12 month wedding planning to do list

January is renowned in the wedding industry as being a super busy time of year for wedding enquiries, Lots of people get engaged over Christmas and new year, coupled with the fact that the new year brings  a new serge of wedding planning from couples getting married this year. In the last two weeks I have been inundated with people enquiring about my wedding planning services, so I thought it would be helpful to post my 12 month planning to do list. I actually offer this 12 month planner as a free download (well email me and I will email you a copy)

The first stages of planning can be very daunting, so much to do and where do you start? If you are in these very first stages I would firstly say, relax, don’t make any rash decisions and try and enjoy it! Planning a wedding, yes can be hard work, but it is also highly enjoyable.

12 month planner (photo source)  

Sit down with each other at the beginning stages and try and look at this logically, work out what sort of day you BOTH want, what you can afford and who you want to invite. Try not to be swayed by what is on trend at the moment, or what sort of wedding your best friend had or you sister etc, this is your day………..YOUR day! no on elses, it’s you that will be looking back at the photographs in years to come, so stay true to yourself and try not to be swayed by interfering family members telling you to go for something you don’t want.

Try and make each decision together, and try to make each decision as informed as you can. Don’t just book the first supplier that comes your way just to get it ticked of the list, each person you have involved in your wedding really needs to understand you as a couple and what you are trying to achieve.

12 month wedding planner (photo source) 

And most of all enjoy it. Don’t spend every day talking about the wedding or planning your day other wise it will soon become a chore and you will begin to resent it. Plus you will find that the wedding is taking over both of your lives and you have nothing left to talk about. Try and designate a few days a month, or one day a week to the planning, so you get jobs done in chucks, so leaving the rest of the time to enjoy each other and remember why you are getting married in the first place.



12 month planner

12 months before the wedding
• Organise your engagement party
• Pick a date for your wedding
• Decide what sort of wedding you want, take your time with this.
• Write up your guest list and decide on numbers
• Work out your budget and find out if any family members will be able to contribute.
• Open wedding bank Account
• Take out wedding insurance
• If having a church wedding, visit your priest and book the church
• If having a civil ceremony, contact your local registrar to book the date and time and an appointment to give notice of marriage
• Book a wedding planner if you want someone for Full Planning
• Research venues, visit top 3 – 5
• Book Your Photographer
• Start looking at blogs/internet/magazine ideas and inspiration
• Don’t make any rash decisions, think about it all and way up your options on all decisions to be made


11 months before the wedding
• Make final decision on your venue and book
• Work out how you are going to spend your budget and work out what is important to the both of you and divide up the budget accordingly
• Bride go dress shopping
• Book your wedding planner if you want someone for partial planning
• Choose your best man, bridesmaids and ushers
• Decide on themes and colours


10 months before the wedding
• If venue includes a marquee, book this and equipment
• Decide on your entertainment and book
• Go on engagement shoot with photographer if you are having one
• Shop for wedding invitations
• Compile names and address for gust list and send out save the date cards
• If venue is providing food, talk through the options with them, if they are not providing food, book your caterer


9 months before the wedding
• Select a florist and visit them, talk through your ideas, book.
• Book the videographer (if you are having one)


8 months before the wedding
• Bride go shopping with your bridesmaids for their dresses and if necessary your mother and mother in law for their outfits.
• Contact rental companies and book chairs, tables etc. (if needed)
• Start planning your honeymoon and book
• Make a start at ring shopping


7 months before the wedding
• Groom decide on what you are wearing, take your best man and ushers with you and choose your outfits
• Check your passport, visas etc. (for honeymoon)
• Book the time off work
• Book the transport for the wedding party
• Order wedding cake


6 months before the wedding
• Plan the ceremony and reception music.
• Finalise arrangements for the venue and the church
• All deposits should be paid and contracts signed
• Start a fitness programme if you wish to loose weight for the wedding
• Bride buy wedding accessories, shoes, headwear, veil, bag.
• Organise the Stag and hen party
• Book your wedding planner if you want someone for the days co-ordination


5 months before the wedding
• Decide on decoration for reception venue
• Attend pre wedding counselling or wedding classes if requested by the church
• Bride book your hair dresser and make up artist
• Draw up a gift list at chosen department store/charity/gift registration/honeymoon
• Send out wedding invitations


4 months before the wedding
• Book your wedding night hotel, if you are not staying at the reception venue
• Look at options for favours if having them
• Groom you and the men get the rest of your outfits, shoes etc.


