Planning a wedding can seem stressful, but we’ve put together the ultimate wedding planning checklist so you can breathe easy and plan the wedding of your dreams with minimum stress. You might even enjoy it!
Don’t let planning a wedding stress you out – if you download our wedding planning checklist and tick it off as you go, you’ll find wedding planning way more easy than you imagined. Why not even trying planning an engagement party as a practise run?
Our ultimate wedding planning checklist will help you plan every aspect of your big day, just as soon as you’ve got that perfectly creative proposal announcement out of the way. Happy planning!
Planning your guest list can be a bit stressful, but you can keep drama to a minimum and figure out what size venue you need and how much money you can allocate per head by doing a rough draft of your guest list before searching for venues.
A handy tip is to break your guest list down into two categories – people you absolutely have to have there and people who you’d like to have but they aren’t essential (as harsh as it sounds). Just make sure you destroy the draft when you’re done with it…
Decide whether you want a civil or religious wedding ceremony
Will you be having a religious wedding ceremony or getting married in a civil wedding ceremony? This can shape your choice of venue – you could go for a wedding venue with a church nearby, a venue with a chapel onsite or a venue that is licensed to hold a civil ceremony.
If you’ve decided on a church wedding you’ll need to book the church, and if you’re having a civil ceremony you’ll need to book the registrar. Make sure they’re available on the same day you have your venue booked for!
Finalise your guest list
This is the tricky bit – find out how many guests you can have at your wedding and officially make your guest list. Try to avoid getting caught up in family politics…
Invest in wedding insurance
Don’t scrimp on wedding insurance – if something goes wrong in the run up to your big day, it helps to have peace of mind that your money and wedding are protected.
Book your wedding photographer and videographer
Popular wedding photographers and videographers book up quickly. Make sure you book the wedding photographer you love as soon as you know your wedding date so you’re not disappointed.
12 Months to Go
Choose your bridesmaids, best man and ushers
It’s really tempting to jump in and pick your best man and bridesmaids as soon as the ring is on your finger, but wait until you have an idea of budget before you say ‘will you be my bridesmaid’ – it can be costly and you want to make sure you have your very best friends who will actually be able to help you plan – no one wants to deal with a bad bridesmaid who they asked in haste.
Send out your save the dates
Make sure your guests keep your wedding day free so no one misses out and you can have all your nearest and dearest with you on the day. Browse our edit of the best save the date magnets for some cool ideas.
Book wedding transport if you need it
If you’re not hosting your day all in one place, or you have been dreaming of rocking up in an amazing wedding car, now’s the time to book it.
Book your wedding entertainment
The best bands and DJs will be booked up a year or two in advance so make sure your party doesn’t suffer by getting in there early to book your wedding entertainment.
Most venues have in-house catering, but some require you to source your own. This is also an option if you want a specific type of food at your wedding – just make sure your venue is okay with you doing that. Discuss the menu options with the caterers before you book to make sure they’ll serve up food you like.
Start wedding dress shopping
Let the fun begin! Assemble your closest friends and family members and head to the bridal boutiques and start trying on gowns. Be open minded to lots of different styles and research lots of wedding dresses online and in magazines beforehand – you never know what you might fall for. Give yourself plenty of time when it comes to dress shopping – this will allow you to take your time making the decision and allow for any alterations that might be needed.
When you know what style of wedding dress you’re having, you can start shopping for bridesmaid dresses to complement it. Will you adopt the mismatched bridesmaid dress trend or go for coordinating gowns in one colour?
Book your hair and makeup artist
Start browsing hair and makeup artists to make sure the one you like the most is free for you to book for your big day. When booking your hair and makeup artist for your wedding, find out if a trial is included so you can test-drive the look you want before the big day to make sure it suits you.
Nine Months to Go
Book your wedding florist
It’s time to start thinking about your wedding florist! Make sure you ask your wedding florist all the important questions, such as who will set up on the day and what flowers are in season for your wedding – otherwise you may end up paying extra for out-of-season blooms.
Book your wedding cake maker
Picking your wedding cake is a really fun part of planning a wedding. Book your wedding cake maker about nine months in advance so you have time to share ideas and go on an all-important cake flavour tasting.
