Wedding planning timeline: Your plan to get everything done on time! [free printable!]

Congratulations on your engagement! The days and weeks and months before your wedding is one of the most special times. The process should be exciting and shared between yourself and your partner since it ultimately ends in your happily ever after. Planning your wedding can be a daunting task, which is why most brides and industry experts would recommend you hire a wedding planner. But, should you wish not to, it is not impossible to plan your own successful wedding. Just use our handy list to keep track of all the different things you need to get done, and also by when.

We know the most beautiful wedding day is the one that speaks of the couple. So even though this is our example, we encourage you to move things around, leave things out or add things to the timeline. In the end, it is your day.

If you are more enthusiastic so planning your wedding in less than 12months, just move up the timeline. So instead of working in months, you work in weeks, or however long you have to plan. Just remember to get the big ticket and most important items (venue, dress, food, officiant and invitations) done first. It is possible to plan a fairy tale wedding (even within a small budget) in as little time as 2 weeks! You just need to be organized.

So to help, here is our suggested timeline for engagements of 12months or longer:

12 months before

  1. Set your budget

You need to know how much you need, how much you have, and then keep track of how much you spend. For more info on this, read our previous post here or see our video on budgeting here.

  1. Create a wedding website

There are various free sites that offer this service. You can even open a Wix account. Although not necessary, it is a nice to have, especially if you set it up in such a way that guests can RSVP on it, access your wedding registry, get all of the info regarding the accommodation, date, directions, transport arrangements, etc. in one place. Guests can even post photos, making it easier for you to get all of their snaps afterwards.

  1. Draw up your guest list

Determining how many people you would like to invite is crucial. Only after working out the estimate numbers, and seeing if it will fit in with your budget, can you start looking for a venue. For more info on drawing up your guest list, read our post here or see our video here.

  1. Start your wedding file

It is handy to have all of your gathered info in one place. If you attend trade-shows or go for viewings, you can place all of that information in your file. Keep your notes there, and also keep track of your progress.

  1. Create a mood board for the look and feel

Pinterest is going to become your best friend! Create a secret board where you can pin all of the ideas and colours and themes that you love. Should you wish to hire a wedding planner or consultant, you can add them to that board so that they can get a very accurate idea of the type of wedding you would like, and the type of bride that you want to be.

  1. Hire a wedding planner or consultant

Not a must-have, but definitely a nice-to-have. It will make your life easier, and although pricey in the beginning, the negotiation, experience and calm that planners normally bring are invaluable.

  1. Book your venue

Get to booking your venue as soon as possible. Especially the trendy and popular venues book up fast, with some already running a waiting list for 2 years down the line. A useful tip: book the venue before you pick your date. For more info on booking your perfect venue, read our post here or watch the video here.

  1. Set the theme, as well as the look and feel of the wedding

Decide how formal or informal it is going to be, your dominant colours, etc. Based on the theme, you will design your wedding stationery, décor, etc.

  1. Set the date

Once your venue has been confirmed you are ready to set the date (obviously the date that the venue is available J)

  1. Order your save the dates and invitations

Based on the theme and colour choices, you will now design your save the dates and invitations. Once happy, order them to ensure they have arrived before it is time to send them out.

  1. Start dress shopping

Decide if you would like to have a dress custom-made, would like to rent, or buy. And if you want to buy, will it be pre-loved or new? Know your budget, styles that work on your body shape, colour preferences and finishing touches. Then start making appointments to have fittings. Be open-minded, sometimes a dress that we would have never considered ends up being THE ONE.

  1. Start your special beauty regime

Looking good on your big day takes time, so start early. If you would like to lose weight before your wedding day, now is a good time to start changing your lifestyle to a healthier one. Incorporate exercise, drink more water, up the ante on your face cream, etc.

8 – 10 months before

  1. Ask your bridal party

If you are going to have a maid-of-honour, bride’s maids and flower girls, or any variation thereof, you need to ask these special people if they will do you the honour. Just a tip – you and your partner should have the same number of people in your bridal parties.

