Wedding Planning Timeline
I hope you had a chance to tune in to Ireland AM this morning! It’s always a great pleasure to join in the fun and of course this time we all got to dress as wedding guests…. FINALLY!!!
You can watch back right here:
Firstly, thank you so much Get That Trend for my dress! This is part of their summer maternity collection and it’s so so comfortable. I tried this dress on for the shoot I got to get involved in! You can see all of the beautiful collection right here.
My headpiece was provided by the one and only Ailish McElroy Millinery. It was so light and comfortable to wear. Ailish is an incredibly talented milliner who has had great success with many of her pieces being featured in The Sunday Times, The Irish Independent and nominee for Irish Milliner of the Year with the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards. Her pieces are adored by wedding guests and mothers of the bride and groom. ALSO…..she does bridal pieces. Definitely check out her work: www.ailishmcelroymillinery.com.
You can download the Wedding Planning Timeline Template Here – Use Code IRLAM for 50% off (was €3.50 now €1.75)
Now, back to the tips….
Firstly, the current landscape is busy. You’re looking at a backlog of 2-3 years and like any industry that is considered elastic, when demand goes up, prices go up, when the supply chain prices go up then so does the price to the consumer. Same as flights essentially. With all of that in mind, there are some knock on affects such as couples planning out longer to give more time to save, certain items are taking longer to arrive so need to be booked earlier and some suppliers are just clean out of availability for prime dates.
With all of this in mind, here is a current timeline that could work for couples planning at the moment.
12 months +
Before you book anything – time to mind map – There is a lot of very heavy lifting at this stage as this is where you are nailing down date and the framework for your day but before you get stuck in….
- Big Picture:
This is the vision you have in your mind for your big day.
Get it down on paper, discuss it out loud together, some do vision boards…..whatever works for you. Before you pick up a phone to a supplier or start throwing deposits around the place, I strongly advise that you sit down together to start mapping the day you both want and look realistically at a viable budget. Those first few engaged days can sweep you away and you may end up going down various rabbit holes only to be disappointed.
When you sit down, you both need to decide:
- Numbers (many couples actually have different vision around numbers – one wants big and the other small intimate and this is where you really have to compromise)
- Budget: this may be indicative but work out if you have savings and if you are saving per month, how much can you save and how many months will it take… bearing in mind the average irish wedding is creeping towards 30k and many are paying above that and of course many paying under, this is by no means a target.
- Ceremony: civil, church?
- Time of Year: (seasonality is huge – price is very sensitive to it plus big difference visually between winter and summer)
- Style (castle vibes, modern, eclectic, laid back, black tie…the list goes on)
- Home or Away?
- Individual Preferences: each partner has their top preferences – could be a band, could be a song, dance, colour, car….doesn’t matter just get it down.
By the end of this exercise, you should have some sort of vision of what you want:
I.e wedding of no more than 140, summer 2023, coast location with 20 miles from home, relaxed summer vibes, outdoor civil ceremony, max €25k budget and must have a vintage rolls royce car.
Once you have that set in your mind, your head will be de-cluttered and allow you to save time and laser focus on what you actually want rather than ending up in 10 venue viewings. This will also straight away help you visualise your style and décor.
- Securing the date
The key items you are booking at this stage are pieces that cement your date, in other-words, you can’t proceed to book anything else with these two confirmed:
- Church / Ceremony
Once they are locked in you can then shop your next batch of date sensitive suppliers: (when we talk about date sensitive – we mean the suppliers that can only take one wedding per day.)
You could do this within the month or a month or two after. My worry with couples is that there is a lot of information at this stage and to ensure that you are really tuned in to every decision, you need headspace for it so it’s better to space it out.
- Or if you have a particular wedding supplier that you really want like a make-up artists etc.
Shopping Best Practice:
You’ll repeat this shopping method at every stage of booking different suppliers:
ALWAYS GET 3 QUOTES of equivalent supplier standards or product levels i.e don’t get a 3 star hotel versus exclusive venue / starting out photographer versus long serving award winning photographer…..You need to know what prices and value is out there for your own peace of mind and due diligence.
Also remember, every single thing you book for your wedding will be exciting, beautiful and magical but you still must shop around as the main question I get is from couples 6-8 months in to their planning is if they made the right decision as they rushed in. Always shop an alternative to even put your mind at ease. You really want to avoid any buyers regret!
