Searching for suppliers who can meet your vision at a cost you can afford is something so many couples are often overwhelmed by. We are often asked when the best time to book suppliers, along with who to prioritise.
Whilst a guideline, we have built a timeline to make life for brides who are unsure of when best to look into different parts of the planning process.
24 - 12 Months
Officially announce your engagement to loved ones.
Announcing your engagement is and the approach you use is a very personal choice. Many couple choose to invite family round for a meal or organise an evening at a local restaurant. Either way, its all about getting everyone together and letting those close to you know your fantastic news.
Set a date for your wedding.
Consider the time of year you would like to get married, is there a particular date that means something to you and your partner or will the potential weather be the main factor in when you would prefer to have your wedding. Don't forget to schedule time off with your employers confirmed with venue and church/registrar.
Set a budget
You're budget is important to have in mind, set out a list of all the things you want, then placing them in priority order. Making a list like this will help you to decide the things you can afford against those you may need to reconsider if the budget doesn't quite stretch. We have previously written a blog covering general tips on how to set your budget
Choose your wedding party
Whether your best friends or sisters as bridesmaids, your Mother of the bride, your partners groomsmen. Choosing your tribe is a decision not to be taken lightly, the friends and family chosen are a big part of your day and can be largely involved in your planning if you want them to be. With this in mind, its wise to consider those you trust as long term friends who you feel are on a similar wavelength.
Research wedding venues.
You're venue will be setting the scene for your entire day, from how you feel on the day to the photographs all of which create those all important memories you will treasure forever.
Make a list of all the venues in the area you want to consider, then work through to the top 5 favourites that you can afford. Call each venue and arrange viewings, this will give you chance to see the venue for yourself, really getting a feel for how the day could be and speak to staff who will be on hand for your wedding.
We have a wide range of recommend venues in the areas we work. Our recommendations being based on the hospitality shown to our customers and the setting it offers for your day as well as value for money.
The Moat House - Acton Trussell - https://www.moathouse.co.uk
The Mill Hotel and Restaurant - https://www.themillrestaurante.org.uk
Telford Hotel and Gold Resort - https://www.telfordhotelgolfresort.co.uk
Malt House Barn - https://www.malthousebarn.co.uk
The Macdonald Burlingnton - https://www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk
Determine whether you will hire a wedding planner
Whether you have a busy lifestyle and need help with the planning process, or just feeling over whelmed by the whole idea of what needs to be done. If you can spare the enough in your budget, professional experience of a wedding planner can be a huge help. Make calls to local planners in the area, get to know them,
Can you see yourself having a good working relationship with them?
Do they understand your vision and the finer points of what you want?
What is included in their fee in comparison to other local planners?
Sometimes a Planner isn't the right choice, maybe you want to plan your own wedding or feel the budget would be better used else where. There are lots of stylish diary form planners to be found on https://www.etsy.com
Another tip for being organised would be to prepare a folder for receipts and contracts so all paperwork is all in one place.
Decide on a theme
There are a number of styles, from rustic, classic or regal to whimsical creating some beautiful weddings (All of which we will be coving in next moths blog) This will allow you to create an inspiration/Mood board..... Pinterest is fantastic for ideas and always so helpful to your planner or venue stylist when trying to understand and create your vision.
Book your ceremony and reception venues.
Once you have seen all potential venues, sit down and discuss them together, taking everything into account that you like or dislike, to narrow the list down further. If you are still unsure you can always take another look or consider reviews more thoroughly. When you are sure, get the date booked, as you now have a good basis to work from when planning your dream day.
Draft your guest list
We mentioned in our previous planning tips blog that your guest list was really important in helping you to keep to your budget. This is because after the venue, food is one of the biggest parts of your budget.
Carefully consider how many people you can have attend your wedding, based on the catering costs involved and the budget put aside for food. Start collecting addresses of all those you want to invite, ready to send save the dates.
