Your Ultimate Wedding Checklist
Planning a wedding can be quite daunting sometimes with a lot to think about, so we’ve put together a little check list to make sure you haven’t missed out on anything!
There is no set timeline for planning a wedding or event but we often get asked what to do and when so we’ve put together this rough guideline to help you get started and hope you find it helpful.
18-12 months before your wedding
Set your preferred date/month of the year you want to get married
Have a look at when you want to get married, if its abroad research when is the best weather at that location. It may be an anniversary date (so its easier to remember) its good to have an idea of when you want to get married but keep in mind to be flexible as the venue may determine when they have availability.
Prepare your guest list
Draft out a quick plan of how many guests you’ll be inviting on the day – of course, this will change but its good to have an idea on how many guests will be attending. Will it be around 50 guests or over 150 guests? This will then help with looking at venues. At this stage you may also know who you’ll be selecting to be your maid of honour, bridesmaids, best man and ushers. Try to make it equal and keep both families happy. Have a separate evening reception guest list if you want some work colleagues or friends of the family to come but you don’t know them well enough to invite them to the ceremony and the wedding breakfast.
Set a budget in mind
Discuss this with your partner and make it realistic perhaps add in a contingency just in case. Your guest numbers will also help with how much you think you’ll need, of course the more guests you have the more money you’ll need.
Top Tip – Always work on a lower budget than what you can actually afford so if you do go over, you won’t mind.
Research what kind of venue you would like for your wedding and then organise a site viewing with the respective suppliers. 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, You may decide to have your ceremony and reception at the same venue.
Meet your vicar/celebrant
It’s good to meet with celebrants/minister whoever will be marrying you and being happy with your choice, after all this person will be marrying you and it’s good to have a nice relationship with that person. They’ll be able to answer all your questions about the ceremony, order of service and help you find suitable readings and music.
Attend a wedding fayre
There are lots of wedding fayres taking place usually at the end and start of the year (February to April & October to November are the most common times) so this is a great opportunity to speak with different suppliers, get some ideas and inspiration for how you want your wedding. The next Marquee Solutions wedding Fayre will be on the 18th October 2020 and the Royal Jersey Showground – head over to our Facebook & Instagram for updates.
Send save-the-date cards
Once you’ve got your date and venue booked in make sure your guests get your wedding date in the diary, send these as soon as you can so they don’t book something else and miss out on your special day.
Arrange your wedding transport
Discuss with your family and friends about who is going with who and then book the transport accordingly. Whether that’s a luxury car, horse and carriage or limo!
Book your photographer/videographer
Make sure you discuss all the locations, angles etc that you want to remember your wedding day.
Book a DJ/band/entertainers
Look into different bands, DJ’s and explore what you want to keep yourselves and your guests entertained and dance the night away. Usually guests have a band and then a DJ to finish off the evening. Check with your wedding planner about timings for when music needs to be off for your venue.
If the reception venue you have booked is not doing your catering then you’ll need to consider hiring outside caterers. Speak with the caterers to make sure they understand exactly what you’re looking for your wedding breakfast and evening food. They may think you want a sit down meal but really, you’re happy with a casual outside BBQ. Don’t forget to let them know of any dietary requirements.
Book your florist
Discuss the colours and look you want and show your florist photos of the ideas you like and they’ll put together some options for you.
Take out wedding insurance - It’s worth it just for peace of mind when wedding planning!
Check that your licence applications are in
Notify your bank / relevant companies and others of the pending change in your name
Make sure your passports are in date for when you go on your honeymoon/stag/hen party!
Book your honeymoon
This is very exciting and will be your first holiday away as a married couple so make sure you’re all prepared in advance cause you don’t want to be rushing this too close to your wedding as you’ll have other stuff going on. Tip - book it in your maiden name and use your existing passport, then change all your documents to your married name when you return.
Start to plan your hen and stag parties
Whether its viva Las Vegas, a trip to St Malo on staying at home you need to start planning your stag and hen party with the help of your best man and chief bridesmaid respectively.
Start to look for your wedding attire
Now is the very exciting time to go wedding dress shopping – take your besties, close family and enjoy the day of trying on loads of different dresses until you’ve found your perfect one. If you’re ordering a dress then allow 4-6 months and if you’re buying off-the-peg or second-hand, 4-6 weeks before should be fine for alterations if needed. You’ll also need to look for suits, bridesmaids, flower girl dresses etc
Anything else need to be booked?
Toastmaster - You might think you don’t need a toastmaster or master of ceremonies, or be worried that having one will make your wedding day feel too formal. They’re worth their weight in gold for ensuring everything goes to plan at the right time, in the right place and with the right people.
Photobooth/LOVE Letters/\sweet trolley etc – make sure to advise your wedding planner so they can include this on your floor plan to make sure you have enough space.
Fireworks – check with the venue/wedding planner that these are permitted at your wedding venue (livestock may be nearby) and keep in mind it will be weather permitting – if its been too dry this will be a health & safety risk.
6 months before your wedding
Order/make your wedding invitations
If you’re planning to DIY some aspects of your wedding – such as making your own invitations, table centres, cake or favours, then you will also need to build in time for practice as well as production – just to be on the safe side! Now is the time to start! Don’t forget all the other wedding stationery including: orders of service, place cards and thank you cards
Order the wedding cake
You’ll probably have an idea of how you want your wedding cake to look but again speak with your supplier and plan out ideas. You may want a special feature on your cake so make sure it’s mentioned. Its not all about looks…Will it be chocolate, Victoria sponge, red velvet, fruit cake…. decisions, decisions! But make sure you have a tasting session so you are happy with the overall filling.
