Plan Your Stress Free Wedding: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need”

Getting ready to tie the knot? We’ve got your back! This comprehensive guide is your one-stop solution for planning the wedding of your dreams. We cover everything, from setting the date to saying “I do”, ensuring you miss nothing important. Each point is packed with actionable advice to make your planning process smooth and stress-free. So let’s dive into your exciting wedding planning journey confidently and easily.

Table of Contents

12 Months Out

Set the Wedding Date

Choosing your wedding date is where your wedding planning journey truly begins. You will remember this date forever, so it’s important to choose it wisely. Consider the weather, especially if you’re planning an outdoor wedding. Check the availability of your dream venue because their schedule might influence your date choice. Also, consider whether any special dates hold significance for you and your partner.

Once you have some dates in mind, start talking to family members and key guests to ensure they can attend. Remember public holidays and long weekends, which might affect travel plans.

Finally, reflect on the feel of the different seasons. A cozy winter wedding will have a different vibe than a vibrant summer celebration.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Discuss potential dates with your partner, considering all the factors above.
  2. Check the availability of your preferred venue and key guests.
  3. Reflect on the season you’d prefer to have your wedding in.
  4. Once decided, mark it on your calendar and start spreading the word. This is your date!

Prepare Your Guest List

Creating your guest list can be both an exciting and daunting task. It’s a delicate balance between including everyone you want to share your special day with and considering your budget and venue capacity.

Start with your must-have guests, the ones you can’t imagine not having there on your day. These could be family members, close friends, and perhaps important mentors or teachers. Once these people are listed, you can move on to other friends, colleagues, and extended family.

Remember, it’s your day. Don’t feel pressured to invite someone just because you feel obligated to. This day is about celebrating your love with the people who most matter to you.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Sit down with your partner and list your ‘must-have’ guests.
  2. Consider your budget and venue size, then add other guests until you reach these limits.
  3. Please review the list and adjust as needed, remembering that it’s okay to only invite some.
  4. Once your list is final, you can start thinking about save-the-date cards and invitations.

Figure Out Your Budget

One of the less glamorous aspects of wedding planning, arguably one of the most important, is setting your budget. The budget will influence almost every other decision, from the size of your guest list to the venue and even the date.

Begin by discussing with your partner what you both feel comfortable spending. Consider if family members will contribute and factor that into the overall budget. Remember to keep a buffer for unexpected expenses coming closer to the wedding.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Have an open discussion about finances with your partner.
  2. Factor in contributions from family members, if any.
  3. Set aside some funds for unforeseen costs.
  4. Allocate your budget to different aspects of your wedding.

Find and Book Your Venue

The venue sets the stage for your entire wedding. Whether you dream of a rustic barn, a sleek city hotel, or a casual beach setting, your venue will influence your wedding’s vibe.

Start your search early and consider location, capacity, availability, and price factors. Be sure to visit the venues and ask plenty of questions about what’s included in the package.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Identify the style and vibe you want for your wedding.
  2. Research venues and make a shortlist.
  3. Visit potential venues and ask questions.
  4. Confirm the cost, date, and what’s included before booking.

Select Your Bridal Party

Choosing your bridal party is an opportunity to honour the important people in your life. These should be the people who have been there for you, and you can trust to support you in the lead-up to and on your wedding day.

Think about the dynamics of your group. You want people who can get along well and positively affect your planning process.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Discuss with your partner who you want in your bridal party.
  2. Consider the dynamics and size of the group.
  3. Ask your chosen party members if they’d be willing to take on the role.
  4. Thank them with a heartfelt note or small gift.

Choose Whether You Would Like a Wedding Planner to Help or Do a DIY

Whether to hire a wedding planner or do it yourself depends on a few factors. If you’re strapped for time, stressed about planning, or have a larger budget, a wedding planner might be the way to go. They have industry connections and experience that can make your planning process smoother.

However, DIY might be the right fit if you’re on a tighter budget or enjoy the process. It can also add a more personal touch to your wedding.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Assess your budget, time, and stress levels.
  2. Research local wedding planners and their pricing if considering this option.
  3. Determine the tasks you could do yourself if opting for DIY.
  4. Make your decision and start the planning process.

