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Wedding planning checklist and guide for a stress-free wedding

Planning a wedding is both exciting and overwhelming. With countless decisions and deadlines, it's easy to feel lost in the whirlwind. But with the right tools and timeline, the dream wedding day can become a stress-free reality. This comprehensive guide will break down each stage of the wedding planning process, from 12 months before the big day to the moments after saying "I do."

In this blog, we'll offer actionable tips, industry insights, and highlight how a Touch Stay wedding planning guide can be your ultimate wedding planning companion:

For wedding planners: elevate your services by offering a comprehensive planning tool that sets you apart. A Touch Stay wedding planning guide streamlines communication with couples, suppliers, and guests, ensuring everyone is informed and engaged throughout the planning journey. By providing a central hub for all wedding-related information, you empower couples to stay organised, make informed decisions, and create a truly unforgettable wedding experience.

For happy couples: ditch the wedding planning chaos and embrace a seamless planning experience with Touch Stay. This all-in-one digital guidebook allows you to collect inspiration, track your budget, manage your guest list, and share details with your partner, loved ones, and suppliers. With everything in one place, you can stay organised, make informed decisions, and focus on the joy of planning your big day. From customisable checklists to a visual timeline, Touch Stay empowers you to take control of your wedding planning journey for a stress-free celebration.

Printable wedding planning checklist

A Full Wedding Planning Checklist and Timeline for 2024  Touch Stay

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This comprehensive checklist covers everything from setting a budget to sending out thank you notes.

Wedding planning timeline

12 months out from wedding

  • Set your budget: this is the foundation of your wedding planning. Discuss your financial contributions and determine your overall budget. Research average wedding costs in your area for a realistic view. A Hitched survey found the average UK wedding cost to be £20,700, but your budget should reflect your unique priorities.
  • Start a guest list: begin compiling your wedding guest list. This will help you narrow down venue options and understand the scope of your event. The average wedding size in the UK is around 120 guests, but your guest list size will depend on your preferences and budget.
  • Assemble your wedding team: choose your maid of honour, best man, bridesmaids, and groomsmen. These people will be your support system throughout the process.
  • Choose a wedding date and venue: this is a major decision! Perhaps you already have your dream wedding venue in mind. If not, research and visit multiple venues before making a final choice. Consider factors like guest capacity, location, and availability on your preferred date.
  • Discuss wedding styles and themes: start gathering inspiration and create mood boards to help you envision your dream wedding. Consider using a Touch Stay digital guidebook to collect and organise your ideas. You can even share this guidebook with your wedding planner, vendors, and wedding party to keep everyone on the same page.

11 months out from wedding

  • Book your wedding planner (optional): if the planning feels overwhelming, a wedding planner can be a lifesaver. They'll handle logistics, supplier management, and timeline creation, allowing you to focus on enjoying the process. Weddingbee reports that planners can save couples up to 20% on overall wedding costs.
  • Research and book suppliers: start contacting and booking your suppliers, such as photographers, videographers, caterers, florists, wedding car hire, and DJs/bands. Secure these suppliers early, as popular dates can book up quickly.
  • Send save-the-dates: once you have your date and venue finalised, send out save-the-dates to give your guests plenty of notice.

A full wedding planning checklist and timeline for 2024

10 months out from wedding

  • Choose and order your wedding attire: start shopping for your wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, and groom/groomsmen attire. Allow ample time for alterations and fittings.
  • Give legal notice of your marriage: speak to your local Registry Office about the legal requirements for getting married and complete all relevant paperwork.

8 months out from wedding

  • Plan the ceremony and reception: decide on the order of events, readings, music, and any special traditions you want to incorporate.
  • Choose your wedding rings: shop for your wedding bands together and have them engraved with a special message.
  • Meet wedding photographer: arrange a face-to-face meeting to discuss photography styles and agree on package options and costs.

7 months out from wedding

  • Book wedding night accommodation: think about where you and your family/wedding party will stay on your wedding night. Look at suitable accommodation near your wedding reception for a luxurious night and morning-after. All local accommodation recommendations can be added to the Local Area Guide in your wedding guide.
  • Book your honeymoon: research and book your dream honeymoon destination. Make sure your passports are valid and any necessary visas are obtained. 

Top tip: use a Touch Stay wedding planning guide to plan your honeymoon itinerary, including activities, restaurants, and must-see attractions.

6 months out from wedding

  • Order your wedding invitations: choose your invitations and stationery and have them printed. Be sure to order extra for any last-minute additions to your guest list.
  • Plan your wedding day transportation: book transportation for you, your wedding party, and your guests (if needed).

