How many!?

The answer to that question – like everything else about your day – will depend entirely upon you. As a general rule though, before you are through you will need a list, of lists – lest you forget!

So where to start

Your wedding timeline will be critical. It will be the over-arching project plan and it will potentially be a lifesaver as things ‘hot up’. If you follow it (once created) you will be able to differentiate between what needs to be worried about today, and what can sensibly left until tomorrow. ‘Sufficient unto the Day’ and all that.

However, there are some background – let’s call them strategic – lists which will need to be created before the detail of your timeline can be sorted.

The stakeholders list

You will (probably/inevitably) become aware that there are family members and friends who are ‘invested’ in your wedding. This may or may not be reflected in financial contributions but it is as well to think and talk through the ramifications of this before planning gets properly underway. Parents are a good place to start in this regard. What influence are they looking to bring to bear etc. Who ultimately expects to control what?

The list of helpers and the bridal party

Are there people you are relying on? Who is formally part of the bridal party? Are there others who expect to advise/help?

The budget list

Of course, it would be wonderful to be able to completely ignore this subject since already it will begin to feel that the ‘Dream’ is being ‘contained’. But when you are looking at savings, earnings, borrowings, plans for the home, and holidays, remember that although it is a dream in the making, it will only last one day.

The guest list

Manuals have been written about guest lists, and etiquette books pronounce what is acceptable (or not) when it comes to A, B and C categories. Before you begin to look at venues though, you do need to do a first pass of this – venues have maximum capacities and popular ones will have minimum numbers – so save yourself time and/or heartbreak by knowing what approximate size of wedding you are planning from the outset.

List of possible dates

Some couples will have a firm date before the engagement ring has been resized but if you are hoping to get the ‘right’ venue and the date is relatively flexible, it is worth making a list of possibles with any significant pluses and minuses. If you are planning a skiing honeymoon in the northern hemisphere you may not be prepared to consider August weddings. If both sets of parents always go traveling in December, a Christmas wedding may not be greeted with enthusiasm.

With the above challenges sorted, it is a good time to embark on the draft timeline. The planning for every wedding will be different but what follows is a generic prompt that will hopefully allow you to develop your own customised version.