  1. Send out save the dates

This is especially important if you decide to get married on a date that falls on a long weekend, a public holiday, in the school holidays or around another big date or event. Also, if close family or friends live overseas, travel for work or have very small kids, they will need enough time to make arrangements to be there. It is important to note on the save the date whether or not guests are allowed a plus-one, and whether kids are invited or not.

  1. Hire band or DJ

Read reviews before hiring any entertainment. Meet with the service provider to ensure you get along, and that they understand your vision for the day. Music can make or break a party, even more so for a wedding. It sets the ambience and the mood, so choose wisely!

  1. Finalise the look and feel and theme

Think seriously about the aspects surrounding the look and feel – the décor, flowers, colour, table linen, favours, etc. and finalise your choices. Make sure all of these individual elements work together to form a beautiful whole.

  1. Decide on bridesmaids’ dresses

The theme, formality and season of your wedding will affect this. There are more choices than I can name, but the two biggest decisions would be do you want your entire bridal party in the same dress or each in a different (even just slightly) dress, and what colour will the dresses be.

  1. Sign up for a gift registry

Register a gift registry with your favourite home-ware shop, or do something entirely different like giving a list of charity organisations that guests can donate to instead of giving you a wedding present. If you rather want money, remember to mention it on the invitation, but give guests an idea of what you will be doing with the money, e.g. it will go towards your holiday fund, etc.

  1. Host an engagement party

Plan and host an engagement party to celebrate your engagement with your closest friends and family. Oh and show off your ring!

  1. Book a photographer

A big ticket item, having the right photographer is one of our crucial must-haves for a successful wedding. Your photos are all that you will have left, so make sure they are of good quality, and that the photographer captures all of the memories and moments you want and need.

  1. Book your caterer

If the venue has their own caterer, meet them now and start discussing your wedding menu. If the venue does not have a caterer or allows outside catering, then you need to find a caterer now. When comparing quotes, just remember to compare apples with apples in order to book the best caterer at the price you can afford.

  1. Order your wedding cake

This is one of the fun things! Identify a baker and book a cake tasting. Once decided, give them the inspiration for your cake design and order the cake when you are happy with the design. Tip: serve the cake as the dessert to cut menu costs as well as waste.

  1. Get an officiant

Book the person who will legally marry you. If you have a close friend or family member whom you would love to guide the ceremony, but they cannot legally marry you, then make a booking to either get married the previous day in court or by a registered officiant before the time. The family member or friend can then go through the ceremony as if they are marrying you, without any legal implications.

  1. Begin shopping for shoes, accessories and lingerie

You will need to have the shoes that you will wear with you when you go for your final dress fitting, so get going in shopping for them as well as any accessories and lingerie that you will need.

4 – 7 months

  1. Arrange accommodation for yourself on the night of the wedding (if not included in your venue) and for out of town guests

If you are not paying for all of the accommodation, make sure your guests have the relevant info to book and pay for themselves. Same with any transport arrangements – make sure your guests have the right information.

  1. Begin preparation for honeymoon

Most of the time the bride will have no idea where they are going for their honeymoon. Even so, now is the time to put some pressure on your partner to book the honeymoon, especially if you are planning on taking it in the busy season.

  1. Decide on and book a florist. Confirm flower selection

Take your Pinterest board to your short list of florists, get quotes and pick one. Finalise your flower choices, arrangement designs and any other flowers that you will need on the day.

  1. Shop for wedding bands

Decide beforehand how much you are spending, the material of the bands, whether they will be engraved, etc.

  1. Visit physician

Ensure you are in tip-top shape. If you are not planning on starting with a family directly after your wedding, put everything in place for birth control. If you are going to a country or place that required certain shots or vaccinations, get them now to ensure they are out of your system by the time of the wedding.

3 months

  1. Send out your invitations

Send out your invitations! Make sure you have a clear RSVP date, and also give guests the needed info regarding your gift registry, accommodation and transport arrangements, etc. If they can choose their own main course, or you would like them to contribute song choices, mention that on the invitations as well.

  1. Select the groom’s wedding attire

Sort out what your partner will wear, as well as the groomsmen. Doing it now ensures there is enough time for fitting and altering.

  1. Shop for bridal party gifts

If you decide you want to give each of your bridal party members something special, then start shopping for it now.

