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What to Do and When – Your Wedding Planning Timeline

Franky Shanahan

Unless they have a background in events, most couples come to wedding planning with little or no previous experience. Figuring out what you need to do, and when you need to do it, is half the battle, so we’ve created a wedding planning timeline to guide you through the process.

Every wedding is different, and planning can take anything from 10 weeks to two years. The following timeline is based on a 12-month engagement. Remember, these aren’t hard and fast rules, just basic guidelines to get you started.

Curradine Barns wedding ceremony
Curradine Barns, Worcestershire. Photo by Jonny MP Photography.

After You Get Engaged

  • Spend some time thinking and talking about your perfect wedding. Discuss your top priorities and make sure you’re both on the same page. Our post about defining your wedding style might help.
  • Set a budget and start planning your guest list. These numbers will influence lots of big decisions, including your venue search.
  • Discuss potential wedding dates and start researching venues for your ceremony and reception. Our guide to choosing your wedding venue takes you through this process step-by-step.

12 Months Before the Wedding

  • Book and confirm your wedding venue.
  • Start researching potential wedding suppliers such as photographer, florist, stationery, cake, entertainment, and hair and makeup.
  • Secure suppliers that are usually in high demand. For example, photographers and videographers are often booked up well in advance.
  • Organise your wedding insurance.
  • Start researching other key details like wedding décor and ‘the dress’. You might find Pinterest useful for keeping track of ideas.
  • Get your wedding party on board. Tradition calls for bridesmaids, a best man, and a handful of ushers, but more and more couples are doing their own thing. Whatever your preference, you need to pop the question and make sure your best mates are available!
  • Send Save the Dates. This is an optional step, but important if you’re getting married abroad or during a busy time of year.

8-10 Months Before the Wedding

  • Plan any entertainment and book a band or DJ for your evening reception.
  • Research and reserve accommodation for guests. Don’t forget to include the relevant information on your wedding invitations too.
  • If you need to hire any décor or bigger things like a marquee, start making enquiries now.
  • Meet with a florist to discuss your options.
  • Order your wedding cake.
  • Book your honeymoon.
  • Check whether your church or wedding celebrant requires you to complete a pre-marriage course or couselling.
Bride and groom at Senate House wedding venue
Senate House Events, London.

6-8 Months Before the Wedding

  • Order the dress. Miss Bush’s blog post about wedding dress order times is well worth a read.
  • Check your passports are in date for your honeymoon.
  • Make sure someone has made a start on the hen and stag party planning.

4-6 Months Before the Wedding

  • Sort the legalities. For most marriages and civil partnerships, you must give at least 28 full days’ notice at your local register office. There are different rules for religious ceremonies.
  • Organise outfits for the wedding party and shop for the groom’s suit.
  • Select prayers, readings, and music for your ceremony and confirm your choices with your priest, registrar, or celebrant. You’ll need this information if you’re creating an order of service or a ceremony booklet.
  • Register for wedding gifts.
  • Choose and order your wedding invitations and stationery.
  • Start collating addresses for your guest list or set up a wedding website. Create a spreadsheet to manage RSVPs.
  • Book your wedding transport.
  • Book hair and makeup and organise a trial.
  • If necessary, arrange travel vaccinations for your honeymoon.

2-3 Months Before the Wedding

  • Send your invitations.
  • Choose and order wedding rings.
  • Attend dress fittings.
  • Organise gifts for the wedding party.
  • Purchase accessories such as shoes, jewellery, ties etc.
  • Arrange a menu tasting with your venue or caterer.
Lost Village of Dode Wedding Planning Timeline
Lost Village of Dode, Kent.

4 Weeks Before the Wedding

  • Review RSVPs and chase any that are outstanding.
  • Attend final dress fitting.
  • Finalise any last-minute changes with your wedding suppliers.
  • Finish any outstanding wedding DIY or craft projects.
  • Make any final payments that are due.

2 Weeks Before the Wedding

  • Give your venue or caterer a final head-count.
  • Create your table plan.

1 Week to Go

  • Confirm arrangements with wedding suppliers and create a timetable for the day. Give a copy to your best man and maid of honour, along with any relevant phone numbers.
  • Provide suppliers with an emergency phone number to call on the day of the wedding.
  • Make any last-minute changes to the table plan.
  • Collect hire items.
  • Liaise with your venue and make sure they’ve fulfilled any supplier requests. Provide them with a delivery schedule, set-up times, and important contact numbers.
  • Confirm collection times with your wedding transport provider.
  • Doublecheck your wedding party has everything they need.
  • Do a full wedding dress rehearsal, from underwear to wedding veil.
  • Pack an overnight back for the reception, and your honeymoon luggage if you’re jetting off straight after the wedding.
  • Enjoy the pre-wedding prep. As well as beauty treatments and grooming, consider booking a relaxing massage. The last week before your wedding can be stressful!
bride and groom barn wedding bassmead manor barns
Bassmead Manor Barns, St Neots. Photo by Megan Wilson Photography.

The Day Before

  • Deliver décor and reception stationery to your venue.
  • Ensure other deliveries like flowers and cake are on track.
  • Organise payment for any final balances due at the end of the reception.
  • Run through the ceremony with those involved.
  • Get a good night’s sleep!

What to Do and When - Your Wedding Planning Timeline | Find Your Perfect Venue Blog

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