First of all, if you’re reading this, the chances are you’re probably engaged – congrats! Secondly, you may be overwhelmed by what seems to be a long daunting road ahead. Fear not! Team Paddington Weddings is here to help! We constantly get asked by our brides how to juggle planning their wedding whilst navigating through their busy lives. We totally understand it’s confusing; but with our help, we hope that our 12-month engagement timeline makes the planning process can be enjoyable and a moment that you will remember for the rest of your lives!
Determine Your Budget
The word that none of us like – ‘Budget’, but it has to be done. Before you can start anything you need to determine how much you would like to spend! Who is paying for what? You and your partner need to ask yourselves “What is a must for our wedding and what is not?” This will giveyou a rough estimate of how much your wedding will cost. From here your budget will change as you go which is why you should start a budget spreadsheet or use a budget app to keep track of your purchases as you go along!
Okay, don’t lie… We all know you have a Pinterest that you’ve been adding photos, secretly planning your dream wedding the day you two started dating (or is that just me?). Ask yourself and your partner, “What do we want our wedding to look like?” I highly suggest starting a Pinterest of everything wedding-related! It really helps with choosing vendors whose aesthetics align with yours! Check out our Pinterest for some drool-worthy inspo!
Decide on the Formality
The formality of your wedding is super important it determines the overall theme of your wedding. Do you want a black-tie formal sit-down dinner? Or is a bohemian relaxed feel more your vibe? Trust us, formality will help you make other decisions for your wedding (We wouldn’t really opt for a black-tie, full glam wedding at the beach – sand and heels don’t mix very well together). Again, Pinterest will be your very best friend here.
Pick Your Date & Venue
We have the who you’re marrying, but what about the when and where? One year may seem like a long time away, but in the wonderful world of weddings, one year can go in a blink of an eye! When choosing a venue, think about location. Do you want to have a destination wedding? Or do you want to keep things close? Living in a world with uncertainty due to various COVID scares, it’s important to choose somewhere that you hopefully won’t be affected by it. Check out our QLD vendors here. Definitely explore your options and find what works best for you and your partner, wedding aesthetic, chosen date, and BUDGET!
Book Your Celebrant
I cannot stress this enough – Don’t. Leave. Your. Celebrant. Til. The. Last. Minute. Repeat after me, “I will not leave my celebrant til the last minute.” Okay, now I got that out of my system, you literally can’t get married without a celebrant, and if you have one in mind I would suggest booking them out sooner rather than later. Having an entertaining and engaging celebrant makes your ceremony all the more special!
Do You Want A Wedding Planner?
If your budget permits it, discuss with your partner if you both want a wedding planner. It’s important to decide this early on so that your planner can fully grasp what you and your partner want and start helping you plan your dream wedding. They also are super helpful for last-minute disasters, hopefully, this does not happen but they are seriously solution masters!
Make A Guest List
Apart from budgeting, this is the hardest part of it all! “Who are we going to invite?” Depending on the size of your venue (and wallets), obviously, you can’t invite Every. Single. Person. In both of your lives. We suggest writing everyone you want at your wedding on a list, regardless of budget and the venue capacity. From here start the culling process until you get a final number you’re both happy with. It’s easy to start feeling guilty over it, but a good way to look at it is “who has made an impact on myself and my partner’s life as a couple?”
Decide On Your Wedding Party
First of all, do you want a wedding party? Or do you want it to be extremely intimate, just you and your partner or just one or two people up there with you (usually a friend or sibling)? If you choose to have a wedding party, they will be your support system throughout this, we promise they won’t cry when you turn a little Bridezilla on them, just don’t do it too often.
Secure Your Vendors Who Book Out Quickly
These people who make your wedding come all together and ensures you have the best memories of this special day for life, in other words, they are very important. Do your research, again ask yourself does this vendor match my wedding aesthetic and budget? See a list of all our Friends of Paddington Weddings who love weddings just as much as we do!
Start Your Wedding Dress Shopping
One of the most exciting times and definitely our favourite part of the planning process, and I feel like we know a thing or two about dress shopping. We generally recommend starting to look for your dress around 12 – 10 months out from your wedding. Due to our exclusivity, we do recommend booking “The One” as soon as you possibly can. Check out our blog The Ultimate Guide to Finding “The One” at Paddington Weddings.
So, you’ve booked your photographer, but now what? Now is the best time to practice being in front of the camera and to get to know your photographer a little better and break the ice. Trust us, it makes all the difference for the big day! You can also use your engagement photos for your invitations, on your wedding website, and for keepsakes.
