Book the church, including someone to take
the service, an organist, other musicians, choir, bellringers,
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).
Discuss with the vicar the format of the service
- hymns, readings, special announcements, etc.
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.
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
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!
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!
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
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
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.
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.
Traditionally, it is the groom's
job to book a honeymoon.
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 ;-)
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.
Buy and wrap gifts to present to the best
man, ushers, bridesmaids and mothers.