So you’re engaged! Congratulations! I absolutely love this time of year, when I come back from my festive break to find my inbox filled with wedding stationery enquiries from newly-engaged couples. Once you’ve spent some time enjoying being engaged, it’s time to start wedding planning. And when you do, one of the things you’ll find on every website is some version of the wedding planning timeline. These can be a useful tool, but the truth is that every wedding is different, based on your culture and the type of celebration you want. (For example, destination weddings have unique requirements.) And, of course, you might be having a shorter or longer engagement. But whatever your style or schedule, there are some wedding planning milestones that are universal to most weddings.
I had the chance to think about these wedding planning milestones quite a bit last year when I was creating my new Wedding Milestone Cards. This set, which makes a lovely bride-to-be gift or engagement gift, contains 33 x A5 wedding milestone cards. It can be used to check off each wedding milestone with a selfie or photo, to take the bride through each step of the engagement, from setting the date and booking the venue, to finding suppliers and that all-important dream dress. The design varies from green watercolour washes to botanical paint splattered designs, and the cards are presented in a lovely paper wallet to keep them safe. Honestly, it all rushes by so fast, but these wedding milestone cards are a great way to cherish each moment along the way!
Here are just ten of the wedding planning milestones you have to look forward to over the coming months.
- The engagement. Whether your engagement was private or a YouTube-style flashmob, it deserves its moment. Throw a party or drinks reception or just invite a few friends over for dinner to celebrate your happy news. And, of course, share a ring selfie (or ten!).
- Booking the venue. The wedding planning journey really starts in earnest the day you book your venue, whether it’s a country house in the Cotswolds or a villa in Tuscany. Your venue will dictate your wedding date, and influence your style and details, from the wedding stationery right down to the bride’s gown.
- Saying yes to the dress. Speaking of the wedding dress, finding ‘the one’ is another important wedding milestone for many brides. It’s probably the most beautiful and extravagant gown you’ll ever wear, and trying it on for the first time is also often the first moment you really feel like a bride.
- Sending out the invitations. Obviously this is my favourite of the wedding planning milestones! Your wedding invitations (and Save the Dates) are the first taste you give your guests of your wedding, and the moment it all starts to feel very official. Excitement levels rising! Be sure to keep copies of your wedding stationery for yourselves too, as a special keepsake.
- The engagement shoot. Having an engagement shoot isn’t just a chance to get some lovely pics together. It’s also a chance to learn to relax in front of the camera, and get to know your photographer. It’ll make all that posing so much easier and less awkward on the big day.
- Choosing your wedding rings. Like your engagement ring, this is a piece that you’ll be wearing for many years to come. It’s a symbolic gift of love, and a special moment between you and your fiancé.
- The hen (and stag) do. One of the best parts about being engaged is the showers! Whatever your maid of honour has planned for your hen do, it’s bound to be loads of fun. (Top tip: take a pic with your Wedding Milestone Card early in the evening and it’ll give you something fun – and safe! – to post on Facebook before the tequilas kick in!)
- The wedding week. It’s finally here! The week of your wedding is such an exciting time. It’s also crazy, busy, emotional, and a little overwhelming! It’s important to take a few moments to be present within the chaos, especially as you spend time with family and friends you may not see all the time.
- The big day! Your wedding day is, of course, the biggest milestone of all. All of those smaller moments (and all that wedding planning) lead up to this day. And boy, does it fly by! Be sure to take some time out with your new husband or wife to stand back and enjoy what you have created.
- Going on honeymoon. Just in case the post-wedding blues are threatening, there’s one more milestone to enjoy. Your honeymoon – whether you take it immediately or some months after your wedding – is such a special time. Switch the phone off and enjoy every second together!
Want to find out more about my Wedding Milestone Cards? You can find them (and lots more) in my shop.