Keep Calm and Marry On…
The question has been popped and you’re now officially engaged, but before you can ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after, there’s a wedding to be organised…
Whether your dream is vintage, eco-friendly, rustic luxe, Shoreditch hipster or a Katie Price extravaganza, your wedding is bound to be one of the most memorable days of your life. And to ensure this is for all the right reasons, it’s really important to get organised, as it will save you time, money and sleepless nights worrying whether the name cards should be off-white, cream or ivory.
So, here’s our Wedding Guide to all the essential wedding admin that will ensure you don’t spend your whole engagement worrying about The Big Day.
The Big Decisions…
Once the excitement and news of your engagement has sunk in, it’s time to make some big decisions: what type of ceremony and reception would you like, when are you planning to tie the know (and if it’s in the UK, don’t bank on the weather!), what about themes or colours, and the really big one: your budget and who will pay for what.
There is so much wedding inspiration available that it can be overwhelming. And if you don’t limit your research, it’s easy to get confused by all the ideas out there. I once attended Twenties Gatsby themed wedding, but with an Elvis impersonator as the star turn! It might be a good idea to create a wedding scrapbook to keep track of ideas and pictures that appeal; that way you can streamline and focus your choices.
Also, try to remember to make all decisions jointly. No future husband wants to watch his kind and beautiful fiancée morph into a demanding Bridezilla With A Schedule, as she plans the ‘most epic wedding ever’, dictating every detail to make sure she gets Her Day.
It’s also a good idea to open a dedicated bank account for all the wedding costs, because that way you won’t feel guilty every time you buy a pint milk because you’re squandering money that should be going into the Wedding Fund.
Big decisions made, you can spring into action…
- Book a church/venue for the ceremony on your chosen date/time
- Book a reception venue and check out guest accommodation nearby
- Compile a guest list and send out Save The Day notices
- Choose your wedding party – bridesmaids, ushers and Best Man
- Book time off work for the wedding and honeymoon
- Start looking for your wedding dress
- Research wedding suppliers
- Create a wedding scrapbook to keep track of ideas and pictures that appeal
Six months to go…
As the Big Day comes into view, it’s time to finalise your plans. Do be realistic about both your budget and going down the DIY route. While it’s great to personalise your wedding and save money with DIY options, do you really want to spend six weeks painting individual pebbles for each guest, or making jam jars of contained beach scenes for every table? Possibly not. Now is the time to:
- Order the wedding dress. Most brides do lose weight before the Big Day but please be realistic. If you’re a healthy size 12, ordering a size 8 might just be a bridge too far. Also, play to your strengths: if you don’t have Pippa’s bottom, a fitted column dress might not suit.
- Order the bridesmaid dresses and please: be kind. I once had the curious pleasure of dressing as a ‘Burlesque Ballerina’ for one bride’s vision, and I would strongly caution against too much cleavage, leg, netting, taffeta or metallic.
- Order the cake. Go mad here, what’s an extra 12lbs once you’ve got that ring on your finger?
- Order the wedding stationery, or start making your own if that’s what you’ve decided.
- Book transport. There are only so many fairytale Cinderella carriages available, so get in quick.
- Book a florist and start thinking about the wedding flowers.
- Book a photographer.
- Book caterers.
- Book any entertainment/DJ.
- Book hairdresser/make-up artist.
- Book first night accommodation and the honeymoon, checking passports and any vaccinations or visas required.
- Start to compile a wedding list.
- Start looking for wedding accessories – shoes, lingerie, veil, jewellery etc.
- Start thinking about table favours, decorations and name cards. These can be made at home or with friends, if you’re a keen DIYer. But there are many ready-made ones out there too. Keep it stress-free.
- Arrange suits/fittings for the groom and his men.
- Buy wedding rings.
- Send out invitations and the wedding list.
- Finalise the flowers.
- Decide on vows, readings and music for your ceremony.
- Think about your first dance. And please don’t attempt to recreate that scene from Dirty Dancing without the help of a choreographer and plenty of training.
- Create a music request list, along with a ‘do not play’ list. The Birdie Song is not compulsory!
- Order the table favours/decorations.
- Buy your shoes and break them in – you will be wearing them all day.
One month to go…
- Have a trial run with your hairdresser/make-up artist
- Arrange final dress/suit fittings.
- Buy a guest book.
- Confirm all bookings.
- Buy anything needed for the honeymoon.
- Have Hen/Stag Nights at least two weeks before the main event, to allow for a decent recovery period.
- Decide on witnesses and organise a rehearsal if you’re going for a church wedding.
- Finalise seating plans and create name cards.
- Finalise numbers and any dietary requirements with the caterers.
- Provide the photographer with list of essential shots.
- Organise presents for helpers.
- Draft a schedule of wedding day timings for the wedding party and give a list of suppliers with contact numbers to the Best Man.
- Give rings to the Best Man.
- Ensure honeymoon luggage, passports and tickets are ready.
- Lay out the wedding outfit.
- Create an emergency kit of plasters, mints, safety pins, make-up etc
- Pamper yourself with a massage, manicure/pedicure
- Get an early night, even if it’s largely sleepless!