Planning a wedding in the UK: your free checklist

Planning a wedding is a daunting prospect for any one, let me take some of the burden off your shoulders with the following free wedding checklists that is primarily aimed at those planning a to get married in the UK, although is applicable the world over. 

The two big things before starting your wedding planning

What type of wedding do you really want?

The first thing most people say is pick a date, I think this is wrong, better is to try and establish what kind of a wedding do you want – and then the date will naturally pop out.  Here are some ideas:

  • A summer wedding at my Mum’s place (check when everything you need is available)
  • A white family wedding (when is everybody free and the local church available)
  • A quiet wedding overseas (when can you both get time off)

What is your budget?

I suggest a chat with all parents involved is a good starting point, once you have this do not worry too much just work out what is important and then work out what is important to you.  You will be amazed with how much people will help out with the little things such as food and flowers. Armed with the two most significant facts, budget and type you can start to on your checklist:

12 Months:

  • Work out how many people you want to come – only roughly for now
  • Find, visit and book the location for the ceremony
  • Find, visit and book the reception venue
  • Choose the really important people for your big day:
  •             Best man
  •             Maid of honour
  •             Ushers         
  •             Bridesmaids
  •             Flowergirls and Pageboys
  • You could consider sending a ‘save the date card’ at this point, to ensure all your friends will come

9 Months

  • Book the less important people and things for the day
    •             Arrange Photographer
    •             Band or DJ
    •             Book the florist
    •             Book transport for the bride
  • Book your honeymoon
  • Organise Wedding stationary
  • If you want to go overseas check your passports are valid
  • Book an appointment with a wedding dress designer if you think you’ll need one
  • Draw up you guest list, with some first reserves in case people can’t make it.
  • Think about your wedding gift list.

6 Months

  • Order the Cake
  • Send out your invitations (store replies safely in a folder)
  • Try, and then order the food and drink menus for the reception
  • Start your health and beauty regime
  • Book your accommodation for the night before and perhaps first night if you don’t plan to dash straight off. 

4 Months:

  • Finalise the details of the service
    •             Readings
    •             Music (most important are your entrance and exit piece)
    •             Choir and bell ringers
  • Get an agreement from the Vicar or Registrar for photos inside the ceremony at the same time, if necessary, organise the reading of the banns
  • Order your wedding rings
  • Buy a dress if your going to a specialist shop
  • Consider if you need wedding insurance


2 Months:

  • Chase up non RSVPs
  • Try and go firm on your guest list
  • Buy wedding accessories such as shoes and lingerie
  • Confirm the flower, menus and music details
  • Buy or arrange to hire suits or morning dress for the Groom and his Ushers


4 Weeks:

  • Book a practice hair and beautician appointment with your mum or Maid of honour
  • If you are going somewhere exotic have your jabs
  • Give the nearly final numbers with a 5% ‘fudge factor’ to the caterer
  • Pay for anything outstanding like the car, florists, cake etc
  • Meet with the photographer
  • Check the travel arrangements for the wedding party will work
  • Buy presents for all those special people, particularly the Best man and maid of honour
  • Final fittings for your dress
  • Wear in your wedding shoes, by wearing them about the house so they are comfortable
  • If you want to put an announcement in the paper
  • Have your Hen night and Stag do!


2 Weeks :

  • Make your seating plan
  • Give final numbers to the caterer
  • Check all is set for your Honeymoon


A video giving you a run-down of things to do to prepare for your wedding day

1 Week:

  • Have a rehearsal at the Church or venue
  • Finalise the decoration arrangements
  • Give the seating plan to the Ushers
  • Pick up your dress and the other wedding items
  • Confirm with the key people providing services:
    •             Photographers
    •             DJ or Band
    •             Florist
    •             Cake maker
    •             Caterer
    •             Car hire company
    •             Church or Registrar
  • Collect all your gifts if your using a wedding list company

2 Days:

  • Pack for your Honeymoon
  • Go through everything with you future Husband or wife chronologically (from here it is chaotic and you’ll see surprisingly little of them alone until you’re tucked away on your honeymoon.
  • Perhaps have a meal with your own family (this ‘last meal’ can reduce some of the pressure from the big day)
  • Confirm the travel timings for the day

The Day before:

  • Check the arrangements for decorations are in place
  • Check delivery of wedding cake
  • Block out time for your arriving friends and family
  • Speak to the Bestman, Maid of honour, ushers and brides maids so they all know how you want them to help.

After your wedding:

  • Write thank you cards, use the contact information from the original RSVPs
  • Consider setting up a photo sharing website for your wedding photos
  • For any one who was really helpful a nice gift could be a photo book made from your wedding day annotatated with your old captions, this works really well for dearly loved relatives who could not make it for any particular reason
  • Have an amazing life together!

Useful tips for your UK wedding planning checkilst:

I know people who have managed to pull a really good wedding together, complete with reception in less than 2 months.  The second reassurance I can offer you is that if you think about it you have been doing this your whole life, it is a cliché I know, but it is true – all you need to do is put it all together.  You have been going to weddings since you were little, you won’t remember every little detail but try, right now, to write a list of the 10 best things and the 3 things you need to avoid.  I guarantee this will really help you, your not going to copy everything from your all your friends rather you are going to take what you like and make it better with your own style. 

Good luck

I wish you the very best of luck with your big day, I know that it will work.  If you ask people you know, very few have ever been to a bad wedding.  This is because firstly, things you worry about are never as bad as you think and second because everybody that is coming to your wedding wants to make it work and will help if something, that you could not have foreseen goes wrong.


Now go out there and make it work, best of luck