Planning your wedding day can be a stressful and time consuming task, that really needn't be. It should be something that you are looking forward to and getting excited about all your hard work coming together for a day where you can celebrate with those you love. Gecko Live has been int he wedding industry for over a decade and have helped hundreds of couples make the most from their wedding day. This guide is designed for you to be able to take as much or as little from it as you would like, and apply our 10+ years of knowledge to your wedding party.
Wedding planning checklist - Timing guide
12+ Months before the day
- Set the date - Start your planning at least 12 months before your chosen date. This will give you the best chances of securing your chosen venue and suppliers as well as give you the best prices. Don't forget that a lot of wedding suppliers and venues will give discounts for mid week weddings or out of season, so it is worth checking all your options and this can only be done well in advance.
- Book Your venue - The sooner you get this booked the easier everything else will be. Take into account you need a space for the ceremony, reception, dinner and party. This doesn't have to be all the same place, but it will help save on cost if it is. Be mindful of seating capacity, music licenses and access if you have differently abled guests.
- To Plan or Not To Plan? - Are you going to do it all yourselves, or get some professional help in? Make this decision early so your wedding planner (if using) can be in with you from the start. We have been brought in a number of times to help couples half way through, and whilst doable, it is easier from the start.
- Guest list - Try to keep this equal. Don't forget that you will have evening guests too which is perfect for inviting work colleagues, friends or distant family who you don't know well enough to invite for the ceremony and wedding breakfast, but who you still want to party with.
- Save the date - As soon as you have your venue and date secure, make sure the people you love and care for can be there to help you celebrate in style. If you have friends or family who are teachers, or who are travelling from abroad this is especially important.
- Decide on your budget - We know this can be tricky and there is plenty of conflicting advice on how to set your budget. Weddings are expensive, and they more often than not exceed budgets. We recommend that you decide on your budget and take 10% off it. You can then use that 10% to fall back on for when you fall in love with a flower arrangement, or band that you can't live without.
- Book your registrar/minister - they will be able to help you with any questions for the ceremony and will help you choose appropriate music and readings.
- Book your Band/DJ - This is obviously our speciality and our top wedding band such as Entrée, AKA and AFTERGLOW get booked more than 18 months in advance. Think about music for during the day as well, most bands will be able to offer acoustic options for your ceremony and reception. This is great as it keeps costs down, but also allows the musicians to create an entire musical backdrop to your wedding.
- Photographer & Videographer - Much like musicians, photographers and videographers will get booked well in advance. Every photographer will have a style of their own so take some time and find the person that fits you best.
- Caterers - If you can get this sorted early, the better it will be for everyone. Obviously you will need to go on tasters and make sure your menu works for you, but once you are happy get them locked in. Caterers are also one of the people that we speak to most at weddings, and will also be able to coordinate with the florist, musicians, photographers, venue and other suppliers.
- Florist - Start the process, and start talking to your florist about what will be in season when you get married. This will give you a great idea about colours that will work for things like stationery and bridesmaids dresses etc.
- Wedding Insurance - Peace of mind. Should one of your suppliers let you down, you are sorted, always be better safe than sorry.
- Honeymoon - Whether you are going abroad or not, you'll get the best advance prices. Use your maiden name when you book and change it later when you do all of your other documentation.
- Cars - Think about the number of vehicles you need and whether people need to get from one place to another during the day. Do you have church wedding and then need to transport 70 people to your drinks reception......did someone say vintage London bus?
6+ Months before the day
- Stationery - Order or make those invitations and other pieces of stationery that you are after. Don't forget about place cards, table plan, order of service and thank you cards.
- Oder the wedding cake - Whether you are having cheese, cupcake or a 27 tier masterpiece, order it to make sure all is in place.
- Accessories - Wedding shoes, tiara, veil and jewellery. Make sure you have these for your first dress fitting so that any alterations take these into account.
- Make Up and Hair - Get this booked in 6 + or more before and if you can, and tie them together so that they'll work well on the day. Speak to several to find one that is right for you, and check out several styles before you go for one. Some hair types will not work for certain styles, and listen to the experts.
3+ MONTHS BEFORE THE DAY
- Alterations - Have any alterations made to all dresses and suits. Try to keep to this weight so that they'll fit perfectly on the wedding day.
- Wedding Rings - Make sure you get the correct size and fitting, and if you are planning to wear your engagement ring as well, make sure it works with any settings and fits comfortably.
- Send the invites - Now is the time! Traditionally invitations are sent between 6 and 12 weeks before the big day, but it's your day, so do it when you want to. Make sure you include all of the key information (where to stay, transport, parking, dress code, times, and include contact details incase they need help on the day).
- Gifts list - Decide on what and where it is coming from. You can add this to a wedding website if you are having one.
- Music for the ceremony and Recitals - Choose this with your registrar, and make sure you give any pieces of music to your musicians at least 30 days before the date.
- Honeymoon vaccinations - Going somewhere lovely and hot or trekking through a jungle? Check if you need vaccinations and get them booked in.
1 month to go
- Supplier Confirmation - confirm everything in writing with each of your suppliers.
- Seating Plan - Check you have all your RSVP's and set out your table plan. contact any guests who have not RSVP'd.
- Organise a rehearsal - A few days prior, get the key people together and have a rehearsal. Make an evening of it and invite as many as you want and have dinner afterwards or some cocktails.
- Final Dress Fitting - Take a friend and make sure your dress is perfect.
- Spa day/treatments - Facial, manicure and pedicure. Make sure everything is glowing.
- Speeches - Practice, practice and then practice again. You can write this yourself, or have someone write it for you, but make sure your practice.
- Hair - Coloured, trimmed and styled. This is not the time to experiment with that new pixie cut you have always wanted, do as you did in your trials and keep it simple.
- Honeymoon Packing - This is going to be one hell of a holiday! Don't forget currency.
- Supplier hand off - Give your list of suppliers and all their details to your designated person. They can then call the supplier if needed and deal with the bits on the day.
Don't forget that this day is all about enjoying yourself and the day itself should be something you'll remember forever. Timings change, things might not be 100% as you had them in your plan, but that's OK. Now that you have a better idea of what you need to do, let us help you get one of these item off your to do list and book in a seriously good party band for your wedding....