The Ultimate Wedding Checklist

Jul 1, 2017 | blog

Memory like a sieve? Bought every coloured pen, pad and highlighter on the market and still don’t know where to start? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered.
This is the ultimate wedding checklist, follow this and you won’t miss a thang.

Things to do as soon as you become engaged

Share your good news with close family and friends
Right the easy part, telling everyone and spreading the good news.

Telling the world isn’t everyone’s style, so if you’re more modest than a Kardashian then just wait until your nearest & dearest spot the ring on your finger (turn it in to a game, the last close member to notice must take a shot of the good stuff).

If you have found yourself to be the queen of social media, then make this your moment. Damn you’ve seen enough of these posts before – now it’s your chance (Your likes will go through the roof). Be creative & tag us in the post when you do, we love a bit of social media.

However, steer clear of the vomit worthy posts #happilyeverhayford is not cute nor clever.

Unchained Bride ultimate wedding list

Mood Board
Create a scrap book of ideas. Whether you use an online mood board tool such as Pinterest (, or old school paper and glue, this will be an easy way of pulling together ideas of things you like in order to create a theme. Magazines come in very useful here.

Creating a theme will help you channel your thoughts to be able to say “yes, yes, yes” or “no, no, no” to something for your day (let’s face it, mixing a woodland wedding with the Great Gatsby just isn’t going to blend; even if Leonardo DiCaprio is the groom).

Set a wedding budget
This is simple. Hold out your hand to the parents; ask how much they are going to cough up. Look at your savings and calculate how much you can contribute and there is your budget.

12 months before

Who’s in?
Good luck with this!
Firstly, this can be an expensive ordeal. Do you buy their dresses, shoes, hair & make-up? And that’s just the boys 😉

Decide who is in the wedding and ask them. This can be in a creative way or a quick phone call. But this is your day (2-year build up)… So why not make the most of it along the way.

Take a look at our Bridesmaid & Usher website pages for more ideas.

Wedding planner or no wedding planner? That is the question.
You fancy yourself as a bit of a Mary Poppins? Then give the whole organisation a crack yourself. We have organised many events and they are tougher than you’d think.

Trying to organise the day and all the details, as well as making yourself look like you just stepped off the cover of a magazine, is stressful (trust us the details are what people will remember, you will be amazed at how many people mention the table confetti?!).

Wedding planners cost money, if you can afford it – it might just be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Guest List
This ought to be fun.

Bride and groom to-be: get a bottle cracked open, 2 pads and 2 pens, write down who you want at your wedding and then fight out who’s getting struck off. Remember…guests are expensive and you are paying for them to attend. Struggling to stick within budget? Be brutal and start striking.

There is nothing wrong with inviting guests to attend the wedding reception only.
You end up in a full-blown row over a possible attendee and threats to call off the wedding are being branded around? Rock, paper, scissors it is.
Once you have decided on the list, create a spreadsheet with columns for contact information, RSVPs, gifts and any other relevant information.

Date & Venue
Go check out several venues to see what they offer and what suits your style.

Hotels will offer all-in packages and the current craze is event spaces where you arrange everything yourself, to your style.

Some sought after venues book up years in advance so start sooner rather than later. When you find the one you like, book it!

Book your officiant
Don’t forget to factor in the travel time if your ceremony and reception are at different places.

9 Months before

Make bridal boutique appointments
Brides book your bridal boutiques now; these places fill up quick and never seem to run out of weddings. Take some gal pals and make a day of it and remember this should be fun! It’s not every day you wear a wedding dress (for most of us anyway).

You will need to schedule at least three fittings between now and the wedding day.

Set up a personal website to keep your friends up-to-date about your wedding
No need for a personal website, create a Facebook event and every so often post a cheeky message, because god forbid if anyone on Facebook forgot your special day.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a whizz kid, then go for the full throttle website.

