How To Plan A Wedding Like A True Pro

by BRENDA L. / APR 25, 2023

Reading Time: 15 Minutes


    Imagining your special day is all fun and games, but planning a wedding isn’t an easy task – and, quite commonly, lots of brides-to-be get a little overwhelmed, especially if they don’t have the budget to hire a wedding planner. But don’t worry – I have carefully curated this blog for you to get inspired, plan things in a timely manner, and most importantly: have fun whilst doing it! So what are you waiting for? Get your journal ready and follow this plan to achieve the wedding of your dreams.

    One Year Before

    Planning a wedding is a long process, and the waiting list for reception locations, venues, religious/cultural locations and restaurants can be incredibly long. So much so that, in most cases, the planning process starts to take place a whole year before the actual wedding date! Depending on the season you’d like to get married in and the above listed factors, the wait can even be longer than a year. Let’s have a look at the first steps to move towards your end goal:

  1. Create Your Wedding Party. The best part of it all has to be asking your squad of besties to become your brides, and – if you are following the tradition – also arm yourself with a trusty maid of honour. The same will go for your partner, of course. If you’re looking for cute and creative ideas, check out our dedicated blog: 10 Bridesmaids Proposal Ideas 2023.
  2. Draft A Guest List. Take note of the friends and family members that you’d like to invite: this process may take quite some time as you’ll often need to come back to your guest list and make sure no one has been forgotten. This will also help you to better understand your budgeting and location needs.
  3. Set A Budget. This is probably the most important step as it will determine which options you can or cannot consider for your reception, your dress, and more. Your budget will need to include the cost of decoration, an inclusive menu that satisfies allergy and dietary requirements, make-up artist and hair stylist, and… Well, everything else, literally.
  4. Secure A Venue. You can dedicate as much time as you need to finding the perfect venue, but make sure you secure it well in advance before another blushing bride snatches it! Unless you’re planning on hosting a small reception in your backyard, most reception venues have a long list of events and weddings to carefully follow – therefore it is crucial that you book it as soon as possible.
  5. Hire The Officiant. This is something that a lot of people seem to forget when planning a wedding, but the officiant doesn’t come with your booked venue. If you are merging your legal marriage with a cultural or religious rite of passage, you’ll need an officiant that seals the deal. Booking them in advance will allow you to focus on the rest, knowing that your wedding day is secured.
  6. Book A Wedding Planner. If your budget allows it, hiring a wedding planner can be an excellent choice to ease the process and efficiently juggle the organization of your wedding and the rest of your life without losing balance. Many brides complain about how overwhelming wedding planning is, and these professionals can help you to envision, plan and create the perfect wedding day – all whilst providing insightful suggestions and, obviously, having fun together!
  7. Nine Months Before

    You’ve successfully set up a budget, you’ve decided who’s going to be invited to your wedding, you booked the venue of your dreams – and now, what?

    Nine months before your wedding seems like you still have plenty of time ahead, but the truth is that there is still a lot to organise, and many of the professionals you may need to work with require six or more months to guarantee their services on your big day. Let’s have a look at what you can start working on around nine months before your wedding day!

  8. Create Your Wedding Registry. Most weddings include a registry, or a wish list, that includes what the newly-wed may need for their future house. Not every guest will be able to exactly match what you put on your wedding registry, so make sure you include a broad variety of things you’d like to receive so that everyone can pick something for you. 
  9. Order Your Dress. Custom-made wedding dresses can take a long time (we’re talking months here) to craft, and even more so if you require multiple appointments to try it on and adjust it, especially if your body is changing shape for any reason. On top of the creation of the dress itself, many seamstresses charge some pretty salty rush fees – something that you can avoid by ordering your gown well in advance.
  10. Order Your Stationery. How are you supposed to invite your wedding guests if not by using some fancy stationery? Ordering dozens of embellished wedding invitation cards has to be done in advance – not only to avoid printing mistakes and last minute delivery delays, but also to give your guests all the time to organise themselves in a timely manner.
  11. Book Your Wedding Team. You’ll want to make sure your wedding has it all, so make sure you hire all the necessary professionals! From a photographer and a videographer to a DJ or even a band that will play live during your reception, this is the right time to make your business inquiries with them. Make sure you keep a list of plan Bs to avoid any nasty surprises last minute, and most importantly; hire your catering service now!
  12. Book Your Beauty Squad. From a skilled make-up artist to a specialist hair stylist, you’ll want to achieve your idea of perfection for your special day – and rightfully so! Therefore, make sure you thoroughly research your beauty professionals. Feel free to ask for more behind the scenes images and videos, without settling for the featured highlights on their social media or website. Discuss the look you want to achieve and consider your options with them.
  13. Build Your Wedding Webpage. Whether it’s a Facebook group, a wedding Whatsapp group chat or a fancy online domain created for the occasion, it’s essential that you gather all the info up in one place for your guests to access and gather all the information necessary. You can also use this to share your wedding registry, the chosen menu, and the selected accommodation for your loved ones coming from out of town.
  14. Book Your Florist. Bouquet for you, flowers for your bridesmaids, colourful petals for your flower girls and flower boys, but most importantly; venue decoration! If you’d like to go for a flowery wedding, it’s essential that you book all the necessary things in advance. Speak to your florist of choice at least nine months in advance to discuss all the details, place your order in a timely manner, and understand what their timeline will look like.
  15. Book Transportation. If you’re planning on going to your wedding venue with a fancy vehicle such as a vintage car or a cab with horses, make sure you reserve your spot early.
  16. Eight Months Before

