wedding timeline

Wedding Planning Timeline

Wedding Planning Timeline

When Should I book what?

Here’s your go-to wedding planning timeline for recently engaged couples keen to start planning the wedding of the century.

A wedding timeline can be a helpful guide for when to book certain tasks and services, so you don’t need to worry about missing deadlines or being left behind.

You’ll notice we’ve applied some rough guidelines for when to book a particular wedding supplier/service but here’s one top tip that you should always keep in mind:

The majority of wedding suppliers are usually one-man/lady bands and they can only take on a certain amount of weddings in one year.

Therefore, if you’re after that specific magical venue or photographer, don’t wait too long! Book them up or you may regret it!

  • Side note: This is not a comprehensive list, nor are the suggestions compulsory, this is just a rough guide which will vary from wedding to wedding. As with most things, budget will dictate what you decide for your wedding.

12-18 months before the big day

the ultimate planning checklist

Set your budget

As you enter the planning process for your upcoming wedding, it’s essential to set a budget within the first 12-18 months. Planning out your budget can be a fun process, granted that you are realistic and mindful of what you can afford. When setting your wedding budget, it’s important to be aware of all the areas; this includes everything from venue costs, caterers and florists, to décor elements, transportation expenses, and more. With good planning and foresight, planning your wedding within budget will be a breeze!

wedding checklist

Consider hiring a wedding planner

Hosting a wedding can be a major undertaking, with numerous details to consider and hundreds of decisions to make. It’s no wonder that many couples are considering hiring a professional wedding planner to take some of the load off their shoulders. With the expertise and connections of a true professional, it is possible to create the perfect wedding while removing much of the stress associated with this monumental occasion. Plus, you can benefit from insider tips that your planner will have acquired through working with top suppliers in the industry. Don’t let planning your wedding overwhelm you – hire a Wedding Planner and enjoy every aspect of your special day!

reception venue

Book your wedding venue

This will give you a good idea of how much space you have to work with and what kind of wedding you can have. It will also help to set the tone for the rest of your wedding planning. Wedding venues are booked up quickly, so it’s important to book your venue as soon as you decide on a date.

engagement photos

Book your wedding photographer and videographer

A wedding photographer is an indispensable wedding professional and you should book one 12-18 months before your wedding. It is worth looking around to ensure you find the right photographer for you who understands your wedding dreams and goals. Contact multiple wedding photographers, look at their previous work, and talk to them about their experience and availability. A wedding photographer will be able to capture special moments throughout your wedding day in a creative and fun way that you can treasure for years to come. So make sure you start researching the perfect wedding professionals early on!

civil ceremony

Book your celebrant/church

An essential part of the day no doubt! If you’re getting married at your venue, consider booking a celebrant to provide a memorable and meaningful ceremony for you and your guests. If you’re getting married in a church, then ensure to book your preferred date ASAP. Note that if you choose to get married in a church, make sure that the venue has availability, as some churches can be quite busy with couples wanting to tie the knot there!

wedding rings

Organise your engagement party

Having knees up to celebrate your recent engagement is not essential but it’s an opportunity to test your party-planning skills! You may love the experience and revel in the prospect of organising your wedding.

Take a breath!

planning checklist

Determine your bridal party

With most brides and grooms counting down the months to the big day, organising the bridal party can be exciting yet daunting! There are so many important decisions to make such as who you want in your bridal party and what roles they will have. Twelve to eighteen months before your wedding is a great time to start putting together this special group of people that will assist you on your big day. From bridesmaids to groomsmen and flower girls, allow yourself time to reflect on each bridal position and select those who mean the most to you. Your Best Man will also require plenty of time to pen his epic speech – tips on preparing a wedding speech here

This part of wedding planning is a lot of fun so enjoy it while it lasts – your bridal party will soon make all of your wedding dreams come true!

wedding checklist

Finalise your guest list

Here comes a tricky task – determining who does and doesn’t make the cut! Your venue will determine how many day and evening guests you can invite and if you have a large network of friends and family, it will dawn on you that not everyone can make the cut. Will you need to invite your parents’ friends? How about kids and plus-ones? All of these considerations can make the process tedious, but it’s best to begin this work early on.

wedding style

Book your florist

Flowers are an integral part of a wedding and each wedding has its own unique features that come from the floral arrangements. By booking your florist a year beforehand, it gives them enough time to work with you on creating a design or mix of flowers that fit in with the mood and plan for the wedding day. With 12 months to plan, you’ll have plenty of time to peruse through different florists and materials, select the right packages, and find something you’re completely satisfied with when it comes time to have blooms at your wedding ceremony.

wedding dress fitting

Wedding dresses & Suits

Trying on wedding dresses is an incredibly exciting experience, and twelve months before your wedding is the perfect time to start. Consider enlisting a bride squad of your most trusted girlfriends to join you in wedding dress fitting sessions. Exploring wedding dress options with your support system can uplift the mood of these shopping trips and create memories that will last a lifetime; it’s a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about wedding fashion trends as well! To ensure success on this wedding dress-finding journey, highlight your favourite wedding dresses using pictures or notes — this way you can differentiate between similar styles and make sure you find the one that fits your unique look and personality best.

