12 Month Wedding Countdown To Do List

So the proposal has happened – it was a great big resounding ‘yes’, you’ve announced your engagement to friends and family, and you have even set a provisional date.

Now is when the hard work starts!

You might think by setting a broad goal of having your wedding a year from now that you have bought yourself some time to bask in the happy afterglow of a recent engagement. But a year is nothing in wedding planning terms, and if you don’t make a start time will quickly get away from you.

Here is a handy month-by-month checklist of what to prioritise in broad chronological order to help keep your preparations on track right up to the big day.

1.      Make a plan

Your first priority is to set a budget and decide as a couple on the type of wedding you both want – informal/formal, traditional/modern, big party/intimate with close family and friends, and so on. This is also the time to think about how many guests you want to invite, as that will impact on your budget.

2.      Arrange the ceremony

As well as booking a venue for your reception/party, you need to arrange the formalities of the wedding ceremony, too. Whether you are planning a church/religious wedding or a civil ceremony at a registry office, it is important to book in advance to get the date you want. We would always recommend booking your ceremony before confirming your venue.

3.      Book a venue

Once you have a budget and an idea of the type of wedding you want, it is all about venue, venue, venue. Start looking as early as possible – places get booked up months in advance.

4.      Invite guests

Once you have the ceremony and reception venue confirmed, it is time to finalise your guest list and invite people. Some people chose to send ‘save the date’ notices first, or create an events page on Facebook. Formal invitations are generally sent 2-3 months before the wedding.

5.      Shop for dresses and suits

For most brides, the wedding dress is one of the biggest decisions to make when planning a wedding, wedding dresses generally need 6 – 9 months notice to be made. It is worth the groom starting to think about his suit too, especially if he wants one made to measure. This is also the time to confirm your wedding party so you can factor in their outfits too.

6.      Research suppliers

Photographers, DJs, bands, wedding transport, cake makers and, if your chosen venue doesn’t lay on food, outside caterers will all take some research to make sure you get the best quality at the best price. Start to make bookings as early as possible to guarantee availability on your chosen date.

7.      Book your honeymoon

In amongst all the chaos that can go into planning the actual wedding day itself, it is easy to forget about the honeymoon. Arranging a dream holiday is just as important as the ceremony and reception so you don’t want to leave it to the last minute. It is also a good time to think about where you are staying on your wedding night, and make any necessary bookings for guests travelling to the wedding.

8.      Order accessories and choose vows

Flowers, decorations, favours and so on all need to be researched and ordered in good time ahead of the big day. This is also a good time to think about your vows and confirm ceremony details with your venue.

9.      Meet with suppliers and organisers to confirm details

This is a big job that can be rolled out over the remaining few months. But after booking venues, entertainment, caterers, transport, photographer and so on, further down the line you want to have more detailed conversations about what you are looking for come the big day. This will include little details like choosing your music for the ceremony and first dance, and talking through the logistics of timings with transport, registrars, venue management and your photographer.

10.    Buy rings

Give yourself a bit of time to find the right rings – they are an important symbol of your bond as a couple and will be with you a long time. When you find the right ones, you will probably need them resized to fit, which is another reason why it is best to give yourself some time.

11.    Finalise the guest list and start to receive orders

Even if you are not having table plans, it is a good idea to chase up any outstanding RSVPs and confirm numbers with your venue and caterers. Remember to confirm any special dietary requirements also. You don’t want to receive all deliveries of outfits and accessories in one go, so make arrangements so non-perishables start trickling in well ahead of time.

12.    The final stretch!

The last month will be a whirlwind of making sure all the work you have done the previous 12 months comes together. The main things are to make sure everything is in place for the big day, and that people know where they need to be and what they have to do. Get help moving decorations and accessories to the venue in the last few days, and help setting up if that is not part of the venue package. Stay in touch with suppliers, keep a checklist handy so you don’t overlook anything, and above all, keep calm, smile and enjoy!


Want to get venue arrangements out of the way early? The Colony offers a stylish and unique venue for your wedding in the heart of Cheshire with a great balance of outdoor spaces and modern, stylish indoor facilities. Give us a call to check your dates and arrange a viewing.