Have you just turned the page and arrived on the six-month checklist?
Perfect, it’s time to sort out a few more little wedding planning to-do’s. Don’t worry – you’ve got ages (you ticked off the wedding planning first steps checklist didn’t you..?)
If you haven’t, head over there first (or to the 12 month wedding planning checklist). There’s nothing to fear, but this next six months will be a little more busy than the last – but oh, so much more fun too! This is when all the little details start to come together, and your vision becomes reality.
All these to-do’s (and much more) are included in the little white book wedding planner of course. If you haven’t got one yet, the six month mark is a great time to pick it up and get stuck in: keeping your plans on on track, and also creating a really special keepsake of your engagement. See why else to keep a wedding diary.
You’ve most likely already chosen your wedding venue, which takes up a huge portion of your wedding budget, so now you’re working with the remainder of your budget. Before you commit to spending it all at once, stop and think about your priorities.
You don’t need to tick every box and adhere to every element of what you think a wedding is ‘meant’ to look like. Rather, think about what’s really, truly important to the two of you, what means something to you personally, and what you’ll appreciate and remember in future. Perhaps that’s an amazing band or DJ, or if you’re a foodie it’s a big focus on your wedding catering, but you couldn’t care less about what flowers you have, or the hue of the invitation suite. That’s your prerogative, so prioritise your budget now, and organise those elements you really, really want first.
Then (and only then, you can you start splurging on the little things that all add up. See my wedding budget.
– Wedding Photographers: If you haven’t done so already, and you want professional photographers, you really need to book them at around 6 months out. Having browsed for inspiration for a few months and booked your wedding venue, you’ll have an idea of the photography style you like, be it traditional, alternative, unobtrusive/natural, photo booth, or even instant cameras! You may have come across some photographers you’d like to work with, or those that have shot at the venue before.
The beauty of photography, of course, is that it’s a visual medium that you can browse online with ease. Even so, it’s still advisable to get recommendations from friends (or bloggers) and to meet with the photographer to ensure you’ll feel comfortable on the day. Go through the small print and know exactly what you’re getting. If you don’t know what to ask, check out the wedding planning pack.
– Wedding Dress – I’ll be surprised if you haven’t already started looking for your wedding dress at this stage, but if you have left this until now, do be aware that some dresses can take six months to be constructed. I ordered my dress in March, and wasn’t able to pick it up until mid-September, just in time to find out it was a little too small. If possible, leave a month for alterations, too. If a fancy, expensive wedding dress isn’t your thing, head to Asos or The Iconic for some great, cheaper alternatives.
– Wedding Flowers: Once you’ve ordered the wedding dress, you can make decisions about the most visible accessory: the bridal bouquet. Of course, you won’t need to finalise the flowers yet, but you may wish to ensure the flowers you want will be in season, and that your florist of choice is available, among other things.
– Catering: While many wedding venues will have catering organised on-site, if you’re starting with a “dry-hire” wedding venue (like us) you’ll need to start shopping around for an appropriate caterer. You’ll also have to consider what sort of food will suit the venue and the style of wedding. Read wedding catering options, and check out some brunch wedding inspo.
– Wedding Cake! If you haven’t already been attending cake tastings (why not) and you’re planning on having one, get started and find the one to complete your wedding feast (read up on cost-cutting measures).
– Bridesmaids Dresses: Once you’ve finalised the bridal party, it’s time to dress them in a complementary fashion to your wedding dress. Shop around, get online, and have fun choosing (with or without the bridesmaids’ input). Again, Asos is a godsend, if you don’t want to spend a fortune.
– Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: If you’re anything like me, your groom may not have many wedding planning tasks, but choosing the groom’s and groomsmen’s attire is a job he’ll probably want to at least have some input for. Encourage him to organise this with his Best Man and Groomsmen by at least having a first look, before discussing the style/colours with you and choosing the right look for the men in your bridal party.
– Wedding Gifts & Registry: Read more on wedding gifts and on wedding registries to decide what kind of gifts will be the most appreciated by you and your partner. You may also wish to consider a honeymoon registry.
– Design and send stationery: If you haven’t already, organise your save the dates and other wedding stationery, or do so online. If you’re planning on DIY, get started soon (just in case you need some professional help). Alternatively, find a local designer you can work with to create stationery that reflects you as a couple and the theme of your wedding (the Save the Dates and invitations set the tone early on). Etsy of course can make life easy (and cheap).
– Decor and Centrepieces: Once you’ve chosen the venue, you can decorate the space in accordance with your personal style and wedding theme, and work with your florist to make the most of the space. You might want to incorporate decor you’ve collected (over your travels) or family heirlooms, start picking up pieces from Etsy, antique or thrift-stores, garden centres and online stores. Keep the venue in mind, and if you’re wanting to DIY, get started sooner rather than later.
– Extra Lighting: Is the venue well lit for photographs, dinner and dancing? If not, find a lighting expert to create the perfect space and to set the scene. Speak to the owners of the wedding venue and to your photographers about how best to use light in the space.
– Hair and Make-up: Whether you’re hiring a professional, or practising your own skills, keep up your beauty regime, these months are crucial to having healthy skin and hair. If you’re hiring a professional hair and make-up artist, make sure to book in a trial. Although it’s another expense, it’s essential to know exactly how you’re going to look on the wedding day if someone else is doing your make up. Haven’t decided whether to use a professional? Read do I need a make-up artist?
– Music: Choosing the music is an important decision as it really sets the vibe for the wedding day. Whether or not to have live music at all (cover band, singers, string quartet) or whether to opt for a DJ (or iPod playlist), will really set the party in motion. It comes down to budget, atmosphere, and your priorities, but now’s the time to book the professionals if you’re going that route.
– Honeymoon: You don’t need to get it all organised yet, but you might as well start dreaming – and if you’re booking accommodation you can save $40 with Booking.com here. See inspiration for: Hawaii, Rarotonga, Paris, Dubai, Amsterdam, Copenhagen or search “Honeymoon” and see what else I’ve been up to.
That’s all for your 6 month wedding planning checklist, but if you want, to look ahead to your 3 month wedding planning checklist too.