wedding dress bow

3 months

Wedding planning

Planning the wording

from wedding invitations to the speeches

You have completed months of planning and now is the time to invite your guests to the big day, complete your bridal ‘look’, and sample delicious foods for your wedding breakfast. With only a few months to go, remember to enjoy this process…after all it’s the only time you’re a ‘fiancée’.

Wedding stationery collection

Wedding invitations

Arguably we are closing in on a paperless society, but for weddings it seems to still be ‘normal’ to send out hard-copy wedding invitations even if the ‘save the date’ notifications are done electronically. Your invitations are the first taster of your wedding that your guests receive. They will set the tone of the day and potentially adorn the fireplaces and notice-boards of your friends and family for months.

What to include

Below is the list of things that you may choose to include when ordering your wedding invitations.

Most couples include a hard-copy RSVP-card with the invitation but others encourage RSVPs electronically so that they can monitor the completeness of the information returned – the following list is worth checking for each invitation (whether coming for the day or evening)

• The date and timings for the day
• Does the guest have any dietary requirements?
• Has the invitee been told where to respond to?
• Has the RSVP deadline been specified (once past this date, chasing is entirely legitimate)
• Maps as necessary for the venue/s
• Details of local accommodation/ taxis etc
• Notification that a room has been reserved for the guest at the venue as appropriate
• Details of gift-list or registry

When it comes to hotels and transport its useful to give your guests as much information as they can reasonably expect (there are still a few non-Googlers in the older generation so hard copy maps and lists are always good for them) and then back off leaving them to do the arrangements themselves.
Give a range of possible accommodation if you can find it near the venue – some guests will want a full weekend away with spa and room-service, others will want a bed to crash into at the end of the day and a good B&B will suit them just fine.

Taxi companies are notoriously unreliable when it comes to on-the-night bookings. It is always better to advise your guests to reserve taxis in advance. If you know that lots of guests are staying at a particular hotel it can be helpful to organise a minibus but avoid this unless you are feeling strong!

Your wedding stationary can be used to compliment your chosen colour scheme or theme of your day. You may wish to hire a stationer to create a full suite of personalised wedding invitations. On the other hand, you may decide to opt for a predesign set by a stationer or high street store, or, if you’re feeling brave, you could create your stationary yourself and add your own personal taste to the set. Whatever you decide, consider including some or all of the following…

• Save the date card (optional)
• Separate day and evening wedding invitations with RSVP cards with dietary constraint ‘box’ (optional)
• Card to include registry details/transport/hotels
• Order of Service (optional for civil ceremonies)
• Order of the Day
• Place cards
• Table plan
• Table names
• Thank you cards

wedding dress buttons and lace

Dress Fitting

Now is the perfect time to make sure your wedding dress fits like a glove and arrange any wedding dress alterations if needed. Remember many bridal boutiques will require you to book your dress fitting in advance as often this process is carried out by an in-house bridal seamstress. With this in mind it is best to book your final dress fitting (usually 2-3 weeks before the wedding) with plenty of notice to ensure your appointment is booked in.

When attending your dress fitting it is important to take along your bridal shoes and underwear, so that the measurements can be accurate and the appointment can run smoothly.

Once home from your appointment, why not continue to wear your bridal shoes so as to wear them in. After all, you will be wearing them for a long period of time on your special day, so it is best to be comfortable in them.

wedding hair and makeup

Hair & makeup trial

Not only is a trial a way to find the perfect shade for your skin tone and see what bridal hairstyles work with your hair type, but it is also a chance to break the ice with your hair and makeup artist, after all they are an important part of your wedding day, so you want to feel comfortable and confident in your decision. Some suppliers offer a wedding hair and makeup package, or you may decide to have two separate suppliers, either way the rehearsal will also give you an idea of how much time you will need to allow for the real thing. This is particularly helpful when planning timings for the day, including the best time for your beauty supplier/s to arrive.