Book a Photographer and Videographer

Ahh my favourite subject.. I wonder why 🤔

Booking a quality photographer and videographer is an investment in memories. These professionals will capture the essence of your day, and it’s these images and videos you’ll look back on for years to come.

Start researching early and look at portfolios to find a style you love. Be sure to meet or call the photographer/videographer to ensure you’re comfortable with them.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Research and shortlist photographers and videographers.
  2. Review their portfolios and check for a style that aligns with your vision.
  3. Set up meetings to discuss your needs and expectations.
  4. Book your preferred professional well in advance to secure their services.

Book Celebrant/Officiant

Your celebrant or officiant plays a crucial role in your wedding as they’ll guide you through the vows and make your marriage official. You’ll want someone who aligns with your beliefs and can deliver a meaningful and memorable ceremony.

Start by researching local celebrants or officiants. Meet them to discuss your ceremony vision and ensure you feel comfortable with their approach.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Research local celebrants or officiants.
  2. Schedule meetings to discuss your ceremony vision.
  3. Ensure you feel comfortable with their approach and delivery style.
  4. Book your chosen celebrant or officiant.

Book a DJ/Band or Entertainers

Music sets the tone for your wedding reception. A good DJ or band can elevate the atmosphere, keep the energy up, and get people on the dance floor.

Start researching early and consider whether you want a DJ or a live band. Think about the kind of music you love and what you believe your guests will enjoy.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Decide whether you prefer a DJ or a live band.
  2. Research potential entertainers and review their previous performances.
  3. Meet or have a discussion to ensure they understand your vision.
  4. Secure your chosen entertainer by booking them well in advance.

Book a Florist

Flowers can add a beautiful touch to your wedding day, from bouquets and boutonnieres to centrepieces and ceremony decor.

Start by researching local florists and looking at their portfolios. You’ll want a florist who understands and executes your vision, whether simple elegance or lush extravagance.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Identify the style of floral decor you want for your wedding.
  2. Research local florists and look at their portfolios.
  3. Discuss your vision, budget, and wedding details with potential florists.
  4. Book your chosen florist.

Book Hair and Makeup Artist

Your wedding day is a day to feel your most beautiful, and a professional hair and makeup artist can help achieve that. They know how to create a look that will last all day and photograph well.

Research local artists, review their portfolios, and schedule a trial to ensure their style matches your vision.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Decide on the style of hair and makeup you want.
  2. Research local artists and review their portfolios.
  3. Schedule a trial to see if you’re comfortable with their work.
  4. Book your chosen artist.

Book a Photo Booth

A photo booth is a fun addition that offers entertainment for your guests and leaves them with a keepsake from your wedding.

Consider whether you want a traditional booth or something more unique, like a mirror or GIF booth.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Decide what type of photo booth you prefer.
  2. Research local photo booth providers.
  3. Check what’s included in the package, like props and printouts.
  4. Book your desired photo booth.

Book Transport for the Day

Your wedding day transportation ensures that you and your bridal party get to the ceremony and reception on time and in style. Whether it’s a classic car, limo, or something more unique, book your transportation well in advance.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Decide the type of transport you’d like for your wedding.
  2. Research local transport providers.
  3. Ensure the transport you choose can accommodate your bridal party.
  4. Book your chosen transport.

Start Wedding Dress Shopping

Wedding dress shopping is a major milestone in the planning process. This is a chance to find a dress that makes you feel beautiful and confident.

Start early, as dresses can take months to arrive and require alterations. Research styles and designers you like, and book appointments at bridal shops.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Look at different wedding dress styles and designers.
  2. Book appointments at bridal shops.
  3. Try on different styles to find what suits you best.
  4. Order your chosen dress, leaving ample time for delivery and alterations.

Look for a Stationery Supplier

Your wedding stationery, including your save-the-dates and invitations, is your guests’ first taste of your wedding style.

Research local or online stationery suppliers. Look for a design that fits your wedding style and palette, and ensure they offer all the pieces you need, from menus to thank-you cards.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Identify your wedding style and colour palette.
  2. Research stationery suppliers, both locally and online.
  3. Make sure they offer all the stationery you need.
  4. Place your order, leaving ample time for printing and delivery.

