WHERE DO I START? - An Antipodean Wedding Planning Timeline
If you are newly engaged and don't know where to start this is the wedding planning guide for you. A basic checklist of wedding preparation and things to remember broken down into blocks so you can keep on top of it all. Print it out and tick it off as you go!
I found that so many blogs were full of things that didn't really apply to this side of the world, so I've left out all of the what I call "Americanisms" and made it a little more Antipodean.
If I've forgotten something please do let me know! I hope this is helpful!
10-12 Months Before Your Wedding
Sit down with your partner and decide on 3 things each that are really really important to each of you, keep these in mind when making the big decisions.
This is also a good time to chat about what you expect from each other during this time, who will do what and how you will make the big decisions.
Choose what time of year your wedding will take place (consider how this will influence friends’ and families’ availability and the type of venue you can select).
Set your budget. That number will be one of the main deciding factors in the rest of your decisions.
Now is a good time to start saving, divide the deficit by the number of weeks you have until your big day, that’s now your weekly savings goal!
Talk realistically about your guest list, this may be one of the biggest challenges and where families often disagree, expect and work through this. Make sure you consider your budget when making this list.
Compile your guest list and organise addresses (this will take longer then you think).
Start inquiring at your chosen venues, they book up fast so the sooner the better. This is the time to ask a lot of questions and ensure you understand exactly what each package includes.
Lock in your big three W’s, Wedding venue, Wedding Photographer and Wedding Dress (these can take months to be made so get in early).
Send save the date cards or emails, priority to out of town guests or anyone that might find it hard to get time off. These are one of the first design decisions you will have to make so consider how they will go with the theme of the day.
6-8 Months Before Your Wedding
Choose your bridesmaids and groomsmen and ask them to be a part of your day. Take the time to chat with them about your plans so far and set realistic expectations of what you expect from them.
If you haven’t already, shop for a dress, shoes, and accessories.
Select your ceremony officiant.
Choose your cake maker and start the tastings!
Contact out of town guests and help them to book accommodation.
Decide if you will use a DJ or compile your own playlists, if you go the Spotify route assign a dedicated person to read the crowd and skip songs if they need to!
Start to think about what you will do for gifts and set-up your registry.
Book a florist – think about what is in season on your date.
Book your hair and make up artists and arrange your trial, time this with your hen’s do and make the most out of it!
4-6 Months Before Your Wedding
Design or order your wedding stationery.
Book wedding cars for you and your bridal party.
Discuss how you will get from your wedding reception to your accommodation afterwards.
Book wedding night accommodation, if you have out of town guests, consider staying around the day after and having a lunch or brunch together.
Meet with your photographer to discuss the plan for the day and a rain plan.
If you are having favours, now is a good time to get these prepared.
Book the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner or just arrange to all have a drink at a restaurant close by.
Book your honeymoon.
2-4 Months Before Your Wedding
Discuss details of menu with hotel or caterer. When on a budget, skip the dessert course and head straight to the wedding cake.
Select and prepare your ceremony service with officiant.
Schedule the rehearsal time.
Mail out your invitations.
To save time and stress after the wedding, write your thank you notes as gifts arrive.
1-2 Months Before Your Wedding
Apply for your marriage license.
If you intend to change your name, prepare the necessary documents to do so.
Dress fitting with veil, shoes, and accessories.
Prepare a seating plan.
Confirm final guest count with venue – make sure you find out what date they need this by.
Start thinking about your vows so they aren’t rushed last minute.
Prepare toasts/speech for wedding reception.
Don’t forget to break in your wedding shoes!
1 Week Before Your Wedding
Schedule in a date with your partner, things will be busy but it’s so worth it.
Finalise transportation arrangements for ceremony and reception.
Ensure all items for the day of the wedding are packed up for delivery.
Assign someone to look after a checklist of items that need to be taken to the venue on the day.
Ceremony rehearsal and rehearsal dinner take place.