Your Wedding Planning Checklist – your step by step guide to stress-free and calm wedding planning

Your Wedding Planning Checklist – your step by step guide to stress-free and calm wedding planning

checklist blogFirst of all, huge congratulations on your recent engagement!  Now, if you are anything like me, once the initial flurry of activity (such as telling everyone you have ever met that you are getting married) has subsided and you realise you actually have to organise an actual wedding… from scratch… you have no idea where to start! Well let us be of assistance! This is your step by step guide to stress-free and calm wedding planning – with some personal tips based on my  experience – so, keep calm and get planning!

18 months to go:

◊       Set your budget Only spend what you can afford, your wedding will be amazing whatever you spend!  There are so many ways to make savings so be realistic, I have been to so many weddings over the years and they were all fantastic in their own way, they all had vastly different budgets but this was in no way reflected in the amount of fun had by all. Decide what your priorities are and spend the money you have wisely.

◊       Start a rough guest list – this will give you an idea of numbers – think about day and evening guest lists if you plan on doing it that way. This will determine the size of venue you will need. In my experience, you don’t regret inviting people, but you could regret missing people off the list.  Start with a wish list and then cut back if necessary.

◊       Decide on the type of venues you want for both the ceremony and reception, research what is available in your chosen location and make appointments to view them.  The theme of your wedding will impact on the type of venue – do you dream of an informal, festival style wedding? Or a grand, luxurious country house? There are so many possibilities it is easy to get carried away so keep your budget in mind. Any theme can be adapted to your budget, you just need to get creative! If you are planning a marquee wedding check out the venues for marquees section on

◊       Book your wedding ceremony (including registrar) and reception venues  you may have a date in mind, but it will all come down to availability.  Remember that venue costs and availability vary greatly throughout the year and also throughout the week so stick to your budget when picking a date and keep an open mind!

◊       Book your photographer and videographer – I have to admit this was an area I thought I could make some savings by having a family member video the wedding and having the photographer for a portion of the day, BUT 7 years down the line and really all you are left with are the photos and videos (along with the treasured memories of course but these do fade…) I now firmly believe with the luxury of hindsight, that you should spend as much as your budget allows to get the best possible coverage of your special day.  For quotes from loads of photographers in your area go to

◊       Book your caterers and mobile bar hire if these do not come with your venue.  Check out for loads of caterers, mobile bar hire and mobile cocktail bar hire companies in your local area.  There are so many styles to choose from which will suit any type of wedding, from converted horse boxes, buses, retro cars or more traditional, elegant cocktail bars.

       At this stage it is a good idea to obtain wedding insurance

12-9 months to go:

◊       Decide on your bridesmaids, ushers and best man.   I have been to weddings where there have been 7 bridesmaids (7!!) and others where there have been none as the bride didn’t want any favouritism amongst her friends.  Whatever you decide, remember that 7 bridesmaids will mean (possibly,) have to buy 7 dresses, 7 pairs of shoes, 7 bouquets, 7 hair do’s on the day… etc etc.

       Finalise your guest list and send out save the dates – these days this is often just done via social media or text.

       Book your wedding transport if you need it

 ◊      Book your wedding entertainment, this might be in the form of a disco, a band or a DJ for the dancing later, but you may also want to think about something a bit different to entertain your guests earlier on in the day. How about a close-up magician walking around to keep guests happy while you are having your photos taken? or even a fun casino or photobooth! For DJs, mobile discos, magicians, photobooth hire and fun casino hire in your area go to

       Start planning the menu with the caterers, this could be a formal sit down, multiple course meal, followed by a hog roast or BBQ in the evening – or something more laidback like a wood fired pizza van or paella stall.

       Start wedding and bridesmaid dress shopping!

       Book your hair and makeup artists, or if you are doing your make up yourself, start practising with ideas now or make an appointment at a local department store cosmetics counter for advice and tips.  My advice would be to make sure you don’t go too radical on the day, stick to your normal style of makeup (just loads better!) as you still want to feel and look like yourself. Hair is harder to do yourself (and its loads of fun to try new styles at the hairdressers…) but before deciding on a style for your hair, it is important to have chosen your dress, so the style of your hair compliments the dress.  You don’t want long hair down your back if it covers up a detail on the dress!

9-6 months to go:

       Book your florist, Flowers can be a small or an enormous chunk of your budget so do your research and be up front from the start on how much you want to spend.  Choosing one who is familiar with your venue may help you if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want.  You can then see photos of previous displays within the same venue.

       If you haven’t done so already… Order. Your. Wedding. Dress!

       Buy your accessories such as underwear, veil, shoes and hair accessories.  Don’t forget to try the accessories (especially the underwear) on with your dress before the final fitting.

◊       Order your wedding stationary.

6-3 months to go:

       If you haven’t done so already… Buy your bridesmaid dresses. 

       Don’t forget the groom! Now is the time to decide what he will wear and get this ordered.

       Book the wedding night accommodation – and the night before if the bride wants to be at or near the venue already.  There are loads of options for accommodation depending on your wedding style, it could be that you plan to glamp it up in a tipi on your wedding night!

       Book the Honeymoon – or minimoon if you are just having a short break straight after the wedding don’t forget to check that your passports are not due to expire.

       Buy the Wedding Rings 

       Plan the order of service – give plenty of notice if you would like loved ones to do a reading, nobody wants this sprung on them at the last minute.  

       Set up your wedding registry or gift list – if you are having them. 

       Decide on wedding favours and order (or make!) these

3 months to go:

       Send out your invitations  

       Dress fitting 

       Hair and makeup trial 

       Make sure the speeches are written

       Go on your Hen and Stag dos

       Buy thank you gifts for the wedding party  

       Start the seating plan   

1-2 weeks to go:

       Finalise guest list/seating plan and numbers with your venue

       Advise the caterers of any guests with dietary requirements

       Confirm bookings and go through timings with all suppliers, settle any outstanding payments.  

       Confirm duties and timings for the day with the bridal party  

       Collect the wedding dress and any hired clothing or decorations for the day    

       Have a manicure – or a full on pamper day!     

Now all that is left is for you to do is to relax and enjoy your special day.  Take it all in, it goes by so quickly!

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