  1. Begin counselling sessions with the officiant

If you are attending pre-marital counselling, start with the sessions now.

  1. Go for the menu tasting and decide on your final menu selections

Make sure you are 100% happy with the menu, the offering, the tastes, the portion sizes, etc. Communicate clearly with your caterer regarding all of your requirements.

  1. Confirm your order of all rental furniture/décor

  2. Book your mock table with the venue and florist

  3. Confirm your wedding day transport

Book the wedding car, as well as any other transport that will be necessary to get you, your bridal party and your close family to the ceremony and the reception.

2 months

  1. Write your vows

Make it heartfelt, sincere and loving. Learn it by heart, but have cards with you on the day just in case the emotion gets you down.

  1. Confirm order with the florist

Confirm everything with your florist and ensure all of it is in writing. Confirm what time they will deliver on the day, as well as if there are any hired goods that you will have to return afterwards.

  1. Confirm order of stationery

Menus, name cards, church programs, anything that you had designed and now need printing for. Make sure it is done in the right colour, on the right cardstock, etc.

1 month

  1. Apply for marriage license

Usually, your officiant will help you with this, but you need to confirm that he/she will. Otherwise, follow the guidelines on the department’s website.

  1. Have the final gown fitting. Remember to take your wedding shoes with!

  2. Have your hair & makeup trails

Take a few photos after the trails to make sure your face is not shiny, your hair looks good from all angles, etc.

  1. Collate the final RSVP list

If you are still waiting for a few RSVPs, follow up and get their final answers.

  1. Prepare shot list for your photographer and videographer

  2. Deliver a list of songs to your DJ or band

  3. Draw up a seating plan

  4. Contact all of your wedding suppliers and confirm the schedule for the day

2 weeks

  1. Pick up the marriage license

  2. Obtain any legal information, approvals or licenses

  3. Check parking arrangements

  4. Rehearsal dinner

If you are having one, this is when you practice the processional.

  1. Confirm your final guest numbers with the venue and caterer

  2. Book in for Bride and Groom relaxing spa treatments

  3. Cut and die hair if needed

  4. Kitchen tea

The get-together where the guests give the bride things she will need to set up her home. Usually kitchen appliances or utensils, but can also be towels, linen, or even gardening equipment. The attending ladies can also partake in the tradition of giving her recipes so that she can start her own family recipe book.

  1. Bachelors and bachelorettes

The get-togethers for the young guests, planned by the bridal parties. Usually held separate, it can be anything from playing paintball to sipping cocktails, cake decorating or watching rugby.

  1. Get your spray tan done – if you are planning on getting it done

1 week

  1. Confirm honeymoon bookings and plans

  2. Confirm accommodation arrangements

  3. Pack for honeymoon

  4. Confirm wedding day attire

  5. Gather all necessary documents for travel

  6. Pick up formalwear

  7. Have one final phone call with each of your suppliers

  8. Have your dress steamed

  9. Pre-wedding relaxing pampering

1 day

  1. Go through the list of things to do and make sure all bases are covered

If you are entrusting a friend or family member to assist with the coordination on the day, you should have a “training” meeting with them now. Give them all of the info, the timelines, etc.

  1. Pack wedding day emergency kit

In short, a small kit that contains essentials that you might need if an emergency happens on your wedding day. This kit usually contains things like lipstick, hairpins, pain pills, water, mints, etc. For a complete list of what should be in your emergency kit, look out for next week’s post!

  1. Get manicure and pedicure

  2. Take a steamy and relaxing bath

  3. Put wedding attire and accessories together

  4. Give rings to best man

  5. Try to get a good night’s sleep

On the day

  1. Have a good breakfast, and make sure you eat something while getting ready. Avoid carb-rich foods, sugars, and caffeine

  2. Get hair and makeup done

  3. Have someone check reception site, or check it yourself if time and rules permit

  4. Get dressed for the wedding

  5. Have candid photos taken with family

We hope that you can use this list of things to do to give you a clear plan of action. We wish you and your partner a beautiful, calm and magical wedding which will be the perfect starting point of your life together.

