Weddings make history and it is only right that yours does too! But, a wedding to remember is actually lots of work. You need a wedding planner to help you design and plan a perfect day and leaves a lasting impression and beautiful memory.
But everyone knows planning a wedding can get very stressful. We on the other hand disagree! Wedding planners and wedding checklists can be fun and exciting – but you have to do them right; and we’re here to help you with just that!
Here’s a quick cheat sheet for your wedding planner – a 12-month countdown with month-by-month checklists that take you through a seamless planning and execution phase. Use the wedding planner guide leading up to your special day and enjoy the process of planning the biggest event of your life!
12 months before the wedding
Establish a Budget
First things first on your wedding checklist should be the budget. So crunch the numbers and figure out how much you want to spend on your perfect wedding. This is crucial. Not only does it help you decide on the wedding’s bottom line, but it also helps you know where you can fall short and how much you need to save.
Set an Interim Date and Check Out Venues
You might have a set date in mind for your wedding day, like the 16th of Jan or the 2nd week of February. But will your dream venue also be available on that day? Note the best wedding venues get booked real fast; it’s best to have a tentative date in mind when you’re looking at locations and venues. If you have your heart set on a place and it isn’t available on that particular day, an interim date gives you the luxury of shifting things around, while still having the best of everything on your wedding checklist.
Make a Rough Guest List
When thinking on who to invite, decide on how many people you can accommodate at your chosen venue and also take a look into how many people have you budgeted for. It also depends on who’s paying for the wedding. If the couple are splitting the bill, you get to have the fair share of invites. But if there is a wedding fund your parents set aside years ago, there is a whole new dynamic in place there.
Decide on a Theme
Doesn’t matter if it’s a subdued gold and beige or a Great Gatsby themed wedding you want. What’s important is that the theme of your party should resonate with you as a couple. Once you have the perfect theme in your wedding planner, start collecting ideas on the web and get a mood board together.
10 to 11 months before the wedding
Confirm Wedding Venue and Guest List
Chances are you’ve spent your time looking at different venues and now have a fair idea what your heart wants. It’s time to make your final decision and pay the deposit. And, once you have the place secured, be ruthless with your guest list and keep it limited to the number of people your location can accommodate.
Book Your Main Vendors
A professional wedding planner helps you get great deals with other vendors and if you are looking for one Weddings Showtime, One Flare and Meragi are all known for their exceptional work in the market. But, if you are taking care of the planning yourself, now is the time to book your main vendors like the caterers, the photographer and videographer, the florist, and decide what kind of music you will want at the event – a DJ or a live band.
Find your Cake Maker
Much like the other vendors in the wedding business, the best cake makers also get booked real quick. So, it’s best to find your cake maker in advance and book tastings with them. Discuss your favourite flavours and the look and design of your cake, after all it will be a delicious centrepiece to your reception. Some of the best wedding cake makers around Australia are Cake Salon from Sydney, Nikos Cakes from Melbourne, Heidelberg Cakes from Adelaide, and Michelle the Cake Chef from Newcastle.
Choose your Wedding Party
Now that you have all the heavy lifting out of the way, it’s time to get involved in the more fun parts of your wedding. And, the best place to start with is choosing people who are going to be a special part of your day. The bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring bearers and flower girls; there are plenty of roles for the favourite people in your life.
Go Dress Shopping
Possibly the most exciting part for the bride, wedding dress shopping can be fun, but also daunting. If you are looking for some great wedding dress options that are affordable check out Oleg Cassini. But if your taste is more designer and you’d like something that will make a statement, spend time exploring the amazing options at Grace Loves Lace and Essence of Australia.
Shopping for the Groom
It’s the groom who is the centre of attention first, so it’s important he’s well dressed too. Depending on how formal your wedding is, choose between a tux or a suit. Your wedding planner needs to have the names of Ignition for Men and Tarocash for great groom’s wear. They both focus on fit and function and are an absolute hit among grooms of the country.
8 to 9 months before the wedding
Start looking at Invitations
The invitations give your guests the first glimpse into your wedding day, and you want to make an impression along with a personalised touch. If you are going for custom invitations, we suggest looking at Minted weddings or Papier, keeping in mind your theme. If you want to be super organised, this is the time to send your ‘save the date’ cards as well.
