Ever planned a wedding? No? neither have I. But, I have over 15 years of experience in the wedding industry and I know a thing or two. I’ve compiled some of the best advice I’ve heard or been given or read about over the past decade and a half into one handy little post. Read on for your wedding planning and timeline checklist.
What I’ve heard from most suppliers (and I’m included) is that we get booked up at least a year in advance. I’m writing this in July 2021 and I am nearly fully booked until September next year. Photographers get booked 2 years in advance and florists at least a year. I don’t take booking for more than a year and a half in advance. For example, I am currently not taking bookings for 2023. Who knows where I’ll be then hey?
Let’s assume that you are planning your wedding 18 months in advance. P-S I highly recommend having someone to marry at this point and being sure they’re on board with this. It’s not a cute ice breaker for a first date 😉
1. Guest List
In my experience, and in Covid times, it’s best to figure out how many people you want at your wedding. This will determine the venue size and the budget you might be working towards. Budgets are important. I would always say that most things cost more than you think, so it’s important to have a little flexibility also.
We’ve all got one, despite what my postie thinks of my spending habit. Create a budget and figure out who is paying for what and then work from there.
3. Venue, date and registar
Venues in the South West are extremely in-demand and it’s important to book in advance if there’s a specific venue you have in mind. When picking a venue, think about what your flower arrangements will look like, if there’s room for dancing or a band, if the outdoor space is nice and what your photographs will look like. At this time, you will also want to pick a date and provisionally reserve it whilst checking registrar availability. You don’t want to put a deposit down on a venue and have no one available to marry you both!
4. Wedding party
The fun (and sometimes stressful) bit. Pick your bridesmaids, best men and ushers. Remember to pick people who will add to the day, people that are helpful and people you genuinely want to spend your day with. This applies to the guest list in general. Don’t invite your cousin’s new girlfriend just because your aunt will get upset. It’s not about them.
5. Wedding insurance
Wedding insurance is still a little tricky to get currently due to the ol’ pandemic, but as soon as you can get it – get it. Thousands of couples didn’t get it last year and it was heartbreaking to hear. Try to get this as soon as you’ve secured your venue.
6. Wedding dress
My housemate works in a wedding dress shop and has told me time and time again of brides coming in looking at dresses a few months before their wedding due to wedding website misinformation. At least a year in advance is ideal, but earlier if you can. You will try on a sample dress at the shop and this will need to be altered. Sometimes this will be done in the shop and other times it will be sent away. Getting this sorted early will also help with your hair and makeup ideas along with picking your bridesmaid outfits.
7. Book a wedding photographer/videographer
These guys and girls get booked up well in advance – the good ones always do. So it’s a good idea to get this done as soon as you’ve got your venue – around 12-18 months before your wedding. Look on the wedding venue’s Instagram pages on the tagged section to see who’s shot there before to get a feel of their style.
8. Get the band or DJ sorted
Good music is integral to your evening. There’s nothing more awkward than silence at your wedding party or your uncle trying to stand up and get everyone involved in a sing-a-long. Pay a professional.
9. Book your hair and makeup artist(s) and other wedding suppliers such as cake maker
I’ve seen a lot of websites recommended to enquire around 6 months before your wedding day but this is all wrong. I have been fully booked for this year since April of last and it isn’t a pandemic thing. Most of us get booked up at least a year in advance and so it’s important to get your artists in early. Think about whether you want one person to do hair and makeup or individual artists for each treatment. The benefits of having one person and maybe their assistant if there’s a lot of you, is that there are fewer people in the room. It’s less hectic and you don’t have conflicting schedules. The pros of having two mainly come from liking the hair style of one artist and the makeup of another. It’s important to find people that suit your needs.
Sure, there are a lot of florists around but most will only take on one wedding a day or maybe only one a weekend. Again, it’s a good idea to check the venue social media pages for tags of suppliers to see who has set up the venue before. It’s not integral but it’s nice to see how they’ve set up the place at other weddings.
11. Register your intent to marry
The sooner the better. This can be done anytime from 1 year to 3 months, but you may as well get it sorted as soon as you can.
12. Save the dates
Only send these to people who are attending the whole day, not just the evening. Remember to provide an address for an RSVP and make a note of when you need the acceptances back.
13. Purchase your wedding rings
Not to freak you out, but you’ll probably be wearing this for the rest of your lives, so take your time here 😉 It’s a good idea to think about wedding accessories also such as earrings or a necklace if you want to wear one.
14. Pay your suppliers and confirm timings
This usually happens around 1 month before but everyone is different. I usually send invoices around 2 weeks before but can send them out early, though never more than a month in advance. This is also a good time to confirm your running order with everyone – guests, suppliers and venue included.
15. Last minute beauty appointments
If you’re thinking of going for lashes, it’s a good idea to have these done before your trial. If you want a tan, again, have this done a few times before to make sure you like it. Wanting a hair trim? get this done two weeks before your wedding so that it has time to settle. Hair dye a few weeks before also – just in case.
There are a bunch of other things and I’m sure I’ll add to this list as time goes on, but it’s a good starting point for you. I’m always here for a chat – even if I’m not doing your wedding hair and makeup, so drop me a line here if you need any advice.
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