Create Your Wedding Website
So this is a newer trend within the wedding world, and we are LOVING it. Create and finalise your website at this time so you can send it out with your invites! On your website, you can include RSVP, dietary requirements, dress code and even gift registration! It’s super handy for any last-minute updates too! Check out this awesome list of website builders from The Knot.
Book Hotel Rooms for Guests
Where do you want to get ready before your wedding, but also where will your guests stay after the wedding? It’s always thoughtful to block out rooms for your guests (most hotels will do this for a discounted rate). This way your guests can party the night away with you! If your wedding is nice and close think about booking a ‘Staycation’ for you and your partner after the big day!
Send Out Your Save The Dates!
Let everyone know that you’re making it official, you’re getting married! This gives everyone plenty of time to start to organise time off for your wedding!
Book Your Catering
Whilst some venues provide catering, others require you to source your own catering. Think back to the formality of your wedding, is it a formal sit-down dinner, or do you want something funky like food trucks or just general finger food. Follow a few catering companies on Instagram and keep an eye out for when they are doing a pop-up, this is the perfect way to trial their food before booking (and a good excuse to eat some amazing food!).
Start Organising What Your Bridesmaids Are Going To Wear
Okay, you’re all organised for what you’re going to wear, but what about your lovely bridesmaids? Start looking at dresses that match the colour theme and styles that suit them! Ask for their opinion, and see what looks good on them, ultimately the final decision is yours, however! If
you’re thinking of having your dresses custom-made, the time is now to research dressmakers in your area!
Start Your Gift Registry
If you’re deciding to do wishing well or a gift registry, now is the time to start collecting all the goodies that you and your partner are wanting. We’d definitely recommend Zola to help you curate any gift ideas you may have!
Organise Your Rental Furniture
Chairs, Dance Floor, Lounge Furnitures, etc. Some venues may already have a selection to choose from, but this doesn’t apply to all cases. Furniture really acts as the bones of a well-done wedding decor! Check out the Wedding Wire’s list to make sure you don’t forget anything!
Book Your Transportation
The size of your party really determines what type of transport you’re going to take! Hey, you might want to make an entrance and be flown in by helicopter or something more low-key and arrive by Uber, but whatever is your cup of tea, Now is the time to start looking at getting from your point A – point B.
Start Looking At Your Partner’s Attire
Nothing is worse than an ill-fitted suit. Remember, your partner walks out before you – first impressions are everything! The first step is to refer to your formality, if you’re opting for a relaxed beach wedding, then maybe a gorgeous beige linen suit would look the best here! Our Friends Wil Valor, The Cloakroom, and Black Jacket Suiting are always our go-to!
Plan Your Honeymoon
Woohoo!! You’re halfway there to getting married – time to start planning your honeymoon! This means start budgeting for your trip, dates, itinerary and more importantly – location!
Begin Your Run Sheet
A run sheet is something that is very important not only for yourself but for your vendors too! A run sheet is to ensure that your day goes as smoothly as possible! Check out this Wedding Day Timeline from Brides.
Book Your Rehearsal Dinner
This totally depends on you and your partner and the style of your wedding. It’s not a necessity, but if you’re planning on having a rehearsal dinner, the 5-month mark is the time to book the restaurant and confirm the guests attending!
Choose Your Cake
Hit up all your favourite bakers and start tasting all those delicious cakes! You and your partner should decide if you want a traditional cake or something non-traditional like these ones here!
Book Your Hair and Makeup and Organise a Trial
Refer back to your Pinterest on what type of makeup you’d like! Then compare these to your fav MUA and Hairstylist’s own technique! We have a bunch of fabulous vendors we work with regularly listed here! Try and organise your hair and makeup trial with your rehearsal dinner to make you feel extra special!
Have Your Measurements taken for Your Dress
You found your dress with us, congrats! It’s time to make your appointment so we can take your measurements! Book in your appointment here.
Finalise Any Accessories
This means; veils, shoes, jewellery and any other accessories you’d want on your wedding day! Make sure you have your shoes organised for your final fitting or alterations so that your seamstress can alter your dress to the correct length.
Final Dress Fitting
Your dream dress is almost complete! It’s time to book in your final dress fitting to finish any of the finer details and have your dress hemmed. Make sure you bring your shoes!
Buy Your Wedding Bands
Take a look around at your favourite Jewellers for you and your partner’s wedding bands! Make sure you leave plenty of time to have the bands resized for your wedding day!
