Posted: December 19th 2018
Planning a wedding is a daunting task. What do you start with? Which supplier should you book first? With Holkham’s 12-month countdown planner we help you work out the order in which to organise your wedding.
Pick your bridesmaids & best man
You probably already know who they’ll be but make sure they know who’ll they’ll be! Asking your best friends to be involved in your wedding will help keep the adrenaline of getting engaged going a little longer. Plus you can rope them in to help with the wedmin!
Set the date
You might have an idea of whether you want to get married in spring, summer, winter or autumn. There may be a particular date that means a lot to you or you might have to work around when friends and family members are available. Try to be a bit flexible, venues, churches, photographers etc. can book up very far in advance.
Work out the budget
It might not be the most romantic element of planning a wedding but if you get all awkward conversations about budget out of the way early on it will make planning a whole lot easier.
Choose the venue
As we mentioned, venues do tend to book up quickly, particularly in the most popular times of the year. Think about opting for a weekday if your dream Saturday has already gone.
Think about the guest list
This can be a tense part of wedding planning. Your future husband/wife wants to invite long-lost friends you’ve never met, exes you don’t want to meet or colleagues you don’t like. Do you invite children, plus ones? Parents and parents in law want to invite everyone they know… Once you’ve worked out what your budget is and whether you want a large lavish affair or an intimate occasion, allocate how many guests each member of the bridal party can invite to stop anyone getting carried away. Try to stay calm, on the big day you won’t even notice that your Mum has invited everyone from her book group!
Buy wedding insurance
We know, boring! But practical. A freak snowstorm, a broken leg… no one wants their big day to be ruined by anything but if something dramatic does happen be sure you’re covered.
Get the look
If you’re planning on growing your hair or losing those few pounds before your wedding then now is the time to start.
Save the date
As with all the best venues, the best guests get booked up too and, if people are flying in for the occasion, you need to give them plenty of time. A brief email will suffice, there’s no need to print proper invitations.
Book your photographer/videographer
Again, the best photographers’ and videographers’ weekends get booked up quickly so if you have your heart set on a particular person make sure you book them in early. At Holkham we have a list of preferred suppliers for photographers and videographers, which will help your search. Plus they know the hotspots at Holkham and the best time to catch that perfect lake sunset!
Start wedding outfit shopping
Some people know exactly what they want to wear on their wedding day others take a little longer to decide; it is probably the biggest sartorial moment of your life – unless you’re off to the Oscars. It you want to have a bespoke dress or suit made you will need at least 6 months so you’d better start thinking about what you want and trying on options with plenty of time.
Will a DJ or band be belting out the dancefloor fillers? Do you want fire eaters, a photobooth, a flash mob (like Sonny & Adam) whatever sort of extras you want for your wedding now is the time to plan and book. You can sort the finer details later…
Get your florist and plan flowers
Are you going for wild and wonderful or perfectly put together? Whatever look you want from your flowers now is the time to talk to your florist and find out what’s available to you depending on which season you’re getting married in and what venue you’ve chosen (link to Holkham venues). Remember to think beyond what you want your flowers to look like but also how they’ll smell. (Read our blog on Fragrancing a wedding).
Book your caterer/ menu tasting
A highlight in the wedding planning calendar, who doesn’t love spending an afternoon tasting canapes? Are you going to go for a three-course meal? Bowl food? Canapes instead of starters? And what sort of style food would you like? All this can be discussed with your caterers. Oh and don’t forget the all-important dietary requirements.
It’s one of the most debated topics when it comes to wedding planning and another tense area. Be sure to discuss who is buying before you get started to avoid any awkward moments at the till. If you’re on a budget the high street has fantastic options for bridesmaid dresses, or you could see what your girls already have in their wardrobe and synchronise them with a matching sash, to save money.
Order your wedding stationery
Will you be designing them yourself, going traditional or digital? If you’re opting for DIY, tick it off your to-do list nice and early while, if you’re relying on the printers to sort you out, don’t leave it until the last minute. You don’t need to send the invites out until a month or two before the big day – particularly if you’ve sent save the dates – but it’s good to get organised.
Think about transport
Do you need transport between the ceremony and the reception? Would you like a big red bus to carry you? How will you be arriving at your wedding?
Choose your wedding cake
Time to find your perfect cake. Cue flavour, icing and personalised toppers.
Kit out your fiancee /ushers
ou might like to delegate this task to your fiancee or perhaps offer some (ahem) guidance. Think about whether men will be wearing morning suits or regular suits or something different all together.
Plan your ceremony
Whether you’re getting married in a church or civil ceremony you need to think about the order of service. What music/hymns would you like and what readings will you have?
Book hair and make-up trials
Most hairdressers/make-up artists will offer trial runs before the big day, go with an idea of what you want. If you’re going for an up-do see how long it takes, this will help you plan timings on the actual day. If you’re doing your own make up, visit one of the big department stores where beauty assistants can help you perfect your look or you can pick up some new products.
Plan your hen
This is most likely to be out of your control and in the expert hands of your bridesmaids!
If you’re planning this together then get all the practical points in line. Check if your passport is still in date, whether you need a visa or inoculations.
This is a legal requirement that formalises your intent to marry. Visit www.gov.uk for what you need to know. The team at Holkham can help.
Reading of banns
If you are having a Church of England wedding you need to have your banns read three times, it’s an ancient tradition that gives people of your parish warning of your wedding and the chance for someone to object! Attend a reading at your local church, they’re usually held three consecutive Sundays before your wedding day.
First dance & music
Do you already know your first dance will be? If you’re choreographing something get practising now! Brief the band and check they can play it or get the song ready on your phone. Think about any other songs you want to be played on your wedding day. Your band will probably have a set list so be sure to tell them what you like or don’t like. Likewise, send a list to your DJ or get your own playlist sorted.
A practice run
Try on your dress, shoes and accessories – does everything work together? Are you missing anything? You still have time to sort this out now. Plan a practice run of the route to the wedding venue too and a rehearsal of the service.
Hopefully, by now you should have had all your RSVPs, if not chase any that are outstanding. Start working on the table plan. There are some great websites to help you with this. There may be last minute changes but don’t let that worry you. Don’t print the table plan display until closer to the wedding day just in case.
You don’t want to go drastic with your look too close to the wedding so don’t suddenly experiment with eyebrow shapes or new facial techniques. If you want that perfect bridal glow start having treatments a couple of months before your wedding day, and if you dye your hair do so a few weeks before your wedding day so your colour has time to calm down after initial application.
And breathe! You’ve thought of everything and if you haven’t the team at Holkham will have. Now is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labour and get really excited about your wedding day!