Date: 5th June 2024

Posted by: Daniel Lay Team

Wedding Planning Checklist in the UK

A wedding is one of the most exciting milestones you can experience in a lifetime. If you’re lucky enough to have one on the horizon, it’s probably time to start planning! This task can get overwhelming, with the to-do list growing daily. That list can be your best friend; it helps you keep track of every important detail and stay connected to each assignment even after delegating it. Having a stellar checklist for your wedding planning can make everything run more smoothly and efficiently. So, how do you lock down a comprehensive, thorough, and practical checklist? The tips below can help to jumpstart the process!

Choosing Your Wedding Date

A wedding date is one of the most significant decisions to make in your planning process. It’s also one of the most difficult points to agree on. Some couples may have chosen a date well in advance for sentimental, practical, or convenience purposes. If you’re still talking about the wedding date, though, the following tips might come in handy:

  • Venue Type: If you’re having an indoor wedding, the wedding date might have to revolve around the availability of the venue alone. The management there will inform you what dates are available and you’ll decide based on the wedding budget plus various other factors.
  • Availability: Your close family and friends come first (after the couple gets married, of course), so it’s best to ensure they’re available for the wedding. Coordinate, align dates, and schedule a suitable time slot for everyone. If you’re having a small wedding, it might be possible to snag a wedding date that suits everyone. However, somebody might have to compromise along the way.
  • Seasonal Demands: Do you want everyone on the guest list to attend, even the kids? If so, let’s accommodate their parents by holding the wedding during the summer holidays.
    If you’re living in a tropical area, it makes sense to wait for the spring or autumn seasons to take advantage of the pleasant weather.
    Once you’ve decided which season the wedding should be in, book a suitable venue as early as possible.
  • Nature of the Venue: Planning an outdoor wedding? You’ll naturally want to avoid the hottest and oldest times of the year. Check out the weather patterns of the region where your wedding will be. Choose a timeframe in sync with your availability dates; hopefully, you’ll be able to have a gorgeous outdoor dream wedding!

Deciding on a Budget

Weddings may come with a high price tag, but it’s crucial to find a way to ensure everything goes perfectly without putting too much strain on your budget since it’s such an important day. Hence, select a budget that you and your partner both agree on and are happy with. Consider the following aspects while drafting your wedding planning checklist to help with your budgeting decision:

  • Select a Percentage of Your Current Income: Set aside a chosen amount of your regular income for your wedding. If this isn’t enough, try making cuts where possible.
  • Keep Some Contingency Money: Everything has hidden costs, from arrangements to custom drink pouring to transportation. So, consider having an ‘emergency budget’ to deal with such surprises.
  • Remain Practical: People might push you to create a spectacle out of your wedding, but remember: spend what you can afford. Also, if relatives offer donations, talk it out with your partner before accepting them.

Preparing the Guest List

Now that your budget is set let’s start inviting people! Certainly, you want to include all your family and loved ones in your wedding celebrations, but we both know that’s not feasible! Here’s how to finalize your list of attendees:

  • Divide the Number of Guests Evenly: If agreeable, the bride and groom should select an equal number of guests and reserve. This allows them both to select guests wisely and be surrounded by near and dear ones on the big day.
  • Don’t Feel Pressurized: Don’t invite someone because of an obligation or to please others. Use this rule: if they aren’t a major part of your past, present, or future, they shouldn’t be invited.
  • Inviting Kids: If you won’t be inviting kids, let your guests know in advance so that they can make appropriate arrangements.

Deciding a Venue

The wedding venue is a significant part of the planning. After all, it provides the space where the magic will happen! It’s also the backdrop of your wedding photos and the spot where your guests will gather to celebrate the event. Before you lock anything down, though, so make sure of these details:

  • Ask about Same Venue Booking: Ask the venue management if you can hold the reception and ceremony in the same area. It will save you time, money, and a lot of confusion. You may have to pay a little extra, but it would be cheaper than booking a different venue altogether.
  • Have Enough Room: If the wedding venue is large and the guest list is limited, it might look like very few people showed up. On the other hand, you also don’t want the venue to be crowded. Look at your guest list, get everyone to RSVP, and decide your venue size, table settings, etc.
  • According to Theme: If there’s a theme for the wedding, some venues might be more suitable than others. A waterfront outdoor venue is the most relevant for a beach theme. If you’re going for a more whimsical, enchanted forest theme, a venue with some trees might be in order
  • Destination Wedding Option: You might go all out and splurge on a destination wedding. If your budget allows for it, why not? Your research should match your spending, so hire and consult professional staff. It’s also helpful to seek advice and tips from anyone who’s already pulled off an amazing destination wedding.

Deciding a Venue

Buying a Wedding Dress

A rather emotional aspect of wedding planning is saying yes to the dress. Here’s how to make the most out of your wedding dress selection:

  • Check Online: Don’t go outside just yet; first, look up potential dress images and videos on platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. If a certain design, fabric, or cut catches your eye, save the image or take a screenshot. Pinterest is especially helpful for creating vision boards for every aspect of your wedding, especially the dress. If you’re unsure about certain styles or trends, get a professional dressmaker to help out or use online guides. Next, send the shortlisted options to the dressmaker or bridal shop and see what they can do for you!
  • Consider the Climate: Remember to choose a dress that suits the weather you’re getting married. Otherwise, your dress might need extensive alterations. Go for something lightweight and breezy for a summer wedding and something heavier for a winter wedding.
  • Consider Many Options: Don’t settle for something immediately. Survey various shops and try many dresses before making a final decision. This will give you a fair idea of the prices, payment plans, colours, styles, sizes, etc.

