Every wedding is completely unique, but the one thing they all have in common is the need to plan. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that may need thinking about throughout your wedding planning journey, so I’ve written a comprehensive list, which will hopefully help (and some pictures for inspiration too). Not everything is applicable for everyone, so please feel free to ignore as you wish!
You'll notice that wedding planning naturally has busy spells as well as quiet periods where you wonder what you should be doing (usually nothing, don't panic). While I felt like it was one of the most exciting times, it can be stressful and so it's important to remember to try and enjoy it. The time will fly by so take it all in and don't rush into making any decisions (and if the stress overrides the enjoyment then seriously think about letting a wedding planner step in).
It’s also important to note that while this list is designed for those that have a year or more to plan, it is totally possible to arrange a spectacular wedding in a much shorter space of time – I’ve been part of weddings that were planned in as short as three weeks!
As Soon As Possible
Book Your Venue
Before looking at venues though, it's a good idea to have a think about your budget. This is usually one of your biggest costs so you need to make sure it's affordable. You should also have a rough idea of which guests you'd like to invite as not only will this dramatically affect the cost, you also need to know that your venue can accommodate them.
Book Your Wedding Officiant
You need to make sure someone is available that can legally marry you! Registrars typically can't be booked until a year in advance, but many will let you pencil a date in their diary.
Get Yourself Some Wedding Insurance
This is easier said than done in the current covid world, but when you can, I seriously recommend wedding insurance. It won't cover you if you change your mind, but does cover a range of other unforeseen circumstances.
A Year To Go!
Choose a fabulous wedding photographer (hint, hint)
Get yourself the most gorgeous dress/outfit
Choose your dream team, aka The Bridal Party
Consider hiring a wedding planner
Book a videographer if you're thinking of having one
Choose your wedding theme/style/colours
Send out save the dates
Arrange bridal party outfits
Book Your Essential Suppliers
* Transport * Florist * Cake Maker * Honeymoon * Caterers * Wedding Rings * DJ *
* Wedding Night Accomodation * Venue decoration * Wedding Shoes & accessories *
* Stationery - invites, table plan, menus, place settings, order of service, table names *
* Plan your honeymoon * Check passports are in date (you can travel under your maiden name as long as bookings are made in that name) * Check if you'll need travel vaccinations *
Once you've booked all the essentials, then you can have a think about if you'd like to have any extras to add to the enjoyment of the day. Here are some of the amazing ideas I've seen:
Sweet table/cart | Ice Cream Cart | Gin Station | Hot Chocolate Station
Caricaturist | Bucking Sheep | Vodka Luge | Chocolate Fountain | Baileys Fountain
Band | String Quartet | Acoustic singer | Harpist | Bagpiper
Magician | Photobooth | Dove Release | Singing waiters | Garden Games | Sparklers
Additional Venue decorations (LOVE Letters etc) | Twmpath, Ceilidh or Barn Dance
Guest Book | Signing Board/Frame | Order of The Day Board
Nacho cart | Pizza mini van | Taco van | Cocktail Bar | Fish & Chip van
Mini Golf Hire | Children's Entertainer | Children's Soft Play | Children's Nanny service
Going to wedding fayres can be great to see what other ideas are about. They are also a really great way to meet suppliers and generally give you loads of wedding inspiration.
A Few Months To Go
Have your hair and make up trials and make sure you take along your
hair accessories including a veil
Have your engagement ring cleaned/redipped - try and use a local independent jeweller as they won't need to send it off (minimises the risk of it being lost)
Book an engagement session with your photographer and arrange a meeting with them to go through the images that you want from the day
Plan your wedding music - not just the evening dancing, but think about what you will walk down (and back up the aisle to), signing the register, welcome drinks as well as if you will have a wedding breakfast playlist
Book and plan your stag/hen do if you'd like one
Send out invites, collect RSVPs and confirm menu options with the caterer/venue
Confirm your booking and discuss your requirements with all your suppliers - make sure you double check they have the correct day and date to avoid any doubts
Create your table plan but leave it as late as possible to get it
printed in case of last minute drop outs
Pick a new perfume so that every time you wear it you will be reminded of your wedding
Purchase thank you gifts - most people buy for the parents and bridal party
Consider wedding favours, wedding signage and any little details you can add to further personalise your day - matching groomsmen socks, themed garter, cufflinks, ring box, personalised soles,
If you'd like the big confetti shot, buy confetti - not many guests bring their own these days
Try on your outfits with all the accessories to make sure they all go well together
Finalise your wedding day schedule and share this with your suppliers
Book ahead any spa treatments you'd like in the week before the wedding
Write your speeches and vows if relevant
The Week Up To Your Big Day
Have your hair trimmed and treat yourself to a blow dry (and colour if you usually would)
Check how your hairdresser wants you to wash/style your hair on the day/day before the wedding.
Make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities and that
at least one person is able to help with tying a tie/bow tie/cravat etc
If hiring your suits, collect them and check they are all correct
Get your dress out of the bag and steam it if needed (bridesmaid dresses too)
Drop anything off to the venue and feel free to provide them
instructions/pictures for table placements etc
Have another read through your speeches/vows etc
Plan a super relaxed, chill day the day before the wedding - hopefully by now everything is done and you can just soak it all in ready to enjoy the best day of your life
After Your Wedding
Thank You Cards
You can have these personalised with your favourite wedding photo to send out to guests
You can start selecting your favourite images as soon as you receive your personalised online gallery. Sorting a wedding album is the perfect post-wedding project allowing you to relive your best day ever time and time again
As I've said before, it's your wedding YOUR way so please don't feel you have to do something just because you saw it on a list. The most important thing is that you both have the wedding you want.
South wales wedding photographer cwmbran wedding photography cardiff