An out of the country wedding guest has a lot to plan and organise, such as flights accommodation etc. so give them an early heads-up. You may want to block book some hotel rooms for guests, make sure you check the cancellation policy!

The earlier you inform your guests the better. We all know how busy life can be. Try using something different as your ‘save the date’ such as a magnet (it is less likely to get lost).

Book a photographer & videographer
Don’t let the groom talk you into booking Steve from the pub who’s done an online photography course to save money. Make sure you’ve got a decent photographer, who gets your style, because these images shall stay with you forever and should encapsulate the day.

Look at their portfolios, Facebook pages & Instagram posts. They are artists at the end of the day so their work should be showcased well.

You don’t have to talk specifics but make sure they are up for doing the shots you want.

Arrange to visit caterer & book the best – don’t forget the BOOZE!
Some venues will have this in the package and so you will just need to decide on the menu. If you’re lucky they may even throw in some tasters.

If you are organising your own caterers book in plenty to try and check out their food. Most caterers will have plenty of experience in this field and may be able to guide you if you’re struggling.

If you are organising your own catering, that means you will be organising your own alcohol. Try different wines, Prosecco, champagne and cocktails to help you decide what you want on your day. Make sure you have sourced your supply and have a think about how it is going to be sold (there may be some venue restrictions).

You’ve probably got someone in mind, but if not ask for recommendations and attend gigs to see how they perform live. Then book your favourite.

Arrange to visit florists
If you are having a florist arrange a visit. Instagram is a great place to see the work of most florists. The work that these guys & gals can do is incredible. From simple and sophisticated to WOW! Obviously, it all comes at a price but flowers really do make an event look spectacular.

Choose Dress
Nothing else needs to be said here. Girls you know what to do £££.

Bridesmaid dresses
You need to allow at least six months for dresses to be ordered and sized – however, we suggest doing this a little earlier. The more bridesmaids you have the more time this will take.

If you are going traditional and would like a gift list, then you will need to register with the retailer. This will ensure that Steve from the pub isn’t left to his own devices, resulting in your 3rd George Foreman grill.

Book honeymoon
We promise you, suddenly, your groom will become very interested again.

This is a simple request but one of utmost importance …. Check that your passports are valid (no one wants a mad dash to Liverpool).

Depending on your location you may need vaccinations, if so book these in.

Organise Hen Do
Some may think that this is too early – we don’t.

Having attended many hen do’s these are not a cheap affair, so maybe get your bridesmaids together and start some preliminary planning now (with an approximate cost).

Organise Stag Do
Trust us, the groom will have booked it, organised it, had nightmares about it and finally have a WhatsApp group already set up before you even mention it to him.

5-6 months before your big day

Doing your own cards can be time consuming so you may wish to hire a calligrapher, if so make sure you budget accordingly. You may also want to consider, place names, table numbers and menus at this stage so they all match.

Choose a hairstylist & make-up artist
Dear god woman whatever you decide make sure you have a trial. Don’t make this your opportunity to go for a “new look” – you don’t want to shock your husband-to-be by sporting that shaved head look that you’ve always desired.

Do not book Sandra who’s watched a few youtube tutorials.

Meet with the Officiant
It is a good idea to meet with the Officiant and map out the ceremony, and to also check you have all the official documents for the wedding.

Plan for the day
Draw up a schedule for the day and make time for everything you have planned (ceremony, drinks, photographs, cake cutting etc…) Once this is final, provide your wedding squad with a copy.

Order wedding cake
There is a wide variety of wedding cakes around so make sure you taste and see a variety of designs. The cost of a cake can be very expensive so make sure you stick to your budget.

Who said it had to be cake? You can get towers of cheese and cupcakes.

Some bakers require a long lead time so we would suggest not leaving this to the last minute.

If Sandra says she can make 100 cupcakes for £15, she’s still pissed from last night.

Purchase the wedding shoes & start your dress fittings
Make sure you take your shoes with you to your first dress fitting, so the length is right.

