18 Month Wedding Planning Checklist
Plan your big day with our planning checklist.
Planning your wedding can seem daunting, but there’s no need to panic. We recommend you start by sitting down and working out what to prioritise, then break down your to-do list into a strategic wedding planning checklist.
Your wedding checklist can be personalised to suit you and your partner, it’s a great way to keep everything in order and will help you keep track of your progress. Take it step-by-step and follow our lead with this guide on what to do in the months leading up to your wedding day…
18 months to go
You’re engaged, congrats! At this stage, you don’t need to worry too much about getting everything in order. If you haven’t already, decide if you want to throw an engagement party and spend a few weeks in your happy engagement bubble.
Start researching venues and create a list of potential settings for your big day. Set a budget early on, too. This will give you time to save and ensure the funds cover everything from the food to the flowers. It will also help keep you on track, so that you don’t overspend early on in your planning (or entirely!).
17 months to go
It’s been a month, which means you’ve hopefully narrowed down your venue search. Visit a few venues that you’ve shortlisted to get a feel for the space before you make your decision.
Start jotting down a draft guest list. Consider who you want to make an appearance on your big day to help you plan the guest numbers you’ll be looking at when you select your venue.
16 months to go
Set the date! Book the wedding date with your chosen venue and finalise your guest list. You might need to cut it down from your initial draft, to keep within your budget, until you reach a final number.
Go about ordering and sending save the date cards, so that your nearest and dearest can secure the date in their diaries and make arrangements to ensure they can be with you on your special day, be that time off work, childcare or booking accommodation.
15 months to go
Let’s go shopping! Time to start the search for your dream dress. Once you’ve secured your venue and date, it’s a good idea to start dress shopping as soon as you can so you can order your dress and have enough time to make alterations.
A fun activity to take part in preparation for your wedding during this month could be to book some cake tasting sessions with your partner, because what’s better than cake? Free cake, of course!
14 months to go
Once you’ve got your dress checked off, you should think about shopping for the rest of the bridal party. Bridesmaid dresses often need to be ordered, so getting them sorted early on will save you feeling stressed as the day draws ever closer.
You’ll probably want your bridesmaids gowns to echo or be in keeping with your own, so make sure you choose your dress first and then hit the shops with your best girls in search of outfits that they will all adore.
13 months to go
Select your photographer, caterers, any musicians you want to perform on the day (including musicians that will play during your ceremony and a live band that may perform in the evening), and any other suppliers that will be with you on the wedding day itself.
These suppliers’ diaries are likely to get booked up quickly as they can only attend one wedding on any given date, unlike your florist or cake maker who may be able to deliver to more than one wedding in a day.
12 months to go
This is an important stage, and the time for you to seriously get the ball rolling, it could go one of two ways now, so make sure it goes the right way and you keep on top of your planning and preparations.
Start looking at the varieties of flowers that will be in season when you get married. Choosing flowers that are in season is more friendly on your wallet as well as being a more eco-conscious choice. Try to find and secure your florist this month.
11 months to go
You’re probably starting feel a little pressure at this point and you might feel like the bridezilla you never dreamed you would be!
Don’t stress, it could be a good time to hire a wedding planner, if you haven’t already, they can help to take some pressure from you.
Pro tip: Start a wedding Pinterest board, this is a great tool to keep all your ideas in one place. Decide on a specific theme and colour palette to make it easier for your wedding planner to work alongside you and your partner.
10 months to go
Now that you’re eight months into planning, your wedding is probably starting to take shape.
Head out with the boys to find their wedding attire - from suits to shoes and bow ties to braces, decide if you will be hiring or buying the suits and find a style everyone feels comfortable in.
Look into some unique keepsake ideas for you to save from your wedding day, take our Editor-In-Chief, Becci Clubb’s, wedding for example, featured in our September 2021 issue, she hired a live painter to capture the special day.
9 months to go
At this stage, all of your key suppliers should be booked for your wedding.
Narrow down your menu choices for your catering and confirm the finer details with your cake maker and florist. With all those pictures on your Pinterest board, you should know by now exactly what style of cake or bouquet you’re after.
If required, you should have come up with a couple of beauty looks and booked both a makeup artist and a hair stylist.
8 months to go
Now would be a good idea to send your wedding invites, so your guests have enough time to make arrangements and time for you to get your RSVPs sent back.
Get any alterations arranged for your dress and your bridesmaids’ dresses. Make sure that the suits are also ordered and if the groomsmen need any alterations, take care of this now, too.
7 months to go
If you need to, book dance lessons for your first dance and practice the choreography in the weeks leading up to the day.
Head out with your photographer for an engagement shoot and get comfortable in front of the camera – you’ll be the VIPs on the day and you will want to feel at ease with photographs of you being taken.
Write your order of service, alongside your celebrant, and choose your witnesses and if anyone will be reciting a reading.
6 months to go
An exciting thing to check off your list is buying wedding rings with your partner.
This is also a great time to order your wedding favours, source any decorations and fine-tune the little details for the day.
Start thinking about your honeymoon, are you planning to go somewhere exotic? A coastal destination or a city break? Narrow down your choices so you can book it and start packing and looking forward to newly-married bliss.
5 months to go
At this stage you should be feeling a bit more relaxed about your planning. It’s a great time to ensure you’re on track.
This month, ask your friends to plan your hen and stag parties or start organising them yourselves if that’s what you’d prefer.
Organise the wedding transport for the wedding party and now that your dress is altered, you can buy your wedding shoes and accessories.
4 months to go
Send a list of photographs you’d like to have to your photographer, and confirm timings with all of your suppliers.
As an extra task during this time, you could research nearby accommodation for wedding guests if the venue is somewhere unfamiliar to them.
3 months to go
Follow up on your RSVP’s and confirm your final numbers, food choices and any allergies with your venue and caterers.
Have a makeup and hair trial with your stylists and get your big day look locked down.
2 months to go
If you are marrying in a church, attend a wedding rehearsal to get a feel for your day.
Start breaking in your wedding shoes; nobody wants to have blisters on their wedding day!
1 month to go
Now that there’s only a month to go, you should only be doing finishing touches, such as a hair colour top-up, a haircut, a manicure and pedicure, or perhaps even a facial.
You could order some lingerie and pyjamas for your wedding morning and night to make sure you’re fully prepared on your big day.
The night before
Relax, get some beauty sleep and most importantly, don’t panic about tomorrow!
Watch a movie, put your favourite pyjamas on and make sure to drink lots of water. You could also give your rings to the best man in preparation for tomorrow.
1 month later
Phew! You’ve done it. All that planning and preparation was well worth it. Now is a good time to send out your thank you cards, and start to enjoy your new life as a married couple!
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