Welcome to the world of wedding planning, it is not an easy task, it required so many skills and energy that it is actually a full-time job ;)
It is definitely not an easy task especially while working or studying full-time. But do not worry if you don't have the budget for a wedding planner I got you here with this ultimate 12 Months Checklist for wedding planning.
Try to get your groom-to-be involved in the planning with our special groom's 12 months checklist :D. It is best to do this as a team so your dream wedding becomes his ;) And just in case your husband-to-be forgets a few things from his list, I will add a few of his To-Dos here too ;)
12 to 9 Months before : Your Theme for the day
Grab a bottle of wine or a cup of tea, whichever is yours, and sit down together. After all, the vibe of your wedding needs to be a mutual decision between the two guests of honour. You can't have a barn wedding with a beach theme, discuss it well ;)
Once you agreed that your idea is the best, pull up your Pinterest and start those boards. Time to gather inspiration, select a colour palette and create a mood board. Select the Venue.
It is on his checklist but really that one is a team decision as it is one of the most important decisions, Visit the venues you like and are within your budget together and see how you feel when you're there.
Trust your gut!! If you are planning a destination wedding, check the venue through the photographer's and videographer's portfolios in Cairns or the area of your wedding. Make a guest list.
When deciding who to invite, consider your budget and how many people your venue fits. Also, who's paying for what? Figure out who you really want to be there on the day and start drawing up your guest list.
You might want to get your parents on it too, especially if they are contributing to your wedding budget. Depending on your entourage, it might become a long process but it will all comes down to cutting, negotiating, and cutting some more until you reach your final guest list. Hire important Vendors 1st.
Like I told your fiancé this does not include only your Photographer and Videographer but also those who will make your day magical and memorable!! Don't worry about the entertainment, he's in charge to choose the band or DJ.
While he is busy scouting for the best musicians, meets with potential florists. Same as your other vendors it's important that you find someone who can deliver on your vision and budget.
Contact rental companies if you need to rent anything for the ceremony or reception, such as chairs, tables, etc...
It would also be a good time to start looking at Hair & Makeup artists to find one with a style you like. Bridesmaids & maid of honour.
So you knew who your Maid of Honour would be since Year 12, what about your bridesmaids, got that cover too? Choose from close friends and family who are nearby ideally and, reliable, so you know, you can delegate some of the important tasks on the BIG day. Start Shopping for Your Wedding Dress.
You may know exactly what you want or you might not, which is okay, too. It is better to get started as early as you can so you have lots of time for alterations. The bridal boutique will definitely be a huge help in the process but a lot of brides are now buying online too. 9 to 6 Months before:
Take Engagement Photos.
This is a good time to have your Hair & Makeup trial and a great occasion to practice being in front of the camera for the BIG day. And the images you will get out of it will be so useful!!
You can use them for display on your wedding day, make a guest book for the reception, print your "save the dates", and use them on your wedding website.
Create Your Wedding Website.
Get your site running now because you'll need to put the URL on "save the dates" when you send them. Ever heard of the much-hyped wedding website?
It’s essentially an online website dedicated to your wedding, that conveys information and enables communication between you and your guests. Ask me about it, I'll be more than happy to include one in your Wedding Collection.
Plan & Book your honeymoon. Another occasion for a sit-down and relaxing evening as a team!! Whether you are going to Hawaii, France, or Bali, now would be a good time to check on your passport. Are they still valid, are they still in that draw you left them last time?
Also, check any vaccinations and visas you might need. Quick tips: book it in your maiden name and use your existing passport, then change all your documents to your married name when you return. Buy The Dress. Go for one last trial and say "yes" to the dress if you want enough time for any needed alterations. Also, a good time to select the Bridesmaids' dresses and schedule fittings. Oh, do you have your shoes? 6 to 3 Months before: Send Save the Dates.
