Planning a wedding is no easy task and for those couple who have opted to be their own wedding planner having a wedding countdown that covers the first weeks of engagement to the final preparations is a must. Not only does it help you keep track of what you have booked or decided upon, it can also help avoid mishaps like ‘forgetting to order the cake’ or ‘ordering the bridal flowers – twice!’
For starters the best place to start is the local stationery department – a ring binder, section dividers, lined paper and some fancy pens and pencils.
One Year to Nine Month Countdown
- Get some ideas and inspiration from magazines and we’re not talking just bridal ones – lifestyle, fashion, gardening, design and food magazines can all lead to that perfect wedding idea. Alternatively get a Pinterest account and start pinning those pins to your online mood boards. Lyme Bay Field Kitchen have plenty of wedding inspired boards and pins to share with blushing brides-to-be.
- Draw up a list of who you might like to be included in the wedding party – maid of honour, best man, bridesmaid(s), usher(s), flower girl/ring bearer (optional).
- Make a list of all the guests you would like to invite to your big day – this is not your final list as your budget and venue may be the deciding factor to your final number.
- Pick a date and a venue – the best option is to have a couple of ideas for both in case one or the other is not available.
Eight Month Countdown
- Meet with local caterers and begin to piece together the perfect menu – for couples in Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall or Devon Lyme Bay Field Kitchen caterer for wedding parties. Why not check out our latest wedding brochure and see what tickles your taste buds?
- Hire photographer or alternatively see if there is a budding photographer amongst your family or friends who would love opportunity to be part of your special day.
- Decide on what kind of entertainment you would like both in the evening and as part of your sit down meal (if that is the type of wedding you have decided upon). If you have opted for an outdoors wedding and children will be present will you need separate entertainment for them – magician, bouncy castle, face paints.
- To keep your guests up-to-date on your wedding arrangements why not set up a wedding website or blog. There are plenty of free sites that do cater for these kind of personal online diaries.
Six to Seven Month Countdown
- Put together a draft schedule of your big day allowing for delays both before, during and after your ceremony – if in doubt allow extra time.
- Book your honeymoon (even if it is just a couple of nights in a fancy hotel).
- Reserve any extras that might be needed on your big day – outdoor toilets, chairs, kitchen equipment, wheelchairs, large screens, wedding cake stand and knife.
- Do a trial run from home (or hotel) to ceremony to reception venue and note any problems that might cause delays – traffic lights, road works, train crossings. Have an alternate route mapped out in case of severe delays and make sure all drivers know their bearings and where they are going. Include the full address and contact details of all venues and at least one of the main wedding party (not the bride or groom – they will be nervous enough).
Four to Five Month Countdown
- Take a weekend off and go and treat yourself to some cake – and do make sure you have at least had one bite of what will be your wedding cake. Your wedding day is not the time or place to be tasting the worst cake in the world.
- Go shopping for your shoes and if dresses (yours and your bridesmaids) have still not been decided upon add those to the list too. The groom is responsible for dressing himself, his best man and the ushers but do ask how this is coming along.
- Amongst your wedding ideas there must be plenty with regards to hair and make-up and this would be a good time to have a test run. Not every bride-to-be puts this on their priority list but to ensure you look even more perfect why not at least ask a local hairdressers to show you what they can do with your hair. Don’t forget to remember to take along any hair accessories you might be wearing on the day.
- Send out your invitations, ensuring you have the correct address for all guests, and postage for overseas guests is the right amount.
Three Month Countdown
- Get your checklist out and call the following – caterers, florist, both ceremony and reception venues.
- Order your rings.
- If your menu is not a set one and guests have an option of two or three arrange for menu cards to printed – always print more than needed to allow for mishaps.
- Go underwear shopping – and don’t forget that little something extra for your new husband.
Two Month Countdown
- Spend the afternoon listening to your playlist and swapping tunes around if you feel they do not gel well together.
- Check in on your photographer and ask them to take some sample pictures that you can include in your wedding album.
- Look forward to your hen do and forget about your wedding plans just for one night (or weekend if that is what has been arranged).
- One last check of venues and get all those questions you have asked finally answered.
One Month Countdown
- Chase up any unanswered RSVPs.
- Make a final draft of the seating plan once an up-to-date RSVP list has been taken into account. Don’t forget to place ‘singles’ on a table together to make them feel less on their own. Cupid might strike again.
- Get your haircut and coloured but don’t opt to try out a new hairdresser – best to go to one that has been a constant in your life.
- Send off those final payments and make sure you receive confirmation.
This is just a small checklist, there is so much more to planning a wedding but this will surely help you get started, as will our dedicated Pinterest board.