24 Point Wedding Planner

 

I compiled this plan while organising our wedding last year.

You can see all the photos in our Gallery.

 

1. Church

Book the church, including someone to take the service, an organist, other musicians, choir, bellringers, etc.

 

2. Banns

Arrange for the banns to be read in the relevant parishes (and someone to go and listen to them and collect and pay for the banns certificates on the third Sunday).

 

3. Service

Discuss with the vicar the format of the service - hymns, readings, special announcements, etc.

 

4. Reception

Book reception venue - initially book timing, type and approximate numbers (eg. lunch/afternoon/evening; cocktails/finger buffet/sit down buffet/dinner)

Select menu, wines, champagne (taste first!).

Discuss and instruct on - room and table layout, colours, flowers, linen, china, silver, glassware (our caterer forgot the champagne glasses!), cake table, easel or table for seating plan, table numbers, approximate timings, how you want things served (eg wine/water on table or served; bar service; top table service, etc), parking (overnight), toilets, cloakrooms, smoking, toastmaster(?), music, lighting. The list goes on ...

Note, anything which is slightly different from their normal service has the greatest potential for error. Give them written instructions and badger them over and over again about the details every time you see them!!

Find out who will be there on the day to oversee things and appoint a strong minded person in your own family who can sort things out on the day if needed.

 

5. Wedding Night

Book accommodation for the wedding night. This is traditionally the groom's job.

 

6. Photography

Book a photographer (the good ones can be booked up a year in advance!) & videographer if required. Discuss the style of photos - formal or reportage. If formal, what groups, in what order and locations. For outdoor venues, have an indoor contingency plan in case of bad weather. Choose an album.

 

7. Transport

Book a car or carriage to the church for bride and her father and possibly one for the bridesmaids (one car can do a double journey if its within a reasonable distance to halve the cost!), and between the church and reception for the bride and groom.

Nice to have a little bottle of champagne and glasses in the car for the bride and groom to drink on their way to the reception. Also a bottle of mineral water is less romantic but sensible as you tend to get very dry in church.

At a later stage, book taxi's to get best man and groom (and other family if needed) to church and for the bride and groom to "go away" after the reception.

Pick up a bundle of cards from a local taxi company to leave out for guests to find their way from the reception to wherever they are staying!

 

8. Flowers

Book a florist to make the bride's bouquet, bridesmaids' flowers, buttonholes for the groom, best man, ushers, fathers, important male family members, and corsages for mothers & important female family members.

Flowers for the church should be coordinated with whoever does the flowers for the church generally. She may be brilliant and do them for you! Check if there are any other weddings on your day as you may be able to share the cost.

Flowers for the reception are generally arranged by the venue, unless its a DIY tent job like ours when you should arrange this with your florist too.

 

9. Wedding Cake

Book someone to make your wedding cake. Choose the type of cake, decoration and cake stand. Arrange for delivery to the reception.

Make sure you have a nice silver cake knife for the important first cut. (If its going to be hard to cut, you can cheat - get the cake maker to make a discreet groove in the icing at the back!!)

 

10. Men's Clothes

If hiring outfits for the men, choose styles and book numbers well in advance (even Moss Bros can run out on a busy Saturday). Send the guys in to be professionally measured - they can go to any branch of Moss Bros who will coordinate with your local branch. You get a better deal and less hassle if all are ordered and collected through one branch.

Make sure eveyone knows that they should provide their own shirt, tie and shoes!

 

11. Stationery

Organise printing of invitations, reply cards, orders of service, menus, thank you cards, headed writing paper, place cards, seating plan.

 

12. Guest Information

Check local hotels in various price ranges and produce a contact list Photocopy a local map and mark the church, reception venue, hotels and suggested routes. Enclose a map and hotel list with the invitations to people who don't live locally.

As formal invitations are generally vague as to what is actually going on (eg "and afterwards at ..." could mean an hour for drinks or an all day/night party), let your guests know what to expect - approximate timings, whether they'll be fed, where to park, etc). Email is perfect for this near to the time.

 

13. Gift Registry

Some people (including me) think its rude to put details of their gift registry in with the invitations. However, guests will want to know about it, so have the information ready (you and your mother!) to post, email or read over the phone to those lovely people who want to give you pressies.