Start Making Your Playlist
Whether you’re having a live band, a DJ, or doing it yourself. Start making a playlist for your vendors so they can know which songs you want and at specific times you want it! Think about what song you’d like playing as you walk down the aisle, enter the reception and while you’re having your first dance.
Start Making Your Invitations
Start looking at various styles of invitations, there are so many DIY websites that make it easy for you to create your own invites, or alternatively, you can have a stationary designer custom make something for you and your partner which aligns with your wedding theme! As mentioned before you should include your website URL here.
Send out the Invites
Signed, sealed and delivered! Your guests should receive their invitations by now, and RSVP by one month prior to your wedding date!
Order/Make Party Favours
Start thinking of ways to thank your guests for attending your wedding. Although this is completely optional, party favours are a great way to thank them! Check out these cute party favours to suit every budget!
Plan Your Vows/Readings
Are you and your partner thinking of writing your own vows? Finding the right words to express your love to your partner can be challenging, so give yourself time to come up with the right words, or maybe just watch a whole lot of RomComs to get some inspiration!
Start Thinking About Speeches
Discuss with your partner if you actually want speeches first, as many people have different opinions on speeches at weddings. If you decide yes to speeches, make a list of who you’d like, when you’d want it to happen and what order you want them in. This is the perfect time to start planning you and your partner’s speech too!
Begin Any Craft Details
If you haven’t started already, your wedding is just a few short weeks away, you should probably start any DIY’s you are doing. Give yourself plenty of time for this!
Pick Up Your Dress
Your dress is completed woohoo! Book your appointment to pick up your dress! We will talk you through about how to store your dress and answer any questions you may have! We’d also recommend bringing a bridesmaid along so we can talk them through on how to do up any buttons or the bustle.
Have Your Bachelorette
Hopefully, your bridesmaids have done their most important job and planned your Bachelorette Party! Time to pop open them bubbles and relax – you deserve it after all this hard planning!
Do You Have Any Final Items You Still Need To Get?
Make a list of all the little things you need to get i.e. Guest books, menus, robes, flower girl accessories, something blue?
Get Your Marriage License
Getting to the legalities of wedding planning, in Australia, you will need to complete a notice of intended marriage form which you need to give to your celebrant no less than 1 month out from your wedding date. So 2 months out gives you plenty of time to organise your documents!
Confirm all RSVPs
Make sure all your guests have either RSVP attending or not attending and follow up with those who have yet to respond. Keep staying organised you’ve got this!
Finalise All Payments
The last thing you’d want to deal with leading up to your wedding day is vendors chasing payments. Make sure you finalise all payments so you have nothing to worry about in the lead-up.
Create a Seating Chart
Ahh, one of the last daunting experiences you’ll have to face during your planning journey – the seating chart. It’s okay though, luckily there are a plethora of online tools you can utilise to avoid any ego clashing at your wedding! Here’s a list from to help you out!
Break-in your Wedding Shoes
Feeling uncomfortable at your wedding is defiantly something you don’t want to feel! Start wearing your shoes around the house and practice dancing in them to avoid painful blisters on your wedding night!
Congrats on making it to your final week before you get hitched! Time to get to the nitty-gritty details!
Book any beauty Treatments
It’s time to start indulging and having a spa day! This means:
- Book a colour and cut
- Have your eyebrows done
- Getting a massage, or a couples massage!
Practice Your Vowels
If you’ve written your own vowels, begin to practice them out loud so you can become familiar with them and make any necessary changes.
Write a Letter to Your Partner
Possibly one of our favourite and sweetest things to see is when a couple writes a letter to one another to open and read on the morning of their wedding. It’s just too cute!
Pack for Your Honeymoon
Give yourself enough time to pack before your wedding and allow yourself to pick up any last minute items you may need!
The Night and Morning Before
The Night Before
Eat a filling and healthy meal
Drink loads of water
Pack a small bag of any emergency items (bobby pins, mints, bandaids, Panadol etc.)
Get an early nights rest
The Morning Before
Try to relax as much as possible
Eat a hearty breakfast
That’s right, drink more water
Hang your gown and veil up – layout any accessories going with your gown
Exchange notes and gifts (if applicable) with your partner
One Last Thing
We hope this planning guide has brought you some clarity to what can be seen as a very stressful and daunting experience. Congratulations to those whose wedding’s are almost here or if the day has come around already! We want to wish you all the happiness in the world, take it all in and cherish every memory you make from your wedding day! After what feels like a lifetime of planning, it’s time to let your hair down and indulge in all the hard work you did! What’s next? Enjoy your honeymoon, look forward to getting your photos back, and of course enjoy married life! x