Order your wedding dress, if you haven’t already
Make sure that wedding dress is officially ordered now – it’s decision time! This will leave you plenty of time for any tweaks and alterations that might need doing.
Buy your accessories, such as shoes, veil and underwear
Once the dress is officially yours, it’s time to accessorise it! When you know what style of bridal gown you’re going for you can browse accessories to suit it and buy the right kind of underwear to go underneath it – your bridalwear shop should be able to help you with this.
Whether you’re looking for cheap and cheerful wedding favours for under £1 or you want to get creative with DIY wedding favours, now’s the time to start thinking about them. Unless you plan on baking biscuits – do that a bit nearer the time, thanks.
Six Months to Go
Start shopping for groomswear
Once you’ve got the dresses sorted for the bride and bridesmaids, it’s time to start thinking about the groomswear. Will you buy off-the-peg, commission a tailored suit or hire an outfit? And will the groom be trusted to go it alone or will you need to accompany him?
Sort out your wedding night accommodation if you need to
Lots of wedding venues will have accommodation for you and potentially for your guests too, but if you’re marrying at a venue without accommodation, make sure you’ve sorted out somewhere to stay on the night – browse our selection of the best bridal suites to inspire you.
Discuss the order of service with the vicar or registrar
Start thinking about what’s going to happen in the ceremony and what time it will start – knowing your order of service will help everything to run smoothly on the day.
Choose the readings, hymns, songs or poems you want at your ceremony
Personalise your wedding ceremony by choosing some poems and readings to be performed. If you’re having a religious ceremony, you’ll need to choose your hymns, and if it’s a civil ceremony bear in mind your music and reading choices can have no religious references. We’ve got some lovely wedding readings from literature to inspire you.
If you’re writing your own vows, start now
It might feel like ages away but time will fly and writing your own wedding vows might be more challenging than you think, so leave yourself plenty of time so it’s not a rush job.
Set up your wedding gift list
Choose what kind of wedding gift list you want and where you want to host it, and then start setting it up. Put in a range of products so there’s something for all budgets if you’re going for a traditional store based one.
Three Months to Go
Send out your wedding invitations
Follow up your save the dates with your wedding invitations – three months away from your wedding is a good time to send them as people will have the date fresh in their minds.
Have wedding dress fittings
With three months to go, it’s time to make sure your dress fits perfectly!
Have a hair and makeup trial
Explore options and discover what suits you by going for a trial with your hair and makeup artist – if you can, arrange it so it coincides with a night out or your hen do so you’re suitably glammed up and you can really put your makeup to the test.
Go on your hen and stag dos
There was a point when the stag and hen dos took place just before the wedding. Now it’s wise to get your celebrating in a few months before – this allows more time to focus on the last minute details ahead of the big day and gives any bruises/shaved off eyebrows/embarrassing anecdotes time to disappear.
Your heart might say ‘save the shoes for the big day’ but you know your head says break them in. Wear them around the house as much as you can, or under your desk so they’ll be comfy for the big day.
Start writing the speeches
If you’re giving a speech or know someone who is, now’s the time to nudge them. Speeches take time to perfect and the more you can practise them the better they’ll be.
Buy thank you gifts for key members of the bridal party
Show your bridal party how much you value their support and help by treating them to a gorgeously thoughtful gift. Doing it a couple of months in advance means it won’t get forgotten in a last minute panic.
Have a menu tasting with your caterers
Narrow down your wedding breakfast and canapé choices to a few options and then attend a tasting to see which ones you like the most.
The joys of the table plan – when creating your table plan, figure out who can sit next to who, and who can absolutely not sit together and try and make it all make sense. Just don’t have a singles table, we beg you.
One Week to Go
Confirm the guest numbers and any dietary requirements with your venue and caterers
By now, you should definitely know who’s coming and who isn’t. Confirm the numbers will all suppliers that need to know and make sure they’re aware of any dietary issues.
Have a wedding rehearsal (if required)
This is more common for a religious wedding ceremony, where you get the key members of your wedding party together to run through the ceremony to make sure everyone knows what they need to be doing and when.