 

14. Wedding Dress

Get one! Also shoes (comfortable as you'll be on your feet ALL day), lingerie (v. important to try on with dress to make sure it does what its supposed to!!), garter, headress, veil, little bag (for lipstick, compact, hanky, mini mending kit, spare stockings, whatever).

 

15. Bridesmaids & Maid of Honour

Ask them if they would like the job! Organise outfits, shoes, headdresses, little bags for make-up, etc. Make sure at least one can attend the rehearsal so they know what they're doing on the day.

 

16. Going Away Outfit

Buy a going away outfit or a cover up (eg, jacket/shawl) if you're staying in your dress, in case its chilly.

 

17. Nightwear

Buy a nice new nightie!

 

18. Wedding Rings

Buy them and make sure they fit. Don't forget to swap your engagement ring onto another finger just before the wedding.

 

19. Honeymoon

Traditionally, it is the groom's job to book a honeymoon.

 

20. Favours

Favours used to be just for the ladies, but some people like everyone to have one. The tradition started in Italy with 5 sugared almonds representing health, wealth, happiness, long life and fertility (I think), but it can be anything you like. Easy things to make yourself for that personal touch!

 

21. Hair, Nails & Make-Up

Book a hairdresser and beautician for yourself and your bridesmaids, if required. Have a practice beforehand with the headresses!

Choose makeup colours and buy nail polish (this took me weeks of searching for the right pink!). Start having/giving yourself manicures once a week a couple of months beforehand and book a professional manicure the day before the wedding. Use your own polish in case you need to touch up a chip! A professional pedicure the day before really helps your feet cope with all that standing around.

Remind the guys to get their hair cut a week or two in advance ;-)

 

22. Speeches

Decide on speeches and let people know what's expected of them. Traditionally, the bride's father kicks off and toasts the bride and groom, the groom responds and toasts the bridesmaids, then the best man responds on behalf of the bridesmaids, makes a funny speech and reads out and telegrams or greetings from absentees.

 

23. Best Man & Ushers

Brief the best man & ushers of their duties (at the church rehearsal). The best man ensures the groom gets to the church on time, looks after the rings, organises the ushers and makes a speech.

Ushers hand out the orders of service, show guests to their seats on the correct sides of the church, direct car parking at the church, if it rains hold umbrellas over ladies to and from their cars at the church, escort the bridesmaids from their car to the church door and make sure everyone has a lift from the church to the reception.

 

24. Gifts

Buy and wrap gifts to present to the best man, ushers, bridesmaids and mothers.

 

 

Other Suggestions

 

Eat something before the wedding - slowly if you're nervous! You don't want tummy rumbles in church or fainting due to hunger. However wonderful the food is at your wedding breakfast, you'll probably hardly touch it, but you'll be starving by the evening.

No matter how much you drink, you probably won't get drunk, but you will get dehydrated. Drink still water or non acidic fruit juice between alcoholic drinks.

The day absolutely flies by. You're told what to do half the day by the photographer, vicar, toastmaster, etc and you sort of lose control. Stop and look around and take everything in now and again to create some memories. Grab some private moments with your new husband between being "on" for the cameras and guests.

You'll find it impossible to have a conversation of more than two minutes with anyone. Make sure you have a hen night/weekend with your close girlfriends as you probably will hardly see them on the day; spending more time being polite to elderly relatives!

Buy, or put on your gift list, a couple of nice photo albums. As well as your official photos, its great to have a collection of informal ones taken by family and friends, plus the ones from your hen/stag nights and honeymoon.

A disposable camera on each table isn't expensive but means that everyone gets to take some pictures even if they didn't bring their own.

Buy a nice box or trunk for keepsakes. You'll be amazed at what you want to keep after its all over - stationery, confetti, pressed flowers, cards, replies, list of gifts received, your place cards, garter, headdress, handbag, videos, photo albums, etc, etc.

Start an Anniversary Book. Use a photo album with pages that you can write on or insert written pages as well as photos (at least 50 pages!). Start with a photo of the two of you on your wedding day, then add a photo taken on your anniversary each year after. As well as the photo, you write in a little about your year - where you live, any holidays, memorable events, highs and lows, etc.