If you are struggling to stick within your budget and you had your eye on a pair of Christian Louboutin’s, now might be a time to readdress that. Don’t forget if you have a floor length dress, your shoes are hidden … most of the time.

Book transport for the day
Ladies be practical. You have just had your hair and make-up done, maybe that Ferrari convertible isn’t such a good idea?

3 months before the big day

Choose wedding rings
Avoid Haribo rings and hula hoops… they just don’t last.

Don’t forget to factor in resizing and any engraving you may require.

Send out wedding invitations
Right get that Facebook post updated yet again, and send out all your official invites. Let’s face it the guests need to plan their outfits too!

Finalise your food & flowers

Order favours
This is a personal preference. It is nice for the guests to have something that they can take away from your day. It is also nice to have something original & unique to you as a conversation starter for your guests.

Make sure it fits in a woman’s handbag, because it will be them that will be taking them home.

Toasts & Readings
Make sure these people know that they are public speaking… because Steve and Sandra will automatically assume that this is their starring role.

Don’t forget your knickers
If you want to look sexy as hell under that dress, for the small chance that you won’t end up passed out by the end of the night, then now is the time to go shopping.

Finalise the order of ceremony, reception, menu cards & programmes
Send your event schedule to your vendors, as they will be able to provide invaluable feedback.

Now is the time to think about those special touches, table confetti yes or no, bunting yes or no, guest book yes or no, balloons yes or no. We have a blog dedicated solely to décor so take a badgers.

2 months before the big day

Meet photographer
The title says it all.

This part of the checklist makes sure you’ve got the important people of your special day in the photos and not good old Steve from pub in every picture.

You also get to discuss specific shots you may want or locations. If you have a theme or style in mind – factor this in, just in case you need props.

Meet with the vendor if you can
Iron out any last-minute enquiries now so you feel set for the day.

Book a make-up trial
A taster of what kind of look you’re going for, plus also another excuse for you and your bridal party to have a few cheeky glasses of champagne whilst getting pampered.

Book a hair session and be sure to take any veils/headpieces you will wear
See above. (More champagne).

Review play list with the band
You may not want a play list – but maybe just have a chat with the band about what songs they are going to play.

Buy gifts for your wedding squad
No need for a massive expense however, a little token gift to say thank you, that can be saved and looked back on with smiles are always appreciated. Take a look at our gift pages for some ideas with a personal touch.

1 month before the big day

Time to call round those that haven’t responded… (cue reserve list)

Go for final dress fitting
Make sure that dress fits you like a glove and slides off even easier.

Get your marriage licence (and make sure they aren’t already married)

Ensure you have paid all your suppliers
It’s a must, get all costs paid and out of the way. You don’t want suppliers refusing to deliver because you have missed a payment.

Finalise your table plan

Confirm honeymoon booking
Make sure everything is in order and don’t forget your travel insurance and currency.

2 weeks before the big day

Wear in your new wedding shoes
This is just a sensible tactic.

Collect wedding rings
…and make sure they fit.

1 week before the big day

Final guest list
Send this to your caterer, vendor and all venues involved in the wedding process.

A gift for your partner
Whatever you give them, make sure it will put a smile on their face because they will be a nervous wreck on the day.

Pack for your honeymoon
Do this now and then it is out of the way.

Ensure your waxing/tanning/manicure/pedicure/teeth whitening is booked & complete
A nice and golden tan goes a long way and the less said about having a George w bush on your wedding night the better. Get it all in order, groom as well this works both ways.

Pick up wedding dress
Get it hung up ready and waiting (hopefully the groom will be).

1 day before

Decorate the venue
You may have a specific décor look in mind and now is the time to add some special touches. It’s also time to make the most of those ushers, get them all working and grafting. (Perhaps another glass of champagne whilst “managing”)

If you have arranged deliveries, most will take place today.

Run through the order of the day with the bridal party to ensure everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are
A little run through to put your mind at ease (more champagne).

Get an early night
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (after more champagne).

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