It can be hard to know exactly how far through wedding planning preparation you ‘should’ be at various stages of your engagement. I use ‘should’ extremely loosely, because this is your journey, and it should be at your pace.
The reasons for checklists to be organised by time-frame are many: wedding venues tend to book up to a year in advance; a wedding dress can take up to six months to sew; guests need plenty of notice to be able to arrange to come; etc.
Thankfully, you don’t have to work it all out alone – I’ve devised checklists for you at regular intervals. Of course, these and more are all in the little white book wedding organiser and diary, and if you’ve got 6-12 months to go, now is the perfect time to start it.
Your Wedding Countdown: 12 Months
– Budget: If you haven’t already, now’s the time to look in your wallet, then perhaps down the back of the couch and get realistic. Unless you have an unlimited budget, I strongly suggest you look at prioritising rather than spending money on every element that a wedding could or ‘should’ have (according to the wedding industry).
I promise you don’t need to tick every possible box, even those in the little white book. What type of wedding do you want to have; how many guests (and therefore seats/meals/drinks) will you invite, and is anyone else contribution. Financial discussions should be had early with your parents (if they are offering); and regularly with your fiancé, to stay on track. See also: starting your wedding budget; and how much does a wedding cost.
– Guests: Your wedding budget could be a relevant determinate of how many guests you’ll be able to invite to your wedding. Keep in mind that your guest list may also effect the choice of venue – depending on its capacity and whether you want an intimate, or large, gathering. At 12 months out from your wedding, you should be writing out your guest list and working out what size/style and cost of wedding venue will suit. See how to start your guest list.
– Book your Wedding Venue: You can’t organiser very much else without a wedding date set and venue booked. Popular venues will start to book up around 12 months out from your wedding, so at this stage, you might like to visit the ones you’ve taken a liking to. Of course, at 12 months out, you’ll be able to see the wedding venue as it will be for your nuptials. Consider the time of year that suits you both/your families, how long it may take you to save up, and have a few preferred dates in mind to discuss with potential venues. See how to find your wedding venue, and also download the wedding venue questionnaire.
12 months out from your wedding is where all the big decisions are made, but from here, it’s much smoother sailing, and you can take things as you like, really. Once you have an idea of who’s going to be invited to the wedding, you might like to organise an engagement party to celebrate. It’s up to you whether you invite only wedding guests, or have a larger engagement party, and explain to guests that you’re having a smaller wedding.
The next booking is usually for your wedding photographers, who also often book out a year in advance, so 6-12 months is the time to be booking in if you want your first choice.
– Wedding Shows are spread throughout the year, but with 12 months to go ’til your wedding, you might like to start visiting them to get inspiration. My favourite to be a vendor at was Hitch’d Wedding Fair, where guests really had enough time with vendors and ask lots of questions. As a bride, I attended almost every one in Auckland, and while NZ Bride & Groom Show was very comprehensive, I personally found it overwhelming. Read how to get the most out of wedding shows.
– Dress: Choosing, and ordering your wedding dress may be a longer process than you think, so don’t be afraid so start early.
– Beauty: Even 6-12 months out in planning the wedding, you’ll want to start a beauty routine.
– Celebrant: Celebrants will be take bookings 6-12 months in advance, so you may wish to start meeting them at wedding shows and thinking about personalising your ceremony.
– Diary: Of course, I would say this… but I truly mean it. It’s so nice to keep a diary of the whole process – there are so many exciting experiences during your engagement, but it can go by in a bit of a blur too – so keep a memento. The little white book is the perfect wedding journal (of course, I would say this too, but thankfully so does everyone else).
Coming soon… so keep in mind (3-6 months wedding planning)
– Wedding Flowers
– Bridesmaids Dresses
– Choose a DJ or Band.
– Grooms & Groomsmen’s Attire
– Sending the Wedding Invitations
– Decor and Centrepieces
– Hair and Make-up Artist
– Reception Seating Details
– Wedding Gifts & Registry
– Wedding Bands
– Marriage Licenses
– Accommodation for the night before/night of the Wedding
– Arrange time off work
– Write out Place Cards
– Inform those you’re hoping will make a speech
Now, head to the wedding planning page for an index of our content.