As soon as Possible:
· Decide on the theme of your wedding
and what time of year you'd like it to take place. Do you
picture yourself as an ice princess or a radiant summer beauty?
· Do you want a religious ceremony or civil ceremony
and would you rather tie the knot at home or abroad?
· Tell relatives and close friends of your plans.
· Place an announcement of your engagement in the local
· Arrange the first meeting with your minister, priest
or rabbi to set the date.
· If it's a civil ceremony, book the register office/civil
· Set a budget, and stick to it!! The average wedding
plus honeymoon costs more than £15000, so if you don't
have savings you'll need to start now and make budgeting a
priority.Decide who is doing what.
· Choose your chief bridesmaid, and
other attendants. Get your fiance to appoint his best man
and ushers. Not only will they be thrilled to be a part of
your big day, but they can also help you organise things.
· Sounds silly, but decide on the number of guests
and draw up a guest list with both sets of parents. Not only
will you need this amount of time to iron out any wrangles
over who can/can't come, but you'll need to know numbers to
· Visit possible venues, discuss menu options with
caterers, hotels and restaurants and get estimates for the
food and drink.
· Make all reception bookings and decide whether you
want a morning, afternoon or evening do.
· Get your chosen DJ or band in the bag early. Music
is so important, so do it now and get who you really want.
· Start looking for your wedding dress and
Every bride wants to look and feel a million dollars and knowing
she's wearing the perfect wedding dress is an important part
of this. Really think about what style, colour and look you
· Get the groom to start hunting for his outfit.
· Begin a beauty regime.
· Book your florist and discuss requirements.
· Choose and order your stationery.
· Cadillac or horse-drawn carriage? Decide and book
your transport now.
· Organise wedding insurance if applicable.
· Plan the honeymoon destination.
· Panic levels hit fever-pitch already? Hire a wedding
co-ordinator. At the very least. delegate! Family, friends
and bridesmaids-to-be won't mind lending a hand.
Six Months Before
· Arrange a second meeting with your minister, priest
or rabbi to discuss the service and agree a date for publication
of the banns. If the wedding is in the Church of England,
notice of the marriage must be given to the superintendent
· Discuss music, hymns, readings and order of service
with your minister.
· Decide on the vows you want to exchange.
· Arrange for dress fittings.
· Choose the bridesmaid's outfits.
· Sort out your accessories. Make sure shoes don't
rub, and that you (and your beidesmaids) have considered whether
you want to wear headdresses, tiaras and jewellery.
· Book your hairdresser and/or make-up artist and arrange
a date for a rehearsal. Discuss styles. If you're doing your
own - practise!
· Order the wedding cake and book the caterer for the
reception if this is not part of the reception package.
· Reserve equipment you need for the big day (marquees,
· Decide on your florist and discuss requirements.
· Book the hotel for your first night and look into
accommodation for guests too.
· Book the honeymoon.
· Organise your gift list.
· Choose suitable gifts for attendants.
Three Months Before
· Finalise your order of service and order printed
· Arrange a wedding rehearsal time.
· Reconfirm all of your prior bookings.
· Post invitations with gift list details.
· Send out thank you notes as gifts arrive.
· Check the groom and best man have organised their
· Check passports(for vailidity for the travel period)
and arrange inoculations and visas if necessary. Try and have
inoculations as far in advance as possible, as some can make
you feel unwell.
· Choose your wedding rings.
· Choose and buy your confetti if you have a very particular
idea about what you want.
· Visit the hairdresser and run through the look you
want for the day.
Two Months Before
· Organise your seating plan. This is worth some consideration,
because it's so important to get it right. Put like-minded
people together and avooid any potential family feuds by mixing
and matching the relatives you know will get on. Cancellations
and new additions might happen at the last minute, so be prepared
to be flexible. A good table planning ensures harmony and
plenty of converstaion.
· Organise a tasting and finalise the menu with your
· Make sure everyone had received their invites and
finalise numbers. Don't forget to notify the caterers of any
· Make sure The Dress fits, but be prepared to make
alterations as many brides find that weight just drops off
in the last few weeks.
· Book hairdresser and make-up appointments for the
actual morning of the wedding.
· Test-run a fake tan treatment if you've never had
one, and make a note of which day after the treatment the
colour looks best.
· Make sure everyone involved in the wedding knows
what's happening and when.
· Write to banks and other official bodies if you are
changing your surname. Many of them will need to see a copy
of the marriage certificate, so make a note of this for after
One Month Before
· Order any currency you may need for the honeymoon.
· Book your final hair appointment and, if you're having
it coloured, do it at least one to two weeks before your wedding
· Get details of the hen and stag dos finalised. If
you and the girls, or him and the boys are planning to make
a weekend of it, you'll need
to be super-organised, but that's where the chief bridemaid
and best man come in! Hold the dos in good time, so that you
and your frends have time to recover before the Big Day. You
don't want to stumble up the aisle with a pounding headache!
· Remind the groom, your father and the best man to
have their speeches written.
One Week Before
· Confirm all your honeymoon and first-night arrangements,
check the tickets!
· Wash and iron clothes for your honeymoon.
· Try on your full wedding outfit and practise walking
in your shoes.
· Get the fake tan done at a salon a few days before
(not THE day before!) This will give the colour time to settle
and not stain the dress.
· Schedule in a bikini wax.
· Get your eyelashes dyed.
· Test-run your hair and make-up again.
· Go for a manicure and pedicure and take the bridemaids
with you for a special treat.
· Get the groom groomed and make sure he books a haircut.
· Have a rehearsal with everyone who will be involved
on The Day, so you'll have time to iron out any glitches.
· Confirm all reception arrangements in writing.
· Confirm photographer, flowers, transport etc.
· Type up a list of any must-take shots you want and
send to the photographer.
· Time your journey to the venue so you know how far
in davance to leave home.
· Check the best man has the rings.
The Day Before
· Help to decorate reception venue if necessary.
· Arrange for cake to be delivered to reception.
· Make sure honeymoon clothes and accessories are ironed
· Have honeymoon luggage sent to reception/first night
· Prepare your wedding oufit.
· Double-check everything again!
· Relax, have a long bath with an early night.
On The Day
· Give yourself plenty of time to get ready.
· Have the bouquets, buttonholes and corsages delivered
or send someone to collect them from the florist.
· The mother-of-the-bride, plus any bridesmaids leave
first, followed by the bride and her dad. The groom and best
man make their own way and should arrive at the ceremony venue
about 15 minutes before the bride.
· It is the best man's job to ensure that all guests
have transport between the ceremony and the reception.
· Speeches usually come after the food and before coffee.
The bride's father speaks first, then the groom and the best
· Traditionally, the bride and groom leave the reception
before all their guests.
Useful Phone Numbers and Web Sites
Baptist's Union - 01235 517700
Church of England - 020 7898 1000
Church of Scotland - 0131 225 5722
General Register Office for England and Wales - 0151 471 4200
GRO for Guernsey - 01481 72527
GRO for Jersey - 01534 502335
GRO for N Ireland - 028 9025 2000
GRO for Scotland - 0131 314 4447
Greek Archdiocese - 020 7723 4787
Jewish Marriage Council - 020 8203 6311
Marriage Care (Catholic) - 020 7371 1341
Methodist Church - 020 7222 8010
United Reform Church - 020 7916 2020
'You and Your Wedding' Jul/Aug 04, 'Wedding Day' Aug/Sept