Set the date. Agree a time with your priest, minister or registrar. Discuss your plans with the person who will be performing the ceremony. Decide on a budget. Remember to suit your ceremony to your budget, and to both your personal tastes and wishes. Talk it all out now! Decide on the type of ceremony, type of reception and how many guests will attend. Choose your venue and meet with the people in charge.
Book early and get several quotes.
This goes for hotels, caterers, marquee suppliers, musicians (for ceremony and reception) etc. Plan your wedding cake, cars, photographer and florist. It is reassuring to have the advice and skills of professionals to call on, and even if you are undecided on some aspects of your big day, you will find it less stressful if the people you want to get you there already have you booked in for their services. Think about wedding clothes and costumes (especially The Dress!), colours, fabrics and accessories.
Remember you will probably want a colour scheme and style that carries through the wedding day so talk your plans through with your dressmaker, florist, stationer and caterer. Get yourself booked on a pre-marriage course. Choose and book your honeymoon.
Order wedding stationery, cake boxes, and favours. Discuss your order of service with the person performing the ceremony and decide on service sheets for guests. Agree your wedding breakfast menu with your caterers and if toastmasters, pipers, cloakroom attendants etc. need to be booked, do this now. (Large formal weddings may require planning parking facilities and you may need to inform the police of potential traffic problems). Decide on a wedding list.
Choose the rings. Visit your GP or family planning clinic. A dentistís check up is a good idea. Plan inoculations for your honeymoon if necessary. Organise visas, passports etc. Think about going away clothes and clothes for your honeymoon. Choose shoes to go with your wedding dress.
Make sure you have all the appropriate documents and certificates to enable the marriage ceremony to take place. Finalise details of your colour scheme, bouquets, buttonholes and arrangements with the florist. Finalise the wedding guest list and have the invitations sent. Remember to keep a careful track of replies. Record and write thank you letters for any wedding presents you may receive. Choose gifts for the best man, bridesmaids and attendants. Discuss with your attendants their requirements for accommodation, where they will change etc. Arrange accommodation also for any travelling guests.
Final fittings for the wedding dress and bridesmaidsí dresses. Make sure all are wearing the shoes they plan to wear on the day. Finalise arrangements for the groomís and best manís clothing. Have your hair and make up rehearsal. Remember to bring the head-dress you will be wearing on the day so the experts can plan your look accordingly. Finalise details for the honeymoon. Make sure the rings are ready in time to give to the best man! Finalise details of seating for the church and reception. Plan the wedding rehearsal with the person who will be performing the ceremony. Plan your hen and stag nights. Donít forget to have these at least a few days before the wedding. Hangovers and wedding eves do not go well together!
For many couples the last month or so before the wedding can be stressful at times. Why not book yourself a beauty treatment, massage or quite night away and get some relaxation to recharge your batteries. And donít forget to eat properly (despite diets or nerves!). Youíll need your energy for the next few weeks!
Organise honeymoon and going away clothes, and pack (donít forget passports, tickets and visas). If you need travellersí cheques, car hire, insurance or any other documentation, now is the time to do it. Give final numbers to the people organising the reception. Plan place cards, table settings, linen etc.
Finalise details with the photographer, florist, caterers, car hire etc. Try on all the wedding clothes including shoes, head-dress, underwear etc and make sure everything fits correctly and is comfortable (your wedding day will be a long one and should be as hassle free as possible!). Arrange a room for changing at the reception
Have your wedding rehearsal. Delegate someone to take care of the wedding dress and groomís outfit after the wedding. Gift-wrap gifts for best man, bridesmaids and attendants. If you are having a wedding announcement in the press, send this now. Organise fees for church (or registry office), musicians (both at ceremony and reception) and make sure the best man takes care of these. Do a final check on honeymoon packing. Give tickets and travel documents to the best man for safekeeping.
Make sure the wedding cake is OK and organise transportation to the reception. Present your attendants with their gifts. Have a manicure, pedicure, bath and an early night!
The Wedding Day
Pace yourself. Get as much rest as possible and eat a good breakfast. Have a relaxing bath followed by hair and make up. Give yourself lots of time to dress and get ready to allow for any last minute hiccups. Take your time and enjoy yourself. This is your day so savour it.
Have fun and have a happy wedding day.