You’re engaged. Congratulations! Enjoy the celebrations because, if you intend to marry within a year or two you’ll need to start plotting and planning now. But fear not! For we have a super helpful wedding planning timeline to help you along, based on an 18-month planning schedule.
Follow this link to Confetti.co.uk for a downloadable wedding planning checklist.
Venue Walkthrough checklist: we have our own downloadable and printable list of venue walkthrough questions. Follow the link below:
Location, Location, Location
We see a lot of couples looking at a wedding date in 18 months to 2 years time. Because of this, many venues get booked well in advance. So, if you’re set on a particular location, it’s worth chatting to the venue early to avoid disappointment.
What to do and when to do it on the wedding planning timeline
12 – 18 months+
1. Set the date. A bit important is this one.
You need to set a date at least 12 months from when you announce your engagement. This way you have a chance of getting your choice of venues and suppliers at good prices.
If you’re on a mission to save money consider booking a mid-week wedding instead of the usual Saturday. This is also a cost-effective way to do the legal stuff if you’re planning an alternative ceremony of some sort – humanist for example.
2. Decide now if you’re willing and able to do all the planning yourself
You can do it yourself of course. Or you can decide to call on the worth-its-weight-in-gold expertise of a wedding planner. In which case, Fabulous Functions UK is here to help!
3. Send out save the date cards
Because you don’t want your guests to have booked their skiing/sun/city break when you plan to make your vows.
4. Set your budget
The key points here are:
- Be realistic – no wedding is worth going into debt for
- Add in a bit extra for a contingency – because you never know
5. Draw up the guest list or lists
You’ll need oodles of ompromise and communication here. Do your best to keep it equal and appease both families.
You might find it easier to have a separate evening guest list for work colleagues and family that are close – but not close enough.
6. Book your venue (s)
The sooner you do this the better. It’s almost impossible to plan anything else until this one is sorted out. You’ll need to:
* Book a venue for your ceremony – church, registry office or licensed civil wedding venue.
*Find and book a venue for your reception, your wedding breakfast, disco or whatever after-dinner entertainment you have in mind.
Things to think about are:
1. Seating capacity
2. Room hire costs
3. Catering options
4. Indoor and outdoor settings for photographs
It’s possible to save wads of cash by having your wedding out of season. Plenty of venues have wonderful winter offers.
7. Select your wedding party: bridesmaids, ushers, best man etc.
Decide on the role each one is going to play in your wedding planning. Good communications is essential to avoid misunderstandings and upsets during the months ahead.
8. Book your photographer and/or videographer
Our pointers here are:
1. Look for someone who offers you the style of photos you want – traditional, contemporary, reportage or a mix.
2. Meet them in person
3. Ask to see their portfolio and a complete wedding album.
Fabulous Functions UK know several photographers, so if you’d like us to point you in someone’s direction we’d be happy to. Simply give us call.
9. Meet your minister/registrar/celebrants
Go armed with all your questions about the ceremony. They’ll help you find suitable readings and music if you want them too.
10. Book your DJ/Band/dancing girls/chamber quartet – or whatever it might happen to be
Whatever after dinner entertainment you have in mind now is the time to get them booked up.
Book caterers if you need them
It might be that your reception venue isn’t doing your catering. In which case, you’ll need to think about hiring outside caterers. If your budget is super tight then party platters from your supermarket are an option to consider.
Book your cars/bus/horse or whatever mode of transport you want
Assuming your wedding breakfast is going to be somewhere other than the church you’ll need transportation for the wedding party.
Rather than several individual cars a vintage double decker bus would be great fun – and photogenic. Tickets please!
Book your florist
You’ll need to think about how many flowers you want and where you’d like them. For the budget conscious silk flowers are worthy of your consideration. There’s many other factors in their favour too. Read about the benefits of silk flowers and foliage in our blog.
Book a toastmaster or master of ceremonies
Worth thinking about. They’re worth their weight in their gold to make sure everything goes to plan and people are where they should be when they should be.
Book your honeymoon
Book it in your maiden name with your existing passport. Then change all your documents to your new married name when you get back.
Take out wedding insurance
It doesn’t need to cost much and might save you a packet if you’re suddenly let down by a supplier. There’s no price on peace of mind.
