You’ve just said “Yes”, and you couldn’t be happier or more excited. You feel like you absolutely can’t wait to get married. This is when the planning starts, and starting this sooner rather than later will make your wedding planning much smoother and simpler than leaving it until later.
Kept Photography believe a wedding photographer can help you with more than just gorgeous photos of your day. We are proud to present our comprehensive checklist for wedding planning to help you over the coming months:
12 months until your wedding…
- Set the date
Unless you’re lucky enough to get a last minute bargain, to get the most competitive deals from venues and suppliers you need to start planning now. To make your budget go further, you could consider booking a midweek or Sunday wedding rather than a Saturday.
- Who you will plan your wedding?
You’re focused, you’re determined, and you have a strong vision of what your wedding day should look like. But there is absolutely no shame in asking a professional wedding planner for help to ease the stress of planning your day.
- Save-the-date cards
Picture it. You’ve sent your save-the-date cards for July, only to find that 76 year old Auntie Margaret has booked the full month away in Benidorm (again). Save the date early. Margaret can find a new man next year.
- Set a budget
Your commitment lasts forever, but paying for it needn’t. If you’re on a budget, consider what it is you really need (not want) and plan that first.
- Write up your guest list(s)
Try to keep the bride and groom’s sides balanced, lest the building capsize. This makes for two happy families. It may be helpful to draw up two guest lists if you plan to invite people to your reception, who are not able to attend the ceremony.
- Book your venue(s)
It’s better to book your venue(s) sooner rather than later. They’re kind of the biggie. Sometimes you’ll need one for the ceremony and one for the reception, sometimes you’ll find a venue you love which offers both. You should consider the costs, catering options, capacity, and whether or not the venue fits your vision. Keep in mind that you could potentially save thousands by making an off-season booking.
- Choose bridesmaids, a best man and ushers
These need to be people you would trust with your life. You will depend on them on the day. It would be ideal if they lived locally, but not essential.
- Choose your photographer and videographer
Your photographer has one chance to capture your day. You need to be fully confident in their ability and love the style of their work. Make sure you meet them personally – they will be with you throughout your wedding day. This blog is published by Kept Photography, who would love to talk to you about your day. To learn more about Kept Photography, click here.
- Meet your minister or registrar
This is what they live and breathe and they’ve got you covered. Ask them questions about your wedding ceremony, or for advice in finding suitable music and readings.
- Book musicians/entertainment
Whether for entertainment or ambience, you may consider hiring musicians to perform on your day. This could range from a singer to perform a beautiful solo piece as you walk down the aisle, to a rock band to play at your reception, or anything else in between.
- Consider outside catering
If the reception venue you have selected does not include catering, you will need to consider hiring a caterer. If you a working to a limited budget, you might purchase buffet platters from a delicatessen or supermarket.
- Book wedding cars
Typically, this would be for the bride and her father. You may want to book additional cars for the bride’s mother and the bridesmaids.
- Book a florist
Think about how you want your day to look. Do you have a colour scheme? If so, keep this in mind when choosing flowers. Good quality artificial flowers can be astonishingly realistic, excellent as a keepsake, and more cost effective if you’re on a budget. Speak to a local florist for advice.
- Book your honeymoon
Some couples may decide to honeymoon or even have the whole wedding abroad. Avoid tragic airport conundrums by ensuring that travel arrangements for the bride are booked using her maiden name and existing passport. All the boring stuff like changing your documents can wait until you get back anyway…
- Buy wedding insurance
Imagine it, it’s a week before your wedding and your caterers, registrar and venue are all eaten by sharks! What happens now? Avoid this very real possibility (or a number of less dramatic, more realistic possibilities) by buying a wedding insurance policy.
- Decide on the dress
If you are choosing a couture wedding dress made just for you, then you need to order it as soon as possible. A designer dress may take 4-6 months or if you’re going for a dress that’s off-the-peg or even second-hand, 4-6 weeks should be long enough to allow for most alterations.
- Consider your health and diet
You both look fantastic already, but if you do decide to change something before your day then now is the time. That said, do you know which people are the most photogenic? Happy people.
6 months until your wedding…
- Order a wedding cake
Don’t have it made yet though, it won’t be any good in 6 months time…
- Buy wedding shoes and accessories
These should be chosen or purchased in time for your first dress fitting. Glamour is great, but comfort is important too.
