12 Months: Engagement to Wedding Day
Getting Married? Congratulations! I can imagine you are still flying on the high of the proposal!
Planning a wedding is both exciting and stressful. With so much to think about and organise, good planning and knowing what to do and when can be really useful. The next steps are lined out below with a rough guide on when you can consider what you may wish to enquire about next, from booking the venue to deciding on a wedding photographer. Keeping organised can help with inspiration, budgeting and the excitement of it all.
Many require early reservations and deposits and so it is crucial to avoid disappointment if you have your heart set on what you want. Often, venues will run wedding fairs throughout the year, you can attend and meet various suppliers including wedding planners, photographers, florists, stationary suppliers and more as well as get to explore the venue. Depending on the time of year that your ceremony will land, you may want to have an outdoor ceremony.
In the mean time, to keep things fun and exciting, why not have an engagement party? That would be a great way to meet up with friends and family to announce the news and also start thinking about who you’d want in the immediate wedding party as well as who can help with the planning and organisation!
12 Months Until The Wedding
Now would be an ideal time to start thinking about venues and making your shortlist to make enquiries, visit them, decide on what you want and book. Many popular venues are booked in advance and may not have the date you want. There are also so many suppliers, from flowers, to the cake, photographer and videographer, catering (if not included with your venue), venue and ceremony styling and decor, hair and makeup, music and entertainment. The list can go on, but researching now will help you further down the line. If you are going to have various logisitics throughout your day, a wedding planner will be very supportive and help keep your day running to time and organised. They will also be useful in the run up to the wedding which may be handy if you need the extra support. THey can be especially productive and useful if you are planning on a destination wedding abroad and choosing someone who is familiar or local to the destination will be particularly useful! After telling your close friends, family and loved ones, start enlisting help with planning and research. You may also want to get started with ‘Save The Date’ cards to let everyone know as soon as possible. Finally, THE DRESS. Start looking for your dress to give yourself enough time should you need or want any alterations, changes and of course finding what you’d want the bridal party to wear.
Peckforton Castle – Cheshire shot by me with Photography By Natasha
8-10 Months Until The Wedding
By now, your planning may be well under way and you will probably have endless notes on your plans. Ideally, booking your chosen entertainment for your day such as a live band or DJ for the reception is a good start at this point but not essential just yet if you still wish to continue to research. If your wedding is likely to be a distance for your invitees to travel, then it would be good to have an idea on who will need accomodation and consider reservations or signposting to suitable places to stay. If your venue does not include reception decor such as tables and chairs, wedding tents then do have a look around to get a suitable hire. Cake artists can also be booked in advance and fill their books quickly, as they often fulfil other orders. Depending on your wedding day theme, modern, contemporary, rustic, creative etc find someone who is skillful, professional and has the relevant qualifications which guarantee value and a beautiful and tasty wedding cake. Many church weddings require you to attend a pre-marital course and therefore it is wise to book this early. It helps to get to know the registrar and plan what you would want for your ceremony. Finally, the HONEYMOON! Where do you want to go? What sort of honeymoon would you like? There are plenty of places to go and see, whether you want to relax on the beach as newly weds or explore if you are avid travellers, there will be something for you. Consider booking the flights and accommodation soon if you know at this point where you want to go.
Holiday Inn – Elstree shot by me with Little Sprites Photography
6-8 Months Until The Wedding
How quickly is time flying? At just over half way to go, you can think of ordering your dress if you haven’t done so already. There are plenty of Bridal Boutiques around and are happy to accommodate you although some do have a fee for orders that are closer to your wedding date. Consider that you will need extra time for any alterations to be made if needed. Have you thought about music during your ceremony? When you walk down the aisle? There are a number of options again including strong quartets to singing or your favourite music. If you want musicians, then consider contacting them for their availability and booking process. Now the FUN bit – Hen and Stag do planning (ideally by a nominated person) should begin early if you want to go abroad and checking passports are in date (also for your honeymoon) is essential. If you haven’t already done so, consider booking an engagement session! It may be worthwhile going to your venue to do this or of course, somewhere you love. Your wedding photographer may offer pre-wedding couples photography and so this would be a great way to get to know how they will work with you on the big day.
Peckforton Castle – Cheshire shot by me with Photography By Natasha
4-6 Months Until The Wedding
How has it come to half way so quickly? You may now be feeling the pressure slightly but there is still plenty of time and you are likely to be making decisions about things more and more as time goes on. At this point you could arrange to look at booking your Wedding Cake, so finding out if you can do tastings beforehand to decide on what you want can make for a fun time with your husband or wife to be. Have your invitations gone out yet? If not, send them on and ask for RSVPs ahead of the final date that your venue would require them by. This will give you an idea for catering and reception drinks, wedding favours. Music! What songs would you like at your wedding? For both the ceremony and reception? How about something special for the first dance with your new husband or wife and maybe with your father? It might be time for a dress fitting!! This is one of the few times you get to see your dress and spend time in it. How exciting! As well as the wedding dress, if you know what the plan is for the groomsmen i.e. renting or buying their suits, you can start the ball rolling now with measurements, fittings and purchases. Depending on the type of venue, you may have a bridal suite included or need to book somewhere to stay for the night.
