Congratulations! You’ve decided to make a life together and you’re ready to start planning for your big day. Before the wedding bells ring, you’ll need to create a plan to make it happen. Make your event one to remember for the rest of your life with Your Wish List, Your Want List and Your Watch List.
Start planning as soon as you can, a year or 18 months before the wedding gives you time to organise all the details.
But if you are in a hurry, remember that Australian marriage law requires that you must complete a Notice of Intended Marriage and give this to your registered celebrant at least one month and one day before the intended date of marriage.
Decide the key components on your Wish List first.
Your Wish List
There are six essentials you need to start with and as the song goes, ‘you can’t have one without the other!’ So, spend some time coordinating these first. Planning is the key to a successful day.
- WORTH: The budget – consider what you can afford and whether you want to be paying for your wedding on your first anniversary (or longer)!
- WHAT: The style of wedding you want. Traditional, interfaith, intercultural or individual? In a church or outdoors? Themed or casual?
- WHEN: The date – public holidays may seem a great idea but can be difficult to get a booking for the venues and the celebrant. You will need to juggle when, where and who to settle on a date, venue and celebrant.
- WHERE: The ceremony venue – if you prefer a church wedding, be flexible with a proposed date and time as churches can be booked well in advance and may have several weddings on the same day.
- WHERE ELSE: The reception venue and caterers – ideally near the ceremony venue and to fit in with the date and time. Or combine the ceremony and reception at the one venue.
- WHO: The celebrant – clergy or marriage celebrants can be booked well in advance, so if you have a preferred celebrant, talk to them first to find out when they would be available.
Your Want List
Once you have the six basics in place for the wedding, you are ready to start on your Want List, several months before the big day:
- WHO: The family and friends you want to share your wedding. Create a guest list and send out Save the Date cards if you are planning up to a year in advance.
- WEAR: Look at options for a wedding dress and suits or an alternative theme for your big day (themed dress up costumes for the wedding party and guests can make your wedding unique)
- WANTS: Decide whether you want the following, get quotes and make bookings:
- Photographer and/or videographer
- Cake artist
- Wedding cars and drivers
- Entertainment at the reception
- Design and printing of invitations and place cards, programs, order of service if required
- Hair and make up
- WHERE: Start thinking about honeymoon plans and booking accommodation if you haven’t already.
Your Watch List
About eight weeks before W Day, you have to pull all the components together for a successful wedding event. These are the critical items you have to watch for!
- WRITING: Send out invitations 6 to 8 weeks in advance. If guests are coming from overseas or need to travel long distances, invitations can be sent up to 3 months in advance.
- WAIT: Meet with your celebrant and complete a Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month before the intended date of marriage
- WISH: Start a Gift Card Registry and let your friends and family know how to find it.
- WRAP UP: Finalise all the details for W Day:
- Confirm dates and times with all venues and participants
- Check the RSVPs and finalise guest numbers for the reception, arrange a seating plan
- Organise an MC for the reception
- Book hotels for guests from out of town
- Finalise dresses and suit fittings
- Choose music, order of service for the wedding
- Write vows and wedding speech
- Organise a rehearsal, run through the responsibilities of each member of the bridal party
- Organise final dress fittings, accessories, hair, make up and manicure
- Confirm honeymoon arrangements.
- W WEEK: On Wedding Week, make the final arrangements for the big day, pick up the wedding dress and bridal party outfits and make sure all vendor payments have been finalised so everything falls into place on your wonderful day.
Your W Day
This is what you have been working towards for months! With everything finalised and in place, you’ll enjoy making a lifetime of memories and a day to remember for family and friends.
Get a good night’s sleep before the big day. Then relax and enjoy every moment!