3 months before the wedding
• Choose gifts for bridesmaids, best man, and parents
• Decide on guest book ideas
• Decide on how to display table plan/escort cards
• Decide on wedding post box for cards
• Select readings for the ceremony and give to the relevant people so they can practice
• Choose hymns for the ceremony or songs if a civil.
• Bride buy wedding lingerie


2 months before the wedding
• Write your vows if you are choosing to use your own
• Get order of service made up and printed.
• Make plans and reservations for the wedding rehearsal and dinner (if you are having one)
• Book your dance lessons for the first dance
• Contact guests who have not responded
• Put together seating plan
• Make or order place cards and table number/names
• Bride have hair and make-up trial


1 month before the wedding
• Groom enjoy your Stag Do
• Bride enjoy your Hen do
• Bride go for final fitting for your dress and also your bridesmaids
• Finalise every detail and double check bookings with all suppliers
• Confirm honeymoon reservations
• Pick up wedding rings
• Delegate jobs for the wedding day i.e. give someone the guest book to look after
• Go on pre wedding shoot with the photographer If not had an engagement shoot. Talk through must have shots on the day, and give them a list of who needs to be included in the formal shots.
• Confirm numbers and food allergies with the caterers and draw up final seating plan
• Groom write your speech and make sure the best man, father and anyone else giving one have done theirs as well.
• Both try and wear in your wedding shoes around the house, put socks or stockings over the shoes do they don’t get dirty.


2 weeks before the wedding
• Complete final song list for the band or DJ if you have any special requests for them and send it to them.
• Bride go for you final colour and or cut with your hairdresser and have a final practice run.
• Bride draw up list for change of name, ready for when you get back from honeymoon
• If possible get a final walk through with at the venue with the suppliers so everyone knows where and when they need to be.


1 week before the wedding
• Confirm details with all participants
• Confirm all details with all suppliers
• Supply the venue with suppliers list of requirements i.e band/DJ set up time, setup space for florist
• Supply the venue and church/registrar with a schedule of all the suppliers delivery and set up time and contact numbers
• Groom get your hair trimmed and any last minute beauty treatments
• Do your honeymoon packing
• Get honeymoon currency


2-3 days before the wedding
• Have rehearsal and dinner (if having one)
• Bride pick up your dress
• Bride get your nails done and any last minute beauty treatments
• Bride if necessary get your dress steamed and your bridesmaids
• Groom make sure you and the groomsmen pick up your outfits
• Hand over all favours, and name cards to the reception venues, or decorator/planner
• Call car rental companies for final pickup times for the day
• Write up wedding day time table and give to the bridal party so they know where and when they need to be everywhere


1 day before the wedding
• Sort out any monies to be paid to suppliers on the day and give to family members or planner to look after
• Get an early night


On the day
• Relax!
• Give wedding rings to the best man
• Make sure that the designated family member/planner has the final payments for the suppliers
• Designate someone to work with the photographer so they know who everyone is for the group shots
• Bride once you are ready give your make up to either your mum or your bridesmaid to look after
• Make sure that everyone has their flowers once they have been delivered
• Bride put your engagement ring on your right hand
• HAVE FUN………..it’s your wedding day, the best day of your life!!!!!!


For more information on my wedding planning services go to:
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    Jo manning

    What a great easy read and reference point for all brides. It is interesting seeing some of the timescales you recommend. Last year was my first in the wedding industry supplying affordable wedding jewellery and hair accessories and I was shocked by the number of brides who called to see if their items could be delivered in time for their wedding some even ordered on the Tuesday for their wedding on the Saturday! I wonder if it will be the same this year…


    Thanks kelly, this is brilliant. I’m in the last 6 months & wondering how to bring all my plans together!


    Is a year standard planning for a wedding then? My fiancé and I got engaged in August and we’re looking to get married in Sept 2013. Does that mean we shouldn’t bother starting our planning until this September? I’m inclined to start doing stuff now because, in my mind, this will make it a far more relaxed experienced and I’m all for a longer deadline! Any thoughts?

    Eliza West

    Nice article.
    I think that if it possible start to plan the wedding as soon as possible.
    You might think it’s too early but believe me, you have so much to do…


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