Congratulations! You are about to embark on one of the most exciting journeys of your life – planning your wedding!
Wedding planning doesn’t need to be stressful and while it might seem like there is a mountain of things to organise, book and plan. Have no fear, take a step back, and follow our 12 month guide below, which is here to take the stress out of wedding planning.
Here at High Flying Helicopter we provide exclusive wedding flights and helicopter proposal flights. However we are passionate about weddings and every bride and groom-to-be wants the perfect wedding day, which they will cherish forever.
Here is our exclusive, month-by-month guide to help you get organised and turn your dream into reality:
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12 months: First things first
Now is the time to make some important but exciting decisions about your big day.
Decide on a budget
Decide on the budget with your fiancé and parents and confirm who will pay for what. Sticking to a budget, whatever the size can be tricky, so make a list of what is important to you and the areas you are happy to negotiate. You might want to have the perfect celebrity-inspired dress, for example, while cutting back on other areas like asking friends or relatives to help with the cake or invitations.
Draw up a guest list
Decide whom you would like there on the day and try to keep both families happy. Many couples choose to have a separate evening reception for work colleagues or friends of the family if numbers are tight.
Think about themes
Do you want a sleek and modern, contemporary feel, glamorous vintage vibe or a dreamy country-style theme? These initial ideas will help you narrow down the search for you venue, dress and flowers. Some brides-to-be create a mood board to help them, either using a site like Pinterest or by cutting out pictures from glossy wedding magazines and making a wedding scrapbook.
Look at venues
This is one of the most important decisions you will make because this is where the majority of your wedding budget will go. Many venues offer all-inclusive wedding packages, which will include everything from a welcome drink to a three-course meal. If you find a venue you love, consider making a provisional booking because the best venues will often get booked up very quickly. You will then need to check with the local registrar or vicar that they can marry you on that date.
Send out Save The Date cards
It’s advisable to let people who are travelling from overseas know the date the minute it is confirmed, so they can make arrangements. There are many Save The Date options, including traditional cards, fridge magnets and even photo-strip bookmarks.
10 months: Get shopping
Always dreamt about going shopping for a wedding dress? Now you can try on as many as you like!
Start looking a wedding dresses
Now comes the time that every girl dreams of – choosing her wedding dress. This is one of the most special parts of wedding planning and there are so many beautiful gowns out there, make sure you allocate enough time to look for yours. For a made-to-measure dress, you will need to allow at least eight months for designing and making fittings. The majority of brides choose a dress from bridal boutiques. Have an idea of what you would like and make some appointments, taking a trusted friend or relative with you. When you have found “the one”, it will be ordered from the maker and an in-store seamstress will alter it, so it fits perfectly.
Choose a photographer
You will want to capture the day and have lots of great pictures to remember your day by and many good wedding photographers get booked up months in advance. Ask friends for recommendations, seek inspiration from wedding blogs and magazines and decide what style of pictures you would like. Often venues will have a list of preferred suppliers. Book some appointments so you can look at different photographer’s styles and work. This person will be by your side for a lot of the day, so it’s also important that you like them.
Book a caterer
Many wedding venues will come with their own caterer, or preferred ones. If you are choosing a caterer, pick carefully because having good food is important and a large portion of your budget will be spent feeding and watering your guests. Most caterers will have different menus according to varying budgets and help you choose your menu carefully.
Think about reception entertainment
Whether you want a swing band, string quartet, 80s’ tribute or a DJ, you’ll need to start shopping around well in advance. If you are booking a live band, go and see them in action first before parting with your deposit.
Take out insurance
Once you have put deposits on some of your big items, it is advisable to take out wedding insurance, so you’re not left out of pocket if any of your suppliers goes bust.
8 Months: The wedding party & flowers
A wedding involves a whole party of people, as well as the all-important bridesmaids who will help ensure your day goes smoothly.
Decide on bridesmaids
You may have made this decision a long time ago, but now it the time to think about whom to ask to be your bridesmaids. There is no rule about how many you should have but it’s always nice to have at least one special person who can help you on the day. When it comes to their dresses, it’s fine to have a colour scheme but always good to consult with your bridesmaids, so they feel comfortable in the dresses you choose. There are also no rules about who pays, but often the bride will buy the dress and the bridesmaids will sort out their own shoes and accessories.
While a wedding is all about the bridge, the groom needs to stand out too. His suit should reflect his personality and the type of day you’re having. The ushers will also need to have fittings if they are renting suits. The accessories, like cravats, are normally led by the weddings colour theme, such as the bridesmaids’ dresses and the flowers. Now is a good time to start thinking about gifts for the wedding party. A popular choice for the bridesmaids is jewellery.
Book a florist
Decide on what types of flowers you would like and how many arrangements you need – including bouquets, posies, buttonholes and venue and ceremony displays. Visit florists for quotes and discuss your requirements, before booking.
6 Months: Honeymoons and more
Wedding planning may seem like hard work but afterwards most couples can look forward to a relaxing honeymoon and getting home to some lovely gifts.
