Oamaru Marriage and Family Celebrant

Your Go -To Wedding Day Planning Checklist
Categories: Celebrations,Wedding Planning

Congratulations, you are officially engaged! You may be feeling very overwhelmed and confused.  You need to sort out your budget, bridal party, photographer, catering, venue choice etc. not sure where to start planning your dream wedding ceremony for your Wedding Day.

Do not worryI am here with some helpful tips to make your wedding planning easy.  I will walk you through month by month step by step, with my suggestions of how you can stop those overwhelming feelings.  Stick with your wedding plan and your budget. You can do this! 

Read on and make planning for your perfect Wedding Day a breeze.

Celebrate Your Engagement!Before you start your Wedding Day Planning

Enjoy this fabulous moment. The memories you create of this magical moment when you say “YES”.  This is the first step to the rest of your lives together. Make it a moment that you will reflect on and treasure forever. Arrange a video or a photoshoot this doesn’t have to be expensive. You can have a shoot done professionally or ask a  tech-savvy friend to help you.  Do not be afraid to ask family and friends to help.

Create an online celebration and share your excitement with your friends and family from around the globe Whichever way you choose to celebrate your engagement from a picnic to a party, make sure you do. 

Things to Plan 18 months your Wedding Day –

Fix the date. Think about the date you want, is there a date that has significance? Celebrate the date you met,  or your first real date together or your engagement date.  Organise leave or time off work. What season spring, summer, autumn or winter? Best time for your VIP’s and guests to travel. 

Budget adviseHave the big discussion about the amount you can afford to spend. Make it an amount that you both agree on,  without too much pressure and stress. Write it down and how you are going to best use it. What are the most important things that you would like to include in your wedding?  THEN STICK TO IT!

Drawing up your Guestlist. Choosing your Wedding Venue and Theme. Now we get down to the nitty gritty’s. How many guests would you really like to invite? Either in person or as virtual guests. Do you want children at the ceremony and the reception? Are you going to keep it small and intimate?  Do you want something bigger and flamboyant? Don’t get swept away or intimidated by others. Keep within your budget and remember it is about you having the best day.

Venue and Catering. Start searching for your ultimate venue and keep it realistic within your budget. Consider outside or inside, beach, winery, mountain top, or in your back yard, so many to choose from. Be prepared to look at a few venues to check out all that they offer. Will the bridal party stay there the night before the wedding? How much will this cost? Think about how you will cover the cost of the caterer’s, whether formal or informal occasion. Licensed for alcohol, have an attended bar,  will you need to provide these. When planning an outside ceremony always have a  Plan B for an inside ceremony, in case of inclement weather. None of us can be sure of rain or sunshine on the day so best to be prepared for venue change at the last minute.

Photographer and Videographers get booked up really quickly.  Have a chat with them and book your date. Make sure you understand their cancellation policies and Covid clauses.  Do you want to have a pre-wedding day shoot? First look shoot or some formal engagement photo’s, a video of your wedding day?  Seek recommendations and suggestions from friends, venues and wedding suppliers as they will have worked with a few. 

Choosing your fabulous Bridal Party –  Invite all your bridesmaids, groomsmen, pageboys and flower girls and MC’s. All the people that you want to play a part in your ceremony and wedding day. Brainstorm some of your ideas and invite their suggestions. Remember not to let them take. Their ideas may not be what you both want. Be clear what you expect from them and financially and emotionally. Do not be afraid to take control, every team works better if they have a leader to follow. Listen to their advice, then make decisions, ultimately the choices are yours. 

