12 month plan
Bristol born TV presenter and wedding expert George Watts first launched his career on screen as the Wedding Planner for BBC2′s The Good, Bad and the Ugly. Literally thrown in at the deep end and with just 6 weeks to go, George coordinated every detail from the cake to a stunning Aston Martin for the groom. Thankfully the couple even made it down the aisle to say ‘I do’… on time!
Recognised for his huge warmth and lovable approach, George went on to report exclusively for GMTV and more recently has hit the red carpet interviewing Hollywood A-listers such as Uma Thurman and Colin Firth. George can now be seen anchoring and reporting for the Saturday morning show ‘Wedding Breakfast’ for Sky’s Wedding TV.
George has just finished filming his own 8 part series celebrating the very best from the World of weddings securing his official title as the UK’s ultimate Wedding Fairy! George now sits down with The Wedding Girl and together have come up with a fantastic in-depth plan for you…
This is it girls! The countdown to the biggest day of your life has just begun and what a day it will be! Even from this early stage, suck up every moment and enjoy the planning process as much as the day itself. Of course, anyone who has been there will tell you how stressful it can be at times but I promise, if you are prepared and organised every second (well, nearly every second) will be a pleasure!
12 + Months - George’s tips:
So, where do we start? With the budget of course! I cannot emphasise how important it is to seriously work out how much dosh you can splash on your big day. I meet so many couples who don’t do this and it can end in hideous disaster with the wedding being more of a financial headache than anything else. Remember, a fairytale does not have to cost a fortune. Utilise every talent available via your circle of family and friends. Make sure you tell anyone who will listen that you are tying the knot because someone somewhere will know a photographer, a hairdresser, a DJ or indeed anyone connected to the wedding industry.
Work out how much cash you can set aside each month and how you will pay each invoice as they become due. Be subtle regarding any parental contributions, actually, who am I kidding, be subtle as a brick and get them to support in any way they can! And finally, barter, barter and barter some more! You will be surprised how far you can stretch your cash simply be asking.
Right girls, down to the nitty gritty, make sure you get out that laptop and start the all-important spreadsheet otherwise known as ‘your big day bible’. Month by month I want to know what is going on and when it is happening! Use our 12 month plan as a starting point and tailor it to meet all your requirements.
When planning ‘your big day bible’ please also consider some ‘you’ time for rest and relaxation. Organise some ‘non wedding’ activities to do with your partner each week in the months leading up to the big day. Even a trip to the local cinema will help take the edge off any natural anxiety or stress during the build-up. The planning process is not just about cakes and flowers, it’s also about your well being in what can be a very stressful period.
At this stage, the date and venue is top dog priority. Once this is set everything else can fall into place. If you have a dream venue in mind, go visit the wedding coordinator and ask what can be achieved with your budget. Don’t be afraid to ask! Hog-roasts and summer bbq’s are all the rage at the moment and can often be much lighter on the budget than a traditional sit down meal. If you are not sure on a venue pick out five in your local area and go from there. Even if you don’t like any of them hopefully they will spark some ideas. At this stage, be adventurous; think about a day that reflects you both as a couple. If you love the ocean why not go nautical or maybe a medieval banquet is more your thing?
12 + Months
Set your budget (allow 10% for overspending). It is a good idea to open a joint ‘wedding’ account
Discuss with family who will be paying for what, it’s important to sort this out at the very beginning
Choose a venue for the ceremony and reception
Arrange a meeting with your priest, minister, rabbi or registrar to discuss dates and plans for the wedding.
Finalise your wedding date and book the venues
Choose members of your wedding party
Pick out or design your save-the-dates cards, invites and thank you cards
Make a decision about how many guests to invite to the ceremony and the reception and begin making a guest list
Send save-the-date cards if your wedding is in peak time or abroad
9+ Months – George’s tips:
Ok, 9 months is all about research, planning and booking. The bridesmaid outfits and your dress are priority numero uno. It’s time to start thinking about your look for the day because Cinderella will go to the ball (past midnight hopefully) and look a billion dollars regardless of her budget! Grab a ton of wedding dress images and stick them in a scrap book for inspiration, take this along to your chosen dressmaker or store. Make sure you have a dressing up day and try on lots of dresses you might not even like the look of. Sometimes a girl can be surprised. Whatever you do, just remember that magical line, ‘Fashions fade, style is eternal’ – Yves Saint Laurent. What a God!
Book wedding insurance if required
Start researching dresses, shoes, and accessories, make a scrap book of ideas and pictures that you like
Order invites and thank-you cards
Finalise your guest list
Research local accommodation for out of town guests
Put together a wedding website to keep guests up-to-date
Plan the honeymoon, consider booking now if you are honeymooning in peak time (don’t forget to book time off work)
Make a final decision on your dress and shoes and place your order
Pick out and order bridesmaids dresses
Put together your gift list (remember to include gifts to suit all budgets)
Send out invites if your wedding is in peak season or to those who are coming from abroad (remember to put an RSVP date to save last minute chasing and include gift list details and wedding website link)
6+ Months – George’s tips:
Ok, this is it! Only 6 months to go, you need to stop researching and start making some decisions quick sharp! The past few months have been spent starting the preparation for your dream day now you have to start making it a reality. Live by your ‘big day bible’ and start spending!
When it comes to suppliers, make sure you always have a final two in mind just in case one lets you down for whatever the reason. Ensure you discuss payment procedures with any potential supplier in advance of booking. Some might have better deals than others therefore making your final decision a little easier! Make sure you get all agreements in writing!
In a few months time, everything is going to slot into place! I am hysterical just writing about it!
Start researching and book your photographers, caterers, florists etc
Start the process of changing your name on legal documents, get together all necessary paper work
If you want to change your name on your passport for your honeymoon you need to allow plenty of time You also need to get your minister or registrar to sign the passport form
Your Fiance should start looking at outfits for him and his attendants
Sit down with bridesmaids to delegate jobs
Make sure your fiancé orders his wedding day outfit
Book your honeymoon if you haven’t already
Confirm the order for the ceremony and decide on plans for the service, readings and music etc (If you are getting married in church you will need to talk to the minister and organist about the music)
Choose and order your cake
3+ Months – George’s tips:
Well girls, the last 9 months of planning and research all comes into play right now as you lay down your cards and splash the last of your cash. This is the time when the day should start to really take shape.
It’s Exciting times… Wedding rings, entertainment and menus! The list is endless. This month has the potential to be rather hectic so make sure ‘your big day bible’ rest and relaxation plan prevents any potential stress attack! Keep calm and follow the plan that you have worked so hard on in the early stages.
Sadly we are not all naturally gifted with being organised so if you feel things are getting out of control at this stage and your plan is not going to plan as they say, make sure you to turn to a family member or friend for support. There is still lots of time left so don’t panic. Maybe you have a friend who works as a pa or manager? People who are organising others on a day-to-day basis are always the best to turn to in these situations.
Keep sight of the big day itself and everything will be dandy! The aisle is in sight now I promise.
Send out invites now if your wedding is not in peak season (remember to put an RSVP date to save last minute chasing and include gift list details)
Book your first night hotel
Fiancé should order his and his attendants outfits
Pick out your wedding rings
Go back for a dress fitting
Book in your wedding rehearsal for a few days before the actual day
Book your accommodation for the wedding night
Decide on music / book band or DJ
Book wedding day transport
Finalise your menu with the caterers
Book a make-up artist and hairdresser if you are not doing your own, have a trial run to figure out a look you are happy with. If you are doing your own start experimenting with looks now.
Run through everything with your fiancé to make sure he has organized everything he was supposed to, his and his attendants outfits, gifts, rings etc
Find out if you need visas or inoculations for your honeymoon
Discuss hen and stag nights with maid of honour and best man
2+ Months – George tips:
With just 2 months to go it’s time to have some fun! Hopefully the nitty gritty details are now all under control and you can start thinking sexy undies and shopping with the girls! This is a time for you and your partner to really start enjoying the build-up. Practice your vows in bed, rehearse the wedding ceremony and wash it all down with a bottle or two of vino! The latter will definitely help with pre-day nerves but don’t binge drink. Think of your skin!
At this stage, I would also just check over ‘your big day bible’ and our fabulous 12 month plan to make sure all the key elements have been checked off and are under control… just for peace of mind of course.
Chase any guests who have not RSVP’d
Start writing vows and speeches
Buy gifts for the wedding party
Shop for decorations
Pick out bridal underwear
Give your caterers and venue a final number of guests.
Decide on a seating plan if you are having one
Best man and chief bridesmaid to organise and book stag and hen parties and to notify all hens and stags of arrangements and date
Buy your honeymoon outfits and essentials
1 Month – George’s tips:
It is not unusual for anxiety to start kicking in now as the big day is just around the corner and is almost a reality. This is the time when both of you have to be there to support each other. Keep sight of how you felt 11 months ago and how magical you will feel on the big day. If you start tensing up over minor details just stop and imagine how incredible it’s going to feel when you say ‘I do’. That special moment will help keep things in perspective.
Grab, that box of tissues girls, I feel a ceremony coming on!
Have a final trial run with the person doing you hair and makeup or if you are doing your own make sure you are happy with the look you have decided on
Go back for final dress fitting and try on entire outfit, dress, shoes, underwear, veil/tiara etc
Decide on a seating plan and prepare place cards and menus for the tables
Book wedding day transport
Start wearing in your shoes at home (only on carpet so as not to ruin them)
Make sure your fiancé has finished his vows/speeches etc
Buy a guest book
Pick a going away outfit if required
Make sure you have your something old, new, borrowed, blue
1 Week – George’s tips:
One week to go….STAY CALM. There may be a last minute crisis but if you remember everything from the last 12 months you will be fine. Where there is a will there is a way! Truest saying my Mother ever taught me.
1 Week to Go
Pick up your dress
Pack for your honeymoon (don’t forget to pack your passport)
Make sure you have got your holiday insurance and currency
Speak with venues, caterers, florist and band to re-confirm everything so you are not panicking the day before
Have a rehearsal diner
Make sure your fiancé has an appointment to have his hair cut or tidied
Have your hen and stag nights
1 Day to go – Geroge’s tips:
Just soak up every moment now because the day is all yours. Go with the flow and let everything fall into place. Enjoy a champers breakfast and make sure you’re nearest and dearest pamper you big time. Good luck for tomorrow!
ENJOY EVERY SECOND GIRLS!
1 Day to Go
Go for manicure and pedicure
Have a big glass of wine and relax!
The week after the wedding
Post honeymoon return to ‘your big day bible’ ensuring all the loose ends have been tied up. Make sure suppliers are paid as agreed and anything hired has been returned without problem. Send out all your thank cards (including suppliers) and organise a wedding night for all the key members of your big day to enjoy drinks, the wedding video and a few honeymoon snaps!
If you haven’t already changed all your legal documents you should start that process now.
Right, that’s it! All I can say now is best of luck and enjoy being Mr and Mrs!
Find out more about George and what he is up to on his website www.theweddingfairy.tv