How To Plan Your Wedding In 12 Months: A Timeline


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Our handy guide breaks everything down into manageable bitesize chunks so you know when (and how) to plan your wedding in 12 months. From wedding dresses and venues to the finer details like flowers and favours, you’ll manage your time and stay on track so your wedding planning goes as smoothly as possible. Stop feeling […]

Our handy guide breaks everything down into manageable bitesize chunks so you know when (and how) to plan your wedding in 12 months. From wedding dresses and venues to the finer details like flowers and favours, you’ll manage your time and stay on track so your wedding planning goes as smoothly as possible. Stop feeling overwhelmed and start feeling excited about your big day!

Create a rough plan with your partner

Timeline: 12 months before the wedding

Take time to enjoy the bliss of your engagement before jumping straight into wedding planning. Don’t rush! When you’re ready, start off by discussing your vision with your partner. They may have totally different ideas, so it’s important to check in and stay aligned. Find the perfect theme that works for you both and use this to spark ideas for your dream location. You can create a rough guest list and budget too – planning this out on a spreadsheet from the get-go will really help here so you know what you’re working with.

The most important part: book the venue!

Timeline: 12 months before the wedding

Start with the venue first and then you can move on to the finer details. The venue affects every other detail, so make sure that you know where you want to tie the knot before you make any other arrangements. Whittle a list down to your top 3 contenders, visit each venue and make sure it’s suitable for your number of guests, wedding themeand budget. Go with your gut – if there are any doubts, it’s not the right one! Make sure you consider the location and incorporate any possible travel arrangements into your budget too.

Top tip: If sustainability is important to you, take a look at our bride’s favourite eco-friendly wedding venues.

Save the date cards

Timeline: 10 – 12 months before the wedding

You’re planning a wedding, so you need to make sure everyone can attend! Make sure you send out ‘save the date cards’ early on to ensure everyone can make plans well in advance.

Select the catering

Timeline: 10 months before the wedding

Do you want a sit-down meal, a buffet – or a combination of the two? This will depend on the number of guests, your theme and any dietary requirements. Do some research and look for a reputable caterer with solid reviews. You can work with your caterer to plan a menu that suits your budget from starters, mains and desserts to soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.

Top tip: Ask your wedding guests for allergy information as soon as possible!

Find your dream dress

Timeline: 8 – 12 months before the wedding

Book your wedding dress consultation around the 8-12 month mark. The sooner you get the ball rolling, the more time you have for alterations to ensure you’ve got a perfect fit that complements every inch of your figure. If you’re looking for a trusted designer, honest advice and an experienced team start exploring our sustainable wedding dresses with a friendly consultation and alterations service to give you the wedding dress you’ve always dreamed of!

Want to learn more about finding your dress at Andrea Hawkes? 6 Things to consider when looking for your wedding dress

Book your wedding photographer

Timeline: 10 months before the wedding

Do not leave the photographer to the last minute! The sooner you can secure a reputable photographer the better, and the good ones tend to book up quickly. You’ll want to cherish pictures of your wedding day forever, so it’s important the photographer has positive reviews, a strong portfolio with wedding experience and all the equipment needed to do your big day justice. Whittle a few top contenders down here, arrange a meeting to get to know them and see if they’re a good fit.

Top tip: Make sure you sign a contract! This should outline the details of the agreement – date, time, location, the photographer’s fees and deliverables.

Design your invites

Timeline: 6 – 8 months before the wedding

Finalise your guest list so you know exactly how many invitations you’ll need. Once confirmed, choose a design (get help from a graphic designer if you need to), order your invitations, allow enough time to stamp your invites and they’re ready to go!

Worried about waste? Discover how to choose sustainable wedding invites – from plantable invitations to paperless e-invites!

Make your floral arrangements

Timeline: 6 – 8 months before the wedding

Start gathering some inspiration (try out some Pinterest boards!) and if needed – research local florists with strong reviews. Discuss your budget and arrange consultations with the strongest contenders. By planning ahead, your flowers won’t be rushed and will be exactly how you want them!

Planning flowers yourself? Learn how to choose sensational flowers for your wedding.

Rehearsal dinner venue

Timeline: 7 months before the wedding

Just like your wedding, the rehearsal dinner will need a theme, venue and menu. Your favourite restaurant would be perfect here – just make sure you make your booking well in advance so you can decorate the space how you want it. You can also work with them to rustle up a delicious menu for your guests whilst considering all dietary requirements. Remember to send out invites!

Plan your reception

Timeline: 6 months before the wedding

Make sure the reception is fun and memorable! Plan the menu, seating and entertainment to reflect your theme. You could add unique elements to help your wedding stand out, such as a photo booth and signature drinks.

It’s honeymoon planning time!

Timeline: 6 months before the wedding

Plan and book your honeymoon around the halfway point. If your fiance is booking a surprise for you both, let them know to have the plan nailed down (or at least a semi-plan) 6 months before! If you’re planning it together, ensure you’re both aligned with budget, travel, accommodation and an itinerary so you can plan the activities you’ll like to do together. Make sure you’ve planned what you’re bringing and how you’re getting there!

Get to work on the finer details

Timeline: 3-4 months before the wedding

  • Remember to plan and finalise:
  • Favours
  • Place cards
  • Signage
  • Decor

Little touches can make a huge impact and enhance the overall wedding experience.

Invite your guests!

Timeline: 3-4 months before the wedding

You’ve got the invites ready.. now send them! The sooner the better if they’re travelling a long distance and will need to book accommodation.

Hair & beauty time

Timeline: 1 – 2 weeks before the wedding

The big day is nearly here – remember to make arrangements so you look and feel your very best down the aisle!

You can:

  • Refresh your hair colour
  • Go for a manicure/pedicure
  • Get your eyebrows done
  • Do a final dress fitting
  • Practice your vows out loud
  • Wear in your wedding shoes around the home!

Rehearsal time

Timeline: 1 week before the wedding

Your big day is nearly here! Now’s your chance to enjoy rehearsing one of the best days of your life with the people closest to you. You’ll align everyone on the same page by practising their roles, as well as give them the opportunity to ask any important questions they may have. Take all feedback on board – the good and the bad – and use this constructively to finesse the real deal that’s only around the corner.

Top tip: If something didn’t go smoothly – think about why? Use the help of everyone around you for practical solutions and iron out any niggles.

Feeling confident?

Your mind should now be at ease with a clear timeline of when to plan all the details in a year. For more help, check out our wedding planning guides and ensure the day you’ve always dreamed of becomes a reality!

Still feeling stressed? Learn how to carry out pre-wedding self care for your mind and body.