Book your accommodation and honeymoon
If you want a passport with your married name on you will need to put in an application early. Start thinking about honeymoon options and get booking. If you are going somewhere where you need injections, make sure you have them well before the big day to avoid any reactions on the day. If you aren’t spending your wedding night at your reception venue, book your honeymoon suite.
Make a wedding list
Decide where you want your wedding list and pick your items. Make sure you choose items with a range of different price points, so your guests have a wide range of choice.
Book your transport
From High Flying Helicopter’s wedding flights, old-school red buses, tractors, campervans, vintage cars and even horses, there are many forms of transport to choose from to get to the aisle in style. Classic and sporty cars are a favourite but anything goes! Just be sure it fits within the theme of your wedding.
4 Months: The all-important details
Once the big things are booked you can start thinking about how to personalise your day with all those details that make a wedding really special.
Choose your wedding rings
Style, cost and durability are key factors when picking our your wedding rings. You will wear them for the rest of your life, so it’s good to not scrimp on the cost.
Buy your shoes and accessories
These are a key part of your look so pick a pair, which complements your dress. Remember you will be wearing them for a few hours so only go for really high heels, if you feel confident you can walk in them. Makes sure you have them in time for your first dress fitting and any accessories like a tiara and veil for a hair and make-up trial.
Think about your wedding cake
Some brides choose a traditional cake, while others opt for cupcakes or a cheese ‘cake’. Decide if you want a traditional cake-maker to create yours or whether a family member or friend can make one for you.
Book your make-up artist and hairdresser
Again, asking friends for recommendations is a good idea when looking for a make-up artist and hairdresser. Book a trial, complete with your tiara or veil, so you get exactly the look you want. Some brides, including Kate Middleton, choose to do their own make-up!
Book some fun additions
Everyone who has been to a lot of weddings knows that great receptions are all about those little extras. Whether you’re after a hired photobooth, chocolate fountain or desert table, these small extras can make a big difference and personalise your day. If you haven’t done so already, book your reception entertainment or DJ.
Think about hen and stag nights
Traditionally left in the hands of the bridesmaids and ushers, make sure you have the day or weekend booked in the diary and let them do all the planning!
2 Months: Just a few weeks to go!
Now is the time to start getting really excited. Most the hard work is behind you and there are just a few important things left to organise.
Send out your invitations
These should be sent out six to eight weeks before the day and their design can give a hint at what sort of wedding it will be. It should include details of the day, any dress code, hotel and B&B ideas for people who are travelling to the wedding, a request for dietary requirements and details of your gift list. Keep an up-to-date list of acceptances and refusals.
Buy or make favours
There are no hard and fast rules about having favours but many couples decide they want to give their guests a little something to say thank you for attending. Sugared almonds are a traditional favourite but there are lots of different options and many brides-to-be make their own.
Pick your readings and music
About two months before your wedding, the vicar or registrar will need to know what music and readings you have chosen, so they know they are appropriate. No religious readings are allowed at civil ceremonies. If you are having a civil ceremony, you will also need to confirm which vows you want, as there are a few different versions. Music can help set the scene for your entrance and add to the ceremony. Pick your readers carefully and make sure you give them the reading well in advance so they can practise.
1 Month: Picture the perfect venue
With everything in place, now you just need to think about your reception venue.
Work out your seating plan and venue styling
Think carefully about the guests you would like to sit together and make a seating plan. Wedding venue stylists can ensure your venue looks stunning and offer creative and inspiring solutions, to help you achieve your desired finish. Your caterers will also need to know final numbers for the big day.
2 Weeks: Practise makes perfect
With just 14 days to go, you are probably bursting with excitement and there are only a couple of tiny details left to think about.
Practise your wedding dance
As well as deciding which song you would like to have your first dance to, many couples have a practise in their front rooms – and some even learn some steps from a pro!
Finalise your Order of Service
Finalise and print your order of service, along with your menus and place cards. Some couples decide on unique place cards, such as stones or even tiny plants, but many have place cards in the same design as the rest of their stationary.
5 Days: The countdown is on
With everything booked, all you need to do is confirm. Easy peasy!
Confirm and collect
Confirm with your florist, caterer, photographer, transport etc. that everything is in place and collect your wedding rings, honeymoon currency and the groomsmen’s outfits.
4 Days: Remembering the day
Your day is likely to go by in a flash, so think of some special ways you can remember it by.
Buy a guest book
While some people opt for a picture or another item so their guests can record messages, a very popular option is a guest book.
3 Days: Organisation is key
Lists are great, aren’t they? Use one to help you stick to timings.
Make a Wedding Day list
Create a wedding Day list with all the details, timings, and phone numbers and distribute it to all of the wedding party.
2 Days: Assign responsibilities
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Delegate some responsibilities.
Delegate tasks to the bridal party and try to remain calm.
1 Day: And relaaaax!
Time to put the champagne on ice and put your feet up!
For church wedding, you will have a rehearsal the day before so everyone knows what he or she needs to do on the day.
Now its time to sit back and relax knowing you’ve done everything you can to ensure your day goes off with a bang! Good luck!