HBA Photography

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18 Month Wedding Planning Guide

12-18 Month guide to planning a wedding

Whether you are arranging a large or small, a formal or informal wedding, the planning should begin at least 12 months in advance.  You can easily get overwhelmed with the amount of things to organise and the large amount of arrangements to make.  You could employ a professional wedding planner to do this for you, but some couples like to plan it themselves and have a much more hands on, personal approach to their wedding.

There is no harm in starting earlier than 12 months for your wedding… after all, the earlier you start to secure the things you really like, the more organised and stress free you’ll be in the lead up to your wedding day. It also means that the big things like the venue, dates, caterers and photographers won’t be booked up already and you’ll be able to have exactly what you like!

With that in mind we have prepared a wedding planner to help you through the quagmire of arrangements.   Following the timetable of this guide should enable your suppliers to provide the best quality service.  Don’t forget…make sure that whenever you book something, that you insist on a written confirmation of the booking to avoid any confusion later on.
Good luck!


12-18 Months to go

12-18 months might seem like a long time in advance to start the ball rolling, but many of the best wedding suppliers get booked up 2 or 3 years in advance, so the earlier you start the better. If saving up is the issue, many suppliers will accept a deposit on the booking and then payment nearer the time of the wedding allowing you time to save up!

  • Decide on the time of year for your wedding
  • Set the date for your wedding
  • Consider taking out wedding insurance
  • Discuss and agree a theme or colour scheme

    Wedding Planning Checklist

    Wedding Planning Checklist

  • Agree a budget and who is contributing to what
  • Decide on the type of ceremony, civil or church
  • Choose location of ceremony and book
  • Book reception venue, hotel, hall, marquee
  • Book caterers
  • Book the wedding cars
  • Book the photographer (Click Here to view our prices)
  • Book the videographer
  • Book the toast master and Master of ceremonies
  • Select music for ceremony and reception then book
  • The musicians
  • The DJ
  • Start to compile your guest list
  • Guests to the ceremony and main reception
  • Guests to the evening reception only
  • Choose your bridesmaids/Pages
  • Choose your Maid of Honour
  • Choose your Best Man
  • Choose your groomsmen and ushers
  • Begin to look at wedding dresses & bridesmaids dresses


6 – 12 Months to go

At this stage, things start to really happen. By now you’ve booked your main suppliers and now it’s time to think about the finer details of the day. How do you want to look? How do you want the room to look etc

  • Make honeymoon trip reservations
  • Finalise guest list
  • Order invitations, personal stationery and order of service
  • Order wedding cake from supplier
  • Select a florist
  • Order balloon decorations
  • Select men’s formal wear
  • Select a firework company
  • Order your wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses


6 Months to go

By now you have pretty much selected everything and it’s now time to put everything into place. Have some fun with the girls trying on dresses…make a day of it!

  • Arrange  a fitting for your dress and bridesmaids
  • Think about wedding list items and register with gift registry
  • Order your wedding rings
  • Consider thank you gifts for parents, attendants and each other
  • Confirm/finalise details of the ceremony
  • Confirm reception details with hotel, venue and caterers
  • Check passports are in order
  • Post all invitations with wedding list and directions to the venue


3 Months to go

More buying things I’m afraid…Whoever said a wedding is cheep! Still it’s fun to be only a few months away from your big day. You can start to put together all the finer details and collecting up all the little nik-nacks that you have planned.

  • Set a date with your fiancé to obtain your marriage licence
  • List acceptances and refusals as they arrive
  • Book hotel for family and guests overnight stay
  • Check with newspaper on wedding announcement details
  • Book vaccinations if required for honeymoon
  • Buy tiaras and jewellery:
  • Consult hairdresser
  • Consult beautician
  • Order bridal favours
  • Choose presents for bridesmaids, usher and best man
  • Consult with mothers regarding their outfits


1 Month to go

Now is the time to try out you hair styles and decide who is going to sit next to each other for dinner. It’s also a great time to hold the stag and hen dos. Traditionally the stag and hen parties were the night before the wedding, but lets face it, you don’t want to end up feeling hung over the day of your wedding. Many parties are now more elaborate and take a bit of organising so don’t give yourself the extra stress of organising stag and hen parties in the final days before your wedding. Plus, it’ll give the best man time to get some of the embarrassing photos of the groom printed in preparation for his speech!!

  • Chase any outstanding invitations
  • Finalise numbers for hotel/caterers
  • Prepare seating plan
  • Arrange final fitting of your dress and bridesmaids
  • Test new hairstyles with hairdresser
  • Make arrangements for Hen and Stag parties
  • Book final hair appointment
  • Hold Hen and Stag parties


2 Weeks to go

Not long now…. This is the time that most people get stressed, but if you’re nice and organised everything will fall into place for you. Take a bit of time to e-mail all your suppliers and double check that everything is booked as expected. Click Here to contact us about your wedding.

  • Record wedding gifts as you receive them and write thank you notes to save you time
  • Review reception seating plan and write place cards
  • Ensure speeches have been written
  • Double check attire and accessories for all members of the wedding party
  • Confirm date and time of rehearsal to all involved


1 Week to go

Everything should be in place now. Just the final bits of organising to do and checking that everyone else is as orgainsed as you!

  • Have final consultation with your suppliers and check that everything is going according to plan
  • Pack suitcases for honeymoon and arrange foreign currency
  • Arrange for name and address change on your bank account, credit cards etc etc


On the day

The big day is finally here. You’ll be pampered all day long starting with your hair and makeup. Enjoy the attention and try and relax. Everything is done now and it’s too late to change it, so make the most of your plans.

  • Ensure the best man has the rings
  • Emergency umbrellas in the car
  • Emergency sewing kit given to someone
  • Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
  • Allow plenty time to be pampered by the Hairdresser and beautician
  • And most importantly of all relax and have a wonderful day


Click Here to download your own personal wedding plan – You can tick things off as you go along to help you keep track of what you’ve done and what you still have left to do. Remember to update the planner as soon as possible after you’ve booked or arranged something.


  1. […] In the meantime, don’t forget to check out some of our recent blog posts: 10 Ways to get the photos you want – Timings for your wedding day – Honeymoon Ideas – 18 Month Wedding Planner […]

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