Recently engaged? Here’s my handy guide to help you plan your dream wedding! 

Christmas and New Year are the busiest times of the year for marriage proposals. Since the 1st of January it’s been a little hectic here at Steve Grogan Photography with many people getting in touch to check my availability not just for 2015 but also for 2016 – I’ve been deeply humbled by the number of couples asking me to be their wedding photographer. It’s really made me think about how much work goes into arranging a wedding, so I thought I’d put together a handy 12 month wedding planner to help all you newly engaged couples to plan your special day.

12 months before your wedding…

  • Decide on your budget.
  • Pick the date when you want to get married.
  • Open up a bank account specifically for the wedding funds.
  • Research wedding venues.
  • Write a guest list to give you an idea of how many people will be in attendance.
  • Set up a Pinterest account to help you with inspiration.
  • If you’re having a church ceremony, visit the church and speak with the vicar/priest.
  • If you’re having a civil ceremony book an appointment with a registrar.
  • Research photographers and videographers; make sure you book them as far in advance as possible. I already have many bookings for 2016 so make sure you act quickly.Mottram Hall Wedding

 11 months before your wedding…

  • Consider wedding insurance. It’s not very expensive and it’ll cover you for any re-arrangement costs should you fall ill and be unable to get married on your chosen date.
  • Research your DJ or band and any evening entertainment. Book these guys too as they will also take bookings far in advance.
  • Decide on your final guest list and send out save the date cards.
  • Talk to your chosen venue about menu ideas for your wedding breakfast. You can often book a taster session with them which means a free meal. Woo ooh!
  • Start to look at designs for wedding invitations.

10 months before your wedding…

    • Decide on themes and colours.
    • Choose your bridesmaids, best men and ushers etc.
    • Think about going wedding dress shopping.
    • Start to make plans for the stag and hen parties. Especially if you’re looking at going abroad, booking early will usually mean you can get some bargain flights.
    • Visit a florist and talk to them about your flowers.

Cheshire wedding

9 months before your wedding…

  • Go shopping with your bridesmaids, not only for your dress but the bridesmaid dresses too.
  • Consider the outfits for the groomsmen, book an appointment to see a tailor or a suit hire company.
  • Think about your honeymoon destination and be sure to check your passports are valid. Ensure the names on your passports match the names on your honeymoon booking.
  • Book the hairdresser and make up artist.
  • Make sure you book the necessary time off work for your wedding and honeymoon.

8 months before your wedding…

    • Make a start on ring shopping.
    • Research wedding cakes.
    • Book your wedding car and any additional transport required on the day.
    • Contact rental companies if you need to hire additional seating or any decorations/table centres etc.

Bride and Groom on swing

7 months before your wedding…

  • Send out your wedding invitations.
  • Draw up a gift list if you’re having one.
  • Order your wedding rings.
  • Order your bridal accessories such as shoes, head wear and bag.

6 months before your wedding… 

    • Arrange a measuring and fitting date for the groomsmen’s suits.
    • If you’re having wedding favours, order these.

Wedding Leasowe Castle

5 months before your wedding…

  • Book your wedding night hotel.
  • Plan the ceremony schedule and think about any accompanying music.
  • Consider what music may be playing during the wedding breakfast.

4 months before your wedding…

    • Chose gifts for bridesmaids, groomsmen and parents.
    • Look at guest books for people to sign and write messages in on the day.

Harpist

3 months before your wedding…

  • Select any readings you want for your ceremony.
  • If you’re getting married in church, consider any hymns you would like.
  • Start to think about your final table plan.
  • Go for the fitting of your dresses with your bridesmaids.

2 months before your wedding…

  • Get the order of service designed and printed.
  • Review who has responded to their invite RSVP, chase up those who haven’t.
  • Arrange the final seating plan.
  • Pass on any details of special dietary requirements to your wedding venue.
  • Think about going for a trial run of your hair and make up. Discuss ideas with your hairdresser and make up artist.
  • Have fun on your stag and hen parties!
    Wedding reception

1 month before your wedding…

  • Write your wedding vows if applicable.
  • Now is a good time to double check with all your wedding suppliers that everything is all in order for your day.
  • Pick up your wedding rings.
  • Speak to your bridesmaids and the groomsmen, prepare them for any jobs you wish them to do on the day.
  • Write your speeches.

2 weeks before your wedding…

  • Compile your final song choices for your DJ or band, including the all important first dance song.
  • Visit your wedding venue one final time, have a coffee with your wedding coordinator and make sure everything is in order for the big day.
  • Check that anyone who is delivering a speech has written theirs (or at least started on it!).
  • Groom – Get your hair trimmed, there’s nothing worse than having it done the day before…you’ll look scalped on your photos!
    Wedding photographer smokies hotel

1 week before your wedding…

  • Provide your venue with a list of all your suppliers and what time they will be arriving to set up.
  • Double check the honeymoon details.
  • Pick up the dresses, have everyone try them on so that any last minute adjustments can be made.
  • Pick up the suits for the groomsmen.

2-4 days before your wedding…

  • Deliver name cards and favours etc to the wedding venue.
  • Speak to your photographer, DJ, car rental company, florist etc just to double check everything is in order.
  • Ask a member of your bridal party to work with the photographer on the day to help him/her gather people for any formal group shots.
  • Provide a copy of the wedding schedule to the bridal party and groomsmen so they know where they need to be and when.
    Grosvenor Pulford Hotel wedding

1 day before your wedding…

  • Try and relax, have an early night.

On the day…

    • Take it all in, savour the moment…it will go quickly.
    • Don’t panic if it’s raining. These things happen, your photographer will have already arranged a spot for some formal shots indoors if required. A bit of rain isn’t the end of the world.
    • Have someone in your wedding party be responsible for dealing with any little mishaps, that’s why you asked them to be bridesmaids, best men and ushers…they’ll be happy to help you. Your day should be as stress free as possible!
    • Enjoy it!

Happy Bride

So there you go, obviously this list isn’t extensive, I pulled it together using research from the internet alongside my experience of being present at many weddings over the years. I hope you’ve found it useful?

If you’d like to speak to me about your wedding photography then please do get in touch; I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me here.

All photographs are copyright Steve Grogan Photography.