How To Plan Your Wedding By Year, Month & Week
How To Plan Your Wedding By Year, Month & Week

How To Plan Your Wedding By Year, Month & Week

A good wedding planner will tell you it can take up to 18 months to arrange your dream wedding, but knowing exactly when to do what isn’t always clear. To help you get a rough plan in your head, we asked a range of wedding experts what they would do at each stage, from over a year out to one week before the big day.
By Harriet Russell


“The best venues and suppliers are booked long in advance, so if you’re not willing to compromise, try to secure your first choices as soon as you get engaged. Start enquiries and bookings with all key suppliers including caterers, photographers, musicians, florists, church or celebrant, hair, make-up etc. Get your date set and venue or structure booked; to enable you to do this, you will have had to consider your guest list for numbers and always have a budget in mind.” – Carly Woodward & Charlotte Reah of HIDDEN Weddings & Events

“Set the maximum budget you are willing to spend. This is the most crucial step in the planning process, since it will determine how much you can spend on the venue and the suppliers, and it will also help your event planner understand your demands and how to work within any budget. After sharing the news of your engagement, it's important to find out whether anyone outside you two, such as parents, will be contributing financially to the wedding.” – Roberta Burcheri, designer & lead planner at Roberta Burcheri Events

“You may already have some ideas about the overall look of your wedding, so start that conversation with your venue or resident wedding planner by showing them your Pinterest board and any other inspirational images you may have seen. If you are not sure where to start, a designer can work with you to create not only the perfect look but also the feel of your day. The more information you can give them at this stage, the better understanding they will have about your style, taste and likes – even knowing what you don’t like will help them.” – Styling & events manager Tessa Haskell 


“First and foremost, get the save-the-dates out – the earlier the better. This is also the latest you can leave booking the photographer and videographer; there are so many different styles out there, so make sure you get on Instagram and find someone you love. A florist is next on the list, as are make-up, hair and the cake.” – Rosie Brown, founder of Weddings by Rosie

“Draw up an approximate guest list and your bridal party. This is the second major factor that would affect your budget after the venue. Keep in mind that you will need to communicate the number to your stationery supplier to order save-the-dates and the whole stationery suite later on.” – Roberta 

“If you booked your venue ages ago or in the middle of winter and therefore haven’t yet seen it in all its seasonal glory, it could be time to revisit it in warmer weather (particularly if you're planning a summer wedding). This is also the right time to start putting together your florals. Select your individual colour scheme based on what is in season at this time and, if you can, choose English flowers as a sustainable option. Your planner or designer will also advise where you can reuse arrangements to maximise the cost per use.” – Tessa



“Get the invitations designed and out – whether you have done this through a website or traditionally through the post, Also, think about other stationery, like orders of service, a table plan, place cards etc. These things all take time, so decide what you want and get the order placed with your designer so they can provide you with the lead times and deadlines for content. Around six months out is also a good time for a menu tasting with your caterer.” – Carly & Charlotte

“If you haven’t done so already, this is definitely the time to finalise the bookings with your smaller vendors including the florist, entertainment, musicians etc. Also, don’t forget about the transportation if you need any – and any rentals such as furniture or tableware. Finally, you might want to start planning and booking your honeymoon.” – Roberta 

“If you haven't already, get the dress on order. If you look too far in advance, chances are fashions will change. Six months to a year out is the perfect time to start the process. Book in multiple appointments with different stockists. Even if you think you’ve found ‘the one’, book in at least one more appointment and try on everything. Just because you think a shape won’t suit you, it isn’t always the case. Also, bear in mind wedding dresses always come up small so choose the dress that fits you, not that you need to fit into.” – Carly & Charlotte

“This is when you can give notice at the Registry Office – this has to be done a minimum of 29 days before your marriage, so get it booked in with plenty of time just to be safe – once it’s booked, it’s valid for one year. In the six-month lead up, make sure you’ve also booked extra details you might like, such as a master of ceremonies, décor and signage.” – Rosie


“Now is the time for a make-up and hair trial. Ensure you are comfortable with everything and make changes where necessary – and find someone who listens. Remember you just want to look like the best version of you. Also, start drafting up the table plan, final numbers and any dietary requirements, and get a running order of the day in your head with contingencies for bad weather.” – Carly & Charlotte

“For me, this is a practical time. It’s the stage at which you want to purchase any bridal lingerie, prep outfits for events either side of the wedding day itself, and buy wedding party presents and favours. Finally, book accommodation for out-of-town guests and a room for the wedding night if you’re not staying at the venue.” – Roberta 

“Go shopping for the groom’s, bridesmaids’ and groomsmen’s outfits, and your wedding rings – this might need to be sooner depending on lead times from choice of jeweller. While you’re out, have a look at purchasing presents for the wedding party (e.g. bridesmaid gift bags) and any thank-you gifts.” – Rosie


“This is the time to think about putting a wedding management team in place to take the reins and allow you to enjoy the process. They will bring everything together and make sure nothing has been missed. If you decide to do it yourself, have a final site visit with your key suppliers to ensure all boxes are ticked and there are no nasty surprises on the day. It might also be time for a final dress fitting – in general, we find most brides lose weight without even trying. Don’t panic though – at this stage everything can still be altered, so if you’re not happy, speak up. It’s the most expensive dress you’ll ever wear, so it needs to be right.” – Carly & Charlotte

“Put your wedding planner or venue in touch with your photographer and/or videographer as you will want to make sure all your details are captured. They will discuss their timelines on the day, to ensure you get plenty of shots showcasing the look you have spent so much time perfecting.” – Tessa

“If you’re planning to say your own, this is the time to finalise your vows. Also, if you’re changing your surname, this is the time to plan the document needed. Finally, schedule hair and make-up appointments for the bridal party. You could even look into booking a spa day for the week before the wedding to relax and really feel ready.” – Roberta



Call all suppliers and make sure everyone is on the same page. Also, if you’re dashing off on honeymoon after the wedding, ensure you know when everything is being taken down and collected, and that someone is there to co-ordinate this in your absence.” – Carly & Charlotte

“Confirm the guest numbers with your caterer and check all suppliers’ payments have been finalised. It’s also a good idea to try and break in your wedding shoes about now to make sure they’re comfortable on the day. Finally, if you’re running the show yourself, send a timeline to all wedding suppliers ahead of the big day.” – Roberta


“Do a weather check and sort out any last-minute alterations – it might be that some last-minute fans, parasols or additional outdoor furniture might be required. Also, collect your dress and make a day of it – go for a nice brunch or lunch with family or a few close friends. If you’re staying at your family home the night before, book someone to clean your house. That final week is organised chaos and you don’t need to be worrying about tidying up your house so it looks nice for guests. Also, get breakfast delivered. You all want to enjoy that morning so nobody needs to be slaving away making a breakfast with a full head of rollers in.” – Carly & Charlotte

“Now is the time to assign specific tasks, such as handing out the rings, confirming transportation, and giving the venue or wedding planner a list of on-the-day instructions. You may also need to pack for honeymoon and post-wedding day.” – Roberta 

“This is pamper time – book your beauty appointments for one or two days before your wedding, and make sure you sleep well and feel healthy. Prioritising some downtime before the big day is so important. This is also where you can get your ducks in a row – pack and locate all the bits and bobs, so you can really enjoy the run up to the big day. Finally, the one piece of advice I give all couples is to make sure you prioritise having some alone time during your wedding day, so try to carve out some time in the plan for this. Perhaps go off for a little sunset glass of bubbly or make your drive from the church a little bit longer.” – Rosie 

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