Wedding Checklist – A 12+ Month Countdown to Wedding Success

The question has been popped, and now it’s time for wedding planning! If it all seems a bit overwhelming, do not fear, as here is a handy checklist, perfect for the organisation of your big day!

Straight after engagement…


Don’t get stuck into planning straight away. Give yourself some time to celebrate and take the engagement in beforehand.

Tell family and friends the great news. Start by announcing to your closest family, then let your friends know in person if possible. Don’t forget to snap a picture to tell everyone ‘you said yes!’ on social media!

Organise an engagement party or drinks.

Get your nearest and dearest together over a bottle of fizz to celebrate your exciting news. However big or small, just make sure you hold a little event! It’ll be special to both yourselves and your families.

If your families have not yet met, this is a great time for them to be introduced before the wedding!

Decide on a rough date

Would you like a summer or winter wedding? Does the idea of saving money and marrying on a weekday appeal to you, or do you dream of a weekend-long celebration?

Do you or your close family have any holiday booked around the time you are thinking of getting married? Asking yourselves these key questions while arranging a date can really help with the day’s organisation!

More than 12 months…

Set budget and number of guests you want to invite.

Before you do anything else the most important thing to do is set yourselves a clear budget! This will give you a clear idea from the get-go of where to start your planning and what you can afford.

When thinking about your budget, it’s important to consider all aspects of your wedding: venue hire will be the most expensive, followed by caterers (if not included in venue price), photographer, dress, entertainment, stationery, cake and florist. Just to name a few!

Working out your top wedding priority will really help when you’re organising what to splurge on and what you would like to save on.

If you’ve always dreamed of getting married in a princess dress, or love the thought of being driven to your wedding in a vintage Rolls Royce, then make sure that you consider these aspects of your day as the most important when establishing your wedding day budget.

Book venue

(need some inspiration? Check out our favourite venues in Kent and Devon wedding venues here!)

There are so many different wedding venues on The Wedding Secret website: whether you desire getting married in a country house, a lavish hotel, or maybe even outdoors, you’re guaranteed to find the wedding venue of your dreams!

It’s important to book your venue as soon as you can, the popular dates book up often years in advance. If you have a dream wedding venue in mind, you may need to compromise on the time of year you want to hold your wedding. Particularly if they are very popular.

 Book registrar

These need to be organised by you, regardless of your venue. Make sure you book a registrar at a similar time as booking your venue to ensure that both are free on the same day!

This is only for civil ceremonies of course. If you’re planning a religious service you’ll need to arrange it through your parish or priest.

Send save the dates out

It’s best to get these to your guests as soon as possible. It’ll be devastating if one of your closest friends or your favourite cousin can’t attend because they have booked a holiday at this time!  

Make a Pinterest board and album! The visual social media platform of Pinterest is a fantastic tool for organising your big day.

Like The Wedding Secret on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our updates. You’ll be the first to find out about all the new venues and suppliers that we list on the website and open days in the local area, and you’ll get some awesome wedding inspiration too!

12 months…

Send invitations

Although you have sent out your save the dates, invitations are still very important. These will give guests an exact place and time.

Always include details of local hotels for guests that are travelling from afar, so they can book this as soon as possible!

11 months…

Research suppliers

This is the part when every other aspect of your wedding should start coming into place. Research local suppliers to you such as photographers, caterers and dress shops.

We’ve got a great portfolio of wedding suppliers from all over the UK on our website. Make sure you take your time researching, so you know that the supplier you decide on is perfect for your wedding day!

Note: Photographers are like wedding venues, they can get fully booked very quickly. In order to avoid disappointment, book your photographer as soon as possible!

10 months…

Receive/request the return of RSVPs

Be sure to get these in plenty of time so you can let your venue and caterers know your definite numbers. You should probably give a deadline date for your guests to get back to you! This will ensure it’s done in plenty of time.

Book photographer and organise engagement shoot

If you haven’t already, book your photographer! An engagement shoot is a great idea, and many photographers will offer these with their compliments or heavily reduced if you book their services for your wedding day!

These help you feel at ease in front of the camera and get used to the photographers working style.

Book caterers

Many venues offer in-house catering, but it is still quite popular for external caterers to be sourced. If your venue permits external caterers, you can let your culinary dreams run wild; do you want something traditional or a little different?