12 - 9 Months
You're half way there, book yourself a pamper day. Either on your own or with your bride tribe.
https://baronseden.com/hoar-cross-hall is set in beautiful surroundings and has a highly recommended spa facility with amazing packages. Definitely with a call to book a well earned pamper experience.
Shop for the perfect dress.
You may have ideas of the dress you want, though it is always worth being open minded when visiting bridal shops. as sometimes trying dresses is very different to seeing them in images. Emma who owns a friendly boutique https://www.thebridalquarters.co.uk in Leek, Staffordshire, has an extensive knowledge of her beautiful stock, what will suit different body shapes to flatter your figure, Emma will certainly make sure you find that perfect dress.
Book your Photographer and Videographer.
Photography and videography are and integral part of capturing everything on your day. With everything being so busy, you being centre of attention you may miss parts the photographer or videographer will be able to catch on camera for you to see once edits are complete.
The best way to find a photographer/ videographer you like and can work with is by chatting with them and looking their work to get a real feel for whether they are right for you. Maybe book the photographer for an engagement shoot so as you have the chance physically work with them directly before the big day.
Of all the photographers we have worked with Craig https://www.newroadphotography.com/ who has provided these shots from a shoot we were involved in Autumn 2020 is by far the most talented.
with regards to videography, this again is totally personal choice, though often a very valuable asset on your wedding day https://www.bsm-entertainment.com/ are highly recommended for both videography and their DJ services so definitely worth a call.
Book your wedding planner and caterer.
For those of you choosing to have a wedding planner involved, whether this be for a full/ partial service or for on the day co - ordination, 12 months is ideal to ensure a planner truly understands your vision and can ensure everything is in order.
Catering packages are often included as part of your venue package, though for those of you choosing to have your own catering like https://www.thyme2dine.com/, whether due to being outdoors or just looking for something different there are a number of options available, at the same time being affordable..
Hair and make up.
When booking you make up artist and hair styling, both professionals like https://www.sylviamagdalenamua.com/will work with you to create a style that not only suits you but compliments the dress style and theme of the wedding to add that touch of glamour.. As with any supplier being completely open with what you want and honest when you're not sure is helpful to make sure everyone is on the same wavelength.
Event stylist and floristry.
By now you will have a firm idea of how you imagine your décor to look, mood/inspiration boards will reflect your vison. Some event stylists offer floristry as part of their services as we do, though those who don't will more than likely work directly with a florist to ensure as seamless transition in your décor. What ever the package, be sure your stylist understands your ideas and ask for a meeting at the venue, where they can show you and example table. This gives you the opportunity to see the quality of their work and the materials they use.
Build your guest list.
Some retail companies offer a wedding list service from their product ranges, or building a list of your choice from mixed retailers with a nice poem on the invite seems to be a popular choice. That said, other couples choose to ask for donations toward the honeymoon is becoming a more widely used option. There are some beautifully worded paragraphs, which can be incorporated in your invite design to let everyone know in a stylish but convenient format.
Finalise your guest list and Save the date design.
When you have decided on a guest list and wedding theme, speaking to a stationer like ourselves to develop a design complimenting your theme. Photographs from your engagement shoot are ideal to bring everything together and add a personal touch. and a lovely keepsake for your guests.
More recently, couples have been inclined to use various software options to design and create their own designs, emailing them to guests to save both time and money.
9 - 6 Months
Now you have your dress in hand and your mood board is starting to come together. Your bridesmaids need to help choose their dresses. There are so many styles available and such a range in price. Again body shape will play a huge part in what will suit each individual but also skin tone and hair colour can make a difference. A day shopping for dresses can also be made into a nice girly trip with lunch or a coffee to finish.
Choosing your rings.
A shopping day with your other half, arranging your rings can be a great experience. With so many styles, there is undoubtedly a style to suit every taste. Tom at https://www.jetaime-diamonds.co.uk/is even able to arrange a home visit with you to design your own rings. Whether this be an unusual style or shape, maybe you just prefer the one to one service in your own home, we know you wont be disappointed.