    As you ease your way through your own wedding timeline, things get exciting by the day. But you’ll find out soon enough, time flies – especially when you’re having fun! Eight to seven months before your wedding, you can start focusing on more practical matters.

  17. Send Out Invitations. If you haven’t already, this is the perfect time to send out your fancy wedding invitation cards. It may seem like eight to seven months is very far from now, but your loved ones may have a lot on their schedule! Between other weddings, celebrations, personal life and even annual leave or business trips – booking your friends in advance is a sensible choice. Period.
  18. Order Your Bridesmaids Dresses. You’ve selected and proposed to your bridesmaids, now it’s time to make them shine bright as the stars they are. Make sure you take good care of them and select a colour palette and dressing style that is somewhat flattering to all of them. Trying on dresses and looking for hairstyles together is a fun and bonding activity, useful especially if your bridesmaids are not all friends with each other.
  19. Plan & Book Your Honeymoon. If you’re planning on a romantic getaway with your spouse, this is the time to make sure your dream doesn’t stay a dream. Read everything you can about a selected location, contact the local hotels and see what they offer, and why not? Search online deals and all-inclusive deals to save on your destination holiday. If you’d like to participate in any activities and excursions, make sure you secure your spot as early as you can.
  20. Buy Your Wedding Rings. I mean, you’re getting married. As pretty as your engagement ring looks, you’re looking forward to swap it over with a wedding band, aren’t you?
  21. Six Months Before

    Where did time go? Before you could even realise it, you’re halfway through the year and your wedding is only six months away. OMG. I know, right? And guess what – there’s still lots to do in order to achieve the big day of your dreams.

  22. Sort Out The Menu. If you haven’t already, it’s time to discuss the menu with your catering service. Whether you’re aiming at a five course starred meal or a casual brunch with buffet and cocktails, now it’s the time to explore your options!
  23. Select Your Cake. No, your wedding cake won’t be made months in advance, but you’ll want to start looking at cake designs and portions. By now you should’ve received all the RSVPs necessary for you to figure out how many mouths you’ll have to feed on your big day, therefore you can start to inquire with your favourite bakes and maitre patissiers. 
  24. Discuss Your Music Choices. If you’ve hired a DJ or a band, now all you have to do – if you haven’t already – is to finalize a good playlist. Whilst a DJ’s job might be a little easier in this case, a band will need plenty of time to rehearse and make sure they’ll smash their performance at your wedding. Decide which song you want to dance to with your partner as the opening sequence, and what type of vibe you’d like for your guests to enjoy themselves at your reception.
  25. Finalize Your Reception Timeline. Giving your guests and wedding party a precise timeline will help everyone to stay on track and manage their expectations. Ideally, you’ll want everyone to turn up on time for the wedding and to know how the reception will look, including cocktail hour, cake’s cutting time, when the main course is served, and when to expect the tossing of the bouquet.
  26. Book Rentals. If your venue needs some rental decor, make sure you place your order now to avoid any disappointments. Tables, chairs, a gazebo, a catering table, a DJ set, anything you may need.
  27. Begin Your Wedding Gown Fittings. You ordered your dress, now it’s time to try it on and on and on and on. You will wear it once only, so ideally you want it to fit your perfectly, like a glove.
  28. Plan Your Rehearsals. Many brides and grooms out there have a mock-up reception to make sure everything follows the schedule and goes on seamlessly. If you’re one of them, make sure you plan everything in advance and book your venue accordingly. This also includes dinner!
  29. Four Months Before

    Can you believe you’re going to get married in just over 100 days? It sounds crazy, I know (in the nicest way possible, of course!). Let’s finalize some more details in order to achieve the perfect wedding day without any preoccupations.

