)
- Final dress fitting (a friend or bridesmaid should come with you so they can learn how to close up your dress)
- Pack your bags for the honeymoon (don’t forget your passport if leaving the country), and confirm travel arrangements
- Clean your ring (head to your jeweller to get your engagement ring professionally cleaned so it’s extra sparkly on the wedding day)
- Clear your work to-do list so you can only focus on wedding festivities and take it all in
- Write your partner a note
- Write your speech
Book your consultation with me today so that we can get started with your planning!