Planning your dream day can feel overwhelming! With so much to organise from your guest list to your ceremony playlist, having a wedding checklist is just what you need! So not only have we put together some key points to remember when planning your wedding but we have also included a FREE wedding checklist at the end too!
We have written this checklist in a way that breaks the planning up into more manageable, stress-free chunks and takes you step-by-step through the 12 months leading up to your special day.
12 Months to go......
Set the date - If you haven't already then now is the time to pick a date for your big day! The earlier you book the more likely you are to get the venue of your choice and the date you want. Remember, if you want to save some money consider booking an off-season or mid-week wedding as most venues tend to offer these at a discounted rate.
Set your budget - Working out your budgets and expectations early helps you avoid getting into debt and gives you realistic figures to work with when it comes to booking your venue and suppliers.
Draw up your guest list - When it comes to deciding on a venue you are going to need to know roughly how many guests you will be having first because if the venue can't fit everyone in you may have to choose a different venue or shorten your guest list.
Pick a venue - Where you choose to get married, whether it's all in one place like at a hotel, or in a church, and then at an events venue, it is going to take the largest chunk of your wedding budget. To save on any disappointment we advise emailing the venues that you are interested in first to get an idea of the prices they charge before you book any viewings. This will also help in shortening your list if you have quite a few venues that you like, once you have narrowed the list down to affordable venues then you can start booking some viewings.
Book your registrar - If you have chosen to have a civil ceremony you will need to book a registrar, and the sooner you can do this the better to make sure you can get them on the date of your choosing. It is advised to book the registrar before you book and confirm your venue to ensure both are available on the dates and times you want.
Photo courtesy of Lloyd Clarke Photography
9 To 11 Months to go.....
Book a photographer/videographer - The best wedding photographers can be booked up a year or two in advance so the sooner you start looking the more chance you have of getting a great photographer of your choice.
Find Your Dream Dress - There are so many styles of wedding dresses out there that picking your dream dress could actually take longer than you think! Even if you think you know exactly what you want this could change once you start dress shopping and trying on a variety of styles, so give yourself plenty of time. If you don't find anything in the first shop you visit don't despair there will be the dream dress out there it may just mean trying out more than one shop.
Choose your bridal party - Bridesmaids or bridesmen are the ones that are going to be there by your side, keeping you calm and offering lots of support!
Post your save the dates - Once you have your date set in stone, the registrar is booked, the venue is booked, then it is time to send out your save the dates. These can be in the form of a small invite card, fridge magnets, tea towels, balloons, scratch cards, or coasters. For more unique ideas head to One Fab Day.
Start booking your suppliers - It is time to start thinking about booking all the suppliers you need, including caterers, florists, cake makers, DJ/band, and more.
Finalise your guest list - If you haven't had all your RSVP's back yet then it's time to do a bit of chasing. Without knowing exactly how many guests are attending you can't finalise the amount of food needed, your drinks package, favours, and other amount specific plans that you have.
Photo courtesy of James Aston Photography
6 Months to go......
Find a hairstylist and make-up artist - It is probably a good idea to research some hairstyles and make-up styles that you like prior to booking anybody, as it may be that they are unable to achieve your desired look. It is also a good idea to have a trial run so that you can see how good they are and if the look you have chosen will suit you and your dress.
Plan your honeymoon - Not everyone chooses to go on a honeymoon so if you are not then just skip this bit. However, if you are this is the point to get those holiday brochures together and to start arranging your once-in-a-lifetime dream break!
Shop for your Bridesmaid/Bridesmen outfits - You may have decided to pick the bridal party outfits at the same time as picking your wedding dress, but if you haven't got them yet then this is the point to rally the group and get them all fitted just in case you need time for alterations.
Book your accommodation - If your wedding venue has accommodation on-site you may have already sorted your accommodation, but if not now is the time to find something, the earlier you book the less likely you will be stuck with nowhere to stay, or maybe there are guests that plan on staying at the venue that need chasing up instead.
Photo courtesy of Anna Wood Photography
3 To 5 Months to go......
Order your rings - A classic band or a sparkly affair......whatever you choose don't leave buying rings too late as they might need adjusting before the big day!
Pick the Groomsmen/Groomswomen outfits - You have the dress but now it's time to find some equally as dashing outfits for the groom's party.
Schedule a tasting session with your caterer - More than likely you have booked and confirmed your caterer by now, but you may not have actually decided on what food you want at your wedding (unless it is just one set menu the caterer offers), so it is probably best at this point to organise a tasting session so that you can decide for sure what you want serving on the day.
