Hi everyone and welcome to the latest edition of the Wedding Checklist series. We’re now on post number 4 with only 3 – 6 months to go until your wedding day. Let’s get cracking!
1. Send Out Invitations
It’s time to stock up on stamps and send out those beautiful invitations. If you want your guests to return a part of the invite, either to RSVP or choose from a selection of menu options, be sure to include a return addressed envelope.
When RSVPs start coming in thick and fast it’s important to have a system in place to keep track. Whether you use a spreadsheet or a hand-written list is totally down to personal preference. Do whatever works for you. My fiancé and I have set up an email address for the wedding and plan on asking guests to RSVP to this address. That way they can all be saved in the one folder (and… I’ll save a few bob on stamping those return address envelopes).
2. Compile and Send Out Your Gift List
A concept which is becoming more popular these days is registering for gifts. For those of you who don’t know, this means you take a walk round a department store which offers this service (e.g. John Lewis) and choose things you would like your guests to buy for you and your husband to be. These items get recorded on a list which can then be accessed via the store’s website. You send your guests the details, they then access the list and choose something to buy.
The advantage of this is that you receive gifts which you actually want/need. Your guests may be grateful to have a list as it spares them the worry of perhaps choosing the wrong thing.
Despite its advantages, registering for gifts isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Make up your own mind and do what you feel is best.
3. Draft Your Seating Plan
Though you may not have had that many RSVPs through you still want to start thinking about your seating plan. It can be a real headache if left to the last minute. If your family is anything like mine you’ll want to establish fairly early on who should sit together and who definitely shouldn’t!
Speak to your reception venue to find out the number of tables available and the number of bums allocated to each table. From this your seating plan can take shape. You can always make amendments when you find out who can and cannot make it.
4. Choose Your Choons
By now you will have booked the entertainment for your ceremony and reception. Arrange a meeting with them to discuss your song choices. Having this chat at this stage allows them plenty of time to either get their hands on or rehearse the music you want.
I can’t stress how important this is. When my mum re-married in 2001 her DJ let her down by telling her minutes before the first dance that he didn’t actually have the song she wanted, even though he had been asked months before! This left the poor newly weds standing flicking through CDs (it was the early noughties) and having to settle for a different song for their first dance as husband and wide.
You have been warned!
5. Select Your Readings
If you are going to have readings during your ceremony and/or reception now is the time to select the ones you want and pass them on to whoever will be reading them. Chances are these people are pretty nervous about doing so. Make sure they are comfortable with the piece you’ve chosen and give them plenty of time to rehearse.
6. Buy Your Wedding Bands
Visit a few jewellers with your hubby to be and pick out the bands of your choice. Take your time in deciding as you will be wearing it on your left hand for the rest of your days (DUN, DUN, DUUUNNN!!!...haha!).
Will you go for a simple band, will it be diamond encrusted or will it be something more bespoke and unique to you?
7. Book Wedding Night Accommodation
If you’re having your reception in a hotel you may be lucky enough to secure a room for the night as part of your wedding package. If you haven’t, ask for one!
You might be having your reception in a marquee, town hall or other location where accommodation is not available. Look out for somewhere nearby you and your new husband can rest your heads. You don’t particularly want to travel very far at the end of your big day.
8. Research Accommodation For Your Guests
In line with the above it would be a good idea to look into accommodation for your guests who will be travelling to be a part of your wedding day. This is not something you absolutely must do but I’m certain your guests will appreciate it. Even something as simple as dropping them an email with links to hotels would be a lovely gesture.
9. Book Your Honeymoon
While you’re looking at hotels… you may as well book your honeymoon! Some couples like to jet off immediately after their wedding while others may wait to go at a time of year more suited to them and the type of trip they want to take. Whatever you decide I’d recommend booking it now so you get to go where you really want to.
10. Renew Your Passport
…or wait until you come back from your honeymoon. You can change your name on your passport up to 3 months before the ceremony but won’t be able to use the new passport until after you are married. Some brides find it easier to wait until they come back from their trips.
For more details check out UK Government Passport Information.
11. Book Travel Visas / Get Inoculated
You may need a visa for your honeymoon and this will also factor into whether you change your name before or after your wedding. Some countries do not allow you to apply for a visa if the name on your passport has been changed ahead of the ceremony. It’s worth checking when applying for a visa.
Also, depending on where you’re jetting off to you may need to get inoculations. Do your research and get these sorted.
12. Choose and Order Favours
There are so many companies offering favours these days and the choices become weirder and wonderful-er (totally a real word) every day. You could choose from one of these suppliers or... this could be another prime opportunity for you to indulge in some DIY. Perhaps you’re a keen baker and want to offer your guests shortbread. Maybe you’re quite the craft lady and can create beautiful bespoke jewellery. The possibilities are literally endless...
13. Book Your Hair and Make-up Trial
Have a think about how you want your hair and make-up to look on your wedding day. If you see something you like or have an idea in mind, organise a trial to see how it looks. Sometimes we see great ideas but they don’t necessarily translate well on ourselves. A trial is a must as you don’t want to find you don’t actually like something on the morning of your wedding! Plus it’s fun to get all done up by the pros.
14. Buy Your Wedding Lingerie
Gents look away now...
Gents look away now...
I would recommend purchasing your wedding lingerie at this stage so that when you go for any future dress fittings you’ll be wearing whatever it is you plan on wearing (or not wearing) underneath your wedding dress. This is more so for bras/basques rather than pants as they typically won’t make much difference unless your dress is quite fitted. You want to make sure your ‘ladies’ are strapped down and in place on your big day. Some brides choose not to wear a bra as there is support built into their dress. The choice is totally yours. Just make sure you try on which ever ensemble you’re going to go for.
15. Buy Wedding Shoes and Accessories
You may have picked up your shoes and accessories when you bought your dress but if not now is the time to buy them. As with the lingerie, you’ll want to get these bits and pieces together for dress fittings so you can see how the entire outfit comes together.
16. Organise The Groom’s Outfit
Now that you’re all sorted it’s time to organise your groom’s outfit. Some grooms will want to choose their own outfit all by themselves while others (i.e. mine) will be more than happy to stand back and let you choose (within reason). Whatever the two of you decide you’ll want to get this organised soon. Something to consider is whether you want the best man, ushers etc. to either match or co-ordinate with the groom. If you’re asking other people to wear something you’ve chosen take their taste into consideration also.
You and your groom may decide to either hire or purchase his outfit. Some men, if they don’t already have a kilt, use the opportunity to buy the kilt and then hire the other bits and pieces. This allows them to build up a collection of the other bits over the coming years. Something to think about…
I hope this helps you on your way to planning your wedding now that it is getting closer and closer. The excitement will be building your big day draws nearer and I’m sure at this stage you’ll be struggling to think of much else.
How are you getting on? What have you ticked off your list so far?