8 Months To Go

Order Your Wedding Invitations

You should have a guest list and know your venue by now, so it’s time to order your wedding invitations. You want these to reflect the tone and style of your wedding, whether that’s formal and elegant or relaxed and rustic. Also, consider your colours and theme. Keep in mind you’ll need an invitation for every household, not every individual guest.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Choose a style that suits your wedding.
  2. Confirm details (date, time, venue) before printing.
  3. Order one invitation per household.

Order the Wedding Cake

Now’s the time to book your cake baker if you haven’t already. Start tasting appointments and discuss designs. Remember that the cake size will depend on the number of guests.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Schedule tastings with a few bakers.
  2. Choose a design that fits your theme.
  3. Order a cake that can serve all your guests.

Send Out Save-the-Date Cards

Give your guests a heads-up about your wedding date, especially if you plan a destination wedding or during a popular vacation. This is particularly important for out-of-town guests who must make travel arrangements.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Design save-the-date cards that match your style.
  2. Please send them to every guest, even local ones.
  3. Check that all addresses are correct before sending.

Buy Your Bridesmaids Outfits and Accessories

It’s time to start shopping for your bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories. You’ll want to consider the weather, the venue, and the wedding theme. Keep in mind everyone’s body type and comfort too!

Actionable Steps:

  1. Choose dresses that suit your bridesmaids and the wedding style.
  2. Start the fittings process.
  3. Choose accessories that complement the outfits.

Look for Honeymoon Destinations

Begin researching potential honeymoon spots. Remember to keep your budget in mind. Suppose you’re getting married during peak travel time. In that case, you’ll want to book sooner rather than later to get the best prices and availability.

Actionable Steps:

  1. List potential destinations that both of you will enjoy.
  2. Set a budget for the honeymoon.
  3. Start checking prices and availability.

Plan the Decor for the Day and Book Decor Supplier

Your wedding venue might be a beautiful space, but you’ll still want to add some personal touches. From table runners to chair decorations, centrepieces to signage, start planning how you want to decorate the space and make it uniquely yours.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Choose decorations that match your wedding style.
  2. Create a list of decor items needed.
  3. Book a reliable decor supplier.

6 Months To Go

Book Your Honeymoon

By now, you should have researched and chosen your ideal honeymoon destination. It’s time to lock in your booking. Remember, the sooner you book, the better deals you’ll likely find, especially if you’re travelling during a popular time.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Finalise your destination and accommodation choices.
  2. Check your passports are up to date if you’re travelling internationally.
  3. Book your flights and accommodation.

Have Your Hair and Makeup Trials

This is the perfect time to begin your hair and makeup trials. This way, you can test different looks and ensure you’re delighted with your final wedding day look.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Research styles that suit your personal taste and the feel of your wedding.
  2. Book trials with your makeup artist and hairstylist.
  3. Take photos of each trial to help you make a final decision.

Shop for Groom and Groomsmen Outfits and Accessories

The groom and groomsmen need to look sharp too! Take some time to pick out the perfect outfits for them. Remember to consider the wedding’s style and the comfort of your groomsmen.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Choose outfits that complement the wedding style.
  2. Start fittings for the groom and groomsmen.
  3. Choose accessories such as ties, cufflinks, and shoes.

Wedding Ring Shopping Time

It’s time to pick out your wedding rings. Whether you want something classic or unique, spend some time visiting jewellers. Remember to have your ring sizes measured.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Decide on a style that suits both of you.
  2. Visit a few jewellers to compare prices and designs.
  3. Get measured for your rings.

3 Months To Go

Dress Alterations

At this point, you’ve likely chosen your dream wedding dress. It’s time to focus on getting it to fit perfectly. Schedule your first fitting, and remember that you may need a few sessions to get it right.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Schedule your first fitting with a professional sewist.
  2. Bring your wedding shoes and undergarments to the fitting.
  3. Be vocal about your comfort and how you want the dress to look.