Giving relevant details of colour scheme and over all theme, the groom and groomsmen can now go and choose their suits. https://marcdarcy.co.uk have a fantastic range of suits with a number of stores around the midland and online and a fitting service. They are sure to accommodate in every way they can.
Whether a VW Camper like https://www.daisysvintage.co.uk/, sports car or even a helicopter transport for bride, groom or both is available in so many forms. This about the theme you have for your wedding, the practicalities of each, especial in a big or restrictive dress. Organise meetings to go over details of what is offered with each and book the favourite.
Cake tasting and final designs
Cake makers like https://www.amybakerscakes.co.uk will offer tastings, working with you to create the most beautiful design around your theme and colour scheme, offering a wide range of flavours to please any palette.
Honeymoon ideas and booking.
If you have funds left in the budget to allow for a dream Honeymoon, or even for a spa weekend away, a chance to have some time together is no doubt always welcomed. https://www.facebook.com/GeraldineatHaysTravel with 25 years in the travel industry come highly recommended, putting together amazing vacation packages to suit all budgets.
You may find it useful at this point to create a honeymoon fund to cover excursions and extras on the trip.
Your DJ/Band will need to understand your likes and dislikes where choices of music are concerned. Create a list of possible songs for both the ceremony and reception. Your DJ or band will then work with you to create the perfect list, which can be narrowed down later in the process if need be.
Many hotels will have the facility for you to block book, meaning your out of town guests can all be in one place convenient for everyone. Remember to book a room for yourself and bride squad the night before (if required and the bridal suite for after the ceremony.
Gym membership or fitness plan.
Whilst not a necessity, some brides decide to concentrate on their health and fitness leading up to the wedding. If you do decide to pursue this, remember to set realistic goals. Healthy eating and metal well being are always a good start and can be done at home with easy lifestyle adjustments with no charges. Physical fitness can also be an easy lifestyle change, but some brides prefer the motivational support of a gym membership.
6 - 3 Months
Whilst you may have had your designs ready to go for some time, its now invites an ideal time to finally send them to all your guests. Again, you have the option of hand made invites from a stationer, or you can do these yourself if you are handy with graphic design. Alternatively email invites are a modern option.
Meet with your vicar/ registrar/celebrant.
Meetings with your suppliers will be quite frequent at this point, to finalise details and make any last minute adjustments. Your Vicar or celebrant will run you through the process, giving you an idea what to expect on the day. The hope being, this will help you feel more at ease and prepared.
Tasting with your caterer.
When booking your venue, you will have either chosen a menu as part of the package or booked an external caterer like https://www.dovesdelights.co.uk/.Similarly to other suppliers, caterers will want to meet with you for a tasting. this will allow you to sample to food for yourself and make any necessary changes.
Venue styling choices.
Finalising you décor choices, centrepieces and fabrics will be something your stylist will want to book in with you, again to make sure you are happy with the choices. Allowing for any changes to be made if required.
Purchase a guest book.
There are lots of different guest books available via a number of retailers. From traditional books to jigsaws, where the guests write a message on individual pieces. As a tip we would recommend is providing plenty of pens, like in the office pens seem to be like gold dust and go missing easily.
Hen and Stag parties.
Not long to go and details will be well under way in putting together a hen and stag party. Ideally it is helpful at this stage to finalise the finer points and check on who can attend.
12 - 6 weeks
Finalise with your photographer and videographer.
Running through what you want on the day with your photographer and videographer, gives them a clear idea of your expectations. Giving both parties chance to cover any areas that need attention, making sure everyone is happy.
Write your wedding vows.
This will be something very personal to you and your partner, often with references to things that mean a lot to your both. Take your time and by all means speak up to a friend or family member if you need a bit of a kick start or inspiration.
Unless you are enlisting a celebrant, you will need to obtain your marriage license and complete your notice of marriage with your local registry office. Your local church will want to arrange legal paper work in order to read your banns, so you will need to book an appointment with the appropriate person in order to make sure you have everything in place.
