Wedding Planning: A 12 Month Guide
Wedding Planning: A 12 Month Guide
Planning a wedding can be a really fun and exciting time but let’s not forget how simultaneously stressful it can be. With 12 months to go until you say ‘I do’ you’re likely to have a good idea of what you do and don’t like but today we’re here to give you a helping hand and some useful tips on how to prioritise before the big day!
First and foremost, some important decisions need to be made. These decisions will impact the rest of your plans and include budget, venue and overall style/aesthetic of your wedding. It’s a good idea to jot down some questions.
Questions to consider
- Modern or traditional
- City or countryside
- Home or abroad
- Very close family and friends or all loved ones
- Summer sun or festive
- What’s our budget
Discussing these points will help you narrow down the search for the perfect venue, dress, decoration and overall feel of your special day. It’s also a good idea at this point to form a wedding planning checklist to make sure you stay to task and don’t miss anything out! Your checklist can be something as simple as a word or excel document or get yourself a wedding planning book which means you can keep separate sections for each task and pop in magazine clippings and notes to help you plan as you go along.
Book the venue
After deciding your budget, the next most important thing to do is book a venue. Choosing the perfect wedding venue will certainly take time so it’s good to arrange this before working through the rest of your planning. Ideally, couples look at securing their venue 9-12 months before but some of the more popular venues will be snapped up well in advance so keep this in the back of your mind and be prepared for a compromise of some sorts. It’s also a good idea to go and visit your venue round about the same time as you are planning your nuptials to get a feel for how it will look and how warm/cold it is. After booking the venue, now is also the time to look into caterers if this isn’t already included. If you’re planning to have the wedding ceremony in a different location, you should look into booking this at the same time to ensure you can get the date you wish!
Save the date
You wouldn’t want to send out wedding invites only to find out that your best friend is actually on holiday and won’t be able to make your big day! Avoid any disappointment by sending out save the date cards well in advance. Something as simple as an e-invite will work just as well and will allow friends and family to immediately add the date to their calendar to avoid double booking. Adding in this step will also help you think about guest numbers!
If you haven’t already thought about this now is the time to choose your bridesmaids, ushers and the rest of your bridal party!
It might sound boring but accidents and mishaps do happen so prepare for every eventuality and arrange wedding insurance promptly.
Now is the time to write the guestlist. Can people bring plus ones? Are children invited?
Choose the wedding dress
Choosing the perfect wedding dress can take time so start the search early and get yourself booked in at some wedding dress shops. Bear in mind fitting costs and appointments. If you’re going for a bespoke dress it may take at least six months to complete so keep this at the back of your mind.
Book a photographer
All the best photographers get snapped up early so make sure you do your research and book as soon as possible!
Book the band
Again, if you want live music or a DJ make sure you book this early to avoid disappointment. Ensure your venue doesn’t have any restrictions before you go ahead and book.
Review your wedding budget
Now that you’ve arranged your venue, dress and some other important factors it’s time to review your budget. How much is left? Do you need to reallocate your costs?
Gather together some brochures and attend wedding Fayres as this will give you ideas as to what stationery, cake, extra decorations you’d like. Start a Pinterest board too for extra inspiration and immerse yourself in the wedding blog world!
Do the taste test
One of the most fun parts about planning a wedding is the taste tests! Firm up your menu and drinks and have a think about the wedding cake. Some bakers require a long lead time so it’s good to organise this as soon as possible. Make sure you go to lots of taste tests before booking though!
You’ll have been giving a lot of thought to your colour scheme the past few months so now is the perfect time to go bridesmaid dress shopping.
Start ordering your stationery, order of service, menu, thank you notes etc.
Choose some retailers (three is usually a good number), register and create a gift list. It’s best to do this early as guests are likely to ask you about it in the months leading up to the wedding so it’s best to have it done and out of the way!
Now that you’ve got a good chunk of wedding planning done, get your honeymoon booked. After all of the excitement and stress of planning the wedding you’ll need a relaxing break to look forward to!
Reserve hotel rooms
If you have family and friends coming from out of town then it’s a good idea to reserve some hotel rooms. This can be rooms at your wedding venue or at some hotels nearby. Highlight a selection (around three) with different price points and let guests know.
Book the florist
By this point you will no doubt have been to a few wedding shows and will have chosen your wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses so you should have a good idea of what floral arrangements will suit your theme best.
Choose your wedding bands! If you want something customised, then it’s good to do this at least six months before so that you aren’t rushing at the last minute.
Groom & Ushers
It’s time to kit out your fiancé and the ushers so get them booked in for fittings!
If you plan to arrange evening or daytime transportation for guests, now is the time to organise this…as well as your own transportation!
Makeup & hair
It’s all about the hair and makeup! Give yourself time to try out different looks and hairstyles. Photograph each look/hair style so that you can compare and ask your family and bridesmaids for advice.
Start composing a schedule of the event slotting in and allocating time for each part of the day – cutting of the cake, first dance etc.
Get your bridesmaids and maid of honour on the case so that you have a hen day/night to remember!
Passport & final checks
The last thing you want to do is turn up at the airport ready for your honeymoon only to realise that your passport expired a week ago and you need a visa!
Now is a good time to start sending out your wedding invitations. Remember to include an RSVP deadline. It’s a good idea to give a deadline of two months before your wedding date. This will give you plenty of time to chase up pesky non-RSVP’ers without getting too stressed!
It’s a good idea to have a rehearsal before the big event so that you know exactly what to expect. This will also help to settle your nerves on the day.
In Scotland, you must complete your notice of wedding form no later than 29 days (28 days in England and Wales).
Think about wedding favours. If you plan on doing some DIY why not get your bridesmaids involved!
Chase up RSVPs
If you’re still waiting to hear back from people, now is the time to chase them up…don’t worry about doing this. You need to know who’s coming!
Now that the RSVPs are coming in, get your seating plan finalised.
Try everything on
It might sound silly but make sure you try on your whole outfit with accessories that way if you’ve forgotten anything you still have time to get it!
Reconfirm appointment times for makeup/hair and travel pickup.
Update the bridal party
Send a timeline to the bridal party so that everyone is kept in the loop about the arrangements!
Now that all of the hard work is out of the way it’s time to relax with your nearest and dearest! Your bridesmaids will no doubt have been planning this all along so all you need to do is turn up!
So that’s your wedding planning guide! Or use it as a wedding planning checklist you can build on and tailor for you. All that’s left to do now is enjoy your special day when it arrives! We hope this has helped you in some way and that your wedding day is all you hope for. For ideas on DIY wedding favours and DIY wedding centrepiece ideas be sure to check out our blog posts here.