A full wedding planning checklist & timeline for 2024

5 months out from wedding

  • Start planning your rehearsal dinner: choose a venue, menu, and guest list for your rehearsal dinner.
  • Book your hair and makeup artists: schedule trials to ensure you're happy with your wedding day look.

4 months out from wedding

  • Purchase wedding party gifts: show your appreciation to your wedding party with thoughtful gifts that reflect their personalities and your relationship.
  • Finalise your wedding seating plan: collect RSVPs and finalise your guest list. Use a digital wedding seating chart tool to easily drag and drop guests (virtually) into their seats. This makes it simple to adjust as needed and share the final arrangement with your venue.

3 months out from wedding

  • Apply for any name changes: if you're planning to change your name after marriage, research the process and start early. This can take time, so it's best to get a head start.
  • Confirm details with all wedding suppliers: double check all the details with your venue, caterer, photographer/videographer, entertainment, transport, florist, cake maker, musicians or band, including arrival times, set-up requirements, and payment schedules. Make sure everything is in writing to avoid any misunderstandings.

2 months out from wedding

  • Write your vows (if applicable): if you're writing your own vows, start brainstorming and drafting your words of love and commitment. This is a personal and meaningful aspect of your ceremony, so take your time and let your emotions guide you.
  • Write your speech: spend time thinking about how you met your partner and write down ideas, funny anecdotes, treasured memories, and any thank-yous or toasts you’d like to make on the day.

1 month out from wedding

  • Create a wedding day timeline: a detailed timeline will help keep your wedding day running smoothly. Share it with everyone involved in making the day happen - providers and bridal party - so everyone knows what's happening when. Consider uploading your timeline to your Touch Stay wedding planning app for easy access by everyone involved.
  • Pack for your honeymoon: if you're leaving for your honeymoon soon after the wedding, start packing now to avoid last-minute stress.

A Full Wedding Planning Checklist and Timeline

2 weeks out from wedding

  • Delegate wedding day tasks: assign specific tasks to your wedding party and family members. This could include setting up decorations, managing guest arrivals, or coordinating with suppliers.
  • Confirm final headcount: provide your final guest count to your caterer, venue, and any other providers who need this information for their preparations.
  • Factor in tipping: determine how much you'll tip each supplier and have cash or cheques ready to distribute on the wedding day.

The week before the wedding

  • Pick up your wedding dress, wedding rings and attire: have a final fitting and make sure everything fits perfectly. If any alterations are needed, address them immediately.
  • Prepare welcome bags for out-of-town guests: fill welcome bags with local treats and information about your wedding weekend events. 

Top tip: include a QR code linking to your wedding planning guide to provide guests with all the necessary details for the big day.

The day before the wedding

  • Decorate the wedding venue: work with your florist and wedding party to make sure the venue looks perfect for the wedding.
  • Attend your wedding rehearsal: practise the ceremony with your wedding party and officiant. This is a chance to iron out any kinks and ensure everyone feels confident on the day.
  • Relax and pamper yourself: take some time for self-care, whether it's getting a massage, spending time with loved ones, or simply enjoying a quiet evening at home.

The day of the wedding

  • Get ready with your wedding party: set your alarm and then enjoy the pampering and excitement of getting ready with your loved ones. Make sure to capture these special moments with photos and videos.
  • Savour every moment: take a deep breath, relax, and soak in the joy of your wedding day. Focus on celebrating your love and creating lasting memories with your partner and loved ones.

Full Wedding Planning Checklist and Timeline for 2024

After the wedding

  • Enjoy your honeymoon: whether you’re staying local or travelling somewhere exotic, indulge in quality time with your partner. Explore new places or simply relax in a romantic atmosphere. 
  • Send thank-you notes: express your gratitude to your guests for their love, support, and gifts. You can use the guest list in your Touch Stay wedding planner to keep track of who you've thanked.
  • Start your new life together: embrace this new chapter in your life with love, joy, and excitement! Create lasting memories together, savouring each other's company and celebrating your love.

The benefits of a Touch Stay wedding planning guide

From the first spark of inspiration to the final toast, your wedding planning journey is filled with countless details. A Touch Stay wedding planning guide is your personalised command centre, simplifying the process and keeping everything in one place.

Wedding planning guideWith Touch Stay, you can:

  • Centralise information: all your wedding details, inspiration, supplier contracts, and guest information are neatly organised and accessible anytime, anywhere.
  • Collaborate seamlessly: share your guidebook with your partner, wedding planner, and supplier to streamline communication and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Delight your guests: provide a comprehensive guide to your midweek wedding or wedding weekend, including places to stay, local cab numbers, and other helpful tips, ensuring a memorable experience for everyone.

Ready to transform your wedding planning? Embark on a stress-free journey to your dream wedding today!