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THE EXPERT'S WEDDING DAY CHECKLIST

Hannah Benn

Back to Inspirations

So, you're engaged! What now? 

Congratulations! After you get engaged and that stunning ring is sparkling on your finger, you are likely to get totally overwhelmed. The hours, days and weeks following that magical moment will feel like a whirlwind, so here is a wedding planning timeline to help get you on track.

12-18 months to go

Determine your budget
This is undoubtedly the most important job to do in the first instance. Every part of your wedding planning journey will be dependent on your budget. A spreadsheet is highly recommended for this as it helps to keep you on track.

Wedding insurance 
This is an incredibly important job. Unforeseeable things CAN happen and it is always best to be covered; particularly as your wedding is one of the biggest investments you will make financially in your life.
 
Make a guest list 
This is crucial to your next steps. Your numbers will determine the venues you can consider, the style and feel of your wedding and of course your budget. Also, this is a perfect time to consider your bridal party. Those wonderful friends who will step up to the job; from wedding dress shopping and organising your hen and/or stag parties to helping to make sure you both have the best day of your lives.

Get a wedding planner 
This is the time to hire a wedding planner if this is something you are considering. Whether you are looking for a full planning service, partial planning or smaller services,it’s a good idea to book one now, as their schedules fill up quickly.. A wedding planner can guide you through the whole process and be there on the day to ensure it runs seamlessly. They also have contacts with all the best suppliers to produce your ultimate day. 

Determine your style 
Most weddings follow a similar format to a certain extent, but there are a variety of ways to execute your day. What is important to you as a couple? Are you traditional? Are you looking for a formal affair or relaxed? Have you had a secret wedding Pinterest board for years and now is the time to share it? Perhaps you’re avid Disney or Games of Thrones fans…. This is your day and this should reflect who you are.

Find a venue 
Now you have a clearer picture of your guest numbers and wedding style, this should help with the next and exciting process; the venue search! This is one of the biggest jobs in wedding planning and affects everything else from here on in. Try and get this booked as soon as you possibly can because many venues get filled a year or so in advance. Especially during peak times, such as May – October and weekends.

Book a registrar 
Once you have booked your venue, you can now contact the registrar.. This is a job for you as Bride and Groom not for the venue, so don’t forget to do it. 

Send a ‘Save the Date’ 
Finally, the date is set and your theme has been chosen! It’s time to get those save the dates calendar notes designed and sent out to all your guests!

"While you may already have your heart set on one style of dress, let yourself move out of your comfort zone!"

9-12  months to go 

Book vendors and suppliers 
If you haven’t already, get researching and attend wedding fayres, to help you book your suppliers. Key businesses to book as soon as possible include photographers, DJs, florists and cake designers. You may also have to organise your own caterers and bar services, too. Check with your venue if there are any suppliers who they do or don’t recommend.

Hair and make-up 
Get researching hair and make up artists and get your trials booked in for around three months before the big day. You can begin sooner if you like- gives you plenty of time to be comfortable with it. Afterall, there is never a more important day to look the best you can possibly look. Make up is there to enhance your natural beauty, so don’t feel you have to wear lots, if that’s not your style. Also, Hair and beauty artists love it when their ladies come prepared; show them styles that you’re interested in.

Say yes to the dress!
That moment has arrived. The day you can finally go and try wedding dresses on. Book your appointments, round up your bridal party and arm them with tissues. While you may already have your heart set on one style of dress, let yourself move out of your comfort zone. There are many styles for you to choose from; try them all on! You may still find you love your original idea more than ever. 
You may wish to buy your bridesmaids’ dresses now, too.

Book out hotel rooms in block 
Where your guests stay is all part of their wedding experience and it’s nice to have all guests staying together. If the venue you’re getting married or having your reception at has accommodation, enquire about reserving a block of rooms at a discounted rate for your guests to book. 


"Receiving an invitation is an exciting experience for your guests; it makes it all official and they can begin to organise their outfits and travel arrangements!"

3-6 months to go 

Send out the invitations
For weddings in the UK, invitations ideally should go out no later than three months before the wedding. If you’re getting married abroad, then it’s at least six months. If you used a stationer when you created your save the dates, then you simply just have to send them the details. If you’re using invitations from the high street or independent retailer, or if you’ve created them yourself, ensure the design complements the style of your wedding.  Receiving an invitation is an exciting experience for your guests; it makes it all official and they can begin to organise their outfits and travel arrangements!

Suited and booted
Now it’s the gents’ turn; they need to buy or hire their suits as well as decide on their shoes.

Logistics 
When you book the venue, make sure you understand if you have to arrange the rental of essentials such as chairs, tables, linen etc. If you do, ensure you organise how and when these items arrive and need to be returned.

Don’t forget to organise your own transport for the day! 
  
Accessories, accessories, accessories! 
These are so often overlooked. Now is the time to focus on your aisle style including hair accessories, shoes and jewellery etc.  Get those rings ordered! Make sure the best man doesn’t lose them!
You should now make plans with your florists, too. There are so many options for bouquets, buttonholes, centerpieces and aisle decorations. Once again, go to the meeting with some inspiration!

Plan ceremony 
The ceremony is arguably the most important part of the entire day. You will want it to run smoothly. Spend some time now planning the readings, the music for entrance, exit and register signing etc. Meet now with the registrar to discuss all these elements. You may now wish to ask those who you’d like to be your witnesses.

Food tasting 
Now this is a day worth waiting for! The day you get to taste your wedding food and wine. Clear the diary, book a taxi / designated driver and enjoy! 

Little Touches  
Now is the time to design your remaining stationery such as; name places, menus, signs, table names, table plans and to choose your favours. All these wonderful design opportunities. It's lovely to do these things together as a couple or as a team with your bridesmaids and groomsmen. 

Don’t forget to buy gifts for your bridal party, including your parents.  

6-8 weeks to go 

Dress Fittings 
The anticipation is building and the moment has arrived to try on your dress again and make sure it fits beautifully! It is a good idea to take your maid of honour or mum with you so the seamstress can show any techniques for helping you get in and out of your dress and can demonstrate how to tie the bustle (if you have one) for the party. 

Table plan 
This is often described as the hardest job in wedding planning. So, sit down, pour a glass of wine and make a start. 

Final confirmations 
Now is the time to contact all the suppliers to make final confirmations, confirm all the speeches and order of them and create a shot list for your photographer. 

1 week to go 

Attend the rehearsals, collect the dresses and suits, pamper yourself and relax! The day has finally arrived!

About the Author

Hannah Benn is the director of Daisy Alexandra Weddings, luxury wedding planners based in Essex. Daisy Alexandra Weddings offers a full range of bespoke services in London and the Home Counties, including full or partial planning, venue and supplier search and wedding day coordination. With over 14 years' experience in celebrity management, Hannah trained with the UKAWP to become a professional wedding planner, before launching her company.


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