Choosing a Celebrant  Whether you choose an Independent Celebrant for a more informal approach to your personalised Marriage Ceremony. Spiritual or inclusive of religion and beliefs included in your ceremony the way you wish.  An Organisational Celebrant offers you a ceremony in keeping with a particular Church, faith or organisation, following rules and guidelines. Find a celebrant with recommendations from friends family. Ask wedding suppliers and those that you have seen in action!  Look on the official Govt site www.bdm.govt.nz or listed directories like the celebrant’s worldwide directory www.thecelebrantdirectory.com. The Celebrants Association of New Zealand at www.celebrantsassociationnz.co.nz.  You will find recommendations and suggestions on social media channels,  including  Instagram and Facebook groups.  Ultimately,  the ceremony is the part of your wedding day when you make those one time promises and share your vows to each other.  Find a Celebrant who offers what you are looking for. Spend time talking to them, see if they listen and understand where you are both coming from.  They will talk you through the legal paperwork and guide you as to the next steps. Remember this is the time when nothing else in the world matters except that moment when you look into each other’s eye and say ”I DO”. 

12 months Planning Wedding Ceremony 

Make sure you have booked and confirmed all the suppliers on your list. Talk to your caterer and discuss the menu and the way they serve the meal etc.  Are they organising your wedding breakfast?  Have you decided on a formal dinner buffet or grazing platter? You will need to confirm your menu, timelines and seating plans. Talk to you florist about your requirements for the bride’s bouquet, your bridal party, your venue flowers and any that you may be presenting to your VIP guests. Speaking of guests, you will need to confirm your list and send out Save the Date or formal invites.  Make decisions and stick to the plans that you have made.  Don’t over complicate things with everyone else’s input about who you should and shouldn’t invite. Remember your wedding is all about you. It is time to say a big “YES” to your dream DRESS,  have a fitting and arrange any alterations, confirm timelines with your supplier. Confirm Bridesmaids, Flower girl, page boys and grooms, groomsman’s suit Hire etc.  Choose your Wedding Cake Maker and arrange a planning meeting.  Any Musicians DJ and bands need to be contacted and confirmed now. 

6 Months Planning Marriage Ceremony

Send out official invitations.  Book the essential services for your day,  hair, nails, make up. Arrange the trials to choose nail colours, hairstyles etc. Complete wedding dress and bridal party fittings, arrange any alterations and tailoring. 

3 Months and Counting

Your celebrant will complete your Marriage ceremony. They will arrange a reading with you to make any tweaks and changes finalising your ceremony and arrange a rehearsal date. You need to make up a Wedding Day Timeline, including when you wake up, essential breakfast, hair and make up. The Marriage Ceremony seating plans and signage.  Print guests table plans, wedding favours and those little details. IMPORTANT Confirm with all yoursuppliers your agreed Date and Time. Discuss any particular requirements needed leading up to and on the Wedding day.  Legal Paperwork. When to send in your Marriage Licence Application.  Apply within the next month.  In New Zealand, your application is filled out online and is relatively easy and quick. It is issued within a few days and is valid for three months from the date of application. I advise that you allow a few days following your wedding day date just in case your plans at the last minute. Your license will still be valid, there will be no need for a new application adding unnecessary costs. Your celebrant will advise you further on this.  Book Accommodation for the Bridal partybefore and your wedding night. Do you want to stay at or near to your chosen venue the night before Your BIG DAY? Make sure you have booked the rooms and arranged for your beauty, hair and makeup suppliers have the address and times you will expect them.

1 Month from your Wedding Day, the final countdown

Plan to have your Hen and Stag party early, well before your big day, there is nothing worse than a potential hangover on your Wedding day.  You will need your bridal party to be on top form for you both to help the day go smoothly. Rehearsal –Arrange your rehearsal time with your celebrant and invite all who need to be present. This is usually done at your chosen venue during the week before the wedding day.

YAY, Your Wedding Day

Lastly, have a good sleep the night before. Wake up with a healthy breakfast. This will help to calm your nerves and stop you feeling faint during your ceremony. Drink water to stay hydrated and alert. Enjoy your fantastic Wedding day. Most of all Relax you have done all the hard work. Breathe and enjoy the moment. You have both worked so hard to achieve your perfect wedding, so take time to soak it all in and have fun. 

These are just a few of my ideas and inspirations to help your Wedding Day Planning go smoothly. 

Call me on +64  021 0338 400 and let’s get started creating a perfect ceremony and get you two married!