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05th Sep 2012

Keep Calm and Get Married: The Essential Wedding Checklist

Just engaged? Happy? Overjoyed? Absolutely terrified at the thoughts of having to plan a wedding from scratch? Don't fear, here are some of the essential things you need to do...

So he’s finally gotten down on one knee and popped the question, and, you’ve only just gone and said yes! You’re in the throes of soon-to-be-wedded bliss and life is pretty awesome. Now there’s just that annoying little matter of actually planning the big day…

Ask any former bride-to-be how to go about planning a wedding and chances are she’ll give you a sigh, a wistful grin and the sage advice of: “hire someone else to do it.” That’s all well and good when you have the budget to hand control over to a third party, but for most of us, this won’t be an option. And besides, isn’t planning the big day part of the fun?

So where should you start? What should you do? Here is our simple wedding planning guide to get you started in the right direction.

Once You’re Engaged…

Have an engagement party: Yes, put on a fancy frock, invite all your friends and relatives over and celebrate the good news! Enjoy your moment, show off your ring and let your hair down. The best thing about engagement parties is the fact that they make everyone a bit nostalgic about their own wedding day, so chances are you’ll be given some sage advice from your mammy or your best friend about how they coped with planning their own wedding.

Sit down with himself and talk money: It’s important that yourself and your future hubby are on the same page when it comes to planning the wedding. You may think it’s perfectly acceptable to spend €10,000 on a dream wedding dress, he might think that you should give the money to charity and get married in a register office instead.

Talk about your dream wedding together. Get a feel for the things that would make both of you happy and settle on a budget. Once you have a figure, you can start more solid planning.

Bust out the bridal magazines: Cut out pictures of dresses/venues/other wedding things that you like and create a mood board. Refer to this often for inspiration. Start to consider what kind of dress you’d like and what kind of venue you’d like to get married in.

Do a bit of research: Get online and see what your budget figure could get you. This is just to send out a few feelers so you know what options are available to you.

Decide on a date: Pick the all-important date. First pick the month you’d ideally like to get married in, maybe mention the month around to your closest friends and family to make sure they’re all free during that time period then set the date.

You definitely don’t want to forget your wedding rings…

A Year Before the Wedding…

Pop the question: Choose your bridesmaids and ask them if they’d be happy to accompany you on your big deal. Once they say yes, these ladies will become your wedding support network. Ask them if they have any wedding contacts. Maybe one might know a great photographer and another could know a fab cake maker. Get these girls on side!

Decide on (and book!) your venues: Most places are usually booked up a couple of months in advance so visit your ideal venue and book it as soon as you can.

Book the important essentials: Photographers, musicians, videographers, cars – the sooner you book all these things, the better!

Decide on your look: Pick the colours you want for your big day and then start researching the smaller details. Decide what kind of flowers you want, how you want your invitations to look, what kind of cake you’re going to go for and how you want your hair and make-up done for the big day.

Six Months to Go…

Eat cake: Visit the baker and have a look through what kind of cakes are on offer for your big day.

Sort your flowers: By this stage you should have a firm idea of what you want flower-wise. Visit the florist and have a chat.

Save the date: Send out your invites!

Getting away: Start planning your honeymoon.

Get dressed: Go wedding dress shopping, pick your bridesmaids’ dresses, order your wedding rings and make sure himself and his groomsmen have something to wear on the big day.

Take care of the legal side of things: Most priests/registrars need at least three months’ notice before you get hitched. It’s a good idea to get this sorted as soon as you can.

Picking the venue will be one of the hardest choices…

Six Weeks Before…

Get styled: Book your hairdresser and make-up artist for the big day and go for a trial run so you know what to expect.

Get fitted: Make sure your dress is perfect. If it isn’t organise a few fittings to make sure you look amazing on the day.

Hire wedding transport: Every bride needs a way to get to the wedding, so make sure you have a driver that’s willing to help you arrive fashionably late.

Finalise your ceremony: Have a chat with your celebrant and finalise the details of the actual wedding ceremony itself. Make sure your musicians know where they stand as well.

One Week to Go…

Make the calls: Ring your venue/musicians/photographer/everyone and confirm all your arrangements.

Final fitting: Have a final fitting on your wedding dress. Try not to balloon in weight or lose a stone between now and the big day.

Book the essentials: If you need to get your legs waxed or get a spray tan, book them now.

Start packing your bags: For your honeymoon!

Sort out your cash: Remember, the photographer/musicians/caterers will have to be paid at some point. Make sure you have your financial affairs in order.

Get excited! You’re getting married. It’s awesome!