The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline, According To Debrett's
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The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline, According To Debrett’s

Getting married and don’t know where to start? This will help.

Struggling with your wedding planning timeline? Whether you’re a natural forward-planner or prefer a last-minute approach, Debrett’s Associate Director Lucy Hume gives some useful deadlines to work towards (allowing for a year-long engagement)…

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The Ultimate Wedding Planning Timeline, According To Debrett’s

What Order Should You Plan Your Wedding In?

When it comes to planning a wedding, there’s such a vast amount of little moving parts that getting started can seem incredibly intimidating. Luckily, Lucy Hume has broken down the entire process below.

The First Parts Of Planning Your Wedding

9–12 Months Before

This part of the process is all about locking in the big things, especially the when and the where. Nine months to a year before you plan to get married, Lucy recommends you do the following:

  • Set the wedding date and a budget
  • Choose your wedding team and organise responsibilities for family members
  • Choose and book venues for the wedding and reception
  • Purchase wedding insurance

Next Steps Towards Planning

6–9 Months Before

Six to nine months before the big day, it’s time to tackle some of the larger details, and deciding on the kind of wedding you’d like to have. This means colours, themes, food, readings, entertainment, and so on. Lucy recommends:

  • Obtain a licence or marriage certificate
  • Decide on music and readings
  • Choose the caterers and see a wine merchant about wine and champagne
  • Order the wedding cake
  • Register for a wedding list
  • Choose flowers
  • Finalise the guestlist
  • Design and order the invitations
  • Book transport
  • Book accommodation
  • Book the honeymoon and time off work
  • Buy the wedding dress

Approaching The Big Day

3–6 Months Before

Time to finalise some of the finer details. Lucy suggests three to six months before your wedding is ample time to:

  • Send out save the date cards (if you’re using them)
  • Hire or buy outfits for the wedding party
  • Choose, buy and insure wedding rings
  • Design and print the orders of service

Last Steps In The Wedding Planning Process

1–3 Months Before

One to three months ahead of your wedding day, the details pivot away from the wedding as a whole and towards the day that you and your loved one would like to have. This means picking out things like the hairdresser you’d like for the big day, and the song you’d like to shimmy to for your first dance. Lucy suggests the following:

  • Send out the wedding invitations
  • Meet hair and make-up stylists to decide on a style for the bride and bridesmaids
  • Have final dress fittings for the bride and bridesmaids
  • Pick up wedding rings, and have the engagement ring cleaned or polished
  • Make a note of your favourite songs for the DJ or band, and choose a first dance song
  • Hold the hen and stag parties

Final Touches

1 Week Before

It’s natural to get jitters at this point – and it’ll most likely be because you are worried all of the above moving parts won’t slot into place. Lucy recommends doing the following to soothe your nerves:

  • Practise putting on the wedding dress
  • Reconfirm all the details with suppliers and staff involved on the day, including cakes, flowers, photographs, hair and make-up stylists
  • Make a list of telephone numbers in case of any emergencies on the day
  • Chase last-minute RSVPs
  • Draw up the final seating plan, making extra copies for the caterer, photographer and best man
  • Make place cards and give them to the caterers laying the tables
  • Confirm final numbers, dietary requirements and special requests with the caterers
  • Reconfirm all transport arrangements
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast; make provision for extreme conditions, for example extra umbrellas or bottles of water
  • Pack and organise luggage for the honeymoon
  • Draw up a list of important family and friends for the photographer, with a copy for the best man
  • Brief the best man and chief bridesmaid on any final logistics and last minute duties

On the Day

Relax, take a deep breath – and enjoy!

Find out absolutely everything you need to know about planning a wedding with the Debrett’s Wedding Handbook new edition, £35.