  30. Order Your Hair Extensions. First things first, you’ll want to use 100% remy human hair extensions for your wedding hairstyle, as synthetic will simply not be up to the task, no matter what you may read online. Although cheaper, their blend will always stand out compared to human hair. Depending on the hairstyle you’re looking to achieve, you may want to experiment with different types of human hair extensions. Find your inspiration on our blog: How Hair Extensions Can Provide The Perfect Wedding Style.
  31. Finalize Your Make-Up Look. Speak to your make-up artist about your choice and, if there’s any, make sure they are up to date with the changes you may want to apply. After all, you may not have the same wedding idea as almost a year ago, and that’s perfectly fine.
  32. Plan Your Bachelorette Party. Let bygones be bygones and say goodbye to your old life in style; plan a fun hen night where you and your girls can celebrate your upcoming wedding! Four to three months is usually enough to plan a night of shenanigans with your bridesmaids. Just make sure you keep this group chat separate from the official one… What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, am I right?
  33. Make Menu Cards. Your official menu should be finalized already by this time, so now it’s time to print fancy menu cards. You can also digitally upload a copy on your wedding webpage for your guests to consult.
  34. Get Your Marriage License. This may sound like a given, but if you want your marriage to have any legal value do NOT forget this step.
  35. Three Months Before

    Yes, your wedding day is three months away. And by now, you can probably sit back and relax (as much as you are able to), because guess what? All the big things are pretty much already done. You’ve finalized your look, including hair and makeup; your dress fits perfectly – although you may want to try it on one more time! – your venue is booked and paid for, your playlist is all sorted out, and the menu makes you daydream on a daily basis. So what’s next?

  36. Confirm Your Guestlist. There may be some changes to your guestlist, as life is full of unpredictable events. Double check with your guests if they will be able to attend and/or if there’s any changes to the schedule they (or you) should be notified of.
  37. Confirm The Seating Chart. Now that you’re all caught up with who’s going to come and who can’t make it or will be late for any reason, it’s time to sort out the seating chart and decide who will sit with who etc. You may want to organise a table with kids that have recently become best friends, or you may want to make sure someone’s divorced parents aren’t sitting next to each other. Whatever the reason, now it’s time to sit down and design your dinner strategy.
  38. Confirm The Shots Selection. Speak to your designed photographers and videographers and make sure they understand which moments you want to focus on. If you have a list of shots that you can’t miss out on, clarify this with your hired professionals. Creating a moodboard on Pinterest could also be a clever idea to give them a nice visual and inspire them!
  39. One Month Before

    Thirty days to go. Keep calm, take a deep breath. What’s left to organise? Well, at this point in time – unless you’re dealing with some last minute change – there are small details to finalize and you’re good to go. Let’s see them together.

  40. Finalize Decor. Are there any details that are missing? Your wedding planner can help finalize any small decor issues that you might encounter with some good old last-minute online shopping; this can include but not limit to your cake server, centerpieces, or your guest book if you’d like to collect cute messages and signatures.
  41. Break In Your Wedding Shoes. This is an underestimated detail, but you don’t want to spend your wedding day crying about blisters, right? Breaking in your wedding shoes a month in advance will give you enough time to recover from any possible blister and to adapt to their shape so that you’ll be comfortable enough to dance in them at your reception.

  42. Two Weeks Before

    The fourteen days preceding your wedding day can get a little chaotic but keep calm and carry on – you’re almost done. Book all the beauty appointments you may need before your wedding day, keeping in mind any down-time needed; a facial, waxing, a pedicure, your manicure, a tanning session… All of this needs to be done a few days before your wedding.

    A Week Before

    Now it’s time to make sure everyone is on the same page. Finalize any discussion you have to carry with your wedding party, send a friendly reminder to your guests, and if your workplace allows it, take a few days off. If after booking your honeymoon you still have some annual leave allowance, make sure you book two or three days off to complete anything that is pending on your tasklist, including welcome bags, picking up the rings, rehearse your vows, and confirming arrival time of your beauty team.

  43. Pack Your Things. Make sure your dress, shoes, undergarments, jewellery and accessories are all packed up and ready to use for your big day.
  44. Keep An Eye On Your Wedding Bands. Make sure your wedding rings stay visible and don’t get lost in the general chaos, as you’ll need to deliver them to your designed ring-bearer.
  45. Store Your Vows Safely. If you penned your vows by hand, make sure the note doesn’t get lost – pack them securely with your wedding attire to avoid any accidents.
  46. Pack An Emergency Kit. Painkillers, a sewing kit, deodorant, baby powder, an essential make-up retouching kit, plasters, a stain remover… Be ten steps ahead of any possible emergency. Better safe than sorry.
  47. A Day Before

    You’re getting married! TOMORROW! How exciting!!! This is your last chance to make sure everything has been taken care of – double check, actually triple check your task list and confirm anything outstanding with transportation services, photographers and whatnot. And if you haven’t already, make sure you get a mani-pedi! Last but not least, get ahead of schedule and prepare any snacks you may need whilst getting ready in the morning.

    The Day Of

    Well, this is it – isn’t it? You’re getting married today, holy moly. Naturally you’ll have butterflies in your stomach and you may feel overwhelmed with lots of incredible emotions, but it’s important that you stay calm and keep cool! Enjoy every single minute of your special day, starting from a healthy breakfast that will keep you going whilst hair stylists and make-up artists take care of you. Get all the help you may need with your dress, and – friendly suggestion – leave the shoes as last detail. Stay hydrated, and most importantly: have fun!

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