Planning your wedding is no easy task! With 12 months to go until the big day, it’s likely you’ll have an idea of what you want (and don’t want) for your wedding. Yes, the golden votives you’ve been eyeing up on Pinterest would look gorgeous on your top table – but let’s get back to logistics.
Colette De Barros
12 months to go
– It’s time to talk money. Get any awkward conversations about setting the budget out the way pronto and work out what to spend where. A structure at this point will be invaluable; for a guide, here’s what the average Brides reader spends.
– Set the date, but be prepared to be flexible: there’s nothing worse than finding your dream venue is booked on your must-have date.
– Work out your guest numbers – who to invite and who to leave off the list (Tip: cutting guest numbers by just 10 people could shave a cool £1,400 off your wedding costs!)
– Do the other proposal. 79% of you had already chosen your bridesmaids before you got engaged, if you didn’t, now’s the time to ask them.
– Buy wedding insurance. Sounds dull, but no one wants their dream wedding ruined by accidents or other unplanned mishaps do they?
11 months to go
– Write the guest list. Can guests bring children? What about plus ones? And do you really need to invite the whole office? We help bust those myths here
– Save the date! Whether it’s at the click of a button or with a lick’n’stick stamp – you wouldn’t want your favourite cousin to be on hols when you’re throwing the bouquet: get your date in guests’ diaries now.
– Book your photographer. The best ones get snapped up quickly. Make it a priority to let them get to know you; it’ll help them perform better for you on the day. These top tips might help
– Start the search for ‘The One’. Well, the other one, that is: your dress. Consult the pages of Brides, scan thousands of dresses here and book those all-important bridal boutique appointments.
10 months to go
– Buy the wedding dress! Note: if you’re going bespoke, you’ll need to allow at least six months for completion, and bear in mind alteration times and costs, too. It’s a good time to consider shoes and any other accessories to complete the look. Need inspiration? Visit our galleries.
– Start honeymoon planning: from budget to location, flights to hotel. You might find surprisingly good deals this far in advance. For inspiration, see our 2015 award winners here.
– Live music or DJ set? Book your entertainment now – think about timings and any restrictions your venue might have, too – you’ll have time to fine tune the exact songs later.
9 months to go
– Let’s talk flowers. From your bridal bouquet to reception decor, discuss seasonality of your favourite blooms and the all-important arrangement composition with your florist. Don’t forget to ask them these important questions.
– Do the taste test. Firm up your menu and drinks with your caterer, bearing in mind allergy sufferers and vegetarians where possible. Be inspired by our food and drink ideas!
– Go bridesmaid dress shopping! No doubt they’ve had their say on yours – so now it’s your turn to sit in the advisor’s chair. (Tip: discuss who is buying what straight away to avoid awkward conversations later)
8 months to go
– Choose your readings and music. If it’s a church wedding, it’s time to discuss with the minister and musicians – but if it’s a civil ceremony, you’ll need to find out what’s permitted and adapt accordingly.
– Chase those pesky non-RSVPers. It’s totally fine to ask if they’re coming or not: you need to know.
– Order the stationery! Invites, envelopes, place cards, menus and seating plan. Or if you’re DIY-ing it, it’s time to get cracking. See some of our favourite designs to get you started.
7 months to go
– Think about travel. From transporting guests to and from the venue to your grand entrance and get-away car, get any vehicles hired for the day now.
– Ooh… cake! Settle on a showstopper – and bear in mind flavours, composition, how it will be transported and the type of icing if you’re planning on saving any.
– Choose (and/or) order your wedding favours. Though why not have a go at making your own? Follow our easy step-by-step guides.
6 months to go
– Kit out your fiancé and ushers. This may be a job for him, though 3/4 of you said you’d help him pick his suit. Hiring outfits are a great way to save money, particularly if the men will wear morning suits or tails.
– Pick your wedding rings
– Confirm the order of service with your minister or registrar and have guest books printed. (Psst! If you’re having a choir, they’ll need copies too!)
5 months to go
– It’s all about the make-up! If you’re hiring a make-up artist, book those all-important trial sessions. If it’s a DIY job – head to the nearest department store and pick up trial sizes of any products you might like to wear. Not sure where to start? These tips will help.
– Pick (or even make!) your bridal fragrance. Boutiques like Jo Malone or Bloom offer special bridal services and are well worth checking out. Or see our guide to tackling the department store perfume hall.
4 months to go
– Check your passport date. It must have at least six months left on it from the date you want to travel – and don’t get all wed-eyed and book under your married name. If your passport doesn’t match up, you won’t be boarding the plane.
– Need visas or inoculations for your honeymoon? Find out and book.
3 months to go
– Give notice. It may be unromantic, but – regardless of religion or culture – this is a legal requirement that formalises your intent to marry. Visit www.gov.uk for what you need to know, and consult our guide.
– Organise a rehearsal before the big day and make sure the most important wedding party members will be there.
– Church of England wedding? Attend a reading of the banns. They’re usually held three consecutive Sundays before your wed-day.
2 months to go
– If you’ve delegated tasks to your fiancé, ‘maids or family, check how they’re getting on – you may need to pick up the slack to make sure everything’s sorted.
– Try on your entire wedding outfit! Forgotten anything? Now’s the time to get it.
– Make sure you’ve got that bridal glow sorted by booking any other beauty treatments (fake tan, manicure etc.) Here are our top five fake tans.
1 month to go
– Try out hairstyles with your hairdresser, making sure you take the tiara, crown, circlet or accessories you plan to wear. Or, if you’re taking charge, our galleries and bloggers’ YouTube tutorials are a great source of inspiration.
– Gather your hens for a girls-only celebration. After all that planning, it’s time to party: congratulations!