For those of you who are recently engaged, getting married will be a day to remember. Your very own shindig to show off two families uniting. However this whole planning process can be overwhelming. I am a lover of lists and lists have proven time and time again that making lists do in fact help you get stuff done! I have put together a checklist with about 12 months to spare, so you can see what is essential and what you can leave for later Or cut out entirely!
12 Months to go –
1 Draw up a budget btw think you have met the man of your dreams and there is talk of the future? Start a little “nest egg” with the ol’ FNB savings, you’ll thank me later!
2 Do a rough draft of your guest list. A friend of mine recently did a quest list A and guest list B. List A is essential family and friends who will be invited, however some family/cousins and work colleagues may be considered, that is where list B comes in. Note – Your number of guests may impact your choice of venues.
3 Pick potential wedding dates – check with important guests to avoid clashes, this may sound crazy but your venue and photographer may also effect your wedding date.
4 Research potential wedding venues and ceremony locations. Put together a mood board of what you would like or put together a Pinterest board. This will keep you on the straight and narrow, there are so many awesome ideas out there that you don’t want to go over board!
11-10 Months –
5 Pop the question to your bridesmaids (fun part!)
6 Source any helpers/talented friends/family with tasks (hehe) for the wedding (for the cake, flowers, dresses, invites etc)
7 Optional: Have an engagement party
8 Visit and book your reception venue and ceremony location.
9 Research potential wedding services and suppliers – photographer, florist, invitations, cake, decor, music, hair and makeup.
10 Decide what type of entertainment you want for ceremony and reception (swing bands are so in at the moment!!)
9 months –
11 Book Photographer/Book Videographer (this can be done sooner)
12 Decide on your colour/flower/decor theme. Consider using flowers that are in season!
13 Start your wedding dress hunt (eat a salad the night before a fitting)
14 Send Save the Date cards – important if you’re getting married during a very busy time of year.
15 Book ceremony music, band and DJ for reception
16 Contact decor hire companies if you need to rent anything for ceremony/reception, such as chairs, tables, and a tent.
8 – 7 Months – Enjoy being engaged!! Yippee!!
6 Months –
17 Start planning honeymoon (Holidays always get me excited so thats why I put it at 6 months, you could do it a little closer towards the wedding especially is it is local *Local is Lekker)
17 Book Hair and Makeup
18 Book Pre-Marriage Course
19 Book ceremony musicians
20 Ensure passports are in date for honeymoon – order new ones if necessary
21 BOOK Honeymoon!
22 Start planning Hen & Stag Parties – well not you, the best man and bridesmaids should!
Five Months –
23 Choose bridesmaid’s dresses – this can be tricky if you have some bootylicious friends and some that are skinny-la-minx! I would say start sooner but it’s up to you and your friends. Please choose something nice, grumpy bridesmaids are no good for business!
24 Choose and order wedding invitations & stationery. Again this can be done in month 7 when your having a time off from planning.
25 Attend pre-marriage counselling, if required (for catholic ceremonies)
26 Meet with florist to discuss options and order wedding Cake!
27 Shop for groom’s suit
Four months –
28 Organise the legalities — give at least 3 months notice to registrar or priest/religious celebrant.
29 Decide on prayers, readings and music for mass booklets — check with your priest / registrar.
30 Organise invitations and order of service booklets.
31 Arrange travel visa’s if needed (prepare yourself this is always a mission if you have a SA passport!!)
32 Start gathering addresses for guest list – create spreadsheet for RSVPs
33 Send invitations to guests
34 Order wedding rings
Three to two months –
35 Rent the men’s formalwear
36 Attend dress fittings, start hectic gym regime.
37 Get the caters to feed you and decide on your menu. (Hence start gym!)
38 Organise your hair and makeup trial though this can be done when you have an engagement shoot or when you have your hen shindig.
One month –
39 Make any last-minute adjustments with suppliers.
40 Finalise details for, and order mass booklets/order of ceremony.
41 Organise champers (though not too much) and yummy snacks that will be in the rooms where you will be getting ready.
Two weeks to go –
41 Review final RSVP list
42 Email shot lists to your photographer and videographer. Include a breakdown of essential family members (don’t forget granny!) who should be in the formal portraits. Decide when these will be shot and where i.e. Church or venue
43 Give venue/caterer final guest head count
44 Supply wedding coordinator with a list of supplier requests such as a table for DJ or setup space needed by florist.
45 Create your table plan so you can print placecards and print menus.
46 Call all wedding suppliers to confirm arrangements, create timetable for day.
47 Give ceremony and reception site managers a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times, plus contact numbers.
One week to go –
48 Visit the ol’Sorbet to manicure, massage, de-hair and relax.
49 Do full wedding dress rehearsal with underwear and your veil.
50 Do some packing for your honeymoon, don’t forget some lacy nickers!
51 Organise money to be paid to suppliers that need to be paid on the day.
52 Make last minute changes to table plan if necessary (Move cheeky Aunty with the young guns)
53 Get your groom to go for a final fitting.
54 Checkin with vendors, you never know if they have suddenly agreed to do a wedding in Santorini (who would blame them?)
55 Drop off place cards, table cards, menus, favours, table plan to reception coordinator
56 Provide all suppliers with an emergency phone number to call on the day of the wedding.
57 Sort out last vendor payments
1-2 days before the wedding-
58 Ensure the cake is on track to be delivered to reception venue.
59 Rehearse ceremony with full wedding party, ceremony readers, your officiant at the ceremony site to rehearse and iron out details.
60 Get a good night’s rest and a spray tan!
Wedding Day –
61 Give wedding bands to the best man to hold during the ceremony
62 Give best man the officiant’s fee envelope, to be given after the ceremony
63 Introduce your reception coordinator to your wedding planner (if you’re having one), or bridesmaid/bestman for questions or problems during the reception.
64 Assign a family member or attendant to be the photographer’s contact so he knows who is who.
After the wedding –
65 Prearrange for someone to return any rentals.
66 Preplan for attendants to take the bride’s gown for cleaning and return the groom’s tux to the rental shop.
67 Write and send thank-you notes to gift-bearing guests and vendors who were especially helpful.
I hope my checklist helps, download my app “The Brides Office” in the Apple store.