Found yourself in ‘wedding planning world’? Not exactly an expert on what you might need to do for the special day (and in the lead-up)? From ordering the rings to sorting out the legalities, this checklist will help walk you through a few essential planning stages… minus the freak-outs.
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12 months before
Wedding date’s locked in? Chosen your venue? Awesome, now tick this off the list…
– Start having a serious think about who you want to be your best man and groomsmen. Unless you’re sure of who you want by your side at the altar, keep your potentials under wraps and start discussing the size of the bridal party with your fiancée.
9 months before
– Work with your fiancée to narrow down and lock in a guest list.
– Thinking of having live entertainment? Whether you’re looking for an acoustic guitarist or a full band, make finding the talent an excuse to take your fiancée out for a date night. Suss out venues and bars with live entertainment (even your local will do) and turn dinner-and-drinks into your own unofficial audition night.
– If you’ve figured out exactly who you want to be your best man and groomsmen (and they’re okay with your fiancée) go ahead and ask them. Just in case someone is busy or they decline, nine months gives you plenty of time to think of someone else and ask them. You know, just in case.
6 months before
– Talk about honeymoons – do you both want one? If so, where would you like to go? If you’re itching to go overseas, now’s a great time to find your passport (or get one if you don’t have one already) and research what kind of vaccines or visas you might need.
– Here’s where picking your groomsmen and best man early comes in handy – the stag party. Start the conversation with them (if you’re planning on having a celebration) and make the relevant enquiries… especially if you’re dreaming of an epic boys’ trip to Bali!
– Another job that’s smart to tick off well ahead of time is transportation. Whether you’re after an old-school Rolls-Royce or a pedal-powered tuk-tuk to get you from your ceremony to your reception, do your research early and start putting in the calls. Rocking up in a last-minute Uber probably isn’t the best look… unless you get that driver with the Batmobile, of course. #Goals.
3 months before
– Now that you’ve (hopefully) nailed all the essential details with your other half, send out the invites. Make it official, guys. You’re doing this thing.
– Time to make like Barney Stinson and suit up. Shop around for your outfit – once you’ve picked out a look, be sure to organise a suit-shopping day with your groomsmen and best man. If you’re getting suits tailor-made you’ll want to tick this one off sooner rather than later as some fabrics might need to be specially ordered.
– Get yours and your fiancée’s finger sized for the wedding rings. Go ring-shopping or make a call to your jeweller and get straight onto having them made if you’re opting for a custom ring design.
– Organise the paperwork. To be legally married, you’ll need to submit a Notice of Intended Marriage form to your celebrant or officiant and provide evidence of date and place of birth, identity, and the end of any previous marriages for both you and your fiancée. If you only do one thing on this list, do this! It’s the most important.
– If you haven’t already booked everything for your honeymoon, go ahead and get it done. It’s oh-so easy to get caught up in wedding preparations – get this out of the way so you don’t arrive at your destination and suddenly realise you forgot to book accommodation. Awkward.
One month before
– Try the suit on again! If alterations need to be made, you won’t want to leave this till the last minute. Remember that scene in Father of the Bride? The same goes for the groomsmen and best man.
– Your rings should be ready for pick-up by now – make sure you store them in a safe place! And no, your pocket doesn’t count.
– If you’re not entirely confident when it comes to your pearly whites, it’s a good time to start using whitening toothpaste and cutting back on coffee and red wine.
Two/three weeks before
– Don’t follow the (outdated) tradition of having the bachelor party the night before the wedding. Celebrating three or two weeks before the big day gets the excitement happening in the lead-up to the big day, but still leaves plenty of time for, ahem, recovery. Just in case…
– Discuss with your fiancée what you’d love to get out of your wedding photography and brief your photographer. If you’re getting married on the beach but would love hinterland post-ceremony photos, let them know in advance and they’ll scope out the best locations and times for lighting.
One week before
– Pack for the honeymoon. Just do it.
– Organise and set aside the money to be paid to suppliers on the day. Leave aside a small amount just in case you want to tip any stand-out vendors for their efforts.
– If you’ve booked your transport, check in with them and confirm times. Making a grand entrance two hours late at your own wedding isn’t exactly a great way for your guests to remember your big day!
– Thinking of giving a speech at the reception? Give a thought to what you’d like to say and jot down a few points. Now’s also the time to check in with your best man and see if he’s even (remotely) given speech-writing a thought, and maybe hint to him what’s definitely off-limits when it comes to embarrassing stories. At all costs, avoid falling back on any poetry readings that feature the word ‘Nantucket’.
The day before
– Write a note telling your fiancée how excited you are to be marrying them and organise for it to be delivered to her while they’re getting ready.
– Give the best man the rings for him to hold during the ceremony.
– Get. A. Good. Night’s. Rest.
Now for the best man…
Let the groom set the timeline, but keep these jobs in mind…
– Be the go-to guy and the one to check in with the other groomsmen. Get that WhatsApp group chat happening, champ!
– Help the groom plan the stag party and (with his approval) make all the relevant bookings.
– Take charge of the wedding ring(s) on the day and make sure you actually have them with you for the ceremony.
– It’s probably the most obvious job, but an important one – prepare and give a speech at the reception. And if your groom asks you not to mention one particular story, listen to him. We know it’s tempting not to, but it is his big day after all!
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