Wedding Gifts Registry
As a couple, you should come together on this one and think about what you want for your new married life. Today there are so many wedding gifts registries in Australia that you will be spoilt for choices. While you can go with a Myer gift registry for reliable wedding gifts, there are options like the Hint Registry that offer a combined registry option for couples. Right from luxury products, honeymoon experiences, home renovations and charity groups they have it all.
6 to 7 months before the wedding
Book the Wedding Vehicles
If your wedding and reception are at different venues you might need to transport your guest from one location to the other. Even if that is not the case, you will still need bridal transport to be organised
If you are thinking luxury limos and more opt for MG Chauffeurs in Melbourne or Classic Jags in Adelaide or Kombi Weddings in Sydney for both reliable cars and exceptional service and can be added to your wedding planner checklist.
Plan and Book Honeymoon
Once the wedding frenzy begins, you’ll hardly have any time to think about your honeymoon. So now that your wedding is still months aways, plan your honeymoon at leisure. Booking early on will also get you some of the best deals.
Select Bridesmaid Dresses and Schedule Fittings
If you have a big group of bridesmaids, you should be well aware that narrowing down to a design can be difficult. We suggest you to start online searches seven to eight months before the wedding so that your dresses are ready in time.
After you have the design in place, you can all meet in person and make a shopping day out of it. The same can be done for groomsmen. And while you are at it, also watch out for outfits for ring bearers and flower girls. Noodz Boutique has some great options for bridesmaid dresses and they ship countrywide and international too, a name for your wedding planner book.
5 to 6 months before the wedding
Hire a Marriage Celebrant
If you are getting married anywhere that is not a house of worship, you will need somebody to seal the deal for you. Couples can choose a more intimate take on the situation and ask a person close to them to officiate the wedding, or you can also hire a Marriage Celebrant from the Australian Government’s Attorney General Department or the carats and cakes website.
Book Hair & Makeup
Unless you plan on getting ready for your big day by yourself, it’s important you start your search for the perfect hair and makeup artists around six months in advance. This will give you enough time to browse through various local options available and add them to your wedding planner book. You can then book trials and choose the one that is the perfect fit.
Pro Tip: When you’re going for your trials make sure you have inspiration images with you, this tells the artists what you’re aiming for.
3 to 4 months before the wedding
Now is the right time to bring out your wedding planners and decide on the finer bits of the ceremony. Who’s walking the bride down the aisle? What song plays during the entry of the bride, father-daughter dance, cake cutting, first dance, during the vows? Who will be giving speeches?
Miscellaneous Wedding Items
With the major wedding shopping out of the way, you now have time to look into the small little things required for the ceremony. Think cake knife, ring bearer accessories, flower girl baskets, guest book, that bridal hanger for your dress, flip flops and more.
2 months before the wedding
Get your wedding bands
Set the date in stone (or metal) by getting your wedding bands. While some couples like the traditional gold bands, the trendy thing this decade has been diamond rings. At Bell and Brunt, we have a variety of options you can choose from. Timeless designs of world class wedding rings that will last you a lifetime!
Wedding Party Gifts
Every single person in your wedding party is important and it is nice if you get them something for the occasion. Anything thoughtful and personalised will let them know how much they mean to you!
1 month before the wedding
Break in your Wedding Shoes
Blistered feet could be your biggest nightmare on your wedding day. It’s best to wear your shoes a couple of times in the house and break them in.
Write your Vows
If you are a romantic at heart and have chosen to write your own vows, it’s about time to have them ready. Get pen to paper and write what’s in your heart, or jump on google and search through all different types. Check out the easy weddings article on their best wedding vows for some beautiful options.
Make your Seating Chart
If the guest list was hard for you, the seating charts are going to be worse. Doesn’t matter if you have a head table or not, balancing all those relationships and egos can be daunting. But, you gotta do what you gotta do!
Your Last Week before the big day
It’s the final countdown and all your hard work is about to pay off. Now’s the time for you to relax. But wedding jitters can be real. So, enjoy this last week of single life and:
– go for a massage
– get a wedding manicure and pedicure
– have the final dress fittings and get your clothes ready steamed/ironed
– pack your overnight bag for after the wedding
On the day of your wedding
One of the biggest days of your life is finally here! All your hard work in wedding planning is done. Breathe and be in the moment. All you need to do now is relax, enjoy and celebrate the day with your partner surrounded by your loved ones.
PS: Remember to drink lots of water for that natural glow.