Wedding Daze

THE COUNTDOWN TO YOUR WEDDING

There's lots to do when planning a wedding but don't panic, we're here to help.

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The following information provides you with a guide of things to arrange and suppliers to book for your wedding.

We have put most of the main items in The To Start' section as the best and most popular venues and suppliers can be fully booked a year or two in advance. If you know specific venues, suppliers or services you wish to use you should book them as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

To Start:

Set a provisional date for your wedding.

Decide on the type of ceremony

i.e. religious or civil.

If civil, decide between a register office or a licensed venue. (England & Wales only).

Check the legal requirements for your type of wedding ceremony including any residency requirement and the documents that will be required (birth certificate, decree absolute certificate etc).

Establish who is going to pay for your wedding and agree a budget.

Compile a provisional guest list to establish an estimate of guest numbers for the ceremony, day and evening receptions. This will help you budget accordingly and choose the size and style of venues.

Decide if you're going to plan and organise your wedding yourself or use a wedding co-ordinator.

If getting married in a church, visit the minister and provisionally book the wedding date.

If getting married by civil ceremony at a register office, provisionally book the register office.

If getting married by civil ceremony at a licensed venue in England or Wales, provisionally book

The Superintendent Registrar to attend the licensed venue.

Provisionally book venue or marquee for reception.

Provisionally book your first night hotel room/bridal suite.

Confirm provisional bookings when the venues confirm availability.

Arrange wedding insurance before paying any deposits etc.

Decide on the type of catering you want, whether it will be a sit-down meal or buffet, select your reception menus and book the caterers.

Select and book your photographer and/or Videographers.

Decide on the type of music and entertainment for your ceremony and reception. Before booking

Musicians, band and/or DJ, arrange to see them perform live to check their act and standard.

Order the cake. The final design and colours can be decided later.

Book transport to and from the ceremony and reception for the bridal party, making sure that you view the actual vehicles that you will have on the day.

Start thinking about your wedding dress. Whether you want a designer gown, an 'off the peg' dress or a local dressmaker or hiring a dress.

5 Months To Go

Choose wedding attire shoes and accessories for the chief bridesmaid or matron of honour, bridesmaids and any flower girls.

Choose outfits for the groom, best man, ushers and pageboys.

Discuss with both mothers on their choices of outfits and colours and style of corsage they want.

Decide on the style of flowers you want and the amount of arrangements required to include bouquets, buttonholes, venue and ceremony displays, table centres and gifts for mums.

Visit florists for quotes and discuss your requirements. Book preferred florist.

If you have any very young children as guests then book entertainment or crèche facilities.

4 Months To Go

Choose your wedding rings.

Compile a gift list.

Finalise wedding cake design and colours.

Start a routine to get your skin, nails and hair feeling and looking good.

Check your passports for validity and give thought to your surname after marriage. If you intend adopting your husband's surname and wish to travel on your honeymoon in your married name, obtain passport application forms from a post office.

3 Months To Go

Send out your invitations and have your gift list ready for those who ask for it. Remember, it is not

considered appropriate to include your gift list with the invitations. It is preferable to include it in an information pack sent out to those guests who accept your invitation.

Order the remaining items of wedding stationery e.g. order of service, menus, place cards and thank-you cards.

Make sure you obtain your minister or registrar's final approval for your order of service before going to print!

Choose your going away outfits.

Arrange for any necessary visas to be issued.

Consult your doctor about any vaccinations needed for your honeymoon.

Discuss hairstyles with your hairdresser. Take along any veil or headdress that you are interested in, a picture of your dress if possible and an idea of your colour scheme.

2 Months To Go

Best Man and Chief Bridesmaid to arrange stag and hen parties.

Send out thank you letters as gifts arrive.

Make sure that guests have somewhere to stay and book rooms where necessary.

Upon receipt of acceptances from guests, send out an information pack containing maps and directions to your venues, local accommodation information, details of your gift list and any other relevant information.

Arrange for credit cards in your new name (if you are changing your name upon marriage).

Buy a guest book for people to sign on your wedding day.

1 Month To Go

Book your final hair and beauty appointments (earlier if you know that your hairdresser is very busy), and your make-up artist if you are having one. Confirm whether you will be going to the salon on the day or having stylists to your home.

Telephone any guests who have not responded to your wedding invitation.

Send final number of guests to the caterer and the reception venue.

Prepare speeches and start practicing!

Check that all items of wedding clothing for the bridal party are on schedule for fitting and delivery or collection.

Check that the transport details are finalised, and arrange a practice drive from the bride's house to the church or register office.

Choose and buy presents for attendants, family and friends.

Finalise your reception table plans and perhaps come up with alternative ways to name your tables.

Ensure you have bought all of your accessories and shoes.

1 - 2 Weeks To Go

Have Final rehearsal at the venue for the ceremony.

Wear-in your wedding shoes.

Make sure your order of order of service sheets; menus, place cards and thank-you cards have been delivered.

Order foreign currency and/or travellers cheques.

Celebrate at hen and stag parties.

Put together a list of telephone numbers in case of an on-the-day emergency such as a local cab firm, doctor's surgery and all the suppliers that will be attending or delivering items on your wedding day, e.g. cake maker, florist, transport etc.

On The Day

Get up in plenty of time.

Try to stick to your timetable.

Have a relaxing bath and, even better, include a massage.

Be sure to eat breakfast.

Prepare yourself in plenty of time so you do not feel rushed.

If you are going to a salon to have your hair done then do not forget to take along your headdress, veil or flowers.

Above all, relax, enjoy and have fun!

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