a wedding timeline to help you plan

So on May 27th we did it! After 15 months of planning, our big day happened and I can honestly say it was the best day of my life.

I’m so surprised to say that my favourite part of the day was the ceremony, after weeks of feeling nervous about walking (or tripping!) down the aisle and being concerned I would be so overcome with emotion that I would cry through my vows, it was the complete opposite. Walking down the aisle I had such a rush of excitement and I’m amazed to be able to tell you I didn’t shed one tear, I just felt far too happy.

our beautiful outdoor ceremony

Image credit - Claire Lau Photography

If you are planning your big day over an 18-15 month period then I hope my wedding timeline can help with your planning:

15 Months to Go

  • Book the venue
  • Book the registrar
  • Book the photographer
  • Book the caterer

As soon as you book your venue, your wedding countdown can begin! Booking your venue means you have your location and your wedding date so you can start your real planning. We fell in love with our photographer’s style as soon as we saw her portfolio so we also booked this fairly early. It’s also essential you book your registrar or church ceremony as soon as you have your wedding date so you can have a greater chance of booking the time slot you want.

12 Months to Go

  • Book the florist
  • Book your cake maker
  • Book your hair and makeup
  • Book the band/DJ
  • Start searching for your wedding dress

We booked our remaining suppliers fairly early on in our planning but then left the finer details until a few months later, I just liked the peace of mind that we had the supplier we wanted. It may feel early but start your dress search around 12 months before the wedding if you can, some designers can take up to 8 months to make a dress so if you don’t have any idea what you want then start thinking about this now. With a twelve month lead time you also run less risk of making a rushed decision as you have the time to think about it.

11 Months to Go

  • Send save the dates
  • Choose your bridal party

Save the Dates aren’t essential but it was nice to start getting excited about the wedding and also letting all your wider friends and family know when the date will be. If you haven’t already chosen your bridal party then now is a good time to do it so you have time to think about groomsmen suits and bridesmaid dresses.

Caroline and Ian with their wedding party

Image credit: Claire Lau Photography (as before)

10 Months to Go

  • Make final decisions on your wedding dress
  • Book daytime entertainment
  • Book your honeymoon

Aim to order your wedding dress with around ten months to go you’ll need some time for alterations and any last minute tweaks. We also had a string quartet for our drinks reception and booked this with around ten months to go.

6 Months to Go

  • Order your bridal accessories
  • Order groomswear
  • Choose bridesmaid dresses

With six months to go, I chose all my bridal accessories (you’ll need your wedding shoes ready for dress alterations) and think about jewellery to finish your look. It’s also a good time to think about your wider wedding party and choose their outfits and jewellery.

5 Months to Go

  • Set up your gift list
  • Send your wedding invitations
  • Choose any additional décor items for your day

If you haven’t sent save the dates then you might want to send your invites earlier than this. If you are having a gift list then now is a good time to get set it up. You can also start thinking and ordering any extra finishing touches, we chose light up letters, a cast iron post box and sequin table cloths to personalise our day.

3 Months to Go

  • Organise RSVPs
  • Order wedding favours
  • Create table plan and other final stationery

With three months to go you will have a clearer idea of your final numbers so you can start ordering your wedding favours and deciding your seating plan and other final wedding stationery such as place cards, order of service etc.

A gorgeous woodland setting

Image Credit: Claire Lau Photography (as before)

2 Months to Go

  • Choose guest book
  • Final choices to your caterer
  • Hair and make-up trial

With two months to go, it was all about final preparations. Choose your guest book, have your hair and make-up trial and ensure final menu choices and numbers are confirmed with your caterer.

1 Month to Go

  • Pay all outstanding bills
  • Confirm timings for the day

A month before the wedding is for confirming final details, travel plans and timings. A lot of suppliers also require payment around a month before the wedding.

1 Week to Go

  • Try and relax!
  • Have early nights

I tried to have minimal admin to do in the last week and instead made it all about trying to stay calm. When I was feeling stressed, exercise was one of my most helpful outlets to help me feel calm and clear my head. Try some evening walks and early nights to keep your stress levels low.

Then it’s time to relax and enjoy the day you have worked so hard to prepare for!

It's time to enjoy your big day

Written by Caroline Hendry

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