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When planning a wedding, there’s a fair bit to consider.
First of all, there’s the big, non-negotiable stuff like paying the marriage license fee and booking the venue, and then there’s the slightly less pressing tasks, such as choosing a cake vendor and hiring a photographer.
Nevertheless, it all plays a crucial role in ensuring you and your special someone have the magical wedding you deserve. To make the preparation part a tad easier, we’ve whipped up a nifty wedding checklist UK for those tying the knot on the enchanting isles of Britain.
Photography by Wildling Weddings at Victoria Street, Edinburgh
Wedding Checklist UK
To avoid feeling overwhelmed or running the risk of missing an important element of your big day, break the planning phase down into chapters and tick it off as you go.
Not only will this take a load off, pressure-wise, but you also get that oh-so-satisfying sensation that comes with ticking off a checklist! So without further ado, let’s get your wedding planning journey on the road to success.
Because organising a wedding isn’t an overnight process, we’ve put together a five-part wedding checklist UK for you to tackle all tasks at the right time.
Before You Start Planning
Okay, so before you get cracking, there are a few things you and your spouse need to be in 100% agreement about. These are:
- The budget. It’s crucial you both set a realistic budget before you do anything. Chances are you’ll already have a good idea of what kind of wedding you want and you may need to do some saving, as well as look into other ways of bumping up that budget, such as family contributions.
- Write out a guest list ‘rough draft’. Your guest list will tie in with your budget, so do bear in mind how many mouths you wish to feed on the big day.
- Agree on a vision/theme. Both parties need to be happy with the visual approach to the wedding, so discuss any likes and dislikes, and don’t book anything until you’re both happy.
- Set a date. This provides a timeline to get everything done by, as well as enables you to hire vendors.
- Start scouting for venues. It’s important to book your venue as early as possible to avoid missing out. Venues often get snatched up, so keep a couple of options in mind to avoid disappointment, and put down a deposit as soon as you can.
8 Months - 1 Year Before
Most couples need at least a year to gather funds and prep for their wedding, which gives you time to map out some of the elements that need boxing off sooner rather than later:
- Book your venue. As we just mentioned, you won’t want to dilly-dally with this aspect. Once you’ve got a date, get that deposit put down/paid in full. The venue is often the biggest chunk of your budget, so it’s worth getting it booked early for that reason alone.
- Look into wedding insurance. While this is optional, having this safety net can help cushion you should any worst-case scenarios arise.
- Get registered. In the UK, as with most countries, you cannot legally wed until you have registered to do so, which comes with a fee. In the UK, this is usually £46 for a registry or £86 for a registered religious building. You will have likely already discussed whether you both wish to have a religious or humanist ceremony, so you will also need to book a registrar/celebrant.
- Finalise your guest list. You’ll need to whip out that initial wedding guest list draft and finalise it. This usually cannot be done until the venue is secured, as most venues have a minimum/maximum capacity.
- Mail out your invites. This allows you to get a good idea of how many attendees you can expect and what their food choices are (if you’re having a set menu).
- Hire a photographer. As with all of your other vendors, do your research when scouting for a photographer. You’ll want to go with someone you feel comfortable with, who understands your vision, and who has availability on your wedding date. Photographers are typically the vendors hired after the venue, so book early to avoid disappointment.
Now that you’ve got the bigger stuff boxed off, here’s what needs to be tackled a few months in advance, namely the vendors:
- Book your caterers. By now you should have received all of your guest RSVPs, plus menu choices. You can then present this to your caterer (try out a few options beforehand so you can be sure you’ll be happy with the food on the day). A wedding is a long old day for all involved, so the nosh side of things is really important! Hiring a bar can be wise too, or at least making sure everyone has a glass of bubbly in hand when it comes to toasting the happy couple!
- Book your entertainment. As with catering companies, wedding entertainment vendors, such as bands and DJs, are in high demand, so you’ll need to give them a good window of time to guarantee their availability.
- Book your florist. While many brides like to do a DIY approach to the floral aspect, others prefer to hire a company to do it for them. Depending on your colour theme and the time of year, as well as how extravagant you plan on going (big floral arches, anyone?!), getting this part of the planning bashed out earlier rather than later is a wise decision.
- Put together your bridal party. This means assigning roles to the special folks in your life who you want as your bridesmaids, maid of honour, groomsmen, and flower girl. Ideas on how to get a guaranteed “YES!” can be found here!
- Go dress/suit shopping. Now is the time to start whipping up wedding outfits. Again, not leaving this too late in the game is important in case any alterations need making.
- Sort out accommodation. Many wedding venues have on-site accommodation, but if this isn’t the case with yours, you’ll need to get cracking with that and make sure the wedding party and yourselves are sorted. It can be wise to do a bit of research into any nearby accommodation for guests coming from out of town too.
- Book your cake supplier. Cutting the cake is one of the most romantic parts of the day (plus it features cake and who doesn’t love cake?!), so give yourself plenty of time to sniff out the ideal bakery/cake maestro.
- Book your wedding transport. This is only applicable for those whose wedding reception is in a different location to the ceremony.
- Hire hair & makeup artists. Your wedding is the ultimate excuse to get glammed up and feel like a million bucks, so start sleuthing out a team of beauty whizzes.
- Arrange your honeymoon. Get this done early so that you can go seamlessly from your wedding to your honeymoon location with zero fuss or faff!
- Create a wedding gift list (if required).
- Buy your wedding rings. Make sure you’re both happy with your choices and get them professionally fitted.
- Party! Time to kick off the celebrations with your stag and hen do!
- Finalise any decor needs (fairy lights, candles, etc.) – double-check with your venue that it’s okay to bring your own decs.
Plan out the day. You’ll want to put ample time between the ceremony, post-ceremony drinks, and the other events. Timing is key to a well-executed bash!
You’re almost there! Here’s what to smash out a month in advance:
Make sure all vendors are paid in full (if required). This gives you one less thing to worry about.
Chase up. Get hold of anyone who hasn’t RSVP’d yet and get a definite answer then confirm with your venue and caterer the final numbers and any dietary restrictions.
Table plan. By now you should be able to draft up a seating plan based on your returned RSVPs.
Attend your fitting appointment. You’ll want to do this around the one-month mark to factor in any last-minute alterations.
Accessory check. Make sure you have all your wedding outfit accessories.
Write your vows.
1 Week Before
Eek! Now the excitement really begins!
- Attend your final fitting. This is especially important for anyone who needs any alterations from the one-month fitting.
- Get those beauty appointments done. This could be haircuts, waxes, spray tans, nail appointments, facials, etc.
- Break in your wedding shoes. Make sure your wedding day will be a blister-free zone!
- Last-minute checks with the wedding party and/or coordinator to make sure all details are covered.
The Day Before
You’re almost there! Your last few tasks await….
- Get ready! Get your hair and makeup done before getting into your dress. Make sure you have a toast and a giggle with your girls as you get ready!
- Gift-giving. Many brides like to give out little gifts to the wedding party, including bridesmaids and the mother-of-the-groom.
- Meet the registrar. You will need to do this before the ceremony (separately, of course) for the verification process. Make sure you have all necessary paperwork.
Congrats! You’re ready to enjoy your special day and the first of many happy days together as a married couple!