Ready, set, wed
Originally published in Wedding Album magazine
12+ months before
- Start a wedding file or Pinterest account to keep track of all your ideas and inspiration.
- Work out your budget.
- If you’re going to hire a wedding planner, do that now.
- Choose your date and reserve a venue (one of these is likely to depend on the other).
- Book the venue for your reception, if it’s going to be different to the ceremony venue.
- Choose the wedding party.
- Start planning your guest list.
- Book your officiant.
- Choose and book an MC.
- Have an engagement party, keeping in mind that anyone invited to this should also feature on your wedding guest list.
9–12 months before
- Order your dress or book a designer.
- If they’re not included in your venue hire, choose a caterer.
- Book your DJ or entertainment (including ceremony musicians).
- Research and hire a photographer and videographer.
- Book your florist.
- Reserve accommodation for out-of-town guests and pay deposits.
6–9 months before
- Meet with your officiant to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork covered.
- Have invitations made.
- Send out save-the-dates.
- Start organising bridesmaids’ dresses, groomsmen’s suits and flower-girl outfits.
- Start planning your honeymoon (including renewing your passport and having vaccinations).
4–6 months before
- Fit and purchase your rings.
- Do tastings and order your cake.
- Buy your wedding shoes (and start taking them to dress fittings).
- Book your hair and make-up artists.
- Plan the big-day timeline.
- Start choosing the playlist.
- Contact rental companies for anything your venue isn’t providing, from seat covers to fancy Porta-loos.
- Book the venue for your rehearsal dinner.
- Set up your registry.
3 months before
- Finalise the menu.
- Finalise the flowers.
- Order wedding favours, if you’re having them.
- Choose people to give toasts.
- Buy your wedding lingerie.
- Make your vendors aware of the day’s schedule (they may have helpful feedback).
- Hire wedding-day transport.
- Book your spa treatments for the week of your wedding.
2 months before
- Send out invitations.
- Meet with your photographer to discuss specific shots, locations and people to be photographed.
- Do a trial hair and make-up run.
- Have menus and programmes printed.
- Write your vows.
4 weeks before
- Make a list of your RSVPs and follow up with anyone who has not yet responded.
- Make a seating chart and have place cards printed.
- Have your final dress fitting. You should bring along your maid of honour so she can learn specifics such as how to lace your corset or bustle your train (no, we’re not kidding).
2 weeks before
- Let your venue know of any special vendor requests, such as additional power outlets for the DJ or refrigeration for the cake.
- Send your DJ your final playlist, including any songs you definitely don’t want to hear.
- Have your pre-wedding haircut and colour.
- Wear in your wedding shoes.
- Stock the bar.
The week of…
- Give venue and caterers a final headcount.
- Confirm times, dates and final details with every vendor.
- Hand over programmes, menus and place cards, and any hired or DIY decor, to your reception manager.
- Delegate wedding-day and post-wedding tasks – someone to be in charge of getting your gifts home and handle rental returns while you’re on your honeymoon.
- Pick up your dress!
- Make sure the bridesmaids’ dresses, groomsmen’s suits and flower-girl attire are ready to go.
- Pack for your honeymoon.
- Make final payments to vendors, and prepare cash tips in envelopes for waitstaff on the day.
- Organise snacks and drinks for the dressing rooms.
The night before
- Rehearse the ceremony with your wedding party, immediate family and officiant.
- Introduce the manager of your reception venue to the best man and maid of honour, or whomever you’ve delegated as the go-to person for questions or problems during the reception.
The big day
- Give the wedding bands to the best man and maid of honour.
- Eat breakfast, stay hydrated and don’t rush!