Weddings require a lot of planning, so make sure you’ve everything under control with our handy countdown guide. Stress? What’s that?
One year to go…
- Remember that wedding vendors book up quickly, especially at peak times, so as soon as you get engagement, book the main vendors asap.
- Discuss the type of wedding you would like with your new fiancé- small or large, location, civil or religious etc.
- Decide on a realistic budget and how you are going to pay for it all!
- If you decide to hire a wedding planner, do it now.
- Draw up rough guest list to get an idea of numbers for the reception venue (also remember the size of the location for the ceremony).
- Decide on a date (try to be flexible).
- Book ceremony location, and discuss your plans with the officiant.
- Decide on wedding transportation and book. Do you want a vintage car, limo or sports car? Or a coach or bus to transport your guests? Book these early!
- Book and pay deposit on reception venue. Make sure that you are agreeable to everything the venue stipulates before you pay a deposit, as in most cases, the deposit in non-refundable.
- Research photographers and book one as soon as you can. Photographers are often booked up years in advance so make this a priority. Decide if you want a professional videographer too; if so, book as soon as possible.
- Decide on the entertainment you want at the reception and book these as soon as you can. Again, bands and DJs are often booked up years in advance during peak times.
- Choose your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Brides, remember that bridesmaids can be great at helping with all the plans, so don’t be afraid to delegate tasks, even at this early stage.
Eight months to go…
- Brides- choose and buy your dress. Remember that some dresses take up to six months to come in, so give yourself plenty of time, remembering that you will need about a month for fittings.
- Decide on a colour scheme for the wedding, as this will impact on your bridesmaids, invitations and flowers. Remember that it’s not necessary to match everything – try putting your bridesmaids in a neutral colour so you can go a little more unusual with colours for flowers or invitations.
- Start thinking about your bridesmaids’ dresses, especially if you’re planning on having them made or ordering them in. Although they generally don’t take as long as the bride’s dress, they can take a few months.
- If you are having your wedding away from home and guests will require accommodation, look into options and give them plenty of notice to book. Think about sending accommodation lists with Save The Date cards.
- Think about you ceremony. If you require musicians or singers, book them now.
- Research your honeymoon, and if possible, book it now.
- Book pre-marriage course if required.
Six months to go…
- Make an appointment with your Registrar to go through the civil requirements before marriage. Remember that this HAS to be done at least three months before the wedding day. Some Registrars, especially in Dublin, are blocked up quickly, so make your appointment early- remember that both of you now have to meet with Registrar to fulfill civil obligations.
- Choose and order wedding stationery, eg invitations, RSVPs, thank you cards if you are choosing matching styles), place names, service booklet covers etc.
- Buy wedding rings (bear in mind that some rings may need to be adjusted or made especially to fit around a shaped engagement ring- this will add to the time needed to buy rings).
- Book florist and start talking about seasonal flowers and colour schemes with him/ her. Remember that at certain times of the year, some flowers will be difficult to come by (Christmas can be a tricky time for flowers), so if you want something specific, the more notice, the better.
- Groomsmen should now research into their suits- will they hire or buy? Contact your chosen supplier for details on lead times, eg if the groom wants to have a suite made, this can take several months.
- Research hair and make- up, especially if you’re planning on getting someone to travel to your house on the morning of the wedding.
Three months to go…
- Make sure your civil requirements are in order- last chance!
- Attend pre- marriage course.
- Taste and order wedding cake.
- Choose bridal accessories, eg shoes, tiara, etc. It’s a good idea to have these before the dress fittings begin so you get a good idea of your look while there is time to change certain features.
- Register for any gift lists you might like.
- Order favours.
Two months to go…
- Finalise guest list and send out invitations with RSVP date about four weeks before wedding. Begin a spreadsheet noting down any presents you might receive so the process of sending out thank you cards is not so difficult!
- Book make- up and hair trail if not yet done.
- If you are planning on wearing a fake tan, start researching and trying out products. It’s important to find the right product and colour for your skin as early as possible.
- Double- check your booking with vendors and make sure you have everything booked that you need.
One month to go…
- Final dress fitting for brides and bridesmaids. Make sure you have all your accessories, including a veil. Collect dress a few days before wedding.
- Buy gifts for attendants.
- Finalise menu with your reception venue.
- Meet with photographer to discuss requirements. It’s a good idea to work out a list of the photos you require so you can be sure to get exactly what you want.
- Meet with your band.DJ and work out a playlist. Decide on first dance and begin practicing if needs be!
Two weeks to go…
- Review RSVP list and contact any guests who have not replied.
- Begin working out seating plan.
- Start last- minute beauty preparations, eg if you need your hair coloured, get it done at this point.
- Begin assembling clothes for honeymoon, remembering that the week of the wedding will be frantic.
- If you are having a series of facials in the run- up to your wedding, have your last one now.
One week to go…
- Finalise numbers and inform reception venue. A finished seating plan will also be required at this stage.
- Attend rehearsal with officiant- remember that your parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen should also be there.
- Collect dress and arrange for it to be pressed, if necessary.
- Confirm service with any vendors and make sure they have a contact number for the day of the wedding.
- Get false tan done two days before the wedding.
One day to go…
- Collect groomsmen’s suits if they haven’t been collected already.
- Deliver cake, favours, place names and any extras to the reception venue.
- Sort out payments and give them to the designated person to hand out (usually the best man).
- Delegate wedding day tasks to your attendants- eg someone to look after gifts etc.
- Delegate post- wedding tasks to attendants, eg picking up and returning any hired attire.
- Try to relax, and have an early night!
THE BIG DAY!
- Give yourself plenty of time to get ready.
- Remember to eat, as it’s often a long day before the dinner is served.
- So don’t worry if anything goes wrong. Things generally work out on the day, and if something disastrous happens, such as a vendor not turning up, try to work it out, put it behind you and enjoy the rest of your day. Remember the important thing is that you’re marrying the person you love, everything else is just a bonus.
- Try to relax, delegate tasks and most of all have fun! This is your wedding day so enjoy every minute!
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