The thought of planning a wedding can be overwhelming at times but following a timeline and ticking off a checklist can make the planning process much easier and take the stress out of your wedding day. That’s why The Wedding Venue Scotland has created a step by step guide detailing what to plan and when to plan it in our wedding countdown guide so you can concentrate on looking forward to one of the best days of your life and tick that off your to-do list !
- Set a wedding budget
- Draft a guest list
- Start looking at venues
- Think about wedding styles and colours
Getting engaged is such a special, exciting moment so take time to celebrate it with your friend’s and family enjoying the beginning of a memorable step in you and your fiancee’s life.
Once your engagement celebrations calm down, a good place to start your wedding planning is to work out a wedding budget with your partner and discuss your expectations with each other. It’s important to be clear from the start on what your expectations are and what you are both comfortable with.
Your wedding venue is one of the most important parts of your big day so have a think about the type of venue you’d like and the location setting e.g. countryside, city, coastal wedding as this will help you find your ideal venue quicker.
12 months +
- Set a date & book your venue
- Order save the date cards and send them out to day guests
- Book your celebrant
- Select your bridal party and groomsmen
- Make appointments with bridal boutiques and attend appointments
- Research florists, transport, cake maker, evening entertainment, photographer (and videographer)
Once you’ve researched online and found a few potential venues, make an appointment to view in person so you can get a feel of the place. Find out from the venue staff why their venue might be the one for you and if it’s the right venue you’ll know !
Set a date the venue can offer you and take as much or as little planning assistance from the venue provider that you require. Now that your wedding date is set the countdown to your big day has begun !
You may have known for a long time who will be part of your bridal party on your big day or maybe you haven’t had a chance to think it over. In any case now is the time to decide who will be your bridesmaids and groomsmen and make sure you take the time to ask each of them !
8 months +
- Order your wedding dress
- Shop for bridesmaid dresses
- Makeup artist
Hopefully by now you’ve found your dream dress and it’s been ordered so now you can breathe a big sigh of relief. The most significant piece of clothing you’ll probably ever wear has been chosen and you can relax a little knowing you have your wedding look sorted.
8 months before your big day is the stage where a lot of your wedding bookings should be secured so try get each booking done as soon as possible to avoid disappointment of suppliers already being all booked up.
Since your bridal dress has been ordered, you can now start shopping with your bridesmaids to choose their dresses. Either phone them up or get a group chat going to figure out when you are all available and make a real girls day out of it by booking lunch and drinks somewhere after or in between any bridal appointments you’ve made.
6 months +
- Finalise guest list
- Wedding invitations
- Bridesmaid dresses
- Groomsmen attire
- Plan honeymoon
With 6 months to go your wedding day is not too far away and so it’s time to finalise your guest list and order wedding invitation cards. Hopefully by now you and your significant other have come to an agreement about who you are inviting to the ceremony and meal during the day and who you are inviting just to the reception in the evening.
Day guest invitations should be sent out around 8 to 12 weeks before the wedding. There are a few different ways wedding invitations can be produced; you can make DIY wedding invitations with a wedding invitation template on your computer or you might find it easier to get a stationary company to take care of it all for you for quoted fee instead. DIY wedding invitations are much easier to make than you think and they can look more professional than you might imagine. Let’s face it, it’s just a bit of card and spare time that’s required and it could also save you a little bit of cash too.
If you are going on your honeymoon immediately after your wedding day then it’s best to have researched some possible honeymoon locations by now and to begin planning with your partner where you would like to go. Most travel agents require the full holiday cost to be paid 12 weeks in advance so to give you a little time to pay it up you might want to book your honeymoon as soon as you can.
4 months +
- Order wedding cake
- Buy wedding shoes and accessories
- Book honeymoon
It’s time to test your taste buds and sample some cakes for your wedding day which, for most of us, is the best part of planning a wedding and many wish this delightful task had to be done more than once. Wedding cake tasting normally requires an appointment so phone up cake suppliers to book a consultation and take your other half with you so you can enjoy this rather romantic experience together.
Wedding shoes and accessories are next on your shopping list. Even though your shoes and feet are probably going to be hidden underneath your dress for the majority of the day, there will be moments your shoes will make an appearance like stepping in and out of your wedding car or up/down a staircase so make sure you pick a pair that you want to show off and that suit the style of wedding dress you are wearing. Some brides wear white heeled occasion shoes for the day section of the wedding and then sneak on a pair of comfortable white trainers for the evening reception. This means they can dance the night away much more comfortably and the best part is, no-one knows the difference because the wedding dress covers it all.
3 months +
- Buy bridal lingerie
- Have your wedding dress altered
- Send out wedding day invitations
- Choose music and readings
- Finalise menu and flowers
- Finalise order of ceremony and reception
- Buy wedding rings
- Order favours, venue and table decor
- Start seating plan
By this time your wedding invitation cards should be made and include details of the ceremony venue and reception venue location along with the wedding ceremony time. There should also be details regarding accommodation at the venue and surrounding area as well as transport information to the evening reception and return coach for wedding guests who are not planning on staying at the venue or closeby overnight.
Crucially, there should be an RSVP card inside the invitation with a RSVP deadline date provided so that invitees can inform you by the given date if they are available to attend your wedding day and if they require seats on the coach/bus service to get to and from the evening venue. Once the wedding invites have been sent out it is a good idea to draft a seating plan for the evening meal reception which you can then alter once all the RSVP’s have been returned to you.
As your wedding day draws closer your wedding dress will have been made and you should have dress fittings to attend. Before attending them, buy your bridal lingerie so you can take it with you when attending your wedding dress fittings and you can try everything on altogether to determine if any alterations are required. If you have gone with an inclusive wedding package at your chosen wedding venue then check to see if the package includes suite decor such as seat covers or centrepieces for each table and wedding stationary such as place cards. Make sure you discuss colours and themes with the venue so you are aware of what they can provide for you. If you have not opted for an inclusive wedding package then start ordering your centrepieces, wedding favours etc.
Now is the time to be thinking about and preparing your order of ceremony as you may wish certain songs/hymns to be played during your wedding ceremony. Maybe you’d like someone important to both you and your future spouse like a close friend or family member to perform a reading. Make your song/hymn selections and choose readings you’d like to be included in the ceremony before asking the chosen wedding guests if they would like to do it so you can make a start on the order of ceremony.
1 month +
- Buy bridal party gifts
- Confirm details with suppliers and make final payments
- Attend bridal party final fittings
- Attend final wedding dress fittings
- Finalise seating plan
In Scotland, in order to get legally married you must apply for a marriage license more than 29 days before your wedding day. So fill in the marriage notice form and include the relevant documents along with the correct fee when applying .
Around 4 weeks before your wedding day is normally the deadline for wedding supplier payments so make sure you settle these in order to confirm your bookings with each supplier. When settling payments it is a good idea to discuss your booking with each supplier to finalise and confirm details such as date, times, location and to make sure they are up to speed with any changes you’ve made to the arrangements.
All RSVPs should have been returned to you by this time and if any invited guests haven’t then it is best to get in touch to confirm their attendance. The venue and caterers will need to know final numbers around 4 weeks before the wedding so finalise your seating plan once you have confirmation of attendance from all invited guests.
Your final wedding dress fitting should be booked in for attending anytime between a couple of weeks and a week before your wedding. As you want the appointment to be close enough to the wedding to ensure it fits your shape perfectly. Trying on your wedding dress will give you a chance to preview how you’ll look on the day of your wedding which should give you a great sense of relief that everything looks the way you imagined it should. This will help you relax and look forward to your big day and feel confident in yourself knowing all eyes will be on you.