Once you’ve worked out what your ideal wedding looks like and you’ve got a rough idea of a budget (and potential time frame to save for), it’s time to get planning! In this guide we help with your wedding timeline; from securing the date, to the day itself.
Secure your venue first and foremost
A lot of venues book up to 2 years in advance for a particular month and day and until you’ve secured your venue, and the date itself, there isn’t much else you can do.
If you’re planning to hold the legal ceremony and reception at different venues, before you sign on the dotted line and hand over a deposit, make sure that both are available on your required date. Be sure to understand what is covered and what isn’t and therefore what you’ll need to organise. You can find everything you need to sourcing the perfect venue in our ‘finding the venue’ guide.
Once you’ve secured the dates, you can begin to work on all of the other details of your special day.
Organise the key elements for your day
Like your venue, suppliers will be in high demand and will have limited availability. This is particularly the case with photographers/videographers, caterers, cake makers, florists and entertainers. If you know who you’d like for these services, be sure to get straight on the phone to them. First check their availability and then secure a date to discuss details.
If you don’t know who you’d like to work with, now is the time to start researching. Wedding fairs are a great place to start and your venue may well organise a few throughout the year. This will help you to get a feel for the space, how the décor could look and provide lots of inspiration when it comes to the details, entertainment and other services. At fairs there will be plenty of suppliers on hand (including transport providers, cakes, makeup, entertainment, photographers etc.) to showcase their services.
In terms of priorities, once you’ve got your date, you’ll want to organise the following as a priority:
- Compile your guest list
- Send out your save the dates- if you’d like a unified theme for your stationery it is a good idea to talk to a stationer
- Find a wedding gown- if you’re looking for something bespoke you may need to allow at least a year to get this made. At a minimum, allow 8 months before your wedding to find your dress
- Look at and book your honeymoon- you can book your honeymoon 11 months before you intend to travel. This will help you to manage budgets around the wedding and pick a destination of dreams
- Book your caterer – you may be tied to the caterer at your venue, be sure to discuss this with them. However, you can always discuss menu options at this stage too
- Book your photographer and videographer
- Select your florist
- Order your cake (cake tasting has to be one of the best bits!)
- Book your entertainment – don’t forget the ceremony, canapes and evening.
To help with the preparation as you get closer to the day, we’ve mapped out a handy guide of tasks that you’ll need to organise.
7-6 months before the wedding
- Send out your invites- request return in 6 weeks
- Choose the bridal party and attire
- Plan the hen and stag parties
- Order and prepare favours
- Select your transport (if applicable) and secure
- Finalise any outstanding payments for the church and venue
- Register for gifts
- Plan your decor
4-3 months before the wedding
- Determine seating arrangements for the wedding breakfast
- Prepare and finalise your menus
- Chase for RSVPs not received
- Select your wedding rings (you need to allow time for resizing if applicable)
- Purchase guest book
- Finalise ceremony and reception music
- Make changes to your passport if required for your honeymoon.
3-2 months before the wedding
- Arrange a wedding rehearsal and dinner (optional)
- Arrange final fittings of your wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses
- Advise your venue and caterers of final numbers.
1 month before the wedding
- Review all of the details for the wedding and reception and outline a wedding day timetable. Share your timetable with key party members and your venue coordinator.
- Confirm and complete your honeymoon reservations
- Delegate the guest book into trusted hands
- Pick up the wedding rings.
2-1 weeks before the wedding
- Pick up your wedding gown, bridesmaid dresses & groomsmen suits
- Confirm details with all participants
- Check all the wedding items are in hand and ready for transport
- Have your hair coloured and cut and have any pampering you want, e.g. nails, waxing, tanning etc.
Download our wedding timeline
Download our printable timeline document to help with your wedding plans. This will help you figure out what needs to be done by when, with a checklist to help you as you go and a timeline for the day’s events!
Looking for further help with your wedding plans? Check out our related reads below!