- Book a hairdresser and make up artist
Make sure you find someone who understands the way you want to look. There’s no harm in speaking to several hairdressers or make up artists before deciding. If you are having a hair and make up trial before the day, take your veil and tiara with you.
- Clothing for the bridal party
Now is the time to choose bridesmaid’s dresses, suits for the groom, best man, ushers and additional clothing for page boys or flower girls.
- Book the honeymoon suite
…with champagne, a big bath, and extra rose petals…
3 months until your wedding…
- Dress alterations
The dress will not change shape or size after this. Make sure you don’t either!
- The rings
You need to be sure these are both correctly sized. If you plan on wearing your engagement ring alongside your wedding ring, ensure they fit comfortably together. Make sure you stay in budget, be that diamond ring, gold ring, or Haribo ring.
- Send out wedding invitations
Ordinarily, invitations are send out between 6 and 12 weeks before the wedding. If you prefer you can send them sooner than this. It may be helpful to your guests to include information on transport and parking, accommodation and dress code if required. Reply cards should be included for your guests RSVP. Make sure you ask if your guests have any allergies or dietary requirements.
- Order/choose your venue decorations and details
This might include wedding favours, table centrepieces and chair covers.
- Decide on a gift list
Include a link to this in your wedding invitations. If booking Kept Photography as your wedding photographer, ask us about our wedding list alternative: the Kept Album Fund. Visit Kept Photography’s website for more information.
- Wedding music and readings
Ask your registrar or minister for further advice.
- Arrange any vaccinations you might need
You might need them for your honeymoon if travelling abroad.
- Start to plan the hen and stag parties
…but be good!
1 month until your wedding…
- Go for a final fitting of your wedding dress
Make this an event by asking your friends, sister or mum to come too.
- Double check your supplier availability
This shouldn’t be necessary, but it’s not worth taking any risks. Make a quick phone call to check the details. Get details from them in writing if you haven’t done this already.
- Create the seating plan
Once the plan is agreed, it is a good idea to make a display for the reception showing your guests where to sit.
- Plan the wedding rehearsal
An ideal time to do this is a few days before the wedding. Turn this into a fun evening for everyone by inviting the wedding party for food or drinks afterwards.
- Contact any guests who have not yet RSVP’d
It’s important to confirm final numbers to the caterers and venue. They will need to know this at least 1-2 weeks before your wedding.
- Arrange a date to pick up hired suits
Make sure you know when they need to be returned. As you’re likely to be on your honeymoon, this is a job best given to the best man.
- Write the speeches
This is your opportunity to think about what your other half means to you, and to tell it to the world. If this sounds too scary, professional speech writers are available.
1 week to go…
- Have your hair trimmed and/or coloured
Try not to deviate from the hair you have planned. There is a time for experimenting, this is not that time.
- The wedding rehearsal
It’s so important to know the routine before the day. This will help you feel a lot calmer when it comes to the real thing.
- Packing for your honeymoon
This is far more exciting than a holiday and you can’t wait to go, but check the travel guidelines and luggage allowances just as closely as you normally would!
- Wearing-in your bridal shoes
To get your bridal shoes nice and comfy before your big day, wear them in around the house. Don’t go out in them though, it’s not worth the risk of messing them up!
- Make a wedding emergency kit
Ask your chief bridesmaid to look after this for you on the day. Lipstick, make up, compact mirror, tissue… hip flask? No, but…
- Buy ivory wedding umbrellas
If it looks like your wedding may be on a rainy day, it’s worth investing in some bridal umbrellas.
- Last minute beauty treatments
There’s still a bit of time left. If you want to, this would be a good time to get eyebrows shaped, go for a fake tan or get your nails done.
- ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’
Your grandmother or mother may be able to give you something old, the rest are easy enough to come by, especially if you have a good imagination.
- Choose a member of your wedding party as an emergency supplier contact for the day
Just in case any of your suppliers need to be contacted on the day, make a list of the contact details and pass to the chief bridesmaid or best man. This is their job for the day. Your job is to enjoy your wedding!
It’s time for you to get married!
Everything is in order, you’ve spent months planning this and getting every detail just the way you want it. All that’s left now is the most important thing… get married, and enjoy every minute of your day.
This list was written by Kept Photography, a wedding photographer based in the East Riding of Yorkshire close to Beverley and Hull.
Let us beautifully capture your day with the attention and care it deserves with our creative reportage wedding photography.
Your memories, never forgotten, always Kept.