Grafton Manor – Bromsgrove, with Photography By Natasha and Holiday Inn – Elstree, with Little Sprites Photography, images shot by me.
3 Months Until The Wedding
Okay!! Only 12 weeks! So many of the bigger things have been taken care of, now it is time to look at the smaller things that you wouldn’t want to worry about at the last minute. Rings! You can order them now if you haven’t already. Choose an evening where you can sit together and plan your ceremony readings. How many you will have, who will read, what you’d want said. Choose meaningful readings that you will both love, that you both know speak to your hearts and souls. You may know now who is attending and so you can finalise the menus for the caterers and so you can print menu cards if you opt to have those. What wedding favours will you have? There are so many options and it is easy to craft these yourself, with friends or maybe with your bridal party if you so wish.
Grafton Manor – Bromsgrove, shot by me with Photography By Natasha
2 Months Until The Wedding
Just 8 weeks to go and the nerves may be settling in which is absolutely normal. It is a good time to finalise your wedding playlists for your entertainment. If you haven’t yet, send out any wedding invitations and check on RSVPs to come back so yu can notify your venue. Touch base with your suppliers to ensure that everything is on track and settle balances due. This will give you peace of mind that all is paid for in the final weeks. Hopefully now, your hen and stag parties can be well under way so you an relax and have a bit of fun, stress free. You may receive a request from your photographer soon to discuss any group and family shots you’d like, look through their portfolio and also at the venue to see if there are any spots that you would want to have in your photographs. After all, you’re spending a beautoful day there and so it would be worth having it captured to remember it.
Wootton Park – Henley-in-Arden shot by me with Photography By Natasha
1 Month Until The Wedding
A mere 4 weeks stands between you and your big day! Just tying up loose ends and making sure the legal requirements have been fulfilled should be what you are left to do. Have you had a final dress fitting? You should purchase your jewellery, shoes and other accessories that you will want to wear. Many brides are given beautiful pieces from their family too which is an honour. If your timeline has been created, ensure all your vendors have access to it. Your wedding planner (if you chose to have one) will be able to make sure the contact details of all involved are accessible to you and each of the other vendors should they need it. Finalise your seating plans and have this printed up or design it yourself. Have in mind what gifts you would like to give to your bridal party and those who you feel gave you much support for the big day. Have a think about your vows if you don’t want a traditional reading of vows. Any guests who have still not yet RSVP’d? contact them now to find out so you can update your attendance lists. Finally, review things with your wedding party so everyone knows what to do and where to be on your wedding day.
Wootton Park – Bromsgrove with Photography By Natasha, Peckforton Castle – Cheshire with Photography By Natasha and Grafton Manor – Bromsgrove, with Photography By Natasha, images shot by me.
1 Week Until The Wedding
Just 7 days to go, nerves, excitement, anticipation! You probably experience a wealth of emotions several times a day. There are just a few last minute things to think about and it is worthwhile just reviewing plans with your vendors and sharing timelines again, especially if there have been any amendments to the running order of the day and settle any balances outstanding or make arrangements to pay on the day if agreed beforehand. Allocate tasks to your wedding party so you have some support and the pressure can be taken off a little. Now, self-indulge a little. Getting pampered, hair, nails and tans done if you need to. Pack for the honeymoon and relax ahead of the big day. Schedule a lovely evening for you and your fiance to just enjoy each other’s company. This will help you both to destress and get excited!
Peckforton Castle – Manchester shot by me with Photography By Natasha
It’s Your Wedding Day!!
Finally it is here! After 12 months of serious organisation, planning and hard work, the big day has arrived. What should you do? Just enjoy the day. Those you have appointed to make things run smoothly should do so and all you need to do is just enjoy looking and feeling amazing. Take everything all in, slow down and really treasure every single moment. It is a busy day that will go so fast.
Old Brook Barn – Essex, shot by me with Anesta Broad Photography
After Your Wedding Day and Honeymoon
You will probably be on the biggest high after your wedding and honeymoon! There really isn’t much to do other than enjoy being a newly wed couple. You can send out thank you cards to your attendees and vendors. To make it easier, use the guestlist to mark off names when you’ve written the card and have a list of who gave what as gifts if you want to make a special thank you. You will need to change your name via deed pole and then change all important documentation such as your driving licence and passport. Now to wait for the wedding photography which is usually a 6-12 week wait, particularly in wedding season. Some may do sneaky peaks so you might get to see some images before they are all complete! How exciting!
Hopefully this will be a useful guide to help with planning a wedding! It is still useful for longer or shorter engagements! Looking for your wedding photographer? Enquire here.
Leave comments below or share with friends and family who may want some support with planning their wedding.