Want the planner? Then get it here

Themed weddings: Wonderland weddings

Theme: Wonderland

Inspiration: Alice in Wonderland
Trend: Pop of colour, balloons, relaxed and fun
Colour: mint green, rose pink, burnt orange
Venue: anywhere!
Dress: romantic and flirty
Groom: informal suit
Flowers: “veld” flowers, roses, baby’s breath, lisianthus, ranunculus, anemones
Decor: paper flowers, assorted glass vases with single stem flowers
Cake: romantic yet fun, go for an inventive flavour like naartjie with passion fruit buttercream, pecan praline with mocha ganache, etc.
Favours: macarons, small bags filled with biscuits, adorable sugar cookies. A mini pie or tart!
Entertainment: magician, caricaturist, or a sketch artist
Nail this ever popular theme by incorporating fun and unique elements. From paper flowers and home-made confetti to different runners on each table, use your imagination and start dreaming! For the food, think interactive starters bar with an assortment of canapes and salads, and for dessert a pie station with different kinds of pies stacked on top of each other. Designing a personalised cocktail specially for the night is another fun idea to make sure your guests see you and your partner in every detail. play croquet and lawn games during the couple shoot and remember this is the perfect theme to use should you wish to make your four-legged friend part of your special day.

Van aangesig tot aangesig

Van aangesig tot aangesig met iemand praat

– ‘n persoonlike gesprek met iemand voer

Diegene wat ons nou al ken, behoort al te weet ons is mal oor sosiaal verkeer. Geselsies maak is een van ons gunsteling tydverdrywe. En nie net met die wie ons ken nie, sommer met enige iemand – die persoon agter jou in die ry by die poskantoor, in die dokter se spreekkamer, die Mamma wie ook haar kind kom optel. Sommer met enige iemand, en soms sommer met ‘n hele groep. Ons is vriendelik, gasvry, en (so glo ek) baie tegemoetkomend. Ons heg baie waarde aan verhoudings. Daarom is dit vir ons so belangrik om met enige kliënt, hetsy bestaande of voornemende, “face to face” te sit. Ja, ons het voorgestelde pakkette en klaar-uitgewerkte spyskaarte, maar ons doen met graagte ‘n kwotasie gebaseer op presies wat jy wil he, wie jou gaste is en wat jou begroting is. So word elke spyskaart, tafelplasing, dekor, en selfs drankie getweak om by jou funksie te pas. Elke geleentheid word dan as te ware uniek gehanteer, en sal daar nooit weer presies so ‘n funksie wees nie. Beteken dit dat ons pryse en spyskaarte uit ons duim suig? Natuurlik nie! Ons het riglyne, en idees (wat ons met graagte deel), en weet ook wat ons minimum is. By dit alles wil ons ook ‘n sekere beeld na buite gee, en daarom sal ons soms wegstap van ‘n funksie, of die organiseerders van iets anders probeer oortuig. Met dit alles in ag geneem kan ons dan voorstelle maak oor wat om in te sluit, hoe om jou gange en disse te kies, hoe om geld te bespaar, en uiteindelik hoe om ‘n groot sukses te hê.