To inspire your ideas why not pin or save some images on Pinterest and/or Instagram, or better yet create an entire mood board. This can be a very useful tool when communicating your ideas and vision with your hair and makeup artist.

If you are having bridal hair accessories, such as a veil, then it is a good idea to take this along to your trial so that your stylist can work this into the look.

Combining your bridal beauty trials and dress fitting in the same day gives you the opportunity to see the overall look! or, coinciding your trials with your hen do means the trials are used for an occasion. If you opt for the latter, you may consider asking the stylist to adjust the look a little, so that your bridal hair and makeup can be kept a surprise for your wedding day.

Hen & stag dos

After working for months on your wedding planning it’s time to let your hair down, and your hen/stag do is the perfect occasion to do just that!

Whether a slumber party night in with hen-do games, a big night on the town or a compact weekend filled with stag activities, its time to put the planning aside for a short break and enjoy some quality time with your friends and family.

Food Tasting

If your venue has in-house caterers they will invite you to a food tasting to sample a variety of dishes for your wedding breakfast.  If you have sourced external caterers its likely you will have to arrange this directly. During your food tasting, be mindful of the time of year you are getting married, as this may affect your decision when sampling the dishes.

grooms speech
wedding speech
wedding speech

Wedding speeches

Ideally your speeches will be introduced by a toastmaster or MC but if this option is not available make sure that each speaker introduces the next.

Like every other aspect of the day it is beneficial if the speeches are planned and each speaker understands what the allocated time-slot is.

Order of speeches

Traditionally, for a typical English wedding, the speeches happen at the end of the meal in the order of
• Father/Relative of the bride
• Groom
• Best man

But nowadays there are many variations of this relating to cultural, comfort and customised considerations. Scope to vary speeches includes:
• Having speeches before the meal so that speakers get to relax and enjoy eating
• Broken up through the meal so that guests aren’t sat waiting
• Brides Mum wants to say a few words
• Bride wants to say her thank you’s
• Other guests (American-style) stand up to make their contribution
• Scandinavian guests bring presents and personally give them to the couple at this juncture

What follows is the more traditional element –

The father of the bride
• Thanks the guests for coming
• Says a few heartwarming words about his daughter and welcomes the groom into the family
• Proposes a toast to the happy couple

The groom
• Thanks the father of the bride for his wedding speech (and the parents for the wedding, if appropriate) and the toast
• Explains how happy he is to be married to his beautiful new wife
• Proposes a toast to the ‘beautiful bridesmaids’ and thanks the groomsmen etc.
• Gives out any thank you bouquets or presents.

The best man/ or woman
• Comments on the day so far
• Says a few words about the Groom (not always the most flattering)
• Calls for the bride and groom to cut the cake.
• Announces what happens next.

Wedding Table Plan

When arranging your table seating plan allow yourself plenty of time. After all, your guests will be sat with one another for quite some time, so you want them to enjoy the experience.

Looking online at previous real weddings, on Instagram and/or Pinterest may help to give you some table plan ideas. You may decide to let out your creative side and create your own plan or discuss a bespoke/pre-made design with a stationer. When it comes to displaying your table plan your venue may offer a table plan printing service and stand, however, if this is not an option then take this into account for your wedding timeline and budget.

Remember that you may have a few guests that are yet to RSVP – allow yourself time to chase them before giving your venue and suppliers your final numbers a couples of weeks in advance of the wedding date.

bride reading card from groom
Groom wedding gift
Wedding gifts to bridesmiads

Thank you gifts

Thank you gifts are a perfect opportunity to give thanks to those that have particularly helped you during the wedding planning. These people often include, but are not restricted to, bridesmaids, groomsmen and parents of the couple.

Gifts are typically handed out during the speeches, however, give your gifts earlier in the day if it is something they could wear or use on the day, for example bridesmaids jewellery and groomsmen cufflinks.