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The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | A close-up of a groom and bride's hands with an engagement ring on a flower-decorated wedding table
Lucy Henzell Photography

The Ultimate 12-Month Wedding Planning Checklist

Congratulations on your engagement! If you can’t wait to embark on your wedding planning journey, rest assured you're in the right place. From securing your venue to curating your wedding gift list and sending out invitations to your loved ones—we've created a step-by-step wedding planning guide to guide you through the countdown. Make the process less overwhelming with our 12-month wedding timeline and tackle all the important elements of your special day with structure and ease.

While the usual engagement period is 12 to 14 months, every couple's wedding planning journey is unique. If your big day is less than a year away, follow a simple wedding checklist and focus on the tasks that apply most to you. We recommend starting with your wedding venue, invitations, planners, wedding suppliers, and entertainment—the five key things for a wedding that need to be booked promptly.

12 Months Out


First things first, celebrate your engagement with friends and family and cherish this once-in-a-lifetime moment before diving into wedding preparation and ticking off your free wedding planning checklist.

Pick a Wedding Date

You know who you’re marrying. The real question is when. Choosing a wedding date is one of the most important wedding planning decisions you’ll make right now.

Consider the season, sentimental dates, and your preferred time of the year. If you’re dreaming of a whimsical marquee wedding in the garden, late November might not be the ideal time.

Once you know your wedding date, book your wedding ceremony venue or registrar promptly before they're reserved by others. You’d be surprised at how fast this can happen.

Finalise Your Wedding Budget

Get ready to crunch some numbers! Budgeting is the key to seamless wedding planning. So sit down with your partner (and families, if they’re contributing) and start a detailed wedding spreadsheet, allocating funds for catering, venue, and entertainment.

Staying organised from the get-go helps you track wedding expenses and savings, making adjustments as necessary. Once you’ve worked out your budget, you can start putting firm wedding planning decisions in place.

Create Your Pinterest Vision Board

Now is the time to craft your perfect wedding vision on Pinterest. Explore themes, colour schemes, and décor ideas. Pin your favourite details from the Real Wedding blogs or draw inspiration from our curated Pinterest boards.

Creating a dedicated wedding board on Pinterest will not only help you envision the big day, but it will also provide a clear roadmap for the months ahead. Take your time, and don’t forget to step back if you feel overwhelmed.

Buy Wedding Insurance

Planning your wedding is such an exciting time. So we know that diving into the nitty-gritty of wedding insurance might not be the most thrilling aspect of your wedding checklist. But after investing time and money in orchestrating your big day, the last thing you want is to grapple with supplier or venue issues just weeks before the wedding. We recommend protecting your engagement ring and wedding plans by considering wedding insurance.

It’s very likely your special day will go completely according to plan, but safeguarding against unexpected circumstances can offer great peace of mind. And save a lot of money.

Book Your Wedding Venue

Selecting and booking the wedding venue that reflects you two as a couple is one of the crucial moments of your wedding planning. The wedding location will have an impact on almost every other aspect of your wedding. Including your budget, guest count, chosen theme, and floral arrangements.

Our tip: View your preferred options and select a wedding venue that aligns with both your wedding requirements and budget. Keep in mind that popular locations tend to fill up fast. So secure your preferred choice early in the wedding planning process to avoid disappointment.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | The wedding ceremony church venue with bride and groom and details of the wedding reception venue

11 Months Out

Book a Wedding Planner

Speaking from our couples’ experience, hiring a skilled wedding planner can elevate your wedding day enormously. And help you focus on fun things to plan for a wedding, like wine and menu tasting! A wedding planner will become your right-hand person throughout the process, managing everything from venue selection to budget tracking and logistical details.

But if your funds don’t quite go that far, consider hiring an on-the-job coordinator to ensure a stress-free lead-up to your big day.

Book Wedding Suppliers Who Get Booked Up Quickly

Have you got a list of preferred wedding suppliers in mind? Now's the time to start hiring your wedding vendors that get booked quickly: wedding photographer, band, DJ, and videographer. Make sure you do your research first and ask the right questions; these people will make the memories last forever.

If you're looking for suppliers, head over to our Real Wedding blog or check out our friends at Rock My Wedding, an online wedding planning platform. We guarantee you will find a range of amazing suppliers for you to choose from.

