How to Start Planning Your Wedding: One Year Before

Planning a wedding is fun, don’t get us wrong, but it can also be super, super stressful. Luckily, we’re here to help! From reserving your date and venue to purchasing the dress, we’ll take you through the key things to check off the list one year before the big day:

Save the Date

Summer soiree or winter wonderland, whichever season you’d like your wedding to take place in, it’s best to sort the date out early. Weddings are a competitive business, after all, with plenty of loved-up couples jostling for the top spots. By booking early, you can get the dream date for you – whether it’s your anniversary, the date you met or even just the week you know is likely to have the best weather.

Plus, if you get the date sorted well in advance, you can let all your guests know way ahead of time and reduce the chances of some of your nearest and dearest over booking themselves. Sort your date out around 12 months before the wedding – if not sooner – so you can get on with the fun stuff! Remember, nothing can happen before you get the date locked in.

Book the Venue

Next up? Booking the venue of your dreams, of course! Whether you want a traditional church service or a wedding on the beach, a destination wedding or a venue that’s just 10 minutes down the road, it’s important to leave lots of time between booking the venue and the wedding date. The top choices are really in demand, so by acting fast you can secure the venue you’ve always wanted, hassle-free.

Make sure that you book a place that can accommodate all of your guests – you’d be astonished by how many people forget about this simple step – and don’t forget about the reception.

If you want to hold it in a separate location, be sure that you get that (as well as the means of getting your guests there) all booked as well! The speed at which venues get booked up depends entirely on your local area, but realistically, it’s best to book around eight months in advance of the big day. Venue costs vary enormously from location to location, so the amount you spend is totally down to you!

Pick the Guests

So now it’s the fun part, you get to choose who takes part in your special day! From old high school buddies to those distant family members you haven’t seen for years, a wedding is the perfect place to bring everyone together. If a big wedding isn’t your thing, not to worry, you can whittle your guest list down to your nearest and dearest.

Make sure that you collaborate with your spouse when you’re making the list – generally, couples split the numbers 50:50 – and be realistic about the numbers. We might want to invite thousands of people, but if that’s too much for your budget, you’ll need to be a bit more selective. Between 100 and 200 guests is manageable for most people, although a much smaller guest list of around 20 is preferable for many couples.

You’ll want to send your invites out around six to eight weeks before the wedding, so make sure that you’ve got a finalised guest list around four weeks before that – you’ll need to ensure plenty of time to get your invitations made up.

Purchase the Dress

Brides-to-be, listen up, it’s the one you’ve all been waiting for – the dream dress! We all think we’re pretty cool, we don’t care that much about the fantasy dress . . . until it’s our time to choose one, that is! The perfect dress is out there, ready and waiting for you to pick it off the rack – or be made up just for you if you prefer.

From the princess ball gown to an elegant A-line, wedding dresses come in all shapes and sizes, and by giving yourself plenty of time before the wedding to make your selection, you can really make sure that you make the right choice! It’s also worth remembering when you purchase the dress that you should leave plenty of time for the fittings – if you do it too late you might not have enough time to make all the adjustments that you need. Many dresses can take six months or more to come in, so it’s best to start looking as far as 12 months in advance.

Remember, the average Brit spends around £800 on their wedding dress, although designer dresses can fetch much higher prices, so it’s best to start saving now.

Select Invitations

We’re almost there, but there’s one more super important thing to sort out, the wedding invitations! Designing the invites is one of the most enjoyable aspects of your wedding. From the calligraphy to the style, when you select the invitations you’re essentially giving your guests a taste of what type of wedding you’re hosting. Whether it’s a traditional white wedding or a hipster affair, now is the time to set the mood and let your guests know what sort of party they’re in for.

Use speciality paper for a hint of elegance, get your invitations personalised so they’re that little bit more meaningful and be sure to order more than you need – you never know what might happen! Depending on how fancy you feel like making your invites, they could cost as much as £5 each, but you could massively reduce the cost by making your own invites at home!

Make sure that you get your invites made well before you plan on sending them out – one month before should give you plenty of time.

Stress, fun, planning, passion – there’s nothing quite like planning a wedding. Just don’t forget about the most important thing: each other!

NB: a warm thank you to Smart Photo Courses for some of the great photos in this article!

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