Finalise Menu and Drinks

Finalising your wedding menu and drinks now gives your caterers enough time to prepare. Consider dietary restrictions and a diverse selection to cater to all your guests.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Confirm your final guest count.
  2. Discuss dietary restrictions and menu options with your caterer.
  3. Choose a selection of beverages to serve.

Choose an MC for the reception

Your Master of Ceremonies (MC) plays a pivotal role in keeping your wedding reception running smoothly. Choose someone who’s organised, engaging, and familiar with you as a couple.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Choose a trusted friend, family member, or professional MC.
  2. Discuss your wedding timeline with them.
  3. Please provide them with the necessary details about the wedding, such as the order of events and names of important guests.

Send Out Your Wedding Invitations

Your wedding invitations should be sent out around this time. This gives your guests plenty of notice to RSVP and make travel arrangements if necessary.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Check that all information on the invitation is correct.
  2. Assemble your invitations and prepare them for mailing.
  3. Keep a list of who you’ve sent invitations to for tracking RSVPs.

Choose Your Wedding Music and Readings (if applicable)

The music played at your ceremony and reception can set the mood for your entire day. Spend some time carefully selecting songs that are meaningful to you. If you have readings at your ceremony, choose those now too.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Choose songs for key moments (processional, first dance, etc.).
  2. If having readings, select those and ask chosen readers.
  3. Discuss song choices with your band/DJ or ceremony musician.

Buy Gifts for Your Bridal Party

As a token of your appreciation, it’s customary to give gifts to members of your bridal party. Consider their personal tastes and choose something thoughtful.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Make a list of all members of your bridal party.
  2. Think about their personal tastes and interests.
  3. Please choose a gift for each person and arrange for it to be wrapped.

Begin Planning Your Hen/Buck’s Night

This is usually a fun task handed over to the maid of honour or best man. But if you have specific ideas or wishes for your pre-wedding party, now’s the time to start brainstorming!

Actionable Steps:

  1. Decide what type of party you’d like (weekend away, dinner out, etc.).
  2. Discuss plans with the person organising them.
  3. Compile a guest list and decide on a date.

Practice Dance Lessons for Your Special Day

If you plan on having a choreographed first dance or want to feel more confident on the dance floor, now is the perfect time to take dance lessons.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Research local dance studios or private instructors.
  2. Schedule your lessons.
  3. Practice, practice, practice!

Find Out Who Would Like to Do a Speech at the Reception

Now’s the time to finalise who will be speaking at your reception. Typical speakers include the couple, the parents, and members of the bridal party.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Make a list of potential speakers.
  2. Ask each individual if they’d be comfortable speaking.
  3. Give them plenty of time to prepare their speeches.

1-2 Months To Go

Get in touch with All Vendors

It’s important to reconfirm details with all your vendors. This includes timelines, locations, and final guest counts.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Compile a list of all vendors.
  2. Reach out to each to confirm details.
  3. Make any final changes or requests.

Arrange for the Final Fitting of Your Wedding Dress

You’re nearing the big day, and it’s time for your final dress fitting. Make sure everything is perfect, from the fit to the length and how it feels when you move around.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Schedule your final fitting appointment.
  2. Bring your wedding shoes and undergarments to the fitting.
  3. Practice walking and sitting in your dress to ensure comfort and fit.

Contact Guests Who Have Not Responded to Your Invitation

If you have any guests who still need to RSVP, now is the time to give them a friendly reminder.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Review your guest list and identify those who have yet to respond.
  2. Send a friendly reminder to those guests asking for their RSVP.
  3. Update your final guest count once all RSVPs are in.

Finalise Seating Plans

Once you have your final guest count, you can work on the seating arrangements for your reception.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Confirm the layout of the reception venue.
  2. Group guests together based on relationships, shared interests, etc.
  3. Consider special requirements like high chairs for children or easy access for older guests.

Arrange Wedding Rehearsal

A wedding rehearsal can help everyone involved in the ceremony understand their roles and timing.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Decide on a date and time for the rehearsal.
  2. Invite all the key players (bridal party, parents, officiant).
  3. Walk through the ceremony at the venue.

