Wedding planning essentials from the engagement to the Big Day
We have created a good basic "To-Do List" and a guide to what you need to consider and when to start organizing your venue, photographer, bridemaids and even your dream honeymoon!
To do after the engagement:
- Decide on your wedding budget and consider how formal/informal big/small you would like your wedding to be.
- Decide where you wedding will be. Are you marrying at home or abroad? Will it be a beach, garden or church wedding or perhaps something else?
- Set a wedding date (and time if you can) for your wedding.
- Draw up a guest list.
- Book your wedding venue or restaurant.
- Book your wedding planner now if you have decided to use one.
- Start your beauty and health programmes now if for example you plan to loose some weight before the wedding day. DIY wedding.org has lots of great tips and easy recipes for a good wedding weight loss.
The date is set:
- Book the celebrant or chaplain. Arrange a meeting so you can talk about your wishes for the day and also get some invaluable advice from the person who will marry you.
- Confirm the wedding venue. Remember to confirm for both the reception and the ceremony.
- If you have decided on an outdoor wedding remember that you must have shelter for you and your guests and perhaps even an alternative plan in case the weather turns bad.
- Order the wedding menu and the wedding caterers
- Decide on the wedding drinks.
- Decide on the wedding cake
- If you are planning a wedding at home remember to hire equipment like tables, chairs, glasses, marquees, heaters, extra toilets etc.
- If you are using a wedding decorator you need to book them early – they may also be able to help you with the equipment hire etc.
- Remember to arrange serving staff if you are having the wedding at home.
- Consider wedding ceremony music and entertainment. Most bands will have a website with their demo music.
- Book a wedding photographer
- Book music and other entertainment for the wedding party.
- Start thinking about your wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses.
- Decide who will be your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
- Start thinking about the suits for the groom and the groomsmen. If you are renting the suits and bridesmaids dresses start booking them now.
- Start considering what wedding stationary you would like. Begin looking for inspiration if you make your own invitations etc.
- Begin your search for the perfect wedding cars and get some prices.
- Start looking for your honeymoon destination.
- Stay on top of your health programme and beauty treatments.
Decide on the color and wedding theme you would like for your wedding. It’s important to settle on the colors early as they will most likely be used right from the invitations to the bridesmaids dresses to the flowers - to the table decorations to the thank you cards and so on. Consult your potential wedding decorators about the colors.
- If you are getting your wedding stationary printed by a printing company start organise to get them printed so they are ready approximately 2 months before the wedding. If you are inviting guests from overseas you should send their invitations already 3 months before the big day.
- Look for a florist who specialise in wedding flowers. Inform about your choice of color and wedding season so they can advice you about which flowers are available. Get an impression of price early as flowers are expensive. Investigate what you need from them and what you may be able to arrange yourself if you are on a budget. You need to consider your bridal bouquet, button hole flowers, wedding ceremony flowers, reception flowers and table centre pieces.
- Buy you wedding dress.
- Buy your wedding shoes, jewellery, lingerie, garters and other accessories.
- Buy clothes for the groom.
- Inform your parents of your choice of clothes in case they wish to coordinate their outfit with yours.
- Begin your search for a hairdresser and makeup artist. Look for inspiration online so you can express your wishes.
- Help arrange accommodations for guests (private accommodation or hotel). You don’t need to pay for anything but it’s often a great help for your guests if you can recommend some different places for them to stay.
- Book the wedding night accommodation.
- Notice of intention to marry.
- Start looking for your wedding rings. What styles would you like and what is your budget? It’s a good idea to give the jeweller at least a couple of months to resize etc. before the wedding day.
- Order you wedding cake.
- Select the champagne and wines for your wedding day (taste everything so you are sure it’s what you wanted).
- Book your honeymoon destination and remember any vaccinations, visas and name change in passport.
The final details:
- Finalise the floor plan for the reception and coordinate this with the table and chairs you have ordered if you are hiring equipment. Clarify where the bridal table is going to be, where the entertainment will be, how the guest’s tables will be arranged, where the cake will be cut and where the dance floor will be.
- Make the first draft for the guest seating plan.
- Perhaps arrange for some confetti, rose petals, wedding favors or other wedding day extras.
- Start preparing your speech and begin writing your vows.
- Buy gifts for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, for both your parents and for each other.
- Pick up your wedding rings.
- Make a wedding day schedule which you hand out to the key people for the wedding day.
- Draw up a wish list. But remember never to send it out to your guests! It’s not appropriate. Delicately spread the word through your parents or the bridesmaids and groomsmen instead.
- Buy / design thank you cards, place cards, menu cards etc.
- Choose 2 witnesses (for both civil and church wedding)
- Review the wedding ritual and ceremony with the pastor.
- Decide who will be your toastmaster.
- Decide the order for speeches and toasts with your toastmaster
- Arrange a makeup and hair trial day so you can experiment with colors and look. Remember to bring your head piece.
- Book a beauty appointment latest 1 week before your wedding day for any waxing, hair removal etc. and organise manicure and pedicure a couple of day before your wedding.
- Exchange money for your honeymoon
- Pack a bag with plain clothes if you spend the night out on the wedding night.
- Make sure to have makeup, safety pins, patches and other practical things in the bride's bag for the Big Day.
- Keep track of the pick-up days and times for all the wedding attire for yourself, the groom and the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
The final bits and pieces:
- Buy spare hosiery for your bridesmaids and yourself.
- Reconfirm all your bookings; wedding flowers, wedding entertainment, hairdresser & make up appointments, wedding photographer, equipment hire companies, wedding cars, wedding venue etc.
- Remind your photographer about your specific wishes for the day and make sure he is clear on what it is you want.
- Book a rehearsal dinner for the entire bridal party.
- Get your engagement ring professionally cleaned so it is a shiny as your new wedding ring on the day.
- Write the place cards.
- Consider to have a master seating plan created if you are having a large wedding so everyone can see where they are sitting. Remember to arrange one for the wedding venue.
Other little tips:
- Scratch the bottom of your wedding shoes so you don’t slip when you wear them.
- Don’t try to do everything alone.
- Get some rest and look after yourself. Remember it is supposed to be fun for both you, your groom and your entire family.
Honeymoon last minute preparation:
- Have your luggage ready for your honeymoon.
- Collect your travel itinerary.
- Ensure you have organised your passports, travellers cheques, travel insurance, spending money in cash.
- Confirm flights 72 hours before you travel.
The day and the night before:
- Try to relax and get some rest.
- Spoil yourself! Take a long bath, eat good food and get a good nights sleep.
Your wedding day:
- Get a good and solid breakfast. You have a long and busy day in front of you.
- Go over the schedule if you need to and begin having fun! You have worked hard to make this wedding day something special – Enjoy it!