Wedding Planning Checklist: How to Plan Your Big Day
First off congratulations! Getting married is one of the most exciting and important times in your life. On the other hand planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful things you will ever do.
Our guide and checklist aims to make it a little less stressful and a bit more manageable, we look at the key stages you need to go through and how to plan a wedding step by step, what’s important and things you should consider.
Wedding Planning Checklist
With tools such as Pinterest for getting ideas and inspiration, there is still certainly place for a folder or binder to have at hand for all your wedding related documents, from contracts, ideas and questions.
Download our Wedding planning checklist, print it off and install in a binder, we have created it with a simple checklist for all the different areas of planning your special day.
Key Planning Steps:
- Set your Budget
- Decide what’s important to you
- Ideas, styles and themes
- Find a venue
- Send out your invites
- Hiring a Photographer and other suppliers
One of your very first steps should be to enjoy being engaged! This is one of the most exciting times in your life, and its not going to last long, so enjoy it! Most times we are to busy planning or thinking to enjoy the actual moment as it is happening. So enjoy! Enjoy showing that ring off to everyone and buying all the new little ‘just engaged’ mementoes.
Everyone is going to want to know all the little details of everything so be prepared to have a few answers on hand. You don’t have to go into detail and most people just are curious and excited for you, so don’t get frustrated with this part. Be happy!
1. Set your Budget
One of the first decisions is to set a budget, and it is important to set a budget, weddings can cost as little or as much as you want and it is easy for costs to quickly exceed any budget set.
Sit down and review your finances and decide how much you wish to spend, weddings are important moments, a special day, and a lifetime of memories, however it is one special day and you don’t want to have large debts from the day you get married. Look at what you can spend, how much you can both afford, remember you can also save over the months building up to your wedding, so factor this into your budget too.
Weddings can cost anywhere from £5,000 to £50,000+, there really is no limit, however the doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set one. Once you have decided what you can afford, you can then split it up into different categories of where you will spend it:
- Food and drink
There is no wrong answer when it comes to budgeting a wedding, but it is not one of the most enjoyable parts but it has to be done. If you get it done early then you don’t have to worry about it. You can focus on all the fun parts, because you will have your binder with each allowance amount and what falls under that category.
2. Decide what’s important to you
Next comes the one of the fun parts! Deciding on what you want most for your big day. First and for most, a venue! Do you want an inside church wedding? Or an outside wedding under the stars. Then comes a lot of smaller but still very important details.
With your budget set, the next thing to consider is what sort of day do you want, and this is everything from the style and theme, type of venue, ideal location, small or large, intimate or epic, this country or abroad.
You may have in your mind exactly what you want, and that’s great. When your budget you can split it up for different area and this is where you can decide what’s important, your venue will likely be the biggest cost with your food too, however you may wish to spend more on that dream dress, or that amazing wedding photographer you have seen.
By deciding what’s important to you, it can help split up your wedding costs, a small intimate wedding with 30 guests will mean you can spend more on food and drink per head, and other things than it you were having a 90 guests.
Deciding who you would invite is really important, you will then have an idea of guest numbers which will help when looking at venues, help with budgeting for food and drink and allowing you to then see what funds you have left for everything else.
3. Ideas, styles and themes
Here is where a binder comes in handy. You will want to keep track and print out all of your contracts with your venue and caterers, etc. So when you do, you can hole punch them and file them in your binder.
When you know what type and style of wedding you want it is easy to start find venues, suppliers and ideas for such a wedding. Pinterest is a go to place for ideas, you can quickly find beautiful ideas for everything from bridal flowers, wedding cakes and table decorations. You can create boards for all these little details, as well as the important wedding dress where there are thousands to scroll through.
With a wedding style in mind, such as a barn wedding, on a country house estate or a festival wedding, you can then consider themes and colors. Colors for your bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen ties, flowers and table decor.
Pinterest is great for finding color ideas, if you simply type in a color followed by the word wedding all kinds of ideas will pop up from there. So make sure you have a few hours because trust me you will get lost in the Pinterest world!
These are popular color choices that have become timeless:
Aquamarine / Pale Blue- Every bride knows of the rich, romantic aquamarine colour of the Tiffany box which is probably why this colour has been a popular choice throughout recent years.
Aquamarine is perfect for a Spring or Summer wedding, or indeed one that is being held abroad in a hot climate. It is an extremely versatile colour and can take on an elegant theme when mixed with ivory and grey tones.
For something more romantic, aquamarine can look divine when combined with pastel shades such as pink or peach to add that subtle contrast.
Lavender / Purple – Purple is always a popular choice for wedding colour schemes, whether it be the deep Cadbury’s purple or a more muted tone. This year, a paler, more subdued lavender is set to make quite an appearance.
Lavender is a beautiful colour choice for rustic style weddings. It looks fantastic combined with the colours of nature: green, cream and earthy browns.
This beautiful tone can also be combined with brighter shades of purple or pink for a rich, deeper colour scheme.
Pastel pink – For a truly romantic colour scheme you can’t get any more feminine than pastel pink. This colour scheme is elegant and beautiful. Think pink macaroons! Using various hues of pink with ivory throughout your bridesmaid dresses, bouquets and accessories keeps things simple, yet elegant.
