7 things you need to do 12 months before your wedding
So you’ve made a start with your Wedding plans and started to lay the foundations by getting some of the biggest jobs out of the way which are choosing a date, setting your budget, choosing and booking your venue(s) and drafting your guest list, fantastic!
Here are my recommendations for 7 things you need to do 12 months before your wedding:-
Now you need to think about letting your guests know the intended wedding date, particularly if it’s going to be in peak season, the more notice you can give the better. There are various ways to do this. The trend at the moment seems to be to send a card to your guests known as a ‘save the date’ card. There’s also magnets that people can stick onto their fridge or notice board as a reminder. You can also just send people an email and ask them to reserve the date for your wedding, which is what we did as it was free! I just thought that sending a card was an unnecessary expense to be honest and sending the same email to everyone worked fine, but again it’s all down to personal choice and you needn’t spend a fortune. A cute little business size card will work just fine. A ‘save the date’ shouldn’t be confused with a Wedding invitation, invitations are sent later nearer to the wedding date and will contain all the information needed, whereas a ‘save the date’ is just a way of letting people know the intended date of the wedding.
Once everyone knows your intended date you can look at choosing your Bridesmaid(s), Best Man and Usher(s). When it comes to choosing Bridesmaids, you should choose those closest to you, eg sisters, best friend. And remember that the more you have the more it will cost you, unless you ask them to pay for their own dresses and accessories, but I personally think that the Bride & Groom should pay for the dresses and this is what we did for our own wedding. We had 5 Bridesmaids and 3 flower girls, we only asked them to pay for their shoes and accessories, hair and make up. Again though, that’s just my opinion. There’s no right or wrong way. When choosing a Best Man it should be someone whom the Groom is very close to and more often than not is a best friend. And when choosing an Usher it should be someone who you can trust to look after your guests and someone you can rely upon to carry out important tasks. So choose wisely!
Then comes one of the most exciting bits for a girl when planning her big day, the Wedding dress! This is the most important outfit you’ll ever wear in your life. There are so many styles and options to choose from, so start collecting ideas on the sort of things you like by looking on websites, bridal magazines and dress shops. Have fun and try on lots of different dresses to find out what suits you. And don’t forget to have a budget in mind for your dress and do your best to stick to it when it comes around to gathering ideas. Here’s a photo of me in my wedding dress with my musical garter!
At this early stage you will also need to start looking at booking certain suppliers like caterers (if you haven’t already as part of your venue package), Photographers and Videographers as they get booked up way in advance. There are so many to choose from and prices, styles and packages offered vary dramatically so this can all be a bit daunting. I’ll be writing a future blog with hints, tips and advice on how to choose your Wedding Photographer or Videographer, but ultimately it will depend on your budget and your personal tastes. Start by asking friends and family for recommendations, someone you know will know a Photographer/Videographer/Caterer they’ve used for their own Wedding or Event. Your other option is to research online or go to some local Wedding Fayres, but make sure you research the companies or individuals properly and that they have good customer feedback.
Now would also be a good time to start looking at ideas for the big day and choosing your other suppliers eg Venue Dresser, Florist, Entertainment, Wedding Stationery and so on. Remember that the sooner you book your suppliers, the less likely you are going to be disappointed as many of these wedding suppliers get booked up way in advance, so the earlier you can contact them the more chance there is of your wedding date being available. Many a time i’ve had to turn couples away (which I hate doing) because they’ve left things right till the last minute and i’m already fully booked. So I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to start researching your suppliers as early as possible and make your bookings. I have bookings in my diary for 2 years from now. Even if you haven’t decided on your colour scheme/theme, final guest numbers or your exact requirements, if you like what they do/can offer then make sure you secure the date in the suppliers diary and the finer details can then be decided upon much nearer the wedding date.
I’ll be going more indepth about what specifically to ask or look for when it comes to choosing your suppliers in later posts, for example Photographers, but for now all I would say is to do your research, the most important thing is making sure they are a reliable and reputable supplier with happy past clients/customers and they have plenty of photos of their work. Check out feedback on their website and social media where you should find testimonials or reviews. And remember not to just try and find the cheapest as the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is very true! Good quality and service is worth paying a little extra for, especially when it comes to the most important day of your life! Be very wary of anyone who is very ‘cheap’ as there’s sure to be a compromise somewhere. I speak about this topic in my post The importance of valuing Bespoke wedding services such as ours so make sure to have a read.
Another thing to think about is Wedding Insurance. Now, i’ll let you in on a little secret here – I didn’t have any for my wedding! I’ll be honest, it’s not something I even considered or thought about. My wedding wasn’t a big one and we only spent about £8000 on the wedding itself, so maybe this is why. If I was having a big and lavish wedding then maybe it’s something I would have looked into or if I was getting married abroad. Infact, most people I know never took out wedding insurance and there wasn’t any problems. So should you take out insurance? The honest answer is I don’t know and I would say it’s personal choice and depends on your circumstances. Most Wedding Planners however will insist that you take out wedding insurance, saying that it’s a must, whereas i’m not that convinced. But definitely consider and give it some thought.
By now you should also start thinking about obtaining your marriage licence from the local Registrar in the district the marriage is to take place which is known as ‘giving notice of marriage’. This needs to be done in the 12 month period prior to the marriage, so the sooner it’s done the better. The minimum period to give notice is 14 days before the marriage. You will both have to fill in forms, provide relevant documents and pay a fee of £35 each. Your ‘notice of marriage’ is then displayed publicly at the Registrar’s office. Once you’ve given notice, you will be asked back to the Registrar’s office closer to the wedding date to finalise details and arrangements for your wedding.
And lastly, it’s never too soon to start thinking about possible honeymoon destinations, definitely one of the best and exciting parts of planning your wedding! Again, be realistic and set a budget specifically for the honeymoon. We set a budget of £2000 and we had the most amazing honeymoon in a 5 star resort in the Dominican Republic for 10 nights, pure luxury! When we first got engaged, I, just like many other Brides-to-be dreamed of honeymooning in the Seychelles or The Maldives or somewhere equally exotic, but when you start looking at how much it actually costs it’s ridiculously expensive! We just couldn’t afford thousands of pounds, but we definitely got a luxury honeymoon on a budget, you just have to shop around. So enjoy!
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