Yes, before you say anything, I know some of you are engaged for more than 12 months and some of you are engaged for less, but I thought it would be easier to do a 12 month must-read essential wedding planning checklist.
The words 'planning' and 'checklist' may not be the most thrilling of words, but organisation is the key if you want a super stylish wedding!
I know the FUN bit is going wedding dress shopping, trying different wedding cakes, and going to visit venues, but without a planning guide to follow, believe me, you will only feel stressed and anything but in the right frame of mind to organise the biggest day of your life. Anyway, enough of me, here is your must read 12 month wedding planning guide.
*It may be obvious, but sit down with your fiancé and family and decide on a date and time. Popular venues/churches etc can be booked months or even years in advance, so make sure you don't miss out on your dream place!
* Decide on your guest numbers and budget. There is no point in inviting 200 guests if you don't have the budget to pay for the wedding of your dreams. I think intimate weddings can not only be super stylish, but you can obviously afford to spend more than if you were having hundreds of guests.
* You might have a dream venue in mind, but is it actually practical? Go visit ceremony and reception venues before you book anything. Obviously bear in mind if you are getting married in the summer or winter as it is not really practical to choose an outdoor venue for your ceremony (if there is no indoor space if the weather isn't great). Obviously, bearing in mind the UK's weather, this is equally important in the summer as it is in the winter.
*If you do have the budget to afford a wedding planner, now is the time to ring him and her. Believe it or not, they might already be booked up, so make that call before somebody else does!
*Take out wedding insurance
* Open a wedding bank account. If you have decided on a fixed amount specifically for your wedding, then you will be able to keep track on exactly what you are spending.
* Book your wedding photographer and videographer (you can even do this earlier). However, before you book them, do your research first. Don't just book somebody because your second cousin recommended them. Personal recommendations do count for a lot, but what may suit one bride may not suit you! Unless you look at their portfolio showcasing their previous weddings, you will not know if their style is right for you. I can not stress enough how important finding a good photographer is. Even if you have planned the most beautiful and stylish wedding, it is imperative you find the right photographer to capture the day.
*Now would also be a good time to decide on your caterer/band/DJ and book them. Just as good venues get booked up quickly, so do good caterers and wedding entertainment. You don't have to decide on your wedding menu and exact music now, but it is important to have tasted the caterer's food before booking them and also hear the band/DJ before confirming them.
* Go wedding dress shopping. Don't book six appointments in one day as this will not be far from relaxing and stress you out. Do a couple every weekend, but only at boutiques (you have previously researched). Take the maximum of two people with you and go with an open mind.
* Decide on your bridesmaids/flower girls/ushers/best man
* Once you have decided on your bridesmaids, and chosen your wedding dress, go shopping for dresses for your bridesmaids/flower girls.
* Start thinking about your honeymoon/time of year you are getting married i.e. don't go the Caribbean in the hurricane season (June-November). If your fiancé is taking charge of this, give him a gentle reminder/nudge to start doing the research (with a little help from you!)
* Go visit a few wedding florists and discuss your ideas with him/her before booking them. Florists don't mind it if you look to them for ideas/suggestions, but I know they also like it if you have specific ideas in mind and go to them with tear sheets etc.
* Start thinking about your wedding cake and stationery. Just as the best venues and photographers get booked up in advance, so do the best cake makers and stationery designers. Choosing your wedding cake is FUN, but it is not as simple as deciding on the colour and style. You might want different flavoured sponges, you might want a gluten free cake etc.
* Begin doing research on your wedding day hairstyle and start getting your hair into good condition by going for regular cuts and using conditioner and hair treatments (when needed).
* It is never too early to start your beauty regime. All brides want good skin on their wedding day, so cut back on junk food, eat fruit and vegetables regularly and drink plenty of WATER.
* If you are having a religious ceremony, start thinking about the psalms/readings you and your fiancé would like to have. This also applies to civil ceremonies and readings.
* Order your wedding stationery (make sure you think of everything, invitations/place cards/RSVP's. Discuss with your stationery designer to ensure you remember everything.
* Book wedding transport (again the sooner, the better)
* Think about wedding favours. Are they for you? If for example you are having a city chic wedding, make sure they complement the rest of the look/style of the day.
* If you have guests coming from overseas and are getting married at a hotel, make sure you have reserved them accommodation in plenty of time.
* Encourage your fiancé to go wedding suit shopping and to start thinking about finding suits for his best man and ushers.
* Choose your wedding rings.
* Start thinking about 'thank you' gifts for your wedding party such as your flower girls.
* Confirm your order of service with your priest and registrar and then have booklets printed.
* Book your hair and make up trial and start thinking of your hair accessories such as tiara/hair comb/flowers etc.
* Depending on the season you are getting married in, make sure you don't miss out on the appropriate clothing for your honeymoon! The last thing you will want to do is go shopping to discover there are only 'winter clothes' in the shop instead of the summer ones you need for your tropical holiday.
* You could start discussing your hen night arrangements with your girlfriends at the point to make sure you are on the same page. If you like the idea of a relaxing spa weekend rather than clubbing, now is the time to speak before it is too late!
* Do you need visas and inoculations for your honeymoon? If the answer yes, find out how long the visas take and when you need to have the inoculations.
* If your hair is coloured, now is the time to make an appointment.
* If you are getting married in church (attend a reading of the banns)
* Choose a wedding gift list company
* Buy wedding and honeymoon lingerie
* Create a seating plan (to avoid headaches later on!)
* Send out invitations at least six weeks before the big day
* Book beauty appointments for nearer the day such as nails etc
* Confirm numbers with the caterers
* Organise honeymoon currency
* Discuss music with DJ/Band
* Have your hen night now rather than too close to your big day!
* Pack honeymoon wardrobe, you don't want to be doing this the night before your big day
* Talk to your photographer about must-have pictures you want of family members etc
* Buy thank you gifts for wedding party
*Make final honeymoon checks
* Have a wedding rehearsal
* Confirm times with key wedding people such as caterer/florist
* Wear your wedding shoes in (only round the house!) so they are comfortable on the big day
The day before
* Have a manicure and pedicure
* Have your luggage sent to your (wedding night) venue
And finally, get an early night, relax and enjoy your big day!