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12-month wedding planning guide

With a year to go till your big day, get your Bristol nuptials organised, with a little help from the SoBristolWeddings 12-month wedding planning guide.

You’ve just got engaged and are no doubt already counting down the second until your big day, but planning a wedding isn’t all white dresses, rings and roses, oh no.

To achieve your dream wedding, whatever that may be, there’s plenty of planning and organising, sampling and testing, and some spending and saving to be done too!

Plan your perfect wedding, and ensure everything runs smoothly, with the comprehensive SoBristolWeddings 12-month planning guide.

12 months to go…

  • If you haven’t already, formally announce your engagement and celebrate with your nearest and dearest.

  • Set the date – or at least several potential dates – taking into consideration any major events or national holidays happening around that time.

  • Decide on the style and theme of your day, whether it be traditional or quirky, formal or informal, a big affair or intimate occasion.

  • Determine the budget, highlighting any ‘must-haves’, and importantly clarify who is paying for what.

  • Open a wedding bank account to help keep track of savings and spend.

  • Buy wedding insurance to cover you from the moment you start spending money.

  • If you’re thinking of hiring a wedding planner to help organise your big day, do this now, ensuring you pick one who is not only a member of an accredited wedding consultant association, but one who both you and your partner gets on well with.

  • Make a shortlist of potential wedding and reception venues. Some places get booked up years in advance, so if you’ve got your heart set on a particular venue and / or date, this should be high on your list of priorities.

  • Draw up your guest list and send out save the date cards, if necessary.

11 months to go…

  • Formally ask your bridesmaids, groomsmen and any other friends or family members to be in your wedding party.

  • Brides, start researching your dream dress, start booking appointments at bridal shops and enjoying girlie time with your bridal party trying on dresses, shoes and accessories over glasses of champers.

  • Decide the type of photography or videography you want to capture your special day, such as traditional, documentary-style or contemporary, and meet with several suppliers personally to see their portfolios, before booking the best one for your big day.

  • Plan the menu for your wedding breakfast. If food and drink is not provided by your reception venue, research, sample and book suitable catering and bar suppliers.

  • Hire a marquee, if required, along with any additional furniture, lighting and equipment.

10 months to go…

  • Decide on your cake design; arrange tastings; and book the winning baker.

  • Determine whether you will be sending ready-made or bespoke invitations to guests, and if the latter, discuss your design ideas with a specialist stationer.

  • Confirm menus with the wedding venue or catering company.

  • Arrange a pre-wedding shoot with your photographer to ensure you feel comfortable on camera on the big day.

  • Book all your entertainment for the day.

  • Choose your florist and discuss colour schemes, arrangements and budget.

9 months to go…

  • If you’re having a bespoke dress created, order this now, as it can several months to be made, and you’ll also need time for fittings and alterations.

  • Book transport for the bride and bridal party, groomsmen and guests, if required.

  • Start ring shopping; if you’re having one made-to-order, book this now to allow for plenty of time.

  • Plan the honeymoon, especially if you’re getting married during peak season; most importantly book flights and accommodation – and the time off work.

8 months to go…

  • Get the gift list drawn up, if you’re having one.

  • Buy your dress, if you haven’t already, as well as the bridesmaid and flower girl dresses; mother of the bride outfit; shoes; veil; accessories; and jewellery.

  • Grooms: hire or buy suits, shoes, ties and cufflinks for you and the groomsmen.

  • Research nearby accommodation for out-of-town guests.

  • Start your healthy eating and exercise programme.

  • If you’re getting married in a religious ceremony, meet with the appropriate person to arrange the rehearsal date and order of service, including any music, readings or hymns.

7 months to go…

  • Check your passports are valid and renew them if necessary, and find out whether you’ll need a visa for your honeymoon.

  • If you’re going on an exotic honeymoon, discuss with your doctor any vaccinations you might need.

  • Discuss hair styles and make up with your stylists or start thinking about your DIY plans.

6 months to go…

  • Attend pre-wedding counselling or classes, if required for religious ceremonies.

  • Order stationery, including invitations, place cards and orders of service.

  • Choose wedding favours for your guests.

  • Finalise venue decorations.

  • Get started on making any DIY decorations or individual touches.

  • If you are not spending your wedding night at the reception venue, book your accommodation.

5 months to go…

  • Book any beauty treatments for ahead of the big day, such as waxing, facials and manicures.

  • Choose your first dance song and start dance lessons, if relevant.

4 months to go…

  • Send out wedding invitations, giving guests at least two months to RSVP.

  • Confirm details and timings with suppliers, including the florist, transport and photographer.

3 months to go…

  • Buy thank you gifts for the bridal party, groomsmen, parents, flower girls and page boys.

  • Decide on guest book ideas and where guests can leave gifts and cards.

  • Book wedding dress fitting and arrange any alterations.

  • Apply for your marriage licence.

2 months to go…

  • Chase up any outstanding RSVPs.

  • Inform caterers of any guest dietary requirements.

  • Determine the seating plan.

  • Book your hair and makeup trials.

  • Buy wedding lingerie and honeymoon wardrobe.

  • Write your vows and give a copy to person marrying you, if relevant.

  • Give your photographer a list of required shots.

  • Confirm any outstanding honeymoon reservations.

  • Arrange the reading of the banns with your church, if relevant.

1 month to go…

  • Pay any remaining monies owed to suppliers and confirm arrangements and timings with all of them.

  • Book your final dress fitting and ensure your maid of honour knows how to lace you up!

  • Groomsmen should have final suit fittings and arrange any necessary alterations.

  • Celebrate your last nights of freedom on your hen and stag dos.

  • Ensure the groom, father of the bride and best man have written their speeches.

  • Draw up an order of timings for the day and give a copy to anybody who should need one.

  • Delegate tasks to friends and family, such as directing guests, handing out orders of service or carrying bridal essentials.

  • Order foreign currency for honeymoon.

  • Give final song list to band or DJ, highlighting any special requests.

  • Wear bridal and groom shoes around the house to break them in.

  • Find your something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

One week to go…

  • Hold the ceremony rehearsal and dinner, if required.

  • Get your hair cut and coloured, as well as enjoy your pre-booked beauty treatments.

  • Pick up the wedding dress.

  • Inform the caterer of your final guest count, including any suppliers such as the photographer or musicians, who will be expecting to be fed.

  • Pack for your honeymoon.

  • Give all favours, decorations and stationery to the reception venue.

  • Give ceremony and reception venues a schedule of supplier delivery and set-up times, including telephone numbers.

  • Get plenty of rest - you’re going to need it!

© SoBristolWeddings
Tuesday 19 January 2016

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