Create or order decorations, and centerpieces - whether you are making the room decorations, centerpieces, and favours yourself, or ordering them in, you will need plenty of time to make sure everything is ready or arrives on time.
Finalise your wedding itinerary - This is things like confirming your food menu, your flower arrangements, music, etc.
Plan your hen/stag parties - Generally, brides and grooms have their party at least 3 months before the wedding depending on what they choose to actually do. Most of the time the actual planning of this event is down to the chief bridesmaid and best man, but if you are a little worried about what they may arrange just be clear about what you want and hopefully they will arrange you something fantastic.
Photo courtesy of Lloyd Clarke Photography
3 Months to go.....
Send out Your invites - You may have sent these out already but if not you definitely need to do this at least 3 months before.
Send a shoot list to your photographer - Having a shoot list will not only help your photographer be organised on the day but it should also stop any vital photos with certain members from being missed too.
Wedding dress alterations - If you need any parts of the dress altering now is the time to do it, so that you have plenty of time to make other adjustments if needs be.
Up your skincare routine - The best time for your skin to be looking its best and to have a healthy glow is on your wedding day, so start preparing by giving your skin that extra bit of TLC.
Buy your thank you gifts - It is a nice touch to buy your best man, bridesmaids, ushers, parents, and anyone else who has played a key role a thank you gift for their part in making your day special.
Photo Courtesy of Tux & Tales Photography
1 To 2 Months to go.....
Finalise your guest list - Double check no RSVP's have been missed, and see what the final amount of guests is going to be, ready to finalise with caterers how much food you will need, and to put your seating plan together.
Finish Your table/seating plan - Now you have your final guest list you can put together where you want everyone to sit, and prepare your floorplan.
Confirm Honeymoon Plans - If you haven't already make sure all your honeymoon plans are in place, accommodation booked, flights/travel booked, holiday insurance sorted, holiday money sorted etc.
Photo courtesy of Lucy Sayers Photography
2 To 3 Weeks to go.....
Ensure The Bride and Groom Parties have their outfits - By now all adjustments should have been made and any accessories bought, so depending on where you are all getting ready now is the time to give the outfits to each member of the party.
Give the DJ your final playlist - You may be just leaving your DJ to pick popular songs but if not drop them over a playlist now so they can make sure they have the songs you need.
Pack for your honeymoon - If you are pretty much heading off straight away after you are married, do the packing early so you don't have to stress and rush after your dream day.
Confirm all the details with your suppliers - Speak to each supplier and ensure they all have the correct dates, places, times, and anything else, ready for the big day.
Find Your traditional bridal items - It has long been a tradition for brides to have 'something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue' for on their wedding day.
Relax - Take a deep breath and try and relax, it is time to enjoy the week leading up to your wedding.
Photo Courtesy of Jules Barron Photography
The week of the wedding.....
Pack an essentials bag - This should include items like make-up, mirror, tissues, perfume, and any other items you may need on the day.
Head to the Hairdressers - You want your hair in tip-top form, so head to the hairdresser and get your colour topped up and your ends trimmed.
Wear in your shoes - The last thing you need on your wedding day is to have uncomfortable shoes that are going to be wreck your feet. One way to avoid this is by wearing your wedding shoes in beforehand, do this by wearing them around the house every day when you can.
Photo courtesy of Richard Perry Photography
The Day Before.....
Try and have the day off - This is easier said than done as you will be stressing that there are still things to do, but you do need to try and kick back a little so you can start to enjoy this time before you finally have your big day.
Have your nails done - You may already have had this done but if not, why not have some time relaxing by getting a manicure and pedicure at your accommodation.
Hand over any remaining info to the designated person - It is likely that if you have a wedding planner or the wedding venue has an events manager, they will already have all the details ready for your day, but you may just want to spend a few minuted checking these over with them to make sure everyone is on the same page. It may also be worth giving your chief bridesmaid or best man this too so they can co-ordinate everything whilst you enjoy the day.
Get an early night - You do not want bags under your eyes the next day, so relax, have a pamper, and get your head down nice and early so you wake up rested and ready to go.
Finally - Your wedding day is the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in your life and whatever happens on the day this is the most important thing to remember. So if there is a couple of slip-ups throughout the day, don't worry, just enjoy your special day, with the people you care about and look forward to starting a long and happy life together.
Photo Courtesy of Steven McDonald Photography
Click Here for your FREE downloadable wedding planning checklist
For further wedding inspiration head to our blog page
Looking for a beautiful wedding venue? Head to York Barn's website for further information