Book Your Wedding Caterer and Bar

Having attended the weddings of friends and family, you likely understand the role of exceptional catering and bar services in creating memorable celebrations. Your wedding reception will be the biggest and best dinner party of your life, so make sure you book professionals that you trust.

Whether choosing the venue's in-house caterers or an external team for your garden marquee wedding, don’t be afraid to be creative and make your wedding feast uniquely yours. Many wedding caterers provide complimentary tasting sessions, allowing you to sample and plan your menu for the big day. Remember to take into account your guests' dietary needs for a diverse and well-rounded selection. For wedding catering advice, read tips from our friends at Doggart & Squash, specialists in weddings and events.

If you're unsure about the quantity of drinks for your wedding or seeking inspiration for your wedding bar, be sure to explore our guide on "How to Plan Your Wedding Bar," provided by our friends at Marlo Wine, Drunken Jockeys, and Nyetimber.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | The wedding catering staff with olives and sea food tapas on the serving board

10 Months Out

Make Your Guest List

Creating the ideal wedding guest list involves thoughtful consideration. If only you could invite each of your nearest and dearest, life would be so much easier. Whether envisioning a grand celebration or an intimate affair with family members and close friends, the number of guests has an impact on many aspects of your wedding planning process. So

Our advice: sit down with your partner to envision your day. Consider the venue capacity, budget, and roughly how much you would like to spend on each guest. Are your parents and your partner’s parents contributing to your wedding day? It's part of wedding etiquette to offer all involved some invitations.

With a rough upper guest limit in mind, you can then start cutting and negotiating to finalise your wedding guest list.

Decide Your Wedding Formality and Overall Wedding Theme

Next step on your checklist for a wedding: it’s time to have a fun conversation with your partner and decide on what you want the look and feel of your special day to be. Use your Pinterest wedding board as a starting point. Share your ideas and thoughts on the colour palette and overall design for a cohesive and visually appealing wedding atmosphere. This sets the tone for décor, attire, and other essential elements of your wedding essentials list.

Start Looking at Wedding Invitations

With 10 months leading up to your wedding day, it’s time to explore wedding invitation designs.

This is your guests’ first teaser of your big day, so make sure the wedding invitations reflect your wedding theme and formality.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | A bride getting ready and putting on her wedding dress

Buy Your Wedding Dress

The most exciting part of the wedding list for the bride - it’s time to say yes to the dress! Custom-made bridal dresses typically take between six and nine months to make, and you need to allow time for alterations ahead of your big day. So make sure you start early in the wedding planning process. 

Whether you have a clear vision or are still exploring, finding your perfect wedding dress should be a stress-free and enjoyable experience. So take a day off work to browse through various bridal boutiques and wedding dress designers. Try on various styles until you discover the one that suits you best. Once you've made your perfect choice, experiment with veils, jewellery, and accessories to complete your bridal look.

Make sure to read our Real Wedding blogs to get inspired by our beautiful brides wearing some of the best British wedding dress designers, including Miss Bush Bridal, Louise Selby, Emma Victoria Payne, or The Mews. 

9 Months Out

Create Your Wedding Gift List

You’ve booked a wedding venue and picked your photographer and caterer. Perhaps you even have your wedding dress already. With nine months leading up to your special day, now is the time to start curating your list of wedding presents. A wedding gift list is a curated collection of items, experiences, and cash contributions you wish to receive as gifts from your wedding guests to celebrate your marriage.

Also called a wedding list, a wedding registry, or a bridal registry, a wedding gift list is not only a fun and exciting experience for you and your partner to build your new life together. It also acts as an easy and flexible guide for your guests to choose presents they know you will love and also need.

Whether it's tableware, bed and bath wedding gifts, or contributions to your art and honeymoon funds, your wedding gift list reflects your aspirations as a couple. The options for what you can add to the gift list are unlimited, so have fun with it!

Read more about how to create your perfect wedding gift list here.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | An engaged couple is relaxing in the country house living room and creating wedding gift list online.

Book Your Wedding Florist

From delicate wedding bouquets to grand centrepieces, flowers play a significant role in wedding aesthetics. Now is the perfect time to meet with your preferred wedding florist and share your inspiration photos and Pinterest board. If you’re looking for a trustworthy wedding supplier, find inspiration on our Real Wedding blog or ask your venue for local recommendations. It’s important to find a wedding florist who can bring your floral vision to life in line with your budget.