Once you have decided/narrowed down your vendor partners or items, check all of the contract and ask the person issuing it to explain everything. Go through it line by line and ask what scenarios you might see that happening. Don’t assume anything until you read that. Also, always get what was agreed for your case in writing. Don’t be afraid to ask those ‘what if’ questions.
Once those big pieces are booked, you can take a breather now….for a little while. Even have your engagement party!
9-12 months out:
The key items now are those pieces that are either bespoke or have to be ordered in.
- Choose your wedding dress – just to be warned, there are some supply chain issues and some lead teams are taking longer than others. In normal times, 6-9 months was ok but 9-12 months is better. In addition, it can actually take some a while and few visits before they’re happy to find ‘the one’. Others sometimes find the one on their first visit.
- Once you know your style – start the bridesmaids’ dress shopping process. Not because there are big lead times but getting consensus across the party can take that bit of time. There are so many opting to buy bridesmaids dresses from the online high street retailers and there could be some time between getting dresses, trying them on, returning, going again and buying more etc. The colour scheme you lock in for bridesmaids can have a knock on effect across the rest of your décor. It could lay the foundations for your floral colour scheme.
- Book cars / transports
- Book honeymoon (check and order passports if required)
- Book florists and decor
- Discuss with bridal parties what you may like for hen/stags
- Start hair and facial treatments
- Buy wedding insurance if you opt for this.
- Book or buy groom / groomsmen’s suits (but if getting custom made, you may want to give yourself a little bit longer)
- Book make-up artist (make sure to do a trial!)
- Book hairdresser (make sure to do a trial!)
- Order invitations and stationery
- Order wedding cakes
- Book pre-marriage course if getting married in a church
- Buy wedding rings (again, go closer to that 9 month mark if you are planning some bespoke designs)
- Book extras such as candycart, favours,lighting, photobooth etc..
- At this point, your shopping is pretty much done. You may pick up, as I call them, ‘The Fiddly Bits’ such as the personalised pieces but your core wedding shopping is done and you are just in the admin stages.
- Notify the state of intention to marry and coordinate all paper work
- Confirm church/ceremony booklet content –music, prayers, readings, readers and reflections (Im putting this in a bit early but only so you aren’t left last minute trying to go through it when you are super busy at a later stage)
- Confirm booklet details with stationery supplier
- Wedding dress should arrive as well as bridesmaids dresses (really depends on your designers policy)
- Coordinate alterations
- Send invitations
- Select gifts for bridal party
- Confirm flower arrangements with florist
- One month out tends to be a big milestone of confirming details across all suppliers and bringing everything together.
- Contact reception venue with final menu details, approximate numbers etc
- Contact suppliers to check final arrangements
- Buy accessories (your own to wedding pyjamas for bridal party etc)
- Chase any unanswered RSVPs
- Finalise guest numbers and confirm with wedding venue
- Complete table plan (do not under estimate the time this can take. My advice is, when you are doing up your spread sheet with guest names that you intend to invite, start putting them in to groups as at least you have a general grouping for them and then you can start to refine once you get to this stage).
- Prepare honeymoon bags
- Pay final bills to suppliers and confirm arrival times
- Prepare foreign exchange and notify bank of travels
- If getting a loan for your wedding, drawdown funds. You can decide to do this sooner but just be mindful your first repayment could be the end of that month and you will have to have funds allocated).
1 – 2 weeks
- Collect dresses
- Collect suits
- Prepare bag for wedding night
- Organise to have breakfast delivered to the brides preparation venue (you don’t want the smell of a cooked breakfast on your dress!)
- Go to beauticians for nails, tan, waxing treatments.
- No harm to get a relaxation treatment too!
- Grooms enjoy a shave and barber treatment
- Attend rehearsal for ceremony and rehearsal dinners
- Give rings to the best man (make sure that he knows exactly where they are)
- Delegate jobs of returning suits, collecting left over cake, bringing flowers from church to venue to other bridal party members.
- Might want to make your wedding morning music playlist
- Drop any décor or bags to the venue
- Drop off any pieces to the church / ceremony venue (booklets etc)
- Prep your emergency bag – plasters, paracetamol, water etc
- If leaving from your home, prep the space for any beauty preparation or a key locations for photographs.
- A good idea that many brides and grooms like to do is create a word doc with the timeline of the morning so that everyone knows who is coming and going and where people are meant to be. This means that no one is coming to you as a couple asking loads of questions and you can keep your mind quiet and not get overwhelmed on that morning.
Wake up and enjoy the day knowing everything is ready to roll
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