Buy your wedding shoes and accessories
Get your shoes in good time for your first dress fitting, and your tiara and veil in time for your make up and hair trial. Choose what jewellery and any other bridal accessories you will wear.
Book your make-up artist and hairdresser
Speak to several to find the one that’s right for you, then book a hair and make-up trial complete with your tiara and veil if possible and make sure you’re happy with the final look. tip – make sure you take photos of your practise look!
4 months before your wedding
Send your wedding invitations
Traditionally they are sent out 6-12 weeks before the wedding but you can send them sooner if you prefer, especially if you are getting married abroad. 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.
Choose wedding music and readings
Discuss hymns and music with your minister, and prepare your order of service. Your minister/registrar will be able to advise further. Order the Order of Service sheets with your stationer.
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 them together.
Confirm your honeymoon
Make sure all plans are in place for your honeymoon – call the hotel/travel agent to go through all the details and get a confirmation sent to you. Print out all the documents you need.
If you have children, make sure you have your nanny at the ready.
Order last minute stationery / decorations
Such as place cards, napkins, table runners/decorations, guest book, confetti- make sure to check they’re bio-degradable. Don’t forget your wedding favours!
Book in a tasting session with your caterer so you know exactly what you and your guests are eating on the day of your wedding and if you want any changes to the dish. You might also want to look at pairing a perfect wine with the dishes.
Arrange the wedding rehearsal
A few days before is ideal and you could make an evening of it by inviting all your bridal party along to dinner afterwards too. It’s a good opportunity for them to all get together just before the big day.
Start your beauty routine
Start to get facials to ensure your skin is healthy and glowing on your wedding day. Think of all those wedding photos!
Decide on a gift list
Make it available to all your wedding guests (through your invitations) and your wedding website if you have one.
Buy gifts for the best man, maid of honour, ushers and bridesmaids (and anyone else who has helped out)
Usually a bouquet of flowers or bottle of bubbly is very thoughtful or a more personalised gift with your own message engraved make very special keepsakes.
Arrange to have any vaccinations done
If required for your honeymoon/stag/hen party.
1 month before your wedding
Confirm your guest list
Go through your invitation replies and contact any guests who have not replied to your invitation. Start putting together a table plan. Reconfirm the wedding arrangements with all your suppliers
Finalise the seating plan
And make your table planner for the reception so guests know where to sit. Send to the relevant person to start filling out the place cards. The venue/supplier and the caterers will need to know final numbers at least 1-2 weeks before.
Arrange for a final fitting of your wedding dress
Quite nice to keep this private, just you and your mum or grandma perhaps!
Write your vows
A very scary moment but don’t worry just write from the heart and imagine its just you two in the room when practising…
2 weeks before your wedding
Hand over the supplier list of contacts to a designated person
If you have a toast master/wedding planner who will be taking control of timings/order of the day then have a run through so they know exactly what’s going on. If your ushers and bridal party will be taking the reins then set a time to sit down with them all so they all know the plan, who’s letting you know when it’s time to cut the cake, first dance etc – the day can get away from you if you don’t try and stick with a schedule as there is a lot to fit in. tip – always schedule more time for photos than you think you need, these always time a while to get all the photos you want with every family/friend member. Organise for someone to take your car to the hotel so you have it the next day.
Pack your honeymoon bags
Have this already prepared and ready to go and plan exactly what you’ll need to take with you.
Collect or organise to pick up anything hired
Wedding dress etc
Have your beauty treatments
For men maybe it’s a clean shave or fresh hair cut to look your best and for the ladies see your beauty consultant about getting all pampered up, nails, eyebrows, hair, tan, the list goes on….
Maybe have a couple’s massage to settle any nerves and have some relaxing time together.
Have the wedding / ceremony 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. Its also a great time to get all your close family and friends together before the big day.
Wear-in your wedding shoes
Don’t wear bridal shoes outside, but do wear them around the house to make sure they’re comfy on the day.
Create a wedding emergency kit
Anything you think you might need on the day – your favourite lipstick, your phone, a little mirror, deodorant/ a comb. Ask your chief bridesmaid/usher to carry your kit for you.
Have a look at what the weather is doing…
Do you need to make any final changes because of the weather? Is it raining, do you need to buy umbrellas, or is it very sunny and you need sun cream. Make sure you’re prepared whatever the weather. Remember, if it is raining don’t let this ruin your day…it’s the one thing we can’t change so don’t worry about it, you’ll still have a fabulous day!
Find your ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’
An old wise tale but make sure you have them ready and found if you do want these on your special day.
Relax and have your last nights of freedom!
Says it on the tin…you’ve put a lot hard work into your wedding planning so now is the time to let your hair down with your family and friends and celebrate!
The day before your wedding
Try to get everything organised so the day before you can spend the day with friends or family, you don’t want to be stressing the day before.
Try to get an early night
You’re getting married in the morning and you need your beauty sleep!
On the day of your wedding
Give yourself plenty of time
You should have everything all planned…Hair and make-up, flowers, how you’re getting there, your bag should be packed for an overnight stay/honeymoon etc but if there is anything that needs to be done remember to relax and ask someone at the hotel/ a trusted friend or relative to help. Everything will come together.
Get to the ceremony on time!
And, just one final word of advice…