Now that you’ve made the biggest decision in your life, you’ll soon realise that you have so many more decisions in front of you to make your big day exactly what you’ve always hoped for.
The first thing you should do is take some time for a chat with your partner about your big day, and what you both wish for to make it really special for both of you.
It can be as large or as small as you like, glamorous or casual, exotic or homely — the possibilities are endless.
Enjoy your time together as you plan your wedding. There will inevitably be some stress, some mistakes, some changes of mind, but it will always be your day, and your memories.
It’s all about you.
Before the big day
Planning your dayNow that you have a mental picture of your dream wedding day, it’s time to put it into perspective and start to bring it all together. Your immediate priority is to make a comprehensive list of every facet of your day as you imagine it, and start to consider who, where, and how all those elements of your big day can become a reality. Your list will be an invaluable guide, motivator and checklist of your wedding jigsaw, and how it fits together. You should keep track of every aspect of the day, so you know at any time exactly what has been proposed, researched, arranged, booked and delivered or accomplished. The more time you spend in managing all the details of your day, the more grateful you’ll be as the big day draws closer and details change, or don’t go according to plan. You will also have to be rather flexible in some of your requirements as it becomes clear that not everything can be achieved exactly as you wish. But that’s not a disaster — you’ll often find that making changes will make the day even more special and memorable.
Tips for a stress free day
- Do your research: Make sure you do some research, read reviews, make phone calls and send emails to avoid getting overwhelmed and making rushed decisions.
- Meet with vendors in advance: The earlier the better! Book in as much as you can as early as possible to avoid missing out. This also means less for you to think about closer to the day.
- Delegate and ask for help: Planning a wedding is a huge task! Don't be afraid to ask for help. Hiring a wedding planner can take care of this problem.
- Leave room for error in your timeline: Always give more time then needed for each part of the day. This gives you some leeway in case something goes longer then expected.
Breathe, take it all in and don't sweat the small stuff. Have fun!
The perfect ceremonyThere are as many perfect ceremonies as there are weddings. Your wedding ceremony should be a reflection of who you are, the couple you aspire to be, the plans you have made together, and the love you share. You can choose to celebrate your nuptials in traditional ways in a church or chapel, following your family’s precedent, or perhaps you’d rather a simple civil ceremony at a registry office. Relaxed weddings in a beautiful garden or a park, by the sea or in the country, make unforgettable memories for everyone. If you decide not to have a very traditional ceremony, it’s a great pleasure to write your own vows or pledges if you have a creative streak. You can even design your complete ceremony if you have definite ideas on how you wish your day to be celebrated. Above all, though, it is a time for all your loved ones to witness and enjoy your open declaration of commitment and love, and the start of your long journey through life together. The only thing that matters is — relish the day.
Time to celebrateIt’s most important that your reception lets you, your family and friends acknowledge the huge step you’ve just taken in life, in a location and atmosphere that feels comfortable and relaxed. During your planning stages you will have made sure you organised the perfect location, a delicious menu, the flowers, place settings and all the other details that add up to your perfect day. With that in mind, it’s worth remembering that bigger is not always better. A smaller scale reception will allow you to mingle with guests more closely, spend more time with each group of friends, and make it feel more intimate. No matter the size or location of your wedding, remember to savour the moment. ☐
Wedding Checklist## 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. - Begin your research into potential ceremony locations and reception venues. - Approach potential bridesmaids and groomsmen and get their commitment. - Consider family members and friends for possible contributions to your day. Perhaps they can make the cake, do the photography or arrange cars. - Celebrate your engagement with an engagement party!
- Turn research into action by visiting ceremony and reception venues. Venues will often book out over a year in advance so the sooner you book the better.
- Decide on your ceremony and reception locations/venues 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.
- Send Save the Date cards if you are going abroad/interstate for the ceremony.
- Consider the style of ceremony and reception you want, and research entertainment possibilities. You may want a singer or instrumentalist for the ceremony, and a string quartet or band for the reception. Do you want guests to dance later?
- Book your preferred music, musicians, band or DJ for both the ceremony and reception.
- Purchase you wedding gown and veil if you haven’t already. Keep in mind that most dresses will take a few months to arrive in store and another few weeks for alterations.
- If you are inviting guests from out of town, or travelling elsewhere for your wedding, you need to research and reserve accommodation for yourselves and guests.
- Do you want to rent materials for the ceremony and reception, such as marquees or tents, chairs, tables, and more? If so, seek quotes 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.
- Check your passports are valid for your honeymoon. Don’t forget travel vaccinations if they’re necessary
- Research and choose your bridesmaids’ dresses.
- Choose and purchase suits for the bridal party. Don’t hesitate to provide sensible advice on style and colour.
- 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.
- Send invitations to your guests, and prepare a form to track RSVPs.
- Choose and order your wedding rings.
- Attend dress fittings.
- Book your hairdresser and make-up artists.
- Check with suppliers for any changes. Make sure everything is confirmed with all of them.
- Have a final wedding dress fitting.
- Organise gifts for both pairs of parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen — and each other if you wish.
- Review your final RSVP list and check with guests who have not replied.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ensure that venues can provide supplier requests such as tables for the DJ or space for the florist.
- Finalise your table seating plan.
- Have place cards and other material printed.
- It pays to call all your suppliers to confirm arrangements and set a timetable for the day, with a schedule of delivery and setup times, and supplier contact numbers.
- Time for a manicure and massage.
- 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.
- Confirm details with all vendors again, with any last-minute changes noted.
- Make last minute changes to your table plan.
- 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.
- Provide all suppliers with an emergency phone number on the wedding day.
- 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 wedding rings to the best man for the ceremony.
- 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. ☐