11. The dress
If you haven’t already – start now! If you’re going to have a couture bridal gown made then you must start now. To buy a designer dress allow 6-8 months. For off the peg or second-hand then 6-8 weeks should be sufficient for necessary alterations.
A note about DIY
Now is the time to get going if you’re planning any DIY aspects: invitations, table centres, cake or favours. You’ll need practice time as well as production time. So get cracking!
1. Order or get making your wedding invitations. Not forgetting all the other wedding stationery including: orders of service, place cards and thank you cards.
2. Order the wedding cake. Or cupcakes or ‘cheese cake’, or have your wedding cake home-made.
3. Buy your wedding shoes and accessories
You’ll need your shoes in time for the first dress fitting. And your tiara and veil in time for your make-up and hair trial run.
4. Book your make-up artist and hairdresser. Speak to several to find one you feel comfortable with.
5. Buy: bridesmaid’s dresses, suits for the for groom, best man, ushers and flower girls and page boys. Or hire them!
6. Book the honeymoon suite.
- Get your wedding dress altered If you need to. Then try not to lose or gain weight!
- Kick off a regular facial routine for a glowing wedding day complexion.
- Buy the rings. Check that when they arrive they’re the right size and that your wedding ring sits comfortably alongside your engagement ring if like most of us, you are going to wear them together.
Send out the invitations
It’s tradition to send them out 6-12 weeks prior to the wedding. But if you prefer – do it sooner. Information to include on them:
- Overnight accommodation
- Dress code if applicable. Include reply cards to make sure you get RSVPs and ask your guests for dietary information.
- Order venue décor and table decorations
Buy or hire?
An alternative to buying is hiring.
Do check out our For Hire section or the Treasure Trove section for some fabulous accessories. We also offer a bespoke service for any accessories you must have but cannot find.
Now is the time to set up your gift list. Make your list available to your guests and have it on your wedding website if you have one.
- Choose readings and music for the ceremony
- Buy gifts for the best man, ushers and bridesmaids. If you’re presenting bouquets to the mothers of the bride and groom order them from your florist so they can plan their orders.
- Arrange any necessary vaccinations for your honeymoon.
- Start planning your hen and stag parties – A job for the Maid of Honor and Bestman!
1 Month to go
- Arrange a final wedding dress fitting
- Double check all arrangements are in place with all your suppliers. Be sure to speak to them and get written confirmation of dates, places and times.
- Finalise your seating plan – and make your seating/table planner
- Arrange your wedding rehearsal
- Chase up on guests who’ve not RSVPd
- Arrange a date to collect any hired suits – making a note of their return by dates. A job for the best man surely?
- Write the speeches. From the heart – then practice, practice and practice some more.
1 week before – almost there!
- Have your hair trimmed and/or coloured. This is NOT the time to experiment with a new colour or drastic changes of hair style.
- Have your wedding rehearsal
- Pack for your honeymoon
- Wear in your wedding shoes. Don’t go to Tesco in them but wear them around the house to get used to them.
- Put together a wedding emergency kit – put your chief bridesmaid in charge of it. Things to include: A compact mirror and powder, lipstick, tissues, stain spot remover.
- Order your foreign currency for your honeymoon
Make any other last-minute arrangements now. It might rain – this is Britain after all. Make sure there’s lots of brollies.
Have any planned beauty treatments now – Get your eyebrows shaped, fake tan done all in good time.
If you haven’t yet, find your something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’.
Designate someone to look after the contact list of your suppliers.
THEN FORGET ABOUT IT.
The day before the great day itself
Have an RnR day if you can. Surround yourself with people who are going to take care of you and help you enjoy the special moments.
Spend the day with friends or family and don’t do anything more exhausting than a manicure.
Try to get an early night – After all – you’re getting married in the morning!
Keep in mind that this day is the beginning of your marriage. So if anything goes wrong on the day – best laid plans etc. – focus on your marriage rather than your wedding. That’s the important part – that’s what will make it a day to remember!
We hope you’ve found this useful.
If Fabulous Functions UK can help you with any aspect of your wedding or you are looking for that must have accessory and cannot find it any where, give us a call on 07511 842 451
We’ll be happy to help.