Booking Hair and Makeup

While choosing your wedding dress, it would be best to make appointments with the hair and makeup stylists. Here are some tips for creating a selection:

  • Look at Portfolios: Just like surveying for dresses, look at different portfolios to get a good idea of the stylist’s experience before you book them. These are also available online on social media.
  • Schedule a Trial Styling: This is the best way to determine whether a stylist is right for you. Even if some things don’t seem quite right, an experienced stylist will make appropriate changes to achieve the look you’re looking for.
  • Verify their Products: To avoid having an adverse reaction to any makeup on your big day, ask about the stylist’s products and whether they would be comfortable using a new kit, especially for you.

Booking Photographers and Videographers

With so much effort, time, and money going into the wedding preps, it’s only natural to preserve some memories of that day. Many couples hire photographers, videographers, or even a whole team. You want to book the best possible people for the pictures and videos, so follow these steps before committing to anyone:

  • Reviews: If you already have a certain photographer/videographer in mind, ask them for references. You may have to look for their online reviews and ask friends or family for personal feedback. If you’ve just started looking around, consult someone with wedding photos you admire. You can then ask them for the photographers’ contact, social media handle, etc. Browse your social media for more ideas and photographers’ names to ensure you’ve got the best option available.
  • Samples: Always ask for the photographer’s samples, such as their previous work, albums, or independent projects. They will show you the overall vibe of the service before you pay for it.
  • Ask for Both: Sometimes, a photographer will also offer videographer services. You might get a discount by booking both services with them. While pictures are great, there’s nothing like a well-shot, quality video to take you back and relive these precious moments.
  • Ask for Qualifications: Along with the reviews and samples, you can also request the qualifications, years of experience, and client list before hiring anyone. Some photographers might hesitate to reveal their full client list, but you can get some names from their social media accounts.

Booking Caterers

The most awaited thing amongst the guests during a wedding is, of course, the food! To ensure that your guests have fantastic recollections and plenty of tasty food, research and get an experienced, highly recommended caterer. Here are some useful tips:

  • Make a Rough Menu: Providing a prospective caterer with a theme or rough menu makes deciding whether they’ll be a good match easier and quicker. Moreover, they might offer alternatives or better suggestions.
  • Stick to a Budget: Setting a budget will help narrow down caterers and make it easier for them to devise an appealing and affordable menu according to your requirements.
  • Schedule a Tasting Session: Ask for sample dishes before finalizing a caterer. If you don’t like their cooking, your guests probably won’t either!

Planning the Wedding Cake

Let’s now come to one of the really fun parts of planning a wedding–your beautiful, scrumptious wedding cake! Some couples choose to get their wedding cake from their caterer, while others choose to hire a completely separate vendor for it. Finding the perfect cake can be a challenge, so do take the following steps before deciding anything:

  • Set Your Theme: The wedding cake is usually front and center at a wedding, so you want to make sure it’s in sync with your theme. If you haven’t decided on a theme yet, it’s best to do so first and customize the cake accordingly
  • Get References: Again, take help and advice from friends with an awesome cake matching your preferences. Ask them about reliable, hygienic, and professional cake specialists, home-based bakeries, or businesses that might be able to bring your vision to life
  • Visualize: Speaking of vision, you should have one for this special cake. If you only want one for the aesthetics, your baker might be able to make two foam tiers and one real tier to cut into. Some couples choose a separate sheet cake for convenient serving. Discuss your requirements with a cake specialist if you have the time and budget. They’ll be able to accommodate you in every way.
    Planning the Wedding Cake
    Now that all the main aspects of your wedding are covered, it’s time to focus on the finishing touches. With your wedding theme, venue, and dress confirmed you can now decide what kind of décor and entertainment you would like at your special event.
  • Décor: You can choose arrangements, linens, and flowers that perfectly match your desired colour scheme and reflect your wedding theme.
  • Entertainment: While music is your choice, it’s good to consider your guests’ choices so everyone can enjoy themselves. If you’re booking bands and/or musicians, remember that they tend to be busy, so you’ll need to book them in advance.

Additional Things to Add to Your Wedding Planning Checklist

We’ve covered all the major checkpoints; here are a few additional things you might need to consider when making your wedding planning checklist:

  • Choosing Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
  • Choosing Outfits/Themes for Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
  • Sending Out Invitation Cards (Save-the-Dates)
  • Managing Hotel Reservations for Guests
  • Create Your Wedding Gift List
  • Arranging Transport for the Wedding Day (especially if you have two venues)
  • Buying Wedding Party Gifts for Guests

Final Thoughts: Good Luck Planning for Your Big Day!

There’s no way you can be over-prepared for your wedding day. Start organising and preparing today, and you’ll make things easier for your future self. It’s natural to feel more stressed and nervous as the big day approaches, but having an excellent checklist can minimize some of that tension.

Finally, remember that this say is supposed to celebrate love, a lifetime commitment, and the start of an exciting new adventure. Use this checklist to make room for fun on the big day, enjoy the love around you, and make precious memories!