Wedding Planning Timeline

The ultimate countdown to your wedding day celebrations starting…now! 

Planning a wedding can be a full-time job in itself; from spending time finding a wedding venue that’s just right, to booking the transport to take you off on your honeymoon. You’ll have a huge to-do list, regardless of how big or small your wedding is going to be.  In order to make planning your day that tiny bit easier, we’ve devised a wedding planning timeline to help keep you organised and in check as you countdown towards your big (and very exciting) day. 

12-18 months

  • Announce your engagement, show off your engagement ring, possibly throw an engagement party and start researching wedding venues, theme ideas, wedding dress designers and honeymoon ideas. 
  • Decide on a wedding budget. If one side of parents or both are contributing, then discuss this openly with them so that you know how much budget you’ve got to play with. 
  • Visit wedding venues with an idea of booking around the 12-month mark. You probably shouldn’t book your wedding venue unless you’ve spoken to the registrar team at your local council, or the relevant people at your chosen church.
  • Make note of applicable fees when it comes to booking the registrar; be sure to include this in your budget. At the time of booking your registrar you may wish to request and pay for additional copies of your marriage certificate. These may come in handy when it comes to changing your name on your documents after you're married.
  • If you’re booking a church wedding then you should start to enquire about dates early.
  • Choose your bridal party – giving them plenty of time to save the date! 
  • Buy wedding insurance as soon as you start spending money on your wedding; it will give you peace of mind throughout the rest of your wedding planning process.  
  • Discuss a guest list – and a reserve guest list!

10-12 months

  • If you’ve booked your wedding venue then send out save the date cards; search for a stationery supplier while your at it so that you can order all of your wedding stationery in one go. 
  • Start shopping/browsing for your wedding dress and book appointments to visit bridalwear shops in order to find ‘the one’. Some dresses can take up to 6 months to be made. 
  • Shop for bridesmaids dresses too as this could also take some time. 
  • Start getting recommendations for wedding florists, a photographer, a videographer, decorative hire suppliers, bands/dj’s and wedding transport if necessary. 
  • Visit wedding fairs or ask friends for their personal recommendations. 

7-10 months

  • Start seriously thinking about and booking your honeymoon. You may not need to pay everything up front, but putting down a deposit and getting dates booked off work would be sensible.
  • Choose a wedding gift list supplier; from high street stores to a honeymoon fund or a charity gift list. Ensure you’ve got something in place ahead of sending out your wedding invitations. 
  • Shop for wedding rings together. If you’re having one made bespoke this could take some time to create. 
  • Decide on your wedding party wear; from the bridesmaids to the groomswear, flower girls and page boys. 
  • Book your wedding date and the days surrounding it, off work – if you haven’t done this already. \
  • Look at hotels/B&B’s/accommodation around the area of your venue to recommend to your guests if need be.

3-7 months

  • Send out your wedding invitations (include gift list details, directions, an RSVP card, dietary requirements and local accommodation information).
  • Shop with your mother for her wedding out fit. 
  • Arrange menu tasting evenings with your venue to ensure a perfect wedding breakfast. 
  • Order your wedding cake. 
  • Secure a florist, hair stylist and other essential suppliers. We’d suggest giving the wedding photographer the most notice as great photographers tend to get booked up well in advance. 
  • If you’re having a civil ceremony at a wedding venue in the UK then you’ll need to give notice if you haven’t already.* 

2-3 months

  • Book your beauty, hair and make-up trials and make sure you’re happy with your overall bridal look. 
  • Your dress should now be ready if you’ve ordered one so go for fittings and get any alterations done. 
  • Start planning your hen/stag parties with your Maid of Honour/Best Man – unless this is going to be a surprise. 
  • Start ordering/preparing your wedding favours as these may take time to create. 

1-2 months

  • Ensure your other half is all set when it comes to their overall look; from the outfit to shoes, accessories and his grooms party. 
  • If you start receiving gifts from your wedding gift list early, make a note of who sent you what, as you’ll need this for after your honeymoon. 
  • Send invitations out to the reserves on your guest list – if not all of your original guest list can make it of course. 
  • Meet with your suppliers to discuss specific arrangements. Your photographer may wish to visit the venue with you so that they are familiar with the surroundings. 
  • Collect your wedding rings if you haven’t already.

2-4 weeks

  • Chase guests who have not responded to your wedding invitation. 
  • Confirm your seating plan with the venue. 
  • Change money for your honeymoon if you’re travelling abroad. 
  • Communicate final wedding plans with your venue. 
  • Collect your wedding dress if you haven’t already. 
  • Make a booking for your bridal manicure/pedicure for a day or two before the wedding.
  • If you’re buying your new husband/wife a gift for the wedding day, now would be a good time to think about this if you haven’t already. 

1-2 weeks

  • Start getting things ready for your honeymoon and pre/post wedding nights. 
  • Get your pre-wedding haircut and perhaps a spray-tan a few days before the big day. 
  • Finish making wedding favours, wedding decorations etc.  
  • Make a list of ‘last minute’ things you might need to pack, such as your phone charger, camera and bridal emergency kit. 
  • Start preparing for your time off work if you’re going straight on your honeymoon after the wedding. 
  • Book post-wedding transport or a taxi to take you to the airport if you’re heading straight off on your honeymoon. 

The day before

  • Have your bridal manicure/pedicure.  
  • Ensure your dress, accessories, underwear and any other wedding attire are packed and ready to go.
  • Say ‘I’ll see you at the altar’ to your other half.
  • Get an early night. 

Your wedding day

  • Eat breakfast.
  • Relax, stay calm and enjoy your day.
  • If you're having a civil ceremony then you would have been given a time to meet with a registrar in advance, prior to walking down the aisle.
  • Don’t worry about the minor details. Your wedding venue will no doubt take great care of you. 

Post-wedding

  • Arrange to have your wedding dress dry cleaned if you plan on keeping it safe and pristine. 
  • Ensure that someone is responsible for taking the groomswear back if it has been hired. 
  • Write down who gave you what when it comes to opening presents from your gift list – so that you’re ready when the time comes to write your thank you cards.
  • Thank your suppliers and wedding venue by leaving them a review. 
  • If you plan on changing your name then you can pick up 'change of name' forms for your passports and driving licence. You can also notify your bank, gas/electricity, Water and other household suppliers so that your name starts appearing correctly on your bills and statements.

*You must give a minimum of 28 days notice of marriage in the UK. Visit nidirect.gov.uk for further information on giving notice of marriage in the UK. There will be a fee payable to the registrar when you give notice, and when you officially book your wedding time and date with them. These fees vary from county to county so be sure to enquire early and include them on your wedding budget.