Wedding Planning does not have to be an overwhelming endeavour. I can only assume that the previous statement provoked a few sarcastic remarks. However, constructing a comprehensive checklist followed by an accurate timeline, will go a long way in keeping your stress levels at bay. Remember, organisation is the simple, most effective formula for overturning your doubts and frustrations.
18 months before:
- Preliminary research
Draw inspiration from a variety of sources – bridal magazines, wedding blogs, Instagram and Pinterest. It’s worth creating separate folders for each area that you’re researching (dress, vendors and venues, decorations, cake) to avoid confusion. This enables you to refer back to your research quite easily, rather than rifling through an endless amount of images and notes.
- Wedding definition
Define your ‘dream wedding’ in terms of the style you wish to emulate and the size. Will it be an intimate gathering or a sizable event? These factors will influence your decisions down the line.
- Bridal party/Guest list
Choose your bridal party. Who do you want standing with you, as you make a lifelong commitment to your significant other? Most of you will know the answer to this, long before you said ‘YES.’ Now it’s time for you and your partner to pop the second most important question – Will you be my bridesmaid (or groomsman)?
Remember to keep your priorities in check – The guest list should always be completed prior to choosing a venue. You do not want to fall in love with a venue and find that it is unable to accommodate the number of guests you wish to invite.
- Engagement Party
The engagement party is usually held 2-4 months after the proposal. The guest list for your engagement party should mirror the guest list for your wedding day.
The number of guests will form part of your criteria when you are searching for a wedding venue. You can simply disregard venues that do not satisfy your criteria and establish a shortlist to investigate further.
- Primary vendors
These are your caterers, photographers, rentals (furniture, decorations) and DJ/Band. You want to lock them down early.
10 months before:
- Secondary vendors
Secondary vendors refer to your florist, officiant, transportation and attire. The preliminary research and wedding definition should facilitate your choice of vendors.
- Launch a wedding website
Wedding websites are a brilliant platform for keeping guests informed and logging RSVPs. It is equally beneficial for both parties.
Select, purchase and send out invitations. While it is easy to veer off the path of productive wedding planning and drown in a pool of endless fonts, designs, and all the pretty papers, you don’t have plenty of time or funds to devote to this area. Quick decisions are necessary.
- Wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses
Whether you are purchasing a wedding dress off the rack or having it made, this will be a time-consuming process. After all, no bride-to-be is interested in anything short of perfection. Bridesmaid dresses are equally as challenging. Agreeing on a colour, style and cut is not an easy task. You also need to allow time for alterations.
6 months before:
- Wedding cake
Wedding tastings are an excellent excuse to indulge and reward yourself for how far you’ve come in this wedding planning extravaganza.
- Schedule hair and makeup artists
Book an appointment with a few hairdressers and makeup artists. Take a photo at each to compare the results. Make a decision but don’t discard names and numbers just yet, you always need a backup.
3 months before:
- 1st Dress Fitting
You’ll need to purchase your undergarments, bridal shoes and accessories prior to your first dress fitting. The purpose of the initial dress fitting is to confirm that the gown is the right size, colour and design. You’ll need to schedule in at least two more fittings to address any concerns or issues identified in the first fitting. Ask your bridesmaids to attend the dress fitting with you so that they can learn about the gown and offer feedback with regards to the dress, accessories and shoes.
- Finalise the menu and flowers
Given that food and flowers are seasonal, you’ll need to wait until a few months before your wedding to finalise these matters. Make sure that there are vegetarian and gluten free options for guests.
- Seating plan
You’ll need to wait until RSVPs are lodged before playing a little game called Wedding Tetris, otherwise known as the seating plan. There are two options here – assigning tables or assigning seats. The latter will require escort cards (which indicate the table number and are picked up upon arrival) as well as place cards (which indicate exact seating positions).
- Start composing a day-of timeline
Draw up a schedule of the day and slot in each key moment – cake cutting, first dance, speeches. Ensure that the bridal party, as well as your vendors, are fully aware of the schedule. Seek their input on the schedule as you may have missed a crucial ‘moment.’
1 month before:
- Write vows
This is the fun part. Don’t rush it. Write from your heart. Firstly, decide if you want to write them together or individually. If you opt for the latter, agree on a structure/starting point such as ‘I promise to’ as well as a word count to avoid conflicting styles.
- Touch base with all vendors
You will need to confirm final numbers with the venue, caterers and other vendors. Don’t forget to mention food allergies and any other special requests you may have.
- Bridesmaid gifts
Amidst all your planning, bridesmaid gifts can slip under your radar. Take some time to find a small gift for your bridesmaids as a token of your appreciation.
1 week before:
- Delegate wedding day tasks
Delegation is crucial. As tempted as you are to hold on to the reigns and assume total control, you do not want to be running around like a headless chook, tying up loose ends on your big day. Your bridal party is there to lend a helping hand so brief them on what needs to be done and make sure that everyone is clear on what their role entails.
- Book a spa treatment
Pamper yourself in preparation of your big day. Why not book a spa treatment for yourself and your bridesmaids to relax and relieve those sore muscles!
The wedding checklist will differ for each bride-to-be. What has been presented above is simply a mask which can be modified according to your needs. Just remember – developing a detailed checklist will enable you to keep your wedding planning on track and allow you to find joy in the process. Happy planning!