Whether you are doing it the old fashion way or digitally or via your awesome Wedding Website, let everyone officially know when and where you're making it official. Wedding rings. I am listing this one here because it is an important one, almost as important as the cake!! And also just in case, someone is forgetting about it ;) Choose the Cake.
Your partner should have been on top of that and should have told you that I love chocolate cake by now. Just kidding, a doughnut will do just fine, as long as there are some cronuts too ;D
Register for Gifts.
Involve your better half in this one, you are building a life together. Instead of going for the usual toaster, pots & pans consider your hobbies (photography, hiking, golf) and tailor your registry to your soon-to-be-married life. 3 to one Months before: Send your wedding invitations. Generally, they are sent between 6 to 12 weeks but it is up to you. Include information for your guests on accommodation, transport, etc... Include reply cards to ensure they all RSVP and ask your guests if they have any specific dietary requirements. Unless you decide to keep it paper/budget-friendly and just run it through your Wedding Website. Vows & Speeches.
If you plan on exchanging personally written vows I would give you lots of time for edits and reviews so that you are not scurrying last minute. This is the biggest speech of your life, you want to make it meaningful and well thought out. Hens Night or Bridal Shower.
If you decide to go wild with a Hens Night, do it with moderation and definitely not the night before. You will NEED your beauty sleep. His wedding gift.
Put some thought into it and get him a thoughtful wedding gift. When you're out shopping, you might want to buy your bridesmaids a little thank-you gift ;) Buy All Small Items.
All those little things you definitely don't buy the last week before your wedding. Including cake topper, cake stand, cake knife then table numbers, flower-girl, and ring-bearer accessories (ring pillow, flower basket...). Also, consider purchasing fans if your day will be on a hot day, flip-flops for the reception and dance the night away, as well as baskets, to hold them. Then, don’t forget your signs, hand-made or not. Last Month!! Final Dress Fitting.
I'm sure you won't forget that one but just in case. Bring along your mum, sister, or maid of honour, whoever will be there with you on the day to help you put it on. It can get a little tricky sometimes!! Assign wedding day tasks.
Try to think about all the little things that would be nothing regularly but on the BIG day will definitely help you out. For example, dedicate someone to be in charge of collecting your marriage certificate after the ceremony. Put someone in your Bridal Party in charge of drinks and snacks etc... Date & Relax.
Do something really romantic together, and have a little weekend gateway!! Honeymoon.
Double-check the honeymoon reservations, visas, and flights and start packing your bags!! Break in your shoes.
Break those new shoes in. It is a must! The last thing you want on your wedding day is sore feet and blisters, I haven't been there but I am guessing not. Pay Your Vendors in Full.
You don't want to deal with that awkward situation of a vendor chasing money right before your wedding. Keeping careful track of when and how much you already paid each vendor is a must!! Create a Seating Chart.
The seating chart challenge sounds like a nightmare to me. You have to be careful of relationships, egos, potential crises, etc... It will also depend on whether or not you have a head table and who will be sitting at it. If you love working with a spreadsheet, "Style Me Pretty" has shared an excellent, colour-coded seating chart template in case that helps you.
Make it legible. The seating chart should be clear and easy to read. Keep it simple. Organise and create it so the viewer can easily pinpoint their name and their assigned seat.
The Day Before: Love you note.
Write him a sweet little note to read while I will be with him during his getting-ready pics. Make sure to find someone to deliver it in time. At Night.
Put any boxes, suitcases, bags, and survival kits ready for tomorrow, and forget a small bag of personal items. Eat a healthy meal, drink plenty of water and get a good night's sleep! That's it. all your careful preparation and creative planning are coming to life tomorrow!! Do not forget to HAVE FUN no matter what. At the end of the day, you will be married to your best friend ;) Getting married in Far North Queensland, from Cairns to Port Douglas, Atherton Tablelands, Mission Beach, or Palm Cove? As a wedding photographer and videographer based in Cairns, I am always happy to help so do not hesitate to ask me any questions you may have.