So hoe werk die besprekings en kwotasie proses dan? En verskil die proses van een tipe geleentheid na die volgende? Nee, glad nie. Indien jy belangstel in ons dienste, stuur vir ons ‘n epos met jou datum, geskatte hoeveelheid gaste, asook tipe geleentheid. Ons antwoord gewoonlik binne 24uur, op die langste 48uur, gewoonlik met ‘n aangehegde dokument wat verduidelik hoe ons werk en ‘n paar spyskaart opsies gee. Ons sê dan ook of die datum nog beskikbaar is, asook watter van die venues beskikbaar is. Indien jou datum oop is, en jy hou van wat jy sien, dan maak jy ‘n afspraak om ons te kom sien. By ons aangekom kry jy gewoonlik ‘n vinnige toer van die fasiliteite en verskillende venues. Ons verduidelik vlugtig wat ons bied en wys vir jou ons tafels, stoele, linne, en dekor items wat beskikbaar is. Van aangesig tot aangesig sit ons dan en bespreek die hele affêre. Nou vra ons vrae soos: wat is jou begroting? Hoe formeel of informeel wil jy dit he? Is die groep kuier mense? Gaan julle wil dans? Is dit drinkers? Ens. Met al die antwoorde, en meer inligting rakende jul voorkeure (die een eet nie vis nie en daai ene is allergies, plus daar is ‘n vegetarier en iemand wie slegs halaal kos eet) werk ons dan ‘n spyskaart uit wat aan so veel as moontlik van jul vereistes voldoen. Indien ons nie die verwagting by die begroting kan uitbring nie sê ons ook dan eerlik so. Jy ontvang ‘n gedetaileerde kwotasie wat elke item uiteensit met die prys. Natuurlik is dit net die eerste kwotasie, en kan ons nog skaaf en verander soos nodig totdat jy, die kliënt, gelukkig is. Op die kwotasie sal die deposito inligting wees met die bankbesonderhede. ‘n Deposito word benodig om die datum en tyd vas te maak. Sodra dit gedoen is gee ons tyd tot en met 2 dae voor die funksie (en 10 dae voor die troue) om veranderinge te maak. Hierdie veranderinge sluit in gaste getalle, spyskaart keuse, tafelplasings, selfs venue indien die ander nog beskikbaar is. 2 Dae voor die funksie (en 10 dae voor die troue) reik ons die finale invoice uit, wat in totaal vereffen moet word voor die funksie begin. En dan doen ons die res.

So maklik soos uit ‘n boom val! Vir persoonlike, vriendelike diens, eienaars wie uit hul pad gaan om jou te akkommodeer en ‘n heerlike ontspanne atmosfeer kontak ons gerus vir navrae oor jou volgende geleentheid! In Ingels se ons graag “we aim to please, and we do it all, and always with a smile!”

Van ‘n padda vere probeer pluk

Jou troue, veronderstel om een van die mooiste dae van jou lewe te wees. Ongelukkig bly meeste van ons se droom troue slegs dit – ‘n droom. Die kostes wat gepaardgaan met so ‘n TROUE is meeste van die tyd buite ons bereik. En dan voel dit soms om met ‘n klein begroting jou droom troue, of selfs net ‘n skaflike affere, te he soos om van ‘n padda vere te probeer pluk. Asof jy probeer om die onmoontlike te vermag.

Vandag wil ek met jou die goeie nuus deel – by Laughing Chefs Boersjiek kan ons amper amper wonderwerke laat gebeur!

Ons glo baie sterk daarin dat jou troudag nie julle (of jul ouers) in skuld moet dompel nie. Dit is die begin van jou en jou eggenoot se lewe saam, en niemand wil dit in die rooi begin nie. Ook wil jy nie jou erfporsie spandeer op een dag nie (of jou ouers in die rooi sit nie…). Wanneer ons voor ‘n paartjie sit is ons heel eerste prioriteit die paartjie self. Nie net wil ons verseker dat hul hele dag spesiaal is nie, maar ook dat die herinneringe van die dag hul met vreugde sal vul. Nie angs oor die lys van onbetaalde rekeninge nie. Om dit te vermag is nie maklik nie. Soms vat dit baie oortuiging om die paartjie tot ander insigte te bring. Natuurlik se ons nie nee vir werk nie, en ons wil he jou visie moet bewaarheid word, maar jou gaste gaan wrintie-waar nie agter kom dat julle nie ‘n ys-standbeeld van julle 2 daargehad het nie! So wat is ons “tips” om die mooiste dag te he, sonder om die bank te breek?

