How to plan a wedding: the ultimate checklist for brides-to-be

Use your time during coronavirus lockdown to plan your big day

Chloe Best

So you’ve just got engaged? Congratulations! Now is an incredibly exciting time, and the coronavirus lockdown means you have plenty of time to plan. Here, our wedding timeline will give you advice on everything from setting the date to finding the perfect wedding venue and deciding on a theme - starting 12 months in advance. (We will assume that you will host your nuptials once the coronavirus pandemic has passed and you are able to invite guests, but of course there is always the option to have a virtual ceremony if you'd rather not wait.)

SEE: Coronavirus made my wedding extra special and we've never felt so lucky

Budget is a huge factor when wedding planning, and should be one of the first things you think about, so you know roughly how much you can allocate to everything from the venue to the dress and the catering.


Follow our handy wedding planning timeline in the countdown to your big day

Once you’ve found and booked your ceremony and reception venues, you can start booking suppliers, including your DJ or band, photographers, and caterer if there isn’t one at your venue. Writing your guest list and starting to notify invitees about your wedding date should also be high on your agenda, so everybody knows to keep the date free. This will also give your guests something major to look forward to after the isolation period. 

SEE: 5 ways to reduce wedding costs for yourself and your guests

After the main things are booked, you can start thinking about wedding outfits for yourselves and the rest of the wedding party. Then enjoy a break from wedding planning by browsing for honeymoon inspiration and decide where you can go to unwind once it’s all over, and once travel restrictions are lifted following the coronavirus pandemic. From hair and makeup trials to the seating plan and wedding breakfast menu, there will be lots to sort out as your wedding day approaches, but our handy printable checklist will help you to stay organised and prioritise what needs to be done when. Good luck!

12 months to go

  • Announce your engagement!
  • Book the church or civil ceremony venue
  • Book reception venue
  • Book registrar if civil ceremony
  • Start looking around for gown inspirations
  • Think about possible venues and themes

11 months to go

  • Work out your wedding budget
  • Compose your guest list
  • Visit bridal stores to look at and try on gowns
  • Book caterer
  • Book DJ or band
  • Book photographer
  • Book lighting and sound (we recommend Luminaire Events)


10 months to go

  • Choose and order your wedding dress
  • Select bridesmaids, best man and ushers
  • Choose and order outfits for attendants
  • Set honeymoon budget and start looking at brochures

9 months to go

  • Register for wedding gifts and come up with a list
  • Confirm menu and drink choice at reception
  • Choose and order headpiece, veil, gloves and shoes
  • Confirm orders for wedding day attire
  • Find a florist and choose flowers for bouquets, buttonhole and venue decor

RELATED: 7 tips on how to give the best wedding speech ever

8 months to go

  • First gown fitting
  • Decide on music/ hymns and readings/ poems at ceremony
  • Order invitations and wedding stationery
  • Start to research wedding rings

7 months to go

  • Arrange dress fittings for bridesmaids
  • Book transport from ceremony to reception for you, parents and attendants
  • Buy any bridal accessories
  • Order confetti or rose petals for guests

6 months to go

  • Order outfits for groom, best man and ushers
  • Select and order wedding rings


5 months to go

  • Arrange for wedding cake order
  • Sort out place cards for table and any order of service
  • Confirm rehearsal dinner if necessary

4 months to go

  • Write or choose wedding vows
  • Buy/ rent groom's accessories
  • Book first night's hotel
  • Book honeymoon and pay deposit
  • Buy honeymoon clothes

3 months to go

  • Make appointment with hairdresser to discuss hairstyles
  • Make appointment with makeup artist to try different looks
  • Book wedding rehearsal - usually for a few days before the big day
  • Create any maps or hotel info you want to send out with invites

MORE: The dos and don'ts of your wedding day tan

2 months to go

  • Send out all wedding invites
  • Try on your whole wedding outfit - the dress, shoes, veil and accessories
  • Arrange final pick up or delivery of dress
  • Buy or make wedding favours and gifts
  • Check groom has organised his clothes, buttonholes, wedding rings

1 month to go

  • Finalise seating plan
  • Hen and stag dos
  • Confirm music selection
  • Confirm delivery of flowers
  • Confirm arrangements with photographer
  • Hair and makeup trials

1 week to go

  • Pack honeymoon bags
  • Pick up wedding dress

Print out or save the full checklist below...


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