UKbride has just released the ultimate wedding checklist! Use this article and our FREE printable monthly wedding timeline at the bottom to help you plan your day.
The best way to plan your day without missing out a detail is to follow a wedding checklist. This way, you can ensure that everything you need for a wedding will be there. REMEMBER to follow the checklist exactly and don’t be tempted to check anything off that hasn’t been done yet; CHOOSING your photographer is not the same as BOOKING your photographer!
So if your partner has just proposed and you can’t wait to jump into wedding planning… reign yourself in a little.
You’re probably pinning like crazy on Pinterest, making wedding favours and browsing through thousands of websites full of wedding dresses, ten-tier cakes and stunning venue decoration.
There’s nothing wrong with this, but the first part of this wedding checklist is setting a budget. You’ve got to be realistic, and you’ll break your heart if you plan a Pinterest-perfect wedding only to realise it’ll cost £50,000 over the amount you can afford!
12 – 18 Months Before…
The average cost of a wedding is around £15-£20,000 so keep this in mind. Lots of brides go head first into planning wanting a big white wedding, thinking they can do it all for £2,000. £2,000 is the minimum cost for wedding catering alone.
The next job is to look for a suitable wedding venue. This can be really fun. Your number one tool when planning your wedding is the website UKbride. To find venues in your area click this link. If you find any you like, give them a quick call and arrange a visit.
Next, book a church or registrar. The majority of weddings are still held in a church, and there are rules for which church you want to get married in. For instance, if it isn’t your local parish, you have to attend service for a length of time. It depends on which church you decide to marry in.
Once you have booked both of these, set a wedding date. You can do this before booking your venue and ceremony, but if they’re popular places to marry in or you’re planning a year or less in advance, they may be booked for a wedding on that day, so we recommend deciding this afterwards (or during).
Arranging a marquee is something you can do or take out wedding insurance, but this isn’t vital. Read our post about wedding insurance to see if you really need it.
Put together a guest list at this stage too. Sit down with your partner and spend a lot of time on this. It’s a very difficult process, especially with big families, but work through it together, and try to keep the numbers down; more people is more money spent on catering and venue.
9 – 12 Months Before…
Now for the second trickiest decision of the wedding checklist – choosing the bridal party! Consider your husband-to-be’s family, but ultimately pick the girls you want with you on the day and the girls to support you through the planning process. Let the groom pick his own groomsmen.
In the nine to 12 months bracket, you also need to send Save-the-Dates out. For some fun styles and trends, read this blog post. You might want to hint at your colour scheme of theme if you’ve decided on one.
Do your research, click this link, and decide on the suppliers you want to be there on your day. There are loads of photographers out there, so do your research, read reviews and speak to them face-to-face. You need to get on with your photographer.
There are loads of options out there for transport, from vintage Volkswagens to Ferraris. Pick one you could rely on. It’s not a vital category though; you may just want a family member to drive you there.
Book a DJ or a band that you and your husband want. When planning, remember that it’s YOUR wedding day, no one else’s. Try not to make your day what your in-laws or distant aunt and uncles would expect of you. If you like rock, hire a rock band! If you want a club vibe for the evening, hire a DJ accordingly.
Caterers may already be included when you booked your venue, but if not, click this link and select your location to see caterers near you.
6 – 9 Months Before…
Give yourself between six and nine months to book your entertainment, your florist and cake maker. You also ought to consider buying or making your wedding favours and it’s finally time to start shopping for a dress! This is probably the most intensive three months of wedding planning so take your time, enjoy it and use your bridal party’s help as much as they’re willing to offer it!
Consider buying your wedding shoes, your lingerie and your jewellery for your big day too, and order your wedding dress AT LEAST six months before the day. You could do this in the 9-12 month or even the 12-18 month categories really, especially if you’re having a tailored dress.
Now is a good time to double check everything you’ve booked so far.
3 – 6 Months Before…
Buy the bridesmaid dresses now and hire groomswear. You can hit the high street for these if your budget is tight. It’s traditional for bridesmaids to buy their own dresses anyway, and they’re not likely to want to spend a fortune on the dresses.
Use these months as couple time too. You’ve probably had a stressful few months, and haven’t had enough time for date night. Go on dates, get excited for the rest of your life together and book your honeymoon. It’s a good time to buy wedding rings too.
If you’re writing your wedding vows, do this now too, and choose the readings and poems if you’re having any. This is the time to agree the order of service.
0 – 3 Months Before…
Send out wedding invitation about three months before the wedding and you’ll probably need to go for dress fittings around this time. The average amount of fittings is two to three depending on the complexity of the detail on your dress or the amount of changes that were needed.
Write speeches and thank yous now, and start wearing in your bridal shoes if you’re worried they’re going to rub. Buy gifts for your bridal party, and have some pampering sessions. Go to the hairdressers and have a trim – nothing too drastic! – and you may want a hair trial.
Have a makeup trial if you’re hiring a makeup artist for the wedding. If you’re doing your makeup yourself then test it out, see how you want to do it and how heavy you would like it.
1 Week To Go!!!
Eeeeek!! The most exciting part of the wedding checklist! Confirm the number of people attending with your venue, and your caterers, and then have a bit of a wedding meeting. Bring your bridal party along, tell them the plan for the day and give them all emergency numbers. Basically, just make sure everyone knows what they’re doing. Confirm all the timings with suppliers.
It’s also the time to pay your final balances, get all your wedding stress buried before your day, and collect your groomswear and wedding dress. Remember to get someone to return the groomswear afterwards while you’re sunning it up on your honeymoon!
Finally, have a manicure, a pedicure and get some well-deserved beauty sleep. Just relax and think about the rest of your life together.
For more help, visit www.ukbride.co.uk. There is a free-to-use table planner, guest list and loads of other handy tools. Become a member for free and you could win a £25,000 wedding!
Free printable wedding checklist: