Who, What Where When - Wedding Planning Guide

October 16, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Over the last few weeks we've seen several brides ask where they start with planning their wedding, and with venues and suppliers like ourselves getting booked-up for the peak season months even several years in advance, it's becoming even more important to ensure you plan ahead.

So after looking at several websites, and from our own personal experience this is our wedding planning guide, with approximate timescales.

As we say this is only a guide and we hope you find it of use.


Anything up to 2 or 3 years in advance


  • Set the date

Start your wedding planning twelve months or as often the case more in advance to ensure you get to book the venues and suppliers of your choice, and  at the best prices. You could save money by booking a mid-week, Friday, or Sunday wedding instead of a Saturday. And never be frightened to ask what deals they will do.

  • Decide whether to plan your own wedding

Most people are more than capable to organise their own wedding, However some choose to use a wedding planner because of their expertise. It's also worth remembers some venues will provide a wedding planner as part of their package.

  • Set your budget

Make it realistic without going into debt, and add in a contingency just in case.

  • Draw up your guest list(s)

Remember you need approximate numbers to boo your venue. Try to make it equal where possible, attempting to keep both families happy. Have a separate evening reception guest list if you want some work colleagues or friends, or friends of the family to celebrate with you, however you don't know them well enough to invite them to the ceremony, and the wedding breakfast, or you are limited on space.

  • Book your venue

The sooner you book your venues, the easier everything else will be to plan. You'll need to book a venue for your ceremony (either a church, registry office or other licensed civil wedding venue) and a venue for your reception, i.e. wedding breakfast, evening reception, disco etc. This of course may be the same as the ceremony venue. Remember to take in to account capacity for both, catering, bar and and any hidden costs. Also think about your wedding photographs as well, do you have locations where they can be taken and do you have bad weather options.

  • Take out wedding insurance

We really advise everyone takes out insurance as soon as you start booking venues and suppliers, it's not costly and will give you extra peace of mind.

  • Appoint (ask) your Maid (Matron) of Honour, Best Man (Woman), Bridesmaids etc.

You know you you will ask, however do ask yourself will they be there to support you through the whole process, and are they thoroughly trustworthy. This is also a good time to think about ushers, flower girls, and page boys if needed or wanted.

  • Book your photographer (and Videographer if required)

Find a photographer who offers the style of photos you are looking for within your budget, meet them in person or via video chat if not local to yourselves or you are getting married in a different location, we now advise you read our previous blogs on choosing the right photographer "The Trust Factor", and of course we would be more than delighted to speak to you regarding your photography. Please take a look at the website or give myself (Roger) a call on 07734 567961.

  • Meet your minister/registrar (depending on time period you may have to do this at a later stage.

They'll be able to answer all your questions about the ceremony, and help you find suitable readings and music.

  • Book a DJ, Band, and Entertainers if required.

This will really be personal preference most people have at least a DJ, however the options are endless for bands, solo artist, plus music for your ceremony or wedding breakfast. You may also want a table magician to entertain your guests, or face painter for the kids.

  • Book caterers if required for wedding breakfast and evening reception.

If the reception venue you have booked is not doing your catering, then you'll need to consider hiring outside caterers, the option are endless from sit down meals, to hog roasts to fish and chips.  or, if your budget is tight, catering the wedding with a buffet created by friends and family. 

  • Book your cars

You'll need to book one bridal car for the bride and her father (or person giving her away), you may also wish to book additional cars for the Maid of Honour, Brides Mother, Bridesmaids. There are other option as well from fire engines, horse and carriages, to a vintage double decker bus. 

  • Book your florist if required 

Decide your colour scheme, decide what flowers you want and where, you now also have many other options with silk and foam flowers.

  • Book a toastmaster (if you wish to have one)

Some venues will provide someone to ensure people are in the right place at the right time, however some people still choose to have a formal toastmaster to ensure everything goes to plan and speeches are performed in the right order etc.


12+ Months Before


  • Decide what kind of wedding dress or dresses you want

If your're having a couture bridal gown made for you, then you will need to start this process now. If you're ordering a designer dress then you may need to allow 4-6 months, however if you are buying a dress of the peg or a preloved dress then 6 to 8 weeks should be fine, allowing for alterations if required.

  • Start your healthy eating diet and exercise programme (if you wish or need too)

This totally up to you, nothing more said

  • Book your honeymoon/minimoon (if you are having one)

Book it in your maiden name, and use your existing passport, then change all your documents to your married name on your return.

  • Send out your save-the-date cards/magnets/pencils/keyrings etc

This ensures the guests you really want there don't book their holidays at the same time and miss your special day.


6+ Months


A quick note about DIY.

If your're planning to make your own invitations, table decorations, cake or favours, then remember to allow some additional practice time, as well as production time in to your schedule, so start earlier rather than later.

  • order/make your wedding invitations

Don't forget all the other wedding stationery including orders of service (if required), place cards, and thank you cards.

  • Order your wedding cake

Or Cakes, cupcakes, or make/plan your own.

  • Buy your wedding shoes and accessories

It's a good idea to get your shoes in time for your first dress fitting, and and head-wear/veil for your your make-up and hair trials. It's also a good time to think about the jewellery you wish to wear on the day.

  • Book your makeup artist and hairdresser

Speak to several to find the one that;s right for you, then book hair and makeup trials complete with any head wear if possible.

  • Buy your maid (Matron) of honour, and bridesmaids dresses, hire/buy suits (dresses) for the groom, best man (woman), ushers, fathers, and any outfits for page boys or flower girls.
  • Book a honeymoon suite if not included with the venue

Remembering to ask for some special touches.


3+ Months


  • Have your wedding dress altered

And then don't lose any more weight!

  • Start having regular facials

To ensure your skin is healthy and glowing on your wedding day. Thunk of all those wedding photos.

  • Buy your wedding rings

Make sure they are both the right size, and that your wedding ring will sit comfortably alongside your engagement ring, if you plan to wear both together. You may have to allow more time if you are having custom rings made.

  • Send out your wedding invitations

Traditionally they are sent out 6-12 weeks before the wedding, however these can be sent out earlier if you prefer. Include information for your guests on overnight accommodation, transport, parking, and any dress code if appropriate. Include reply cards to ensure they all RSVP, and ask your guests if they have any specific dietary requirements.

  • Order or finish making your venue decorations

Including wedding favours and table centrepieces.

  • Decide on a gift list

Make it available to all your wedding guests (normally through your invitations) and your wedding website if you have one.

  • Choose wedding music and readings

Your minister/registrar will be able to advise further

  • Buy gifts for your best man, maid of honour, bridesmaids, and users etc.
  • Arrange to have vaccinations done if required

If required for your honeymoon.

  • Start to plan your hen and stag parties

With the help of your best man and maid of honour.

  • find your 'Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue'

Ask your mother or grandmother for something old, the rest is easy


1+ Month Before


  • Arrange for a final fitting of your wedding dress

And take along your mum, sisters, or best friends too.

  • Reconfirm the wedding arrangements with all your suppliers

Speak to them personally and make sure you have confirmation of dates, places and times in writing from them.

  • Have your last nights of freedom

And don't do anything you wouldn't want him/her to do....

  • Finalise the seating plan

And make your table planner

  • Arrange the wedding rehearsal

A few days before is ideal and you could make an evening of it by inviting the bridal party along to dinner afterwards too. It's a good opportunity for them to all get together just before the big day.

  • Contact any guests who have not replied to your invitation

The venue and the caterers will need to know final numbers at least 1-2 weeks before.

  • Arrange a date to pick up any hired suits

And make a note of when they need to be returned - give that honour to your best man.

  • Write the wedding speeches

Write them from the heart, and practice, practice, practice.....

Have a facial to ensure your skin is glowing

And stay calm and unstressed knowing everything is in order. Stress-free = spot-free.


1+ Week Before


  • Have your hair trimmed and or coloured

Then you'll know it's looking it's best for your 'up do' or curls on the big day, but only do as planned in your hair trials - this is not the time to experiment with a new colour or drastic style changes!

  • Have the wedding rehearsal

This will help you know where to stand and when to speak and will prepare you so you don't feel nervous on the day.

  • Pack for your honeymoon (if you are going on one straight after your wedding)

You're going on the holiday of a lifetime!

  • Wear-in your wedding shoes

Don't wear them outside, but do wear them around the house to make sure they're comfy on the day.

  • Create a wedding emergency kit

Include make up, a compact mirror and powder, lipstick, tissues etc. - anything you think you might need on the day. Ask your Maid of honour to carry this for you.

  • Order your foreign currency for your honeymoon

And make any other last minutes arrangements.

  • Have your beauty treatments

Go for a pre-wedding and honeymoon waxing or fake tanning in good time before the big day. Get eyebrows shaped and anything else that needs attention done the week before, not the day before.

  • Hand over the supplier list of contacts to a designated person

Give the list of all the wedding suppliers involved in your wedding day, with their contract details and times they are meant to arrive, in case they need to be contacted to your best man and or maid of honour and then do not give it all another thought!


The Day Before


  • Have the day off to relax

Don't go to work, spend the day wit friends or family and don't do anything exhausting.

  • Have your nails manicured

Book it for the afternoon to avoid chips and breaks

  • Try to get an early night

You're getting married in the morning!

  • And just one final word of advice....

Enjoy your day no matter what happens. After all the years/months of planning the day will pass in a blink of an eye!





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