Congratulations! You just got engaged. The Wedding Edition are here to help you get going with our 12 Month Guide to Wedding Planning! Though 12 to 14 months is the ideal length for an engagement, every couple’s engagement time is different. Our editor’s have put together a month-by-month guide to help you with the count down, make the process less overwhelming and generally help you and your loved ones break down all the big elements for your big day. We hope you enjoy our guide on How to Plan a Wedding Step-By-Step
12 months to go
First things first: celebrate – this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment so make the most of all of your loved ones ready to celebrate you and your partner and this very special moment. See how we recommend planning an engagement party here
Talk to TWE: we understand how wedding planning can be totally overwhelming. At TWE we act as wedding consultants to help you edit down all the major elements for your big day with our platform and wedding consultancy by sharing endless inspiration, editorial tips and secrets, opening up our trusted little-black-book of industry contacts to give expert advice and help bring your big day to life.
Pick a date! Now you have celebrated your engagement, it’s time to book your ceremony venue or registrar before they get snapped up (which happens surprisingly quickly!) Remember there is no point of having your dream venue without someone to actually marry you on the big day!
Create your Pinterest board: how do you envision the big day? Decide how you picture your wedding flowing before hiring the key suppliers. Why? Because then you will be able to ensure the details adhere to your vision that fits into a timeframe (and budget).
Set your budget and work out approx. number of guests: it’s time to sit down (with your families if they are contributing) and calculate how much you have to save/spend. Once you’ve worked out how much you have to play with you can start making some firm decisions and properly get your planning underway.
Don’t get ahead of yourself: as tempting as it is to go shopping immediately, remember your style and taste will change drastically throughout the year so take a step back, breathe and do some research before you plunge straight in. Remember to breath and use this as your 12 Month Wedding Planning Guide.
11 months to go
Hire your suppliers: it’s time to decide and book the following:
- Not everyone needs a planner but everyone needs someone to consult with for their big day: and you have arrived to the right platform! Having a full-time planner will depend on your budget, otherwise many couples opt for planning the big day themselves. For help and advice, check out our TWE Wedding Consultations.
- Select the venue: you know who you want to marry now the big question is where? It’s time to choose the right venue that reflects you two as a couple. It’s important to note that locations will influence almost everything – from what flowers go on the table to the number of guests, style and budget. Remember, lots of venues have in-house planning teams and often you’ll be allocated a dedicated wedding planner at your venue.
- Select the caterer: this will be the best and biggest dinner party of your life so make sure you hire caterers that you trust to deliver what you want for the big day. Whether that’s the venue’s in-house caterers or bringing in external caterers for your marquee wedding. Don’t be afraid to be creative too. Many caterers offer a free tasting session to help you sample and decide on your big-day menu.
- Book your photographer, band, DJ and videographer: these people will make the memories last forever. Make sure you do your research and ask the right questions and find suppliers you and your partner have a connection with.
10 months to go
Make your guest list: if only you could invite everyone, life would be so much easier, but chances are you can’t which is why you and your partner need to put a cap on handing out the invites. When deciding your head count, it’s important to think of the following:
- Consider your budget and how many people you can realistically afford
- Think of your venue – how many people can it fit?
- Also, who is paying for what: the couple, parents, etc, and from there figure out how you’re going to divvy up the list. If your parents and partner’s parents are contributing, it’s protocol to give all involved some invites. Once you’ve written the big wish list it’s time to start cutting, negotiating and then cutting some more until you’ve reached your happy place.
Decide the formality of your big day: it’s now time to sit down and have a fun conversation with your partner on what you want the vibe of your big day to be. Think about what’s important to you and what reflects you two as a couple.
Buy your wedding dress: you may know exactly what you want or you may not (and quite often you will go for the opposite of what you have always dreamed of!) Make sure you take a day off work for a stress-free fun day out with your wedding party and have a few boutiques and designers lined up so you can try on as many styles as possible to find the right one to suit you.
9 months to go
Choose a colour scheme and style for the overall design: if you have a planner work with them on this – look at Pinterest to create your dream vision board if you are going at it alone. Make sure you also take a step back and draw inspiration from your life – what do you like on Instagram? How have you decorated your home? Draw inspiration from your everyday life so it reflects the things you love and is YOU in style.
Create your wedding website: it’s time to turn on the URL and send out the save-the-dates!
8 months to go
Meet with your florist: if you’re using a florist it’s time to meet up and go through Instagram pictures and Pinterest boards together. Also ask your planner or venue for local recommendations, it’s important you find someone who will deliver your vision in line with your budget.
Grow it yourself: a big trend is growing your own flowers for the big day, not only is it more environmentally friendly, it’s a huge cost saver! Our advice is to start with the filler flowers and foliage if you want statement blooms (like peonies and roses) and make sure you choose robust annual flowers such as lupins and gypsophila (which looks fantastic in a church). Consider clary and scabious too, as they will fare well in our unpredictable English weather.
7 months to go
Start looking at invitations: this is your guests’ first teaser to the big day so make sure they reflect your vision. Remember, invites will be sent out only six to eight weeks before the big day.
Plan your honeymoon: our tip is to find an operator to secure the best deals with the best hotels – the last thing you need is any stress on your honeymoon. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch, ask when the low seasons are to secure brilliant rates or even wait for the sales (usually in January and August).
DIY: if you’re planning on making your own favours, pompoms and bunting, now is the time to start getting the materials you need and taking each of the projects step by step. Don’t leave these homemade projects to the very end thinking your team will be there to help.
