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Your Definitive Wedding Planning Checklist

Sophie NaylorComment
Image by: Taken By Sarah, shoes by Elizabeth Rose London

Image by: Taken By Sarah, shoes by Elizabeth Rose London

So you're engaged, Congratulations! But where to begin when you start planning a wedding? Well we are here to help you plan the different elements of your wedding day with a simple check list. It might seem daunting but some details listed below may not have even crossed your mind! From when to send out your wedding invitations, to when you need to book caterers for your chosen wedding date, this list will be the best place to start building the plan of your big day. 

18 months before your wedding day

  • Decide if you are having a civil or religious ceremony

  • Decide whether you want a wedding planner or want to plan the entire day yourself

  • Agree a budget, be realistic! If you need to add an 10%+ allowance do it! 

  • Meet the Priest/Vicar to set a date & book the church (for a religious ceremony)

  • Draft the guest list

  • Begin viewing venues and book the one that suits you both best

  • Buy wedding insurance (shop around for the best tailored deals for your requirments)

  • Research wedding photographers and or/videographers, try and meet as many as possible.

  • Book your photographer and/or videographer when you have found the best fit. 

  • Research & book engagement session for any time between now and your wedding day, this is a great way to get comfortable with your photographer, and creates the most beautiful prints for friends and families, even for your wedding invitations.

  • Arrange a marquee if you need one


12 months to go

  • Choose witnesses (for a civil ceremony)

  • Choose bridesmaids/best man/ushers

  • Have an engagement party

  • Book registrar (for a civil ceremony)

  • Book wedding transport

  • Book entertainment – DJ/Band/Singers/Harpist/Fireworks

  • Book caterers

  • Decide on your wedding theme/colours

  • Start wedding dress shopping (essential to do this now if it’s a bespoke dress)

  • Start bridesmaid dress shopping

  • Book hair and make up artist (the hair and make up trials take place 3 months before)

  • Contact rental companies to hire furniture/linen

  • Book Toastmaster/Master of Ceremonies


9 months to go

  • Book florist

  • Book cake maker

  • Order your wedding dress

  • Buy your veil/shoes/underwear/tiara

  • Buy wedding favours


8 months to go

  • Send out Save the Dates

6 months to go

  • Give notice of marriage (for civil ceremony)

  • Book time off work for your honeymoon

  • Book your honeymoon & travel insurance

  • Order your wedding cake

  • Buy your wedding rings (do not leave this too late if you want a bespoke shaped wedding ring)

  • Sort out your wedding night accommodation

  • Agree the Order of Service with your Vicar/Registrar

  • Choose music/readings/hymns/songs/poems for your ceremony

  • Write your own vows

  • Set up your wedding gift list, some lovely ideas are: Charity Donations, Wine gift list, honeymoon contributions. 

  • Design or choose your wedding invitations (but don’t send them yet)


4 months to go

  • Buy your going away outfit

  • Arrange suit fittings for groomsmen

  • Agree and finalise all wedding flowers

  • Decide whether you’re having a first dance & decide/book dance lessons/a choreographer


3 months to go

  • Have your initial wedding dress fitting (take your shoes/veil/tiara/underwear)

  • Attend the reading of your Banns (you don’t have to attend but it’s a special public occasion where the congregation may be invited to pray for your happiness so you might want to hear this). Your Banns must, legally, be read in the parish where each of you lives as well as the church in which you are to be married (if that is somewhere else). Your Banns will be read out in church for 3 Sundays during the 3 months before your wedding (usually over 3 consecutive Sundays).

  • Have a hair and make-up trial

  • Have your hen/stag do’s

  • Break in your wedding shoes (wear socks on carpeted flooring)

  • Start writing speeches

  • Buy thank you gifts for your bridal party

  • Have a menu tasting with your caterers

  • Start the table plan

  • Order venue and table decorations

  • Arrange any vaccinations

  • Check your passport & renew if it will expire before you travel. If it’s still valid, you don’t need to renew your passport but ensure that the name on your travel docs matches your passport.


2 months to go

  • Decide whether to have an unplugged wedding and then :

  • Send out your invitations (include your wish for an unplugged wedding here)

  • Fill out your photographer’s questionnaire detailing everything about your day

  • Work out a timeline for the day with your photographer (unless you have a planner)

  • Buy clothes for your honeymoon

1 month to go

  • Chase up RSVP’s

  • Have your final dress fitting/bridesmaids fittings

  • Print your Order of Service

  • Buy a Guest Book

  • Decide who to choose as your 2 witnesses (for a civil ceremony)

  • Confirm bookings and timings with all suppliers

  • Go through the day plan/duties with all suppliers

  • Settle all final balances


1 week to go

  • Confirm guest numbers/dietary requirements with your venue & caterers

  • Finalise seating plan

  • Write place cards

  • Have a wedding rehearsal

  • Give your DJ a song list

  • Collect any hired items

  • Pick up your wedding dress

  • Hand over the supplier list/emergency contacts to a designated person

  • Have a manicure/pedicure/massage (but not a facial)

  • Order foreign currency for your honeymoon

  • Find Something Old, Something New etc,. 

  • Wrap any gifts


1 Day to go

  • Give your rings to the best man

  • Make sure you have some cash for any payments on the day

  • Pack for your honeymoon including tickets and passport

  • Put together an emergency kit for the day (make-up & whatever else you might need) and give it to one of your attendants


On the day

  • Allow plenty of time to get ready – begin dressing 2 hours before the ceremony

  • Put your engagement ring on your right hand


After your wedding/honeymoon

  • Send thank you cards

  • Have your wedding dress cleaned

  • Receive your photos/video

  • Arrange to change the surname on your driving licence, bank etc,.