Whether you fancy a three-course breakfast, a delicious BBQ or a delightful finger buffet, you’ll be able to find it!

Book musicians and DJ

These sell out quickly, so it’s a good idea to book them as soon as possible! Some venues give you the option to use their in house DJ, but if not you’ll have to source your own.

Take a peek at all of the musicians and bands that we list on the website. You could opt for something elegant, like a harpist, or maybe a fun, vibrant string quartet! We have a range of DJs listed too; so you can be sure that your music will keep on going until the early hours! Check out our wedding entertainment for inspiration!

Book hairdresser and makeup

Every bride wants to look like a princess on their big day, and this is more than possible with our range of hair stylists and make-up artists that we list on the site.

Make sure you book early to ensure that you have ample time to decide on the look you want! Swindon-based DoubleDutch provides fantastic mobile hair and makeup services across the UK. 

9 months…

Research flowers

What’s the colour scheme of your wedding, and what kind of flowers would best suit it? Taking some time to properly research types and colours of flowers will really help to make sure that your day ties together nicely! 

Research transport

There are many wedding transport options in the UK; you could arrive at your wedding in a quaintly old-fashioned Rolls Royce, or an authentic horse and cart! Check out all of our car options to decide on yours! For something a little different, take a look at Essex-based VW campervan company Retro Splitty.

Research other wedding entertainment

A band is great, but you could also use a magician or kids entertainment! Magicians are a really handy distraction for people when your pictures are being taken, and kids entertainment is perfect to keep those little ones distracted! Find some fantastic wedding entertainment options in the Somerset area.

8 months…

Book your wedding transport

Now’s the time to get the cars booked! Doing it this far in advance means that there will be a guarantee of getting exactly what you want!

Choose and order bridesmaid dresses

Bridesmaid dresses traditionally match or semi-match, so it’s best to get these ordered early to make sure you have the right ones! Lots of our suppliers stock gorgeous bridesmaid dresses – check them out!

7 months…

Choose wedding rings

Whether you’re doing this together, or as a surprise, this should be thought about over half a year before the big day. This gives lots of time to find ‘the one’ and get them altered individually!

Consider getting bespoke wedding rings and having a jeweller design them to your exact specifications!

Look on Pinterest for wedding gift list ideas!

Check out our Pinterest board, where you can find loads of gift inspiration!

6 months…

Choose a cake maker

It’s a great idea to get your baker decided on early. They often book far in advance, and if you wish for a bespoke cake, they’ll want to start thinking about your design and flavour nice and early. Check out the delicious Sylvia’s Kitchen in Kent!

Book meeting with photographer

It’s time for your first meeting with your photographer! Have you decided on your photography style yet – casual or formal? How many photos do you want of you as a couple? A meeting with the photographer at this stage can help you decide on the essential criteria to ensure that your wedding photos are perfect.

Book honeymoon

Do you dream of a safari honeymoon? Or perhaps a celebration with your loved one on a Caribbean beach? Now’s the time to get thinking and booking.

Remember to think of the best season to travel to certain places – when it’s summer in England it’s winter in Australia – and get those important flights booked. Ensure you let any companies you book through know that it’s your honeymoon – you’ll probably be first on the list if any upgrades become available!

You don’t have to have your honeymoon straight after your wedding. It’s becoming more popular amongst couples to have a honeymoon many months after the wedding, to give their wallets a bit of a break!

It’s also difficult to get a lot of time off work, so think about this before you book. You may want to consider having a week off before your wedding to ensure you’re stress free. With this in mind, will your work allow you to have three weeks off at once?

It’s often worth organising your honeymoon with a travel consultant, as they can often provide a significant discount compared to booking it yourself.

Book first-night accommodation

If yours isn’t automatically booked for your venue, or you are staying somewhere else, then now’s the time to think about booking your first night accommodation. Be sure to ask the hotel if they have any extra facilities or services for newlyweds!

5 months…

Make table plan

Who’s sitting where? Table plans can be a bit of a jigsaw, and the venue will need to know in advance, so it’s best to start thinking about it as early as possible. You’ll need to consider this carefully. Who knows who. Who will get on with crazy uncle bob? This takes careful consideration.

Remember, at this stage to take note of any dietary requirements.

