The 12 Month Countdown until your Big Day
Once the excitement of the proposal has quietened down, it’s time to start planning the biggest day of your life.
When it comes to getting this organised – from the major essentials like the venue, dress and transport, to the finer details such as favours and jewellery – our 12-month planner will help you get everything in place for your big day…
12 months to go
• Name the date – the countdown starts here.
• Set your budget – and try to stick to it.
• Decide how many people you will be inviting as this will effect your venue options and may be dependent on your budget. The average number of guests is 106.
• Decide on your style of ceremony and start looking for a venue. You may be looking for a church for the vows and somewhere different for the reception, or a place to encompass the two.
• Consider wedding insurance – none of us like to think about things going wrong, but it could pay to be prepared.
11 months to go
• Open a wedding account. Now that you’ve set the budget why not start putting some money aside so it’s to hand when you need to pay the bills?
• Choose your bridesmaids and best man – now you can start delegating jobs!
• Save the date. Send emails/cards/reminders to friends and family to make sure they don’t double book themselves.
• Start looking for your dress – let the fun begin! The average bride visits five boutiques before picking the final gown.
• Wedding planner? If you’ve got the budget for one, now’s the time to get them involved – and 38% of brides do take up this option.
10 months to go
• The reception – choose your musical entertainment and book your caterer.
• Start looking for a photographer/videographer – they tend to get booked up well in advance.
• Stationery – you may not be sending out the invites quite yet, but start looking for the perfect way to let guests know all about the big day.
• Take time out to research honeymoons – you’ll deserve this break after all the hard work and preparations.
9 months to go
• Beauty regime – it’s never too soon to start getting yourself in shape.
• Decide on your theme. It could be a colour, an era or anything you want, after all it’s your big day.
• Order your dress. It may take up to six months to make and you’ll need to factor in time for fittings too.
• Choose the bridesmaids’ dresses – and don’t forget the accessories.
8 months to go
• Flowers – now you know what you and your bridesmaids are wearing you can tie in the floral accessories.
Readings – whether a civil or church wedding, find out what readings and music are permitted and decide what you’d like.
• Transport – depending on whether you are at one or two venues during the day you’ll need to sort out how you (and your guests) are going to get about.
• The centrepiece – the cake is a key photo moment, but the fun is in the tasting and choosing a beautiful design.
7 months to go
• Start thinking about your favours, especially if you intend to make them yourself.
• Consider setting up your own website to house all the information for all your guests.
• Accommodation – are there any members of your party who will need to be put up somewhere? If so it pays to book in advance. Check your venue for special deals or offers.
• Set up a gift list.
6 months to go
• Choose your wedding rings – bear in mind sizing if you’re planning on losing a few pounds before exchanging vows.
• The boys – don’t forget that they will need to order their suits for the day too.
• Legalities – look into whether you need to give notice of your marriage.
• Accessories – buy your shoes, lingerie etc ready to take along to your dress fitting.
5 months to go
• Hair – get your chosen hairdresser booked up for the day as well as any trial runs you would like.
• Beauty – decide who is going to do your make-up and book in a consultation.
• Fitting – if you ordered your dress early and it is ready, make sure you take your lingerie and shoes along to the fittings.
• Honeymoon shopping – start planning your wardrobe for your first holiday as Mr and Mrs.
4 months to go
• Party time. The countdown to the hen and stag dos starts here, so delegate to the relevant party animal!
• Get any injections and visas you may need for your honeymoon.
• Name change – you’ll need to renew your passport now or after the honeymoon.
• Send out your invitations along with any accommodation details and menu choices – bear in mind around 10-20% of people will RSVP with a decline.
3 months to go
• If you’re marrying in church you’ll need to attend a reading of the banns.
• Crowning glory – book an appointment for a trim and colour to make sure your hair is in top condition.
• Have a make-up trial as well – this way you won’t have to make any last minute decisions.
• Trial run – consider organising a rehearsal of the big day so everyone knows what to do and when.
2 months to go
• Chase up any guests yet to reply to your invitation so you can confirm numbers.
• Finalise your choice of music/playlist with the band or DJ.
• Book any treatments such as waxing, tanning and nails/pedicure.
• Compile a seating plan.
• Celebrate. Let your hair down and party at your hen and stag dos, but try to make sure they take place at least a week before the big day.
• Order any currency you may need for your honeymoon.
• Final fitting – make sure no last minute adjustments are needed.
• Confirm details with all the key parties involved – photographer, caterer, florist, drivers, cake-maker and entertainment.
Now it’s time for the big day – so enjoy yourselves!