date cards

Send out save the dates

Twelve months before your wedding you will be ready to share the good news with wedding guests. Sending out save the dates is an exciting step that helps establish an official timeline – your wedding day is officially coming up! Get your wedding guests inspired by sharing a glimpse of what’s to come. Choose special details about your wedding, or add a funny quip about why it shouldn’t be missed – let their anticipation build until the big day. Embrace this special moment and give your wedding guests something tangible to look forward to!

bride to be
wedding planning
wedding planning

10 months to go

ultimate wedding

Book your entertainment

As a professional wedding entertainer, it should come as no surprise that I’m a huge advocate of having quality entertainment at any wedding. Weddings are long days and unique entertainment can help provide the pick-me-up to keep your wedding ticking along nicely. Whether you go for a funny wedding magician or a live band, give yourself time to find the perfect form of entertainment for your wedding. Unfortunately, for some reason, entertainment can take a back seat to the more glamorous aspects of wedding planning and often becomes a last-minute decision.

cake maker

Start cake tasting

Cake tasting is one of the most enjoyable parts of wedding planning and you should definitely create some room in your schedule to make it happen! Ideally, your chosen cake maker will invite you along to sample some of their creations. This process can take a few different rounds of tasting, so give yourself enough time to make your final decision.

hair and makeup

Book your make-up & hair artist

You want to look your very best, right?! The morning of your wedding is the time to get pampered and prepped, so don’t put off booking your make-up artist and hairdresser. Along with their attention to detail, they should come equipped with their own products tailored specifically to your skin type and hair texture. Make sure you have a trial session before the big day (ideally 6 months before the big day). Asking for recommendations for your wedding suppliers is often the best way to ensure you get the perfect match – you can normally get some excellent suggestions by asking the question on your venue’s Facebook group/page.

all your accessories

Finalise your wedding stationery

Your wedding invitations are a sneak peek into what guests can expect from your big day, so take some time to settle on a design that reflects who you both are as individuals and as a couple. From the invites, order of the day, menu cards, and seating plan, your wedding stationery sets the tone for the day.

wedding visit

Book your transport

Arriving in style (and on time) should be added to your wedding day checklist. From vintage cars to classic limousines, whatever your wedding theme there will be a great transport option to match.

wedding planning

Wedding insurance

This is becoming more and more popular in the UK and is often encouraged due to the hefty prices of wedding venues. Wedding insurance ensures that you are financially covered for any unexpected events or mishaps on the day, so it is always worth considering. From venue cancellations to supplier bankruptcies – having this extra layer of protection could save your wedding if anything were to go wrong!

wedding planning timeline
wedding magician performs for bride and groom
wedding entertainment

6-8 months

engagement photos

Engagement shoot

An engagement shoot is a great way to combat any nerves you may have about being in front of the camera! Working with a professional photographer who is familiar with capturing gorgeous, natural shots on the big day can help take the edge off those pre-wedding jitters. Not only will it give you sweet memories to cherish during this momentous occasion, but an engagement session is also a wonderful opportunity to practice posing and get comfortable with your partner in front of the lens. Plus, it gives you even more photos to treasure long after the wedding day ends – how romantic!

ultimate wedding planning checklist

Book the Honeymoon

Booking a holiday is always an exciting procedure – dreams of lapping up the sun on a beautiful beach or exploring the sights of a far-off country can easily get your imagination running wild. This will be the first holiday as a married couple so you’d better book those fancy flips flops that leave your (new) initials in the sand!

wedding band

Buy your wedding Bands

Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful, and what better way to alleviate the hassle than to get your wedding rings taken care of 6 months before the big day? Shopping for rings early will allow you peace of mind as you have one major component squared away and there should be plenty of time to pick out the perfect set! With ample lead time, you can take the time to explore all your options. Looking for something unique? Check out vintage stores or independent jewellery designers. Prefer a classic look? Take a trip to high-end brands and browse some timeless pieces. Plus by giving yourself a few more months to buy your rings you can avoid any last-minute panic attacks. After all, it is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make!

wedding planning timeline

Book guest accommodation

Whether you’re looking to put up all your guests or just the key players, arranging accommodation around 6 months before the wedding is a smart move. Research the hotels in the vicinity, and find one that offers great rates. Once you have the details of their stay, be sure to email or send all your guests the necessary information, so they are able to make their arrangements with ease.

menu tasting

Menu Tasting

For those venues that offer this service, be sure to attend so you can select the perfect dishes for your wedding breakfast. Often, the venue will also have some hand-picked suppliers at the evening so you can ask questions/make additional bookings for that dream wedding!

final fitting

Bridal party outfits

There’s nothing more stunning than a row of matching bridesmaids donning perfectly coordinated shades. Seeing your team lined up is another glimpse into what your special day will look like and is always a beautiful sight.