Design and order your "order of the day"
Whether you choose to design your own or contact a stationer to create your order of the day, they can be built to work with your wedding theme. To give yourself plenty of time to complete this it is worth looking at the designs at this point and giving no more than a week to finalise the design.
We all love a good shopping trip, and the confidence you get when you find beautiful underwear that makes you feel amazing. Take a day to shop around for underwear that flatters but is also comfortable. Many places have a sizing service to ensure a proper fit, and will also help advise on styles that work with your dress.
6 - 2 weeks.
Your guests will have received their invites and hopefully got replied with their responses. These will need collating to check on numbers. There may be some who have responded so you can chase these, just to make sure on final numbers.
Finalise menu selection.
The hotel chef or caterer will need a more accurate idea of numbers ready to make sure they have enough fresh stock to accommodate everyone. Take particular care to ensure anyone with any dietary requirements has been chased up and included in numbers.
Create seating plan.
Having final numbers will allow you a better idea of the numbers of tables required and how many people to sit at each. Draw up a final seating plan, this can then be sent to you venue stylist to create on your chosen format. If you are building your own table plan, now is the perfect time to put everything together.
Bridal tribe gifts.
With some very thoughtful and beautiful gifts available on https://www.etsy.com and https://www.notonthehighstreet.comthere is so much to choose from. Ideas covering everything to suit the smaller flower girls as well as the Mother of the bride, Groomsmen and father of the bride and guaranteed to be a treasured keeps sake.
Final dress fitting
A last chance to try your dress on before the big day. Call your bridal boutique or seamstress and arrange a final fitting so as alterations are ready in plenty of time. A tip for your last fitting would also be to wear the new underwear purchased for the day, this will mean the dress will be altered to the most comfortable fit.
Confirm final head count and seating plan.
Your Wedding planner or suppliers will need a final head count to ensure all runs smoothly on the day. Contact all your wedding planner or suppliers with a final update, so everything can be put into place ready for your big day.
Review music list with DJ/Band
Through meetings with your Band/ DJ and sitting with your partner to finalise your music list you will hopefully have found a final list that you're happy with. Schedule a meeting or email your final choices requesting confirmation of receipt.
Confirm Honeymoon reservations.
You're finally making the last payment on your perfect Honeymoon. Confirm all details of flight times, hotel transfers and check ins with your travel agent, to make sure everything is still in order. Don't forget to check all your travel documents and insurances.
1 week before.
A last final run through of the ceremony will help settle those nerves, so you are ready and more at ease with the process on the day. Regardless of the type of ceremony you are having your vicar, registrar or celebrant.
Checklist to bridal party.
Although your bridal party will be aware of most plans for your big day, the finer points will be something you will find invaluable them knowing. Especially if you're doing a DIY wedding where the venue have no co ordination service. The bridal party will be able to help on the day by dealing with directing suppliers and guests who may be unsure of where to be. No to mention they will be able to help assure you, keeping nerves to a minimum.
Confirm time and date with suppliers.
Out of courtesy suppliers will contact you to confirm the date and time, should there be anyone who doesn't it's definitely worth a quick call or email to make sure they have all details and things are in place.
Pack for Honeymoon.
A sign that your nearly there, packing for your honeymoon can really bring things home. But don' forget your passport and insurance documents.
Annnnnnndddddd breath......... thats all the planning, paperwork, meetings and contacting suppliers done. Spend an evening, quality time with your partner and relax.
1 day before.
Organise dress and accessories.
Whether you're getting ready at home, a family home or at the venue, it can be so satisfying to get all you accessories and you're beautiful dress out one last time laid on the bed and ready for your dream wedding.
Manicure and pedicure.
Don't forget to pamper yourself, manicure and pedicure, to make sure along with the hair and make up on the day that you are looking your best. Gemma at https://www.cloudninestafford.co.uk will ensure a top level beauty service, making sure you feel like a princess when you leave.
You can now officially get excited and let those butterflies flutter. You are about to marry the love of your life.