Finish your gift list

Now’s about the time you should be getting your gift list out. Prezola is a great online way to get gift lists out to guests.

4 months…

Buy any accessories

There’s a huge range of wedding accessories available nowadays, so you can choose from a beautiful tiara, gorgeous jewellery, or a majestic veil…or all three! Think about whether you want your bridesmaids to be accessorised too.

Buy wedding shoes

For brides, heels or flats? For grooms, brogues or converse?

It’s important to be as comfy as possible on your wedding day, while also looking sleek and elegant! Now’s the time to make these decisions and purchase your wedding day footwear.

Buy table decorations

Table decoration is where you can be really fun and creative. Embellish the surfaces with flowers, unique photo pieces or streamers, depending on your theme and how personal you want your wedding to be! Venue decorators and even florists can provide such items.

3 months…

Start searching for vow inspiration

The most emotionally important part of the ceremony, you need to ensure that your vows are absolutely perfect! Now’s probably the time to start thinking about your wedding vows, check out Pinterest for loads of inspiring love quotes.

Order wedding flowers

Get your floral order in around now to ensure that they’re ready in time for your big day.

2 months…

Arrange groomsmen’s suit fittings

So you’ve kitted out your bridesmaids, but what about the groomsmen? Suit fittings around now are a great idea to be sure that they will look suave on the day.

Buy a guestbook

Make sure you’ve got something for all of your wedding guests to sign! Now’s a good time to think about the size and type of guestbook you need. Your chosen wedding photographer can often provide you with an album.

Buy wedding favours

Make sure you’ve got some treats for your guests, as well as thankyou gifts for those who are playing an integral role in your day! Box Clever Wedding are a well-known company who provide all sorts of favours and gifts.

Chase up any late invites to finalise guest list

If you invited some people after the first guest list was made, then make sure you know by now if they can come or not. This enables your venue and caterers to know exactly how many people they need to provide for.

Finalise honeymoon prep

Do I need any visas or vaccinations?

If you’re travelling outside Europe, it’s important to consider visas or vaccinations – nobody wants to have any last minute stress about getting these things done just before the wedding, or worse, not be able to go or get ill on their honeymoon!

1 month…

Book hair and make-up session

It’s important to have your hair and makeup practice session booked far in advance! We recommend you do it about now so both you and the stylist can be prepared.

Have hen and stag do

Your maid of honour and best man should be organising this, but now’s the time to actually have the celebrations! For inspiration, check out some of our hen and stag ideas.

Name change

Are you changing your name? If so you’ll need to update all important documents such as your passport and drivers licence. It’s a great idea to get this sorted around now, so you can become Mrs … very quickly after your big day!

2 weeks …

Have hair and makeup trial

Make sure you get the exact look that you want on your wedding day by having a trial shortly before. This is so you can really test out what works for you and make any alterations if desired.

Final guest numbers

Now all of the invitations have been chased up, make a note of your final number of guests attending, altering the seating plan if necessary.

1 week…

Check with suppliers that all is well

It’s a good idea to check in with your photographer, florist, baker and entertainment around now, just to confirm that all is well!

Make sure the groom gets a haircut

It may be a good idea to get this done now, so he has time for it to settle before the wedding day.

Wrap gifts

Get your gifts wrapped nice and early so you don’t have to worry about them closer to your wedding day!

Book a spa treatment!

You’ll be needing one! A treatment before the wedding day will ensure that you enter the celebrations with a wonderfully calm and centred state of mind.

Pack for honeymoon

Get your shorts and flip flops – or alternative clothing – down from the attic and in your suitcase around now, so you’re ready for the big day!

Change money for honeymoon

Be sure to do this early if you’re going to somewhere a little more unusual, to check that they have the currency you need in stock.

Night before….

Do something nice with your friends! It’s your wedding eve and now is the time for ultimate relaxation! Whether you want to have a nice meal out or having the friends over for a chilled evening, tonight is all about being RELAXED.

Whatever style or size your wedding is, you will be completely prepared for the big day with this ultimate checklist!

One thought on “Wedding Checklist – A 12+ Month Countdown to Wedding Success

  1. I’m literally the most unorganised person in the world, so I had to turn to a wedding planner for help… I’d recommend Scarlet Events to anyone who is like my and needs a helping hand every step of the way haha.

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