wedding date invites

Send out the invites

It’s starting to take shape! Sending your wedding invitations is another significant process in your wedding planning journey. Not long to go now!

recently engaged
engagement shoot
engagement photography

4 Months to go

hair trial

Hair & Make-Up Trials

Getting prepared for wedding day bliss is much easier when the wedding party has hair and make-up trials before the wedding. This can help create a vision that everyone in the wedding party loves and agrees on, so on the wedding day, all you have to do is sit back and relax while your stylists work their magic. A trial ensures wedding day comfort with fewer surprises and unexpected results, enabling each person to feel confident they look their best walking down the aisle!

gift bags

Buy Wedding Party Gifts

Wedding favours are an old-time tradition that is still widely used today to show appreciation – they range from personalised thank you notes to chocolates, and trinkets. Favours don’t have to be elaborate or expensive – something simple but meaningful will suffice! It’s just a kind gesture showing wedding party members how thankful the couple is for their help in making the wedding day perfect. Keep things lighthearted though and don’t forget to add some fun!

wedding planning

Marriage Certificate

Can’t get married without this important document. Research how to apply for yours in your country as the process may differ depending on where you are.

wedding day outfit
wedding day schedule
wedding outfits

3 Months to go

ceremony musicians

Finalise readings & music for the ceremony

Just three months to go so it’s time to finalise the readings plus what music you’ll be walking down the aisle to. Live music is a nice option too – a great way to make a magical moment even more special.

seating plan

Seating Plans

By now, you should have a good idea as to who is attending your wedding date and you should start your table plan. This is easier said than done as you may have to ensure that guests who don’t get along are sat separately. This can be a delicate process!

wedding checklist

Confirm all suppliers are set to go!

I’ve seen this suggested at the one month to go but for me, should anything not be in place, getting hold of vital suppliers with just 4 weeks to go, maybe cutting it super fine! Having your suppliers finalise details will put your mind at rest.

wedding planning

Start Writing Your Vows

It’s not too early to start writing your vows. This is, of course, one of the most important parts of your wedding and will be a moment that you’ll look back on for years to come. Take some time to think about what you want to say – it’s going to be an even more

wedding ideas
ultimate wedding planning
wedding checklist timeline

2 months to go

planning checklist

Chase RSVP’s

Even though you sent those wedding invitations out months ago, it’s likely you’ll still have some outstanding RSVPs. Have a run through the list and send out a gentle reminder to those who haven’t confirmed their attendance yet.

planning process

Share your playlist with your DJ

We’re getting super close and these final details will really help to make everything come together. Share your favourite songs with the DJ so they can create the perfect soundtrack for your day.

bridesmaid dresses

Final dress fitting

Your Wedding dress, bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits should all be ready and just need one final check with the bride, groom and wedding party. Any accessories should also have arrived by now so you can make sure everything is good to go!

bridal party

Confirm bridal party roles

An often overlooked but important step is to make sure that everyone in the bridal party knows their part. Confirm their roles and answer any questions so there’s no confusion on the big day!

For instance, who’s in charge of making sure the wedding gifts are collected safely? Who’s looking after the confetti bags for that epic wedding shot? Who will help the photographer round up the wedding guests? Having everyone singing from the same page will ensure a smooth-sailing day!

1 month to go

wedding planning timeline

Book nail & hair treatments

Hair and makeup are essential but also the nails! Make sure to book those treatments with your favourite salons so everyone looks their best. Don’t forget the groom either – he should get a fresh buzz cut or beard trim if needed.

wedding rings

Polish jewellery

This was a tip I heard from a wedding jeweller. Have your engagement ring, wedding bands, earrings and any other pieces polished up for that extra sparkle.

months before the wedding

Wear in your shoes

Breaking in your wedding shoes will prevent any blisters on the day! Wear them around the house as much as you can to make sure they’re comfortable.

wedding venue help

What 3 words

Send out a What 3 words or similar invitation to guests who may find it hard to locate your venue. Super helpful for out-of-town guests.

wedding party outfits
wedding night
wedding planning checklist timeline

1 Week to go

good night's sleep

Hopefully, everything is now in place. Ideally, you shouldn’t be rushing around with last-minute jobs so this week is all about winding down and relaxing. Plenty of sleep (you’ll need it!), eating well and giving yourself a break to clear your mind.


wedding planning


There you have it! That’s a comprehensive list of tasks to make sure your wedding day is ready. With this checklist, the final weeks before your big day should run smoothly – enjoy every minute and best of luck!

About Chris

Making Your Wedding Magic with Chris!

Are you looking for the perfect addition to your wedding reception? Look no further than Chris, the UK’s number-one close-up wedding magician! With 25 years of experience, he is sure to delight audiences up and down the country.

Let him dazzle and amaze your guests as he performs mind-blowing magic tricks right before their eyes. They’ll be left astonished and wondering how it was done!

Make your wedding day magical with Chris – book today!

Close-Up Chris
wedding planning timeline infographic