When you’re planning a wedding, the last thing you want is to be spending the days before the big day running around like headless chickens or stressing that everything isn’t going to run like clockwork. There’s no doubt that organizing a wedding is a logistical operation, which requires careful planning and management. There’s a lot to do, but if you get your timings right, everything should go to plan. If you’re getting married, here’s a guide to help you plan a sensational, seamless day.
Your planning priorities
As soon as your attentions turn to wedding planning, there are a few essentials to get out of the way.
Finding a venue
Your venue is perhaps the most important priority in terms of timing. Popular wedding venues can get booked up years in advance, so it’s always a good idea to start thinking about where you want to get married as soon as you’re ready to start the planning process.
When you’re choosing a venue, try and be open-minded, and consider different locations. Eve if you think you know where you want to get married, it’s beneficial to have a look around, and explore your options. Until you start searching, you may be completely unaware of the possibilities, even if they’re on your doorstep, and you lived in the area all your life. These days, there’s a lot of scope to do what you want when it comes to venues. Traditional locations remain very popular, but there’s also been a huge rise in popularity for quirky venues. Choose somewhere that suits your personalities and the style or theme of your wedding. If you want a very informal wedding, you don’t have to get married at a country hotel just because other people choose this kind of venue. You can tie the knot anywhere from the beach to a secluded glade.
Once you’ve got your venue, you should have a date, so it’s wise to let your guests know. At this stage, all they need is the date and a rough location. You can design and order save the date cards online, or even email an e-card if you’re on a tight budget. If you’re planning a destination wedding, it’s helpful to give your guests more information, such as recommended airlines and hotels. If they book early, they may be able to save money.
Booking a photographer
Most couples choose to have a professional wedding photographer, and it’s always good to book months in advance, as photographers can get booked up early. This is particularly important if you’re getting married at the height of wedding season or you’ve chosen a public holiday. You can search online for photographers in your local area. You may be able to see a portfolio online, but it’s advantageous to arrange to meet the photographer, and have a look at their work in person. It’s also a good idea to ask friends or family members for recommendations, especially if you’ve seen pictures you love from other occasions.
Ordering a dress
It is possible to buy a dress off the rack, but most brides will need to order their gown months in advance. Sample sizes don’t fit everyone, and there’s likely to be a restricted choice available on the spot. If you are ordering a dress, it’s best to give yourself around 8-10 months. You’ll need to factor in time for the gown to arrive at the store, and for alterations. If you’re buying bridesmaid dresses from a bridal boutique, you may also need to place an order months in advance.
Less than 6 months to go
If you’ve got less than six months to go, it’s time to tick off those remaining jobs. You’ll need to book transport, and think about how you’re going to get the party started at your reception. If you want to hire a band, you’re keen to get a DJ, or you’re interested in something like Booth Boy Photo Booths, don’t leave it until last minute. You may find that availability is an issue, especially in the spring and summer months and over the holidays. Compare prices and packages, and think about exactly what you want at your wedding.
It’s also time to start thinking about what you’re going to eat on your big day. Some venues will specify caterers while others will let you choose. If you have a caterer already, start looking through some menu ideas, and organize a tasting session. If you haven’t already got caterers, you can ring around some local firms and book a few appointments, or think outside the box. If you’re having a casual wedding, for example, you may not want a sit-down meal. Perhaps you’d rather have a hog roast, or you’d prefer a barbecue. If you want a professionally made cake, it’s a good idea to place an order now. If you’re not afraid of a bit of DIY or you’re keen to save money, you could always order plain cakes and decorate them yourself.
As your wedding day approaches, the groom will also need to plan their outfit, and sort out their ushers and groomsmen. If you’re hiring suits, get everyone together and try some different styles for size. If you’re buying, organize a shopping trip, and see which options you prefer. Once you have everybody’s sizes, you can submit your order.
At this stage, you may also need to order wedding rings. If you’re buying standard rings, there may not be such a rush. However, if you want customized rings, it’s best to give yourself plenty of time.
A few months to go
Every bride wants to steal the show on their wedding day. You’ve got your dress, but you’ll also need to think about styling on the day. Do you want to have your hair and makeup done? If so, you’ll need to book appointments. It’s always beneficial to plan some trials before your wedding day. Have a look through some bridal magazines for ideas, and take some cuttings in with you so that you can show the makeup artist and hairdresser the kinds of looks you’re after.
With around 6 weeks to go, you can also send your invitations complete with travel information, hotel recommendations, and details of timings on the day. Don’t forget to specify an RSVP date.
Nobody wants to feel stressed on their wedding day. Hopefully, this guide will enable you to enjoy the planning process, and organize the day of your dreams.