There are so many things to organise for your wedding that it can sometimes seem like an insurmountable list of decisions and dilemmas. It’s easy to forget or overlook small but important details.
It’s also quite likely that you’ll begin to feel stressed as time flies past and you haven’t made many of the necessary arrangements.
Your first priority is not to panic! This can be remedied by taking a little time at the beginning of your preparations to list all the items you consider are necessary for your big day, and to leave out anything that you feel is not what you really want. Remember, it’s your day.
With your list of requirements you should prepare a list of things to do, and the order in which to do them. Here is our checklist — and countdown — of all the things you need to do.
On Your Engagement
- Have a serious discussion with your other half about what you BOTH expect and want on the day. You need to agree on most, if not all, aspects of the wedding from the beginning.
- Plan a responsible budget that is easily achieved. Heavy debt is not the way to start married life.
- Decide roughly how many guests you’d like to invite. This decision will have an impact on other decisions such as choice of venue, menus, etc.
- Choose two or three possible wedding dates.
12 Months Ahead
- Visit ceremony and reception locations and venues, make a decision and book them.
- Begin research into wedding services and their suppliers, such as photographers, music and/or bands, florists, cakes, car hire, hair and make-up.
- Book a photographer and/or videographer.
- Start researching your wedding dress, and begin looking at suppliers.
9 Months Before
- Decide on your preferred music, musicians, band or DJ for both the ceremony and reception, and book them.
- If you are inviting guests from out of town, or travelling elsewhere for your wedding, research and reserve accommodation for yourselves and guests.
- Seek quotes for materials for the ceremony and reception, such as marquees or tents, chairs, tables, and more, and book the most appropriate options.
- Decide where you wish to go for your honeymoon, and plan it.
- Order your wedding cake.
- Plan your guest list.
6 Months To Go
- Check your passports are valid for your honeymoon. Don’t forget travel vaccinations if they’re necessary.
- Research and choose your bridesmaids’ dresses.
- Persuade the groom to choose and purchase his suit. Don’t hesitate to provide sensible advice on style and colour to match the bridal party.
- Choose and buy or book the groomsmen’s suits.
- Take care of legal and religious requirements. You will probably need to give at least three or four months’ notice to a registrar, celebrant or priest.
- Choose the order of ceremony, and any prayers or readings, poems or music for your order of service programs.
- Choose and order your invitations, stationery and service programs.
- Choose a florist to handle all floral requirements.
- Consider your wedding transport, and hire cars, carriages or other options.
3 Months Before
- Send invitations to your guests, and prepare a form to track RSVPs.
- Choose and order your wedding rings.
- You should have made a decision on the dress by now. Attend fittings.
- Book your hairdresser and make-up artists.
1 Month Ahead
- Check and confirm with suppliers for any changes.
- Have a final wedding dress fitting.
- Organise gifts for both pairs of parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen.
- Make your final table plan.
2 Weeks Before
- Review your final RSVP list and check with guests who have not RSVPd.
- Ensure that the photographer and/or videographer have clear instructions on images you must have — family groups etc — and any you definitely don’t want. You should discuss when and where these can be done.
1 Week Ahead
- Arrange for a reliable family member or friend to ensure all rentals are returned after the wedding.
- Confirm guest list numbers with the venues and caterers.
- Have place cards and other material printed.
- Call all suppliers to confirm arrangements and set a timetable for the day, with a schedule of delivery and set-up times.
- Have a full wedding dress rehearsal to make sure all is well.
- Check that all financial arrangements are in place for suppliers and venues.
3 Days To Go
- The groom, best man and groomsmen should attend fittings and pick up their outfits.
- Confirm details such as pick-up times with the wedding car company.
- Pack an overnight bag for the reception.
- Pack for your honeymoon.
The Day Before
- Drop off the table plan, place cards and menus to the reception coordinator.
- Finalise payments to any outstanding bills, and provide funds for payment at the reception.
- Confirm that the cake will be delivered to the reception venue on time.
- Sleep well.
The Big Day
- Have flowers delivered to the bride’s house.
- Give parents’ gifts to the best man and bridesmaid for presentation after the speeches.
- Give the official’s fee envelope for presentation after the ceremony.
- Choose a reliable family member or friend to be the contact for photographers and venue manager so they know who is who.
After the Wedding
- The bride’s gown should be sent for cleaning and the groom’s suit returned to the rental shop. Arrange for these to occur beforehand.
- Send thank-you notes to your guests and any vendors who provided excellent service. ❐