Storyett Photography

The Ultimate 12 Month Wedding Planning Countdown

Planning your wedding is no easy task! With 12 months to go until the big day, it's likely you'll have an idea of what you want (and don't want) for your wedding. But working out the order in which to organise things is a little trickier. Our 12 month countdown guide is here to help

24 Aug 2018

12 months to go

Sort out the budget
It's time to talk money. Get any awkward conversations about your budget out of the way pronto and work out what you want to spend where. A monetary structure at this point will be invaluable (Excel spreadsheets can come in handy); for a guide, here's what the average Brides reader spends.

Set the date
Set the date, prepare to be flexible: there's nothing worse than finding your dream venue is booked on your must-have date.

Secure the venue
Unless you're planning a wedding at home, now is the time to start looking for a wedding venue. Venues can get booked up years in advance, so once you've decided on a place, we recommend confirming as soon as you can. Check out our wedding venues guide for some of our favourites.

Work out your guest numbers
Sit down with your partner to discuss who you want to invite and who to leave off the list (Tip: cutting guest numbers by just 10 people could shave a cool £1,400 off your wedding costs!)

Choose your bridesmaids
If you haven't already chosen your bridesmaids, now is the time to ask. Make it special with these bridesmaid proposal ideas.

Plan your bridal beauty look
Want to go blonder by your wedding date? Reshape your eyebrows? Improve your diet? Now is the time to think about how you want to look on your big day and plan accordingly. Check out our 12-month bridal beauty countdown.

Buy wedding insurance
Sounds dull (well, it is dull), but no one wants their dream wedding ruined by accidents or other unplanned mishaps do they?

By Lumiere

11 months to go

Write the guest list
Can guests bring children? What about plus ones? And do you really need to invite the whole office? We help bust those myths here

Save the date!
Whether it's at the click of a button or with a lick'n'stick stamp - you wouldn't want your favourite cousin to be on hols when you're throwing the bouquet: get your date in guests' diaries now.

Book your photographer
The best ones get snapped up quickly. Make it a priority to let them get to know you; it'll help them perform better for you on the day. These top tips might help

Start shopping for your wedding outfit
As it's probably one of the most important dresses you'll ever buy, shopping for your wedding gown can be exciting and daunting all at once. To begin, take a look at our wedding dress galleries and create a pinterest board of your favourite designs. This will at least help you to get a good idea of the style you want before you go shopping. For more advice, check out our guide on how to choose your wedding dress. And if you'd prefer to wear a suit, we round up some of the best bespoke tailors for women here.

Annabel Staff Photography

10 months to go

Buy a wedding dress
Note: if you're going bespoke, you'll need to allow at least six months for completion, and bear in mind alteration times and costs, too. It's a good time to consider shoes and any other accessories to complete the look. Need inspiration? Visit our wedding shoe galleries.

Start planning your honeymoon
From budget to location, flights to hotel, the more in advance you can book your honeymoon the better, in terms of securing exactly what you want – as well as early bird deals.

Book your entertainment
Live music or DJ set? Think about timings and any restrictions your venue might have, too. You'll have time to fine tune the exact songs later.

Tupou Photography

9 months to go

Plan your flowers
From your wedding bouquet to reception décor, discuss the seasonality of your favourite blooms and the all-important arrangement composition with your florist. Don't forget to ask them these important questions and bear in mind these 10 ways to save on your wedding flowers.

Do your menu tasting
Firm up your wedding menu and drinks with your caterer, keeping in mind allergy sufferers and vegetarians where possible. Be inspired by our food and drink ideas here!

Go bridesmaid-dress shopping!
No doubt they've had their say on yours - so now it's your turn to sit in the advisor's chair. Tip: discuss who is buying what straight away to avoid awkward conversations later. Our bridesmaid duties guide might help. If you're on a budget, you might want to buy your bridesmaid dresses on the high street. For more inspiration, check out our bridesmaids dress galleries.

