It’s true. This wedding planning business is all a little daunting isn’t it? Well, stop, right there because I have spent hours compiling a very thorough wedding planning checklist meant to put your mind at ease. This is very similar to the process I go through when wedding planning with an Extraordinary Bride & Groom. So, think of it like your personal wedding planner on paper. Once you have been through this wedding timeline you will no-doubt be feeling much more organised! Download a printable copy of The Ultimate Wedding Planning timeline here.

PRINCIPLES TO LIVE BY

When it comes to a wedding planning timeline, there are three important things to remember.

1. Everyone’s schedule is going to be different because you will have varying lengths of engagements. So adapt the countdown to suit your engagement period and remember this next point…

2. It’s really never too late for anything. Perhaps I have a bit of a laid back attitude about this but I also have a can-do spirit! You absolutely don’t want to leave task list items to the last minute if possible but if you forget something or decide at the last minute you actually do want – say – a videographer, one can be found, a cake can be booked the week of the wedding, and a supplier that goes bust can be replaced. I’ve done them all and you can too.

3. Get it all done with a week to spare. Please, I beg of you, don’t spend the week of your wedding organising things that should have been done months ago. It is not chic to be running around stressed out when you should be sipping champagne and getting your nails done. So, in your wedding planning, don’t even consider the week before your wedding as 7 days to get stuff done. As a planner, if I have full planning client that has to make any major wedding decision in the 7 days before their wedding, I truly would think I have failed in my job. Those days are precious moments to celebrate and you can’t get them back!

And without further ado,

WEDDING PLANNING COUNTDOWN

As soon as you are engaged! 

  • Draw up a budget.
  • Start planning your guest list, which may impact your venue choices.
  • Start gathering addresses for your guest list.
  • Pick potential wedding dates. Tip: Check with VIP guests to avoid clashes. 
  • Secure your venue. Tip: Your venue and reception costs (food included) should be no more than 40-50% of your budget. Don’t forget to include VAT and service.
  • Book your registrar for a civil ceremony. Tip: Do this at the same time as booking you venue to ensure availability.
  • Give notice at your local registrar office for a civil ceremony.
  • Set up a spreadsheet that will keep track of wedding payments made and to be made.
  • Set up a task list. Tip: divide it by suppliers, people to delegate to, and general tasks to be completed. 
  • Ask your bridesmaids and ushers to be by your side on the big day!
  • Begin your wedding website. Tip: This should be ready when you send your save the dates.
  • Hire a wedding planner before any of this if you would like a full service wedding planner.

Jose Villa

{The Talent: Jose Villa}

12 months to go! 

  • Book wedding insurance.
  • Write a draft timeline of your wedding day. Tip: Don’t forget to include time for your speeches and for your band to set up and sound check. 
  • Consider what type of entertainment you will want throughout the day.
  • Book photographer.
  • Book videographer.
  • Choose your stationer for invitation and day-of stationery.
  • Send out your save the dates if your wedding is on a holiday or many guests will be traveling internationally.
  • Begin considering flower and decor ideas. Tip: Start a pinterest board! 
  • Begin wedding dress shopping. Tip: It becomes more difficult to order wedding dresses with less than 6 months to go.

8-10 months to go! 

  • Book all music and entertainment.
  • Book a florist.
  • Book any hired items – crockery, linen, cutlery, etc.
  • Book ushers’ suits
  • Order grooms’ suit. Tip: A bespoke suit takes upwards of 3 months. 
  • Book wedding transport if needed.
  • Send Save the Dates if your wedding is not a destination wedding or is not on a holiday.
  • Book hair and make-up artists.

6 months to go! 

  • Hire a wedding planner, if you would like a wedding day-of coordinator.
  • Book your wedding cake.
  • Check that your passports are in date for honeymoon and begin planning your honeymoon.
  • Begin stag and hen (bachelor and bachelorette party) plans.

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{The Talent: Olufsen Design}

3 months to go! 

  • Finalise all decor items – from your flowers to how your place settings will be laid out. Tip: Complete a mock table setting and take a photo. Share this with your venue or caterer early to ensure they are able to complete the look on your wedding day.
  • Have a hair and make-up trial.
  • Have a menu tasting.
  • Order wedding rings.
  • Begin writing your vows, if you will be writing your own.
  • Purchase gifts for parents, bridesmaids, ushers, and your soon-to-be husband/wife.

Vows

{The Talent: BHLDN}

4 weeks to go! 

  • Send your venue or caterer final meal and drink selections.
  • RSVPs should be due.
  • Finalise day of stationery details – orders of service, place cards, etc.
  • Pay suppliers who have a 4 week deadline.
  • Have a final run through meeting with your venue and/or caterer Tip: Make sure to cover logistics of how clean-up will be covered (e.g., who is going to collect all your stuff after the wedding?).
  • Confirm your first dance song and ensure your band/DJ knows what it is.
  • Confirm your wedding ceremony processional and recessional music.
  • Confirm your wedding ceremony processional and recessional order (i.e., the order which your bridesmaids, etc. will walk up and down the aisle).
  • Ask your bridesmaid and ushers to perform tasks on the wedding day.

3 weeks to go! 

  • Chase missing RSVPs.
  • Complete your seating plans.
  • Contact your suppliers and confirm your wedding day details.

2 weeks to go! 

  • Send your venue or caterer final guest numbers and meal counts.
  • Send your venue or caterer guest dietary restrictions.
  • Send your venue or caterer your seating plans Tip: Include notes of where highchairs should be placed and where those with dietary restrictions are seated.
  • Pay suppliers who have a 2 week deadline (it will be many).
  • Ensure you have back-up copies of important items organised and ready (i.e., readings, supplier confirmations, supplier phone numbers, etc.).
  • Confirm that you bridesmaid and ushers know their duties on the wedding day.
  • Complete a “must-have” shots list to your photographer and videographer.
  • Have your final dress fitting and collect your wedding dress!
  • Supply your venue coordinator with a list of supplier requests such as a table for the DJ or setup space needed by your florist.

The week of the wedding!

  • Send your caterer any changes in guest numbers and seating plans.
  • Have a wedding ceremony rehearsal.
  • Organise any money that needs to be paid to suppliers on the wedding day.
  • Relax, drink champagne, and celebrate!!!

Is there anything I forgot that you think is vital to remember or would you have forgotten anything I mentioned? Leave a comment below and tell me! And don’t forget to download the printable version of The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline!