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
Tools such as Pinterest are great for getting ideas and inspiration but a folder or binder is still a necessity to house all your wedding related documents, from contracts to ideas and questions.
You can download our full Wedding Planning Checklist Here, print it off and easily install it into a binder, designed with a simple checklist covering 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! Time slips away when we are to busy planning or looking ahead so try to stay present in the moment as it is happening. Have fun showing your ring off to everyone and revel in the brand new ‘just engaged’ mementos.
Everyone is going to want to know all the little details from the proposal to your grand wedding plans so be prepared to have a few answers on hand. You don’t have to go into detail and most people are just curious and excited for you, so don’t get frustrated with this part. Be happy!
1. Set your Budget
Wedding finances needs to be one the first decisions you make, this is absolutely vital, weddings can cost as little or as much as you want and it is easy for costs to quickly spiral out of control. Not addressing budget early on certainly aids wedding planning pitfalls and many mistakes can be avoided with more understanding and communication when it comes to costs.
Sit down and review your finances and decide how much you wish to spend together, 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 looming over you as you commence married life. Look at what you can spend, how much you can both truly afford and how much you could potentially save on the build up to your big day.
Weddings can cost anywhere from £5,000 to £100,000+, there really is no limit, however this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set one. Once you have decided what you can afford, you can then split the budget up into different categories;
- Food and drink
There is no wrong answer when it comes to budgeting a wedding, generally it’s not one of the most enjoyable parts even if you are an accountant but it does have to be done. Complete this early on so you don’t have extra worries further down the road and then you can focus on the fun parts.
2. Decide what’s important to you
Now the real excitement can begin, its time to dream and envisage what sort of day it is that you really want for your wedding. You can begin to consider everything from the style and theme, type of venue, ideal location, small or large, intimate or epic, this country or abroad.
Decipher what elements of your wedding day have the most importance to you, this could be anything from wanting an outside wedding under the stars, an intimate retreat for your closest family, a festival style party with gourmet food vans or simply wanting to wear the Vera Wang wedding dress you have dreamt of since you were a child.
There’s no reason why you can’t splurge on certain areas which mean a lot to you and cut back on areas which don’t, once you realise what your heart desires you can re-look at where you allocate your wedding budget.
Now is also the time to start deciding who it is that you want to invite to your wedding, having an idea of guest numbers will begin to shape your wedding planning journey, from your venue search to catering options and everything in between.
3. Ideas, styles and themes
Here is where a binder comes in handy because you can really keep track of all your Wedmin and store collections of images, colour swatches and any exciting inspo to build up your desired type and style of wedding.
Bridal magazines or on-line platforms like Pinterest are great to find ideas, you can quickly find beautiful images for everything from bridal flowers, wedding cakes and table decorations. Keep your creative inspiration as organised as possible by categorising and then filtering until you distinguish the exact style that appeals to you.
When you begin to picture your wedding style, whether it be a country barn, a beachside ceremony or a fun-filled festival you can then consider hues and colours. Decor, flowers, bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen ties, stationery design, they all need a colour palette for your big day.
Pinterest is great for finding colour ideas, if you simply type in a colour 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!
Here’s some popular, timeless wedding colours;
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.
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.
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.
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 midnight 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
Your choice of wedding venue is one of the most important wedding decisions, shortly after the one you’re marrying of course! But, seriously the place you say ‘I Do’ shapes your entire wedding, if you get this right your big day is set to be one of the most momentous ones in your life.
It all starts with the type of ceremony you want; religious, a civil ceremony or a blessing. You can then consider important options such as location, guest numbers and finer details such as onsite accomodation, pet friendly and catering options.
Our designer Wedding Venue Finder allows you to easily search through desirable styles whilst selecting specific requirements and adding a location. You can even add your postcode and refine the proximity radius as you wish. Plus our portfolio contains the most inspiring, diverse collection of wedding spaces from around the world!
Viewing potential wedding venues is highly recommended, shortlist a handful of your favourites and book a time to have a good look around. There’s so much more you can get out of a visit compared to photographs and many a bride has told us ‘as soon as you walk in your venue, you just know it’s the one!’
To easily compare venues and remember key questions to ask when viewing, use our wedding venue checklist guide. Once you have found your wedding venue, set your date, get it booked and begin the count down!
5. Send out your Save the Dates & Invites
With your venue booked and date set, you can now send out those invites! There are lots of stunning invite templates you can download, print and use, and there are also some fabulous wedding stationary designers, who can work their art on your invites, save the dates, table names and other wedding day stationery you require.
Invites should include an RSVP date, many request email responses however a more modern approach is to set up your own wedding website where guests can also find out more about your day as well as letting you know of their attendance.
Its worth having additional invites ready just incase you want to invite others if some guests need to decline. Once you have your set numbers you can then begin your table plan, good luck with this one- its never an easy task!
6. Hiring a Photographer and other suppliers
With the venue booked you can then look at other details needed for your special day, and top of your list should be a professional photographer/ videographer.
Wedding photographers and videographers can be booked up to 2 years in advance, if you want a sought-after professional your priority needs to be guaranteeing your date. There’s a wide breadth of wedding photographer styles and it’s worth viewing many portfolios before deciding which suits you best. Your Perfect Wedding Photographer is a great place to start your search with plenty of inspiration to source the right choice for you.
Bridal bouquets, floral crowns, ceremony florals, arches and table centrepieces, flowers are an essential wedding day requirement. From natural foliage to exotic wonders and romantic roses there’s a whole world to discover when it comes to wedding flowers.
Collating images of floral displays in your wedding planner is great but ensure you get guidance from a florist early on to avoid disappointment incase you get your heart set on a flower impossible to get hold of out of season.
We are seeing more and more epic floral arches, from classy minimalistic designs to indulgent rustic country styles, they add incredible focal points to ceremonies both inside and outdoors.
Read more | A Guide to Choosing your Wedding Flowers
When a bride makes her entrance, she wants it to be memorable and to 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 most 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.
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 colour scheme and how you want every decoration arranged.
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. Collate small items you may need that day like safety pins and bobby pins and create as many lists as you need on the run up to your big day.
Top of your list for the wedding morning brides- food! Keep an emergency snack box handy, we get told so many times amongst all the excitement, things to remember, moments to take in, people to greet, hair & makeup, first looks that food seems to be on the bottom of the priority list. You’ll need some energy to walk down the aisle to meet the man of your dreams!
Your Full Wedding Planning Checklist | Download, print it off and easily install into a binder.