Consider growing your wedding flowers for a unique, meaningful touch to your wedding day. They are also a more environmentally friendly choice and a huge cost-saver! Our advice is to start planning early and always think about the seasonality of flowers and the unpredictable English weather.

Send Save the Dates

So you confirmed your wedding date, venue, and guest list. It’s time to mark another task off your wedding organisation checklist: let the wedding guests know you’re getting married! Send save-the-date cards early to allow guests to plan and ensure a strong turnout. Include both your and your partner's names, the wedding date, venue details, and a note indicating that a formal invitation will follow in due course.

Choose Your Wedding Cake Supplier

Indulge in one of the most enjoyable (and delicious) tasks on the list of things needed for your wedding - tasting and ordering a wedding cake. Whether you're leaning towards a classic tiered design or something extraordinary, follow your unique taste as a couple over pleasing every guest.

Once you settle on the look and flavor, book a trusted and talented wedding baker to turn your vision into a delicious reality.

Create a Wedding Website

Make planning easy for your guests by creating a wedding website with information, venue details, and RSVP options. Don’t forget to introduce your wedding gift list on your website; we create a unique URL for you to share once it’s ready.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | The wedding floral decoration with roses next to a traditional white wedding cake.
Rebecca Searle Photography

7 Months Out

Plan Your Honeymoon

While the long list of things to organise for your wedding day takes precedence, don't overlook honeymoon planning. Whether it's a minimoon, a long-haul escape, island-hopping honeymoons, or a future romantic getaway, start organising early for a stress-free post-wedding experience.

Start Crafting DIY Items If You Haven't Already

Add DIY wedding projects to your checklist when planning a wedding for a meaningful and personal touch. Our advice: don’t leave these homemade projects to the very last minute, thinking your bridal team will be ready to help. Whether crafting wedding decor, signage, or personalised favours, start each project step by step now.

Research and Book Wedding Rental Items

If you're navigating the wedding planning process without a wedding planner, you’ll likely need to consider booking wedding rental items when planning your wedding checklist. Depending on your chosen wedding theme, you may want to upgrade your venue's furniture, rent beautiful linen, specialty chairs, draping, or even secure a dance floor. We highly recommend confirming these details with wedding rental suppliers at least 7 months before your special day to guarantee a seamless wedding planning experience.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | The wedding rental chairs set up for an autumnal wedding ceremony.

6 Months Out

Choose Your Bridesmaid Dresses and Accessories

It's time to delve into the next step of our wedding planning guide—choosing your bridal party's attire. Celebrate your nearest and dearest by organising a fun day of bridesmaid shopping.

Let your bridesmaids experiment with different options, showing that you value their opinions. When choosing your bridal party look, ensure everyone feels comfortable and confident in their chosen attire—they'll be wearing it in front of your crowd. And, of course, don't forget to consider accessories to complete their perfect look.

Organise Your Wedding Stationery

Start your wedding stationery preparations six months before your special day. Whether you're hiring a professional wedding stationer or embarking on a DIY adventure, ensure ample time for designing and printing your wedding invitations, menus, personalised signs, and orders of service. We'd recommend designing wedding stationery that reflects both of you, so let your creative juices flow—follow your wedding inspiration, consider matching your save the dates, or opt for something different but complementary. Booking a calligrapher can add an elegant and personal touch too.

When creating wedding invitations, make sure you include a brief sentence informing family and guests about your wedding gift list. Our wedding list advisors are always happy to help with the wording if needed. You can also use our complimentary cards to let your guests know you have a gift list at The Wedding Present Company.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | A blush and green wedding stationery and menu with scalloped details set up as part of the relaxed wedding reception tablescape

5 Months Out

Book Your Wedding Hair and Makeup

Now is the time to plan your bridal makeup and hair look for your big day. So do your research and book a professional stylist who can bring your vision to life. Look up inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest, but remember: you want to look like the best version of yourself. So don't delude yourself with highly edited and filtered social media images. When sharing your wedding inspiration with a stylist, be as specific as possible about what you do and don't want.

Booking your wedding hair five months ahead of the wedding gives you plenty of time to experiment with your hair as well as to plan for any cutting, colouring, and supplements you might need. Also, keep in mind that the bridal glow comes from within. So think about your exercise and diet, and even add monthly facials in the lead-up to the special day to get your skin in the best possible condition.

Arrange Your Wedding Transport

Ensure a seamless experience for your guests by arranging wedding transport to and from the venue. Most importantly, book transportation for you and your partner in style; whether it's a wedding bus, a classic limo, or a vintage convertible, feel free to get fully creative with your transport choice.

Buy or Rent the Groom’s Suit

The groom is the first one to walk down the wedding aisle, so make the first impression on wedding guests a good one. When choosing between a black tie, morning suit, or lounge suit, consider the formality of your big day. Also, focus on fit and function; a well-fitted and flattering groom's outfit is key to avoiding embarrassing moments on the dancefloor that result in any splitting of seams.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | Snapshots of a groom getting ready and dressing up in a classic, elegant groom's suit with a bow tie.
Rebecca Searle Photography

4 Months Out

Sort Your Paperwork for Getting Married Abroad

Whether you’re planning to elope in Europe or more far-flung countries are on your mind, avoid last-minute stress by including the handling of the wedding legalities in your wedding planning timeline. Some countries require copies of your birth certificates at least three months in advance, and you might need to get your paperwork translated in advance too.

Buy Wedding Dress Undergarments

Start shopping for your wedding undergarments after your first dress fitting. It's best to wait until this point, as your initial fitting will reveal whether you need sleek shapewear or supportive lingerie to complement your dress. Make sure you opt for a seamless and comfortable undergarment fit to feel your absolute best on your special day.

Buy Your Wedding Shoes

You've found your stunning dress and accessories; now it's time to choose the perfect shoes to complement your wedding attire. The last thing you want is blistered feet on your special day, so don’t forget to break in your wedding shoes ahead of your wedding.

Our tip: Practice your first dance in the kitchen or hallway to the tunes of our specially curated wedding day playlist.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | A flatlay photo showing elegant wedding stationery, next to wedding shoes and jewellery, including wedding bands.

3 Months Out

Write Your Wedding Speeches

At this point in your wedding planning timeline, you should have decided who will be making a wedding speech. Whether it's the bride, groom, or other special speakers from your friends and family, make sure everyone is well-informed about their roles and has ample time to craft a memorable speech.

Pick Your Wedding Band

As your wedding date approaches, now is the perfect moment to buy your wedding rings. If you're considering having a bespoke design or need adjustments in design or size, allocating extra time is even more crucial. Your wedding ring exchange will be one of the most memorable moments, so it deserves thoughtful consideration. If you’re not sure where to start, take your time and consult with your trusted jeweller, such as our friend Sophie Brietmeyer.

Are you taking the traditional route and planning to pair your wedding band with the engagement ring? It’s always a good idea to try them together to ensure a perfect match.

One last tip: Don't forget to get your wedding ring insurance.

Finalise Order Of Service & Readings

Typically designed to complement your wedding stationery, the order of service outlines the ceremony flow, including details on songs, prayers, the officiant, and the wedding party's names. Given to guests before the ceremony, it’s a key part of the overall experience.

With a few months left until your wedding, it’s time to also think about your wedding readings. If you’re having a religious wedding in the church, Bible verses are often an obvious choice, but there are plenty of nonreligious options, too. You can also add a personal touch or ask our designated readers to pick their own. Just make sure they have plenty of time and guidance to create something that aligns with your vision.

You should finalise your wedding order of service and readings two to one month ahead of your big day to avoid last-minute hassle with printers.

Organise your Guest Favours

Wedding guest favours are small tokens of gratitude for your guests, thanking them for celebrating your special day with you. How much you spend on wedding favours is your personal choice, but no matter your price point, opt for gifts that are thoughtful and memorable.

Create Your Seating Plan

Planning the perfect seating chart for your wedding, much like curating your guest list, presents its unique challenges. Start by considering your venue's floor layout and table settings. You also want to create an atmosphere where your guests feel at ease, seating them in a way that accommodates various dynamics and interests.

However, as daunting as creating a seating plan sounds, it's key to remember that this is your special day. Your guests are genuinely excited to be a part of it, so take a moment to relax and avoid unnecessary stress—you've already come this far!

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist:| Seating Plan with Rustic Wedding Place Cards on the Wedding Reception Table, adorned with Plenty of Flowers and Foliage

2 Months Out

Get Your Marriage License

Securing a marriage licence and obtaining your wedding certificate is the official, legal side of tying the knot, but it is also the part people are least familiar with. In terms of the wedding planning timeline in the UK, remember that in England and Wales, you must provide 28 days' notice to the Register Office before the marriage can occur. This notice must also mention the location of the marriage.

