You’re about to begin one of the most exciting journey’s of your life, and we’re here to guide you.
Whether your wedding in the Cotswolds is 3 months away, or 33 months, you’ll need a comprehensive planning checklist to ensure everything runs smoothly – and that’s where we come in! Our team of experts know all there is to know about celebrations in the Cotswolds, and we love sharing our hard-earned advice.
Image by Lee Hawley Photography
In this post, we’re going to break down every item you should be ticking off as you progress towards the big day. And to create this wedding planning checklist, we’ve used a 12-month timeline, the typical amount period couples in the Cotswolds spend engaged. Your timeline may be shorter, it may be longer, but in general, all of these tasks will still need to be completed if your big day is to be a success.
Planning Checklist for a Cotswolds Wedding
At whatever stage of wedding planning you’re currently at, you’ve probably discovered already that there’s a lot to do. But don’t panic. That’s why you need a checklist. Breaking down each month, two months, into a series of bitesize tasks will make the whole process more manageable, and smoother.
12 Months Before the Wedding
Before you book a venue, or any suppliers, it’s important you both sit down together and decide on an honest budget, and vision for the day. Be frank about how much you want, and are willing to spend. While also exploring the sort of theme, feel or look you’d both like the day to have. During this time, it’s good to have a look at the latest trends in weddings, browse on Pinterest. But keep the initial theme conversations you had with your partner in mind. Don’t stray too far from what ‘feels right’, in pursuit of what is on-trend.
Once you’ve decided on a budget, and completed some research into the cost of weddings, you should be able to work out a rough guest list. Based on how much each guest will cost you per person. This estimate of people you want to invite will be critical when beginning to look at wedding venues.
Image from Blackfriars Priory
With this information and a clear understanding of how you want your Cotswolds wedding to look, you should feel confident in ticking off the planning tasks below.
- Book a wedding venue
- Hire a wedding planner
- Register your intention to marry
- Take out wedding insurance
- Create a guest list
10 Months Before the Wedding
The very best wedding suppliers always get booked up well in advance, especially those types of suppliers that typically all couples need. Wedding venues are a major one, but you should have booked that by now, as the whole of your celebration hinges on which one you choose. Following venues, photographers tend to be the other supplier that takes bookings very far in advance.
Take time in selecting the perfect wedding photographer, but don’t delay once you’ve found one. Book them now, before another couple ‘snaps’ them up! It’s good to also look at bands, and DJs in the Cotswolds during this part of the wedding planning timeline, along with catering. As these suppliers will shape the guest experience at your wedding, to a certain extent, so you’ll want to be certain they’re just right.
- Book wedding photographer & videographer
- Book entertainment
- Book catering & bar staff
8 Months Before the Wedding
The details of your wedding should be coming together now, as we enter a more creative stage of the planning timeline. 8 months before the big day, you should be ordering save the date cards, or setting up a wedding website with all the essential information present. It’s important to give guests enough advance warning of your wedding, to ensure they’ll be available. Anytime between 12–6 months should be about right.
Save the dates sorted, now it’s time to tick off more fun stuff! Wedding dresses, bridesmaids, and suits should all be ordered as soon as possible, to allow for delays and alterations. Flowers too can be organized with the florist, as they’re another supplier that often gets booked up early.
Image from LJ Bridal
Before you start searching for suits or bridesmaids, you’ll need to pin down who’s doing what on the wedding day. The best man, maid of honour, bridesmaids etc all need to be told the big news, and immediately put to work helping you with planning your Cotswolds wedding!
- Order wedding flowers
- Start search & order wedding dress/bridesmaids/suits
- Order save the dates
- Assign roles to loved ones
6 Months Before the Wedding
Now things really start to heat up as we glide past the halfway point! By this stage, your guests should be excitedly receiving your save the dates, and pinning them to their fridges. For you, however, there are still lots more things to organise.
The wedding cake is an important booking, especially if you intend to have a traditional, statement style. As the designing, and creation of the cake will take time. Which also means cake designers are often pretty busy around peak wedding season. Don’t get left behind, get your order in early with a Cotswolds supplier, and give yourself one less thing on the wedding planning checklist to worry about.
Alongside the cake, catering should also be finalised around this time. Menu tastings are often quite a fun affair, and certainly a highlight for most couples. While you’re making your selections, be sure to also check what the options are for those with dietary requirements. A handful of guests will need something made especially for them.
All of this wedding planning is probably making you wish you were on a beach somewhere… Well, now’s a good time to book your dream honeymoon! We would suggest using a travel agent for this, as they’ll be able to deliver you an experience not always possible via the standard online holiday booking sites.
- Send out save the dates
- Book wedding cake
- Book wedding transport
- Order bridesmaids
- Select food options
- Book honeymoon
- Book hair and makeup
4 Months Before the Wedding
At this stage, the bulk of wedding planning decisions should have been made, and Cotswolds suppliers booked. Now’s the time to share all your plans with loved ones! The timing of wedding invitations is crucial. Too soon, and your guests will forget. Too late, and they’ll not be able to prepare properly for the big day. 6 – 8 weeks before the big day is considered the optimum time frame for posting wedding invitations.
Along with physical invitations, it’s a good idea, these days, to set up a wedding website. An online space that’ll host all the information your guests could possibly need about your celebration, along with any engagement photography you’ve had produced. Wedding websites are so easy to set up, free, and can be a lifesaver for guests not used to holding on to physical invitations…
Image from Wildflower Illustration Co.
Decor items are often what give a wedding its individuality, and the last couple of months before the big day is when you should be picking them up, or finalising their design. Whether it’s place cards, a guest book, signs, or gifts for guests. It’s good to get all the smaller decor elements wrapped up before things get serious!
- Send wedding invitations
- Publish wedding website
- Buy wedding rings
- Finish purchasing and making decor items
2 Months Before the Wedding
Now the bulk of heavy wedding planning should be out of the way, leaving you free to organise the even finer points of your Cotswolds celebration, and possibly let off some steam! Yes, that’s right, it’s time for the hen and stag parties! Hopefully, your loved ones have planned a night, weekend, or holiday on your behalf. And whether it’s a wild, crazy one or something more serene, it’s good to have stag/hen parties way before the actual wedding day. The last thing you want is for either of you to pick up a rash from a spa treatment, or damage yourselves from partying too hard, days before the wedding. You’ll never forgive yourselves when looking back at the pictures. Plan plenty of time to recover from whatever type of party you’re having.
With two months to go, and hen party hangovers passed, it’s now time to finalise the last details of your day. And a good place to start is with the timeline of your day, as that will work as a guide to the rest of the items that need to be organised. In conjunction with your venue, and suppliers, plan out exactly when you’ll be getting ready, having post-ceremony drinks, cutting the cake etc. Make sure everyone is on the same page, and it’ll help to keep things running smoothly on the big day.
Image from Planned for Perfection
Timings sorted, move onto finishing your speech, writing vows, setting aside cash for suppliers who need paying on the day, and picking tracks the DJ will play! Lots of other little tasks will come up during this time. It can be tempting to leave smaller jobs to the last minute, but you’d be much better off sorting sooner rather than later.
- Enjoy your hen/stag parties
- Organise schedule for the day
- Finish speech
- Print and complete the finer decor details
1 Month Before the Wedding
Crunch time! We are so close to w-day, and at this stage you should be checking in with suppliers, making sure they know what they’re doing. Talk to your wedding venue, and ensure they have your schedule and are aware of any special requirements. They may also need to run a few legal things by you too.
Every guest list will have late RSVPs, and unfortunately, it’s up to you and your nearest to chase them up. Your venue and catering team will need final numbers well before the big day. As will you while putting together the seating chart. Give both your guests, and yourselves, a deadline for RSVPs.
The final dress or outfit fitting is often a major highlight in the weeks leading up to a wedding. It’s exciting to see the almost complete look, knowing that its time in the spotlight is just days away. At this stage you should only be having minor adjustments, any other major changes will have been completed weeks ago by your seamstress.
- Have your final dress/outfit fitting
- Catch up with suppliers especially the venue and photographer
- Do your seating plan
- Chase up RSVPs