Many women foster hopes of a dream wedding, with everything planned to a fine detail in their head long before there’s even a spouse to exchange vows with. Having concrete ideas of what you want can be surprisingly hard to put into practice if you don’t give yourself the time to do it, or have a set plan and schedule for pulling it together. The complications involved in organising an event grows along with the size of it, so to help you with this goal, we present our Bride’s One Year Guide to Planning a Wedding.
1 Year Out From the Wedding
This is the time when guests should now be officially invited, which means any last-minute trimming of the guest list has to be tackled. Painful but often necessary, the fear of offending a distant relative or friend must be weighed against the stress of budget blowout. A wedding bonbonniere sent in the mail to those you cannot manage to invite might help those who can’t come - either of their own volition or due to space – feel part of the event.
Research suitable vendors for the event, with a firm grasp on available budget for each one and trying to find reviews where possible. Using vendors that are partnered suppliers to your venue may save money and stress, but could also limit choice, and even possibly be more expensive. Now is the time to explore your options so you can make solid decisions in the next several months.
Shortlist the dresses that have caught your eye, or try to compile a list of required dress features, desired dress features that can be compromised, and budget available. This will help you easily and quickly screen dresses without being too sentimental about how lovely they appear in the model’s photo shoot! It may seem like there is just “the one perfect” dress, but the internet should quickly show you there’s options everywhere. Knuckle down and make your shortlist now to avoid the stress of choosing closer to the date.
In conjunction with choosing your dress, decide if you need to lose any weight for the occasion and make your weight loss plan. Choose a realistic goal and achievable diet plans you will be able to stick to for the year. Most importantly, don’t purchase a dress based on the weight you hope to be! Remember a dress can nearly always be made smaller – but it can’t be made bigger!
Decide whether you will use a registry, some other gift system or eschew gifts altogether. Guests often like to be told what is expected, and they like options! Make a couple of registries with different places, make sure to include items for all budgets, and if possible choose registries that allow guests to write in and “tick off” items they have purchased elsewhere.
6 Months to Go
This is the time when you would ideally like to have most of your vendors booked, explicitly informed of your choices and any down payments made. Your priority is securing that outcome; last minute changes are stressful, and the earlier a vendor is booked the more time you have to pay the balance or save up money to keep your cashflow steady.
Even services you could normally book with little time window, such as transportation and accommodation for the night, might prove to be difficult or expensive if you leave it to the last minute.
A checklist of the usual suspects includes:
- Make-up Artist
- Hair Stylist
- Ceremony Officiant
- Accommodation for yourself or guests you are responsible for
- Caterer (if separate from venue)
- Decorator (if separate from venue)
This is the ideal window for prepping your skin to be at its very best. Facial treatments that provide the best results long-term, such as intensive masks, microdermabrasion, acid peels, and laser and light therapies should begin now. These can make the skin flare up or discolour initially, so make sure you leave plenty of time to have the treatment and let your skin settle back down. Teeth whitening can also begin now to ensure good, solid results with diy home whitening products. Delay getting hair extensions or foils until closer to the date.
Purchase or organize the hire of any equipment your venue will not provide, such as a wishing well, easels for floor plan or other announcements, guest book, cake stand, special cake knife, etc. Be sure to check what a venue provides as those that regularly host weddings may have these already available.
1 Month Left for Preparations!
If all has gone according to plan, this time should be for your final “touch-up” moments to ensure everything is perfect.
But in all likelihood, that will NOT be the case, and you’ll be rushing around to put out last-minute fires. At this stage, your ability to compromise will be tested once again, not by your spouse or your families, but by merciless reality; the weather looks like rain, the baker got part of your order wrong, or the venue wants you to finish the party early.
If you are receiving presents early from those who can’t attend, write out thank-you notes promptly even if you decide to delay to send them all together. The enjoyment of receiving the gift and memory of who got what will be more sincere if done immediately.
The stress and drama of these blows will only escalate unless you’re willing to take some of them on the chin, but to avoid having the wedding feel more like a trial then a celebration, make sure that you don’t compromise on yourself.
1 Week Left
You need “me time” now more than ever, both to ensure you’re looking your best and buffer you from the wedding craziness. This is the ideal time to get hair treatments and massages, but avoid any intensive skin treatments, as these can cause breakouts. Stick to a high-quality maintenance schedule and don’t give in to temptation to experiment. “Touch-ups” of your previous beauty treatments, such as hair dying or extensions, eyelash dying, eyebrow shaping or teeth whitening are advisable.
Even if you have quadruple-checked your hair and make-up appointments, take the time to practise putting on your best face yourself in case things go wrong. Besides, you will feel more bridal and confident looking wedding-worthy before the big event arrives.
1 Day to Go
On the eve of your wedding day, you may be staying at a hotel with your bridal party, or at home with your family. Hopefully all your lists and spreadsheets will be ticked off and double checked and you can spend the day finishing any final touches. Don’t be afraid to delegate any last minute follow up phone calls to vendors or photographers to your maid of honour. Have a bubble bath and relax, before getting to bed as early as you can. Of course with all the excitement it can be tempting to stay up chatting later than you should but you need that beauty sleep.
On the Day
The day you have been waiting for is finally here! Ensure you have a healthy breakfast before you start getting ready, it could be a while before you eat again and you certainly don’t want to be hungry when walking up the aisle. Check your bridesmaids have that bag of essentials on hand for any make up touch ups, and of course tissues for those tears of joy.
Once you have had your hair and make-up done, and have put on that dream wedding dress, take a moment to breathe and remember what this important day is all about. It is a day of celebrating, uniting with the man you adore, and of forging a life and future together.
And now, to the final thing on your wedding to do list, marry the love of your life!