Ross Harvey

8 months to go

Choose your wedding readings and music
Now is the time to start planning your wedding readings, wedding poems and wedding ceremony songs. If it's a church wedding, it's time to discuss with the minister and musicians. If it's a civil ceremony, you'll need to find out what's permitted and adapt accordingly.

Chase those pesky non-RSVPers
It's totally fine to ask if they're coming or not: you need to know.

Order the stationery
Wedding invitations, envelopes, place cards, menus and seating plan. Or if you're DIY-ing it, it's time to get cracking. See our wedding invitation etiquette guide for everything you need to know.

Benjamin Wheeler

7 months to go

Think about travel
From transporting guests to and from the venue to your grand entrance and get-away car, get any vehicles hired for the day now. Be inspired by some of our wedding transportation ideas.

Choose your wedding cake
Find your perfect wedding cake. Choose the flavours, composition, how it will be transported and the type of icing it'll have (particularly if you plan to save any of it). And don't forget the cake topper!

Choose (and/or) order your wedding favours
Or why not have a go at making your own? Check out some of our favourite DIY wedding ideas from real weddings.

AO Media

6 months to go

Kit out your fiancé and ushers
This may be a job for him. Though, according to one survey, 3/4 women said they'd help their groom pick his suit. Hiring outfits is a great way to save money, particularly if the men will wear morning suits or tails. Be inspired by our favourite mens wedding suit ideas.

Plan your order of service
Confirm the order of service with your minister or registrar and have guest books printed. (Psst! If you're having a choir, they'll need copies too!). Follow our wedding of service template.

5 months to go

Book your hair and makeup

Book a hair and makeup trial
No doubt you'll want to look glam on the big day so now is the time to find a wedding makeup artist and hair stylist and book a trial. Find out everything you need to know about wedding hair trials and wedding makeup trials. If you'll be doing your own makeup - head to the nearest department store and pick up trial sizes of any products you might like to wear. Not sure where to start? Our wedding hair and makeup guide will help.

Pick (or even make!) your bridal fragrance
Boutiques like Jo Malone or Bloom offer special bridal services and are well worth checking out. Or see our guide to the best bridal fragrances for every type of wedding.

Zibi Photography

4 months to go

Check your passport date
It must have at least six months left on it from the date you want to travel - and don't get all wed-eyed and book under your married name. If your passport doesn't match up, you won't be boarding the plane.

Prepare for the honeymoon
Need visas or inoculations for your honeymoon? Find out and book.

Plan the hen party
Get those hen-party plans in action! A great one to delegate to your maid of honour. (An important aspect of the role, right?)

Matt Tyler

3 months to go

Give notice
It may be unromantic, but - regardless of religion or culture - this is a legal requirement that formalises your intent to marry. Visit for what you need to know, and consult our guide if you're still unsure.

Plan a wedding rehearsal
Organise a rehearsal for before the big day and make sure the most important wedding party members will be there.

Attend a reading of the banns
Church of England wedding? Attend a reading of the banns. They're usually held three consecutive Sundays before your wed-day.

Angela Ward Brown

2 months to go

Check in with the team
If you've delegated tasks to your fiancé, 'maids or family, check how they're getting on. You may need to pick up the slack to make sure everything's sorted.

Do a practice run
Try on your entire wedding outfit! Forgotten anything? Now's the time to get it.

Book any last minute beauty treatments
Make sure you've got that bridal glow sorted by booking any other beauty treatments (fake tan, manicure etc.)

Voyteck Photography

1 month to go

Take some time to relax
Gather your hens for a girls-night-in to watch wedding movies or try mediation to deal with that pre-wedding anxiety.

Pay everyone
This month is set to be an expensive one! Keep in mind that after you've put deposits down, most wedding vendors will want you to pay the week of the wedding.

Enjoy the experience
With all the planning done, now is the time to relax and enjoy your self. Be sure to keep focused on what matters most and not do these things on your wedding day.