Pick up Groom and Groomsmen Suits

Ensure all the men’s outfits are ready and the correct size. If anything needs adjusting, there’s still time to have it done.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Schedule a time for the groom and groomsmen to try on their outfits.
  2. Check for any adjustments needed.
  3. Arrange for final pick-up or delivery.

Write Your Wedding Vows

If you’re personalising your vows, take the time to write something heartfelt and meaningful.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Decide on the structure of your vows (will they be identical or unique to each of you?).
  2. Write your vows – they should reflect your feelings and promises to your partner.
  3. Practice saying your vows out loud.

Write Wedding Reception Speeches

The wedding reception is a great time to thank your guests and express joy. Writing your speeches in advance ensures you say everything you want to.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Decide who will be making speeches at the reception.
  2. Write your speeches, taking the time to reflect on your feelings and experiences.
  3. Practice delivering your speech to ensure a smooth delivery on the day.

Work Out the Wedding Day’s Timeline

A clear wedding day timeline can help ensure everything runs smoothly.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Start with the ceremony time and work outwards from there.
  2. Consider factors such as travel time, photo sessions, and meal times.
  3. Share the timeline with your vendors and bridal party.

Finalise the Number of Guests at the venue

Once you’ve received all your RSVPs, provide the final guest count to your venue and caterers.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Review your RSVPs and calculate your final guest count.
  2. Notify your venue and caterer of the final number.
  3. Check if this changes any aspects of your booking (some venues have minimum guest counts, for example).

Have a Haircut and Colour if Needed

You want to look your best on your wedding day. Schedule any necessary grooming appointments for about a week before the wedding.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Book your haircut and/or colouring appointment.
  2. Choose a style that complements your wedding look.
  3. Ensure your hair is healthy and groomed for the big day.

Book in for a Tan and Nails, if Desired

If you plan on having a tan or getting your nails done, schedule these appointments for the week of your wedding.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Book your tanning appointment (if desired).
  2. Schedule your nail appointment a day or two before the wedding.
  3. Choose a nail design that matches your wedding style.

Organise Food for the Morning Preparations

You’ll be busy getting ready on the morning of your wedding, so having food prepared will make things easier.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Decide what type of food you’d like for the morning (finger food is usually easiest).
  2. If you need to prepare it yourself, book a catering service.
  3. Ensure there’s enough for your bridal party and any vendors who’ll be there in the morning.

1 Week To Go

Select Your Favourite Photos

This is for any photo slideshows or displays you’re planning. Gather your favourite photos of you and your partner and any other special pictures you want to include.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Look through your photos and select your favourites.
  2. If you’re having a slideshow, decide on the order of the pictures.
  3. Give your selected photos to your DJ, videographer, or whoever handles the slideshow/display.

Create and Send Out Thank You Cards

It’s a thoughtful gesture to thank your guests for attending. You can create these before the wedding and add personalised notes afterwards.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Choose a design for your thank you cards.
  2. Write a general thank you note to go on each card.
  3. After the wedding, add personal messages and send them out.

Pack for Your Honeymoon

If you’re leaving for your honeymoon shortly after the wedding, you’ll want 0your suitcase packed and ready to go.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Check the weather at your destination for the dates you’ll be there.
  2. Pack accordingly, making sure to include any necessities.
  3. Remember travel documents like passports and boarding passes!

Final Walk-through of the Venue

Visit the venue one last time to ensure everything is in order and just how you want it.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Schedule a walk-through with your venue coordinator.
  2. Check the setup of the ceremony and reception areas.
  3. Make sure all your questions are answered and details are in place.

Relax and Look After Yourself

With just a week to go, taking care of your health and well-being is important.

Actionable Steps:

  1. Schedule some relaxation time – consider a spa day or quiet night in.
  2. Stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet.
  3. Get plenty of sleep to ensure you’re rested for the big day.


And there you have it – the ultimate wedding planning guide that covers everything you need from a year out until the week of the big day. With this guide, you’re well-equipped to navigate the incredible wedding planning journey. It might seem overwhelming at times, but the end result, a day filled with love and joy, is absolutely worth it.

Remember, we’ve made things even easier for you – you can download this comprehensive checklist to keep track of every step. Just click the button below, and we’ll send it to your email. Happy planning, and here’s to a beautiful wedding day!

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