Send Out Your Wedding Invites

Although you should start looking into wedding invitation design ten months ahead of your wedding, you will send them out only six to eight weeks before the big day. We also recommend having your gift list live and ready for when you send out your wedding invitations. It's the most natural way to direct people to your list. Plus, some guests will want to buy you a wedding gift as soon as they read your wedding invitation!

Have Your Wedding Menu Tasting

By now, you've likely booked your preferred caterers. So why wait until just 8 weeks before the special day for the actual tasting experience? It's the perfect window to sample the latest menus crafted with the freshest, seasonal ingredients.

Choose Your Music

With less than three months until your big day, now is the perfect time to choose your wedding music. Take a moment with your partner, pour yourselves a glass of wine, and create a list of your favourite songs for the wedding DJ or musicians. The choice is entirely yours, but if you need inspiration, we've curated some Spotify playlists for you here.

Confirm Booking With Your Suppliers

As you approach the final two months of your wedding planning journey, we suggest reaching out to your wedding suppliers to confirm all the details. This step ensures that everything is on track for your big day, allowing you to enter the last phase of your countdown with peace of mind.

Write Your Vows

The wedding vows stand out as one of the most heartfelt moments in the ceremony, leaving you and your dearest and nearest in happy tears and sniffles. While you have the freedom to create your own, the way you write your vows usually ties in with your religion or culture. And most of the time, the husband will say his first.

Whether you choose a personal or traditional route, the method of creating your wedding vows is an entirely personal decision.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | A traditional bride and groom are sharing their wedding vows in church in front of their wedding guests.

1 Month Out

The Final Wedding Dress Fitting

With just a month to go until your big day, it's time for that final fitting! Why not bring along your friend or bridesmaid? Not only does it provide invaluable support during this crucial moment, but it also adds a bit of excitement to your final wedding preparations. Plus, it's a great chance for them to learn the ins and outs of bustling your dress if needed.

Contact Guests Who Have Not Yet RSVPed

Give a gentle nudge to those RSVP stragglers. Chances are, their invitation might have slipped through the post. Once you confirm your final guest count, make sure your catering and seating plans are spot-on to make your wedding day experience seamless.

Speak With Your Photographer

Schedule a call or meeting with your photographer to discuss specific shots or moments you want to capture during the celebration. It’s your special day, so be as specific as possible about what you do and don't want, but also trust their creative vision. After all, you chose them for a reason.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | A bride and her bridesmaids are getting ready before the wedding ceremony.

Final Week Before Wedding

It's the last week before your wedding! Complete the final tasks on your detailed wedding checklist before taking a moment to relish in the joy of this special time. Start by practicing your vows out loud, and then visit your jeweller to have your engagement ring professionally cleaned, ensuring it's extra sparkly on the wedding day. If you're heading off to your honeymoon after the ceremony, make sure to pack your bags in advance and confirm your travel arrangements for a stress-free departure.

With just a few days left before your big day, it's also the perfect time to clear your to-do list and focus solely on wedding festivities. Indulge in final beauty and grooming appointments, treat yourself to a pre-wedding massage, or even consider booking a couple’s massage. It's an excellent way for both of you to unwind from wedding stress and relax before the big day.

Our tip: Set aside a moment to write a note for your partner, sharing your excitement and anticipation for the upcoming celebration of life together.

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist | Just a married bride and groom are standing in their vintage car and celebrating their wedding in front of their wedding marquee.

Before Wedding Day

Congratulations! Your special day is finally here. Drop off decor items at the wedding venue, and make sure to go over roles and schedules with your bridal party. Now that all that wedding preparation and creative planning have come to an end, it's your time to relax and cherish this special moment. So indulge in a hearty meal with your close ones, keep off your feet, and enjoy an early night's rest. Don’t forget to lay out your wedding outfit and accessories for a stress-free morning. We wish you the most magical day ahead and can’t wait to hear more about it!


This concludes our step-by-step 12-month wedding checklist timeline. You're now ready to embark on your wedding planning journey with confidence and ease. Don't stress if things deviate from the plan; the key is to enjoy the process! For additional planning advice on weddings and wedding gift lists, visit the wedding planning section on our blog.