If you want to add a splash of contrasting colour, blue or green makes an impact when combined with pink.
Silver and grey are colours that are usually associated with winter weddings but are fast becoming a popular choice across all seasons. Using different shades of grey across your wedding can look very sophisticated when combined with cream or ivory.
For a pop of colour in a grey or silver themed wedding, choose one other colour such as red or turquoise blue. If the idea of a grey coloured wedding doesn’t appeal, add it as an accent colour throughout accessories such as sparkly heels or table centrepieces.
4. Find your Perfect Wedding Venue
With a budget and guest list number in mind you can search for your dream venue, depending on your style this could be a barn wedding, country house or castle. Did you want to get married in a church, or did you want a civil ceremony?
Read our guide on a Church Wedding Vs a Civil Wedding Ceremony.
Using our venue finder you can browse venues depending on your type and style, by location. If you wish to have a local wedding then this is great for finding wedding venues near you, however if location isn’t as important then you have a wider choice of venues.
When choosing your wedding venue consider its location to your guests, is there accommodation on site, or near by. Does it fit into your budget, what are the food costs per head, and then the logistics side, parking, suitable for children, is there a licensed bar and until what time?
Use our wedding venue checklist guide to take with you when viewing venues, you can then easily compare venues and remember key thins to ask.
Once you have found your wedding venue, get it booked, and then your date is set and the count down begins!
5. Send out your Save the Dates & Invites
With your venue found and date set, you can now send out those invites! There are lots of stunning invite templates you can download, print and use, there are also some fabulous wedding stationary designers out there that can design your invites, save the dates, table name signs and thank you cards for you.
When sending out your invites add a RSVP date, let people email you about whether they can come, or set up a website where couples can go, find out more about your day such as the venue, local accommodation etc as well as being able to RSVP.
When you know who can make it and who cannot, you may wish to send out more invites to other people who you may wish to invite as others cannot make it.
You can also then start to plan your table seating, who will sit where and with who.
6. Hiring a Photographer and other suppliers
With the venue booked you can then look at the other details. With a date set the next thing to consider it your wedding photographer.
Wedding photographers can be booked up to 2 years in advance and there is no guarantee they will be available on your date, so once your date is confirmed you should try and book one as soon as possible.
You may wish to have a video too, and hiring a videographer is becoming more popular and it a great way to relive your wedding day.
Flowers can cost as little and as much as you like, large bridal bouquets, floral table displays, and arches. Decide on your budget and what is important, have you always dreamt of a large floral arch, or do you wish to have an epic bouquet, what sort of flowers did you want, if you want something simple and natural is there somewhere local that has this or do you need to find a florist.
Using Pinterest again is a great tool to find lots of wedding flower inspiration, decide what you like and want and then take these photos into your local florist to get an idea of cost, depending on when you are getting married, may effect your flowers depending on if they are in season.
When a bride makes her entrance, she wants it to be memorable and arrive in style. Brides are given a number of different options to choose from when making their choice for wedding transportation. From hiring classic cars to more inventive ways, let’s look at a few wedding transportation alternatives.
Classic Cars – Hiring classic cars is still the choice for more traditional brides. Many makes and models of classic car can be hired such as Bentley, Rolls Royce and Jaguar. These classic cars are kept in pristine condition and will also come with your very own chauffeur. Classic cars look fantastic in wedding photography and add a bit of luxury to your arrival.
These ideas are just a few alternatives that are available for your wedding transport. If you want something a bit different, you can hire other vehicles, such as a sports car, VW Beetle or campervan, or for the ultimate entrance, why not hire a helicopter and arrive at your wedding like a celebrity?
Vintage / London Buses – Hiring a bus might seem a little unusual but this method of transport is growing in popularity. Vintage themed weddings are enhanced even more with the addition of a vintage bus, however red London buses are also iconic. Hiring a bus is very useful if you need to transport guests between your ceremony and reception venues – and is certainly an unusual arrival for a bride!
Horse and Carriage – If you are looking for a magical arrival to your wedding, why not hire a horse and carriage? Beautiful well-tempered horses can pull a number of different styled carriages, including a covered version for when it’s raining. A horse and carriage will come with a driver who will help the bridal party in and out of the carriage and drive them to the wedding ceremony. This style of transportation is suited to weddings that take place in castles, adding to that princess effect.
If you live too far away from your wedding venue but you still want to save money when it comes to wedding transport, why not use your friends and families cars? This option is extremely affordable and great if you want to use your budget elsewhere. Most cars can be decorated with a pretty ribbon and you will be inundated with offers to drive you.
7. The final Checks
Now onto the last leg of your journey. The finalising! You have already planned and purchased everything. You know your entire color scheme and how you want every decoration done.
Everything is lined up, so now you just need to finalise. Make sure you call all of your venues and caterers, double check the numbers and make sure everything is set and ready to go.
Most of all take a day or two to plan for you. Plan your special day the way you want. Pull up guides for small things you may need that day that you wouldn’t think about like safety pins and bobby pins.
One most important thing is food! Most brides get so busy that morning that they forget to eat. Everyone is running around and you don’t want to take the time out to ask someone to leave and go get something, so plan ahead. Have emergency snack just in case, like apples and some granola bars. Don’t forget, just breathe! You are going to look absolutely beautiful, and it is going to be perfect.