6 months to go
Hair trail: this gives you and your stylist time to plan over the next 6 months for any cutting, supplements and colouring to help improve the condition of your hair. Now is also the time to experiment (not the month before!) with a new cut, colour or style. Don’t save any shock surprises for the week before!
Select the bridesmaid’s dresses. make sure you plan a fun day with your girls to do your bridesmaid shopping together. Go for dresses or a style that reflects the big day but be flexible with your gang, letting the girls choose what they also want to wear. Mismatched dresses also look brilliant so don’t be afraid to do something a little different to keep everyone happy. You want everyone to feel their best and confident on the day.
5 months to go
Register for your gift list: this is really fun for you and your partner – building your new life together. Gone are the days of a traditional gift list – today you can add honeymoon activities, weekends away, art and wine funds, charity donations and, of course, stunning homeware (it’s a great way to discover new brands and upgrade what you currently have).
Plan your makeup look: look at old photos of yourself and find something that has worked before. Also, go to social media for inspiration but don’t delude yourself with highly edited or filtered Instagram images. You want to look like you, the best version of yourself. Remember, the bridal glow comes from within so think about exercise, diet and your skincare regime. You may want to consider monthly facials in the lead up to the big day to get your skin in the best possible condition.
Transport: book your transports for guests if you need to but most importantly think about you two! Get around in style and don’t be afraid to get creative with your transportation style.
4 months to go
Getting married abroad? It’s time to get your paperwork 100% sorted. Many countries require copies of your full birth certificate more than 3 months in advance of the big day and you may have to have your documents translated too. Make sure you are up-to-date on travel restrictions rules and regulations with COVID.
Get the groom’s party gear! It’s important when choosing between black tie, morning suits or lounge suits to base the groom’s party on the formality of your big day. Make sure you go for a well-fitted outfit to ensure there are no embarrassing moments on the dancefloor which result in any splitting of seams! Remember on your invites to also clearly state your dresscode for guests on the big day too.
3 months to go
Time to get organised! It’s now time to nail down the details to save you immense stress the week before your big day. We’d suggest the following:
● Write your speeches
● Buy wedding rings
● Order your cake
● Pick out readings for the ceremony
● Book your photobooth (if you’re having one)
● Brainstorm your guests’ favours.
As you start to tick these off you will thank yourself when it comes to those last few days of planning!
2 months to go
Send out the invites: by now family and friends might be pestering you for the physical invitation but remember traditionally invites should only be sent 6 to 8 weeks before the big day.
Taste the good stuff: there is no doubt by now you will have booked your caterers so it’s time to enjoy the actual tasting – why only 8 weeks before? Because this way you are sampling the latest menus and seasonal ingredients.
Buy your wedding party gifts: how much you spend is completely determined by you but go for something that is thoughtful and memorable.
1 month to go
Print the stationery now: printing stationery should be one of the last jobs you do. No matter how early you send the invites there will always be some last-minute changes so wait until about 10 days before otherwise you will be running of for a print run of the order and service when you really want to be enjoying your final days
Plan the table: use a website like toptableplanner.com it uploads your guest list from excel and you can choose a layout that reflects your big day and is easy to manage and change.
The final fitting! It’s time for that final fitting – remember you will lose a lot of weight in the last 6 weeks with just nerves and energy before the big day so keep eating. There is nothing worse than a baggy wedding dress!
Sit back and enjoy! Remember, to crack open a bottle of bubbles and read our 24-hour checklist to make sure you have all the last-minute details covered.
24 hours to go
- Call your trusted maid-of-honour and run her through the entire wedding schedule. She will need a full run down with numbers of the suppliers in case they are running late
- Make sure you send the schedule with the address and timings to all suppliers with emergency contact numbers
- Confirm and call the key suppliers to give yourself peace of mind ahead of the big day, run over timings and make sure all your requirements are fresh in their mind
- Call the best man and run through his and the usher’s duties for the day (and confirm he has the rings!)
- Wash and condition your hair and then rough dry it, your hair will last much better if it has been washed the night before but styled on the big day
- EAT! Make sure you sit down, take some time out with your gaggle of girls and eat a big meal before the big day. You need to get your energy up
- Get your outfit, shoes and accessories laid out ready for the next day along with any changes for the evening (if you’re planning to change)
On the day
- Have a timeline for the big day printed, give it out to the whole bridal party to ensure the day runs smoothly
- Again, EAT! Opt for filling, slow-releasing energising food such as avocado, eggs and toast or vegetable omelette or a fibre-rich muesli
- Dress without stress. Have a timeline for getting ready. Make it to the ceremony on time with plenty of time to spare so you are not stressed – it will show on your photos. Schedule plenty of time for your hair and make-up, as a rule:
Make up: 30-45 minutes per bridesmaid and mother of the bride, 60-90 for the bride
Hair: 30-45 minutes per bridesmaid and mother of the bride, 60-80 for the bride
- Hydrate. Have a long hot bath with Epsom salts, moisturise and drink plenty of water
- Forward all your calls to your mother or maid-of-honours phone. Have one of your bridesmaids on the duty of taking plenty of selfies while you’re getting ready
- And finally – ENJOY YOURSELF. Hours will never go as quickly as they do on the big day so don’t stress and enjoy every single second, because each one will fly by.
Kendra & Isabella
Related articles: https://www.theweddingedition.co.uk/planning-by-numbers-final/