Hier is ons top 6:

  1. Stel vas wat julle totale begroting is – dit sluit alles in, van jou rok na die kos, die venue, ringe, alles wat met die troue te doen het. Wees baie eerlik oor jou verwagtinge, en neem jou maat se gevoelens (en sak) in ag. Kom ooreen dat julle binne die begroting sal bly, al moet julle sny aan nie-essensiele dienste of items. Vir ons as troubeplanners en venue maak dit ook ons werk makliker as ons presies weet wat ons het om meer te werk.
  2. Jou rok moet mooi en vleiend en spesiaal wees, maar dit hoef nie van ingevoerde satyn en handgemaakte kant te wees nie. Die diamante, kristalle, en perels hoef nie eg te wees nie. Jou gaste gaan tienteeneen nie die verskil kan sien nie, en jy gaan die rok 1 dag dra, vir ‘n paar ure. Om helfde van jou trou begroting te spandeer op ‘n rok is meeste van die tyd laf. Koop (of huur) ‘n rok waaroor jy mal is en vergeet van “wat die mense gaan se” – hulle is inelkgeval nie veronderstel om te weet wat die rok gekos het nie.
  3. Besluit eers op jou rok, en dan die venue. Of as jy al lankal jou hart op ‘n venue gesit het, kies ‘n rok wat daarby pas. Jou rok gee die styl, tema, en gevoel van die troue, en daarom moet jou rok en die venue met mekaar gesels.
  4. As daar 2 goed is waarop jy kan en moet spandeer, dan is dit die kos, en ‘n goeie fotograaf. Let bietjie op – as die kos sleg was op ‘n troue ervaar die gaste die troue as swak, onbeplan, onpersoonlik, of enige van die ander on-vleiende beskrywings. Laat die gaste lekker en genoeg eet en die troue is die beste waarby hulle al ooit was! Kos is een van die min goed wat die gaste definitef van bewus is. Jy kan nog wegkom met min dekor op jou tafels, gaste sal dit nie sommer oplet of kommentaar lewer nie. Maar slegte of te min kos… En dan jou fotograaf. Vir meeste van ons is ons troudag een groot blur. Na al die afwagting en spanning en en en vergeet ons om op te let en in te neem. So jaag die dag verby. Sonder mooi, tydlose, kwaliteit fotos het jy niks om die dag meer te onthou nie. By dit alles kan ‘n goeie fotograaf selfs die karingste venue soos ‘n kasteel laat lyk.
  5. Jou gastelys. Nooi jou naastes en bestes. As jy iemand vir die eerste keer gaan ontmoet op jou troudag, is dit regtig die moeite en geld werd om hulle te nooi? Met ons troue was die reël as ek jou in 3 jaar nie gesien het nie, en ons mekaar nie gelukwens op verjaarsdae nie dan word jy nie genooi nie. Dink mooi voor julle die wêreld en hul ouers nooi, elke gas kos geld. So verminder jy ook die kans dat mense sê hulle kom, maar dan of nie opdaag nie of ‘n swak verskoning het en kanseleer.
  6. Sny onnodige kostes. Hoekom vir elke gas ‘n dankie-sê geskenkie gee? Kry eerder mooi boksies waarin hulle troukoek kan huis toe neem, en skryf handgeskrewe dankie-sê briewe wat jy sommer op die dag kan gebruik as naamkaartjies. In plaas van wyn op die tafels, maak ‘n wyn-stasie waarvandaan of die kelners die gaste kan bedien of die gaste vir hulself kan skink. So verhoed jy dat jy aan die einde van die troue met ‘n klomp halwe oopgemaakte bottels sit waarmee jy niks kan doen nie. En jy betaal vir elke oopgemaakte bottle. Vra vir gegeurde water op die tafels (meeste venues doen dit inelkgeval) en bied ‘n verwelkomingsdrankie aan soos byvoorbeeld ystee of lemonade. Moenie vir elke gas koffie bestel en betaal nie. Vra die venue om eerder al die koffies op een rekening te laai wat julle dan aan die einde sal vereffen. So gereeld betaal die paartjie vir elke gas se koffie, en meer as helfde van die gaste drink dit nie eers nie. Haal nagereg uit en bedien die troukoek as nagereg. Of as jy regtig iets wil bedien as nagereg, gaan vir soet happies wat gaste met die hand kan eet terwyl hulle dans of rondkuier. Opgeskepte nageregte bly meeste van die tyd in die kombuis agter, veral as dit laat bedien word wanneer van die ouer gaste alreeds gery het.

‘n Klein begroting hoef nie die dood van jou droomtroue te wees nie, mits jy slim te werk gaan. Kom klop aan by die experts, ons sal jou mooi help om elke sent twee-keer om te draai!