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Countdown to your Wedding

Wedding Photography in Gauteng

Here's a handy checklist you can use to make sure that you don't forget any details as you count down towards your exciting wedding day!

You can download a free copy of this wedding planner here.

In the twelve months ahead:

  • Set a wedding date
  • Hire a photographer
  • Hire your wedding coordinator
  • Prepare a preliminary budget
  • Open a bank account specifically for your wedding and deposit savings into this account every month.
  • Choose and book a venue and a reserve option for both the wedding ceremony and the reception
  • Determine your wedding style / theme and colour scheme
  • Set a time for the ceremony
  • Select all attendants (bridesmaids, maid of honour, best man and groomsmen).
  • Contact a marriage officer
  • Start compiling your guest list
  • Visit wedding gown boutiques and start trying on a range of styles.
In the six months ahead:
  • Choose the colour scheme for your wedding
  • Meet with the venue representative
  • Determine what is available at the venue, and what needs to be hired in
  • Check on catering facilities
  • Select and book a caterer if needed
  • Select a florist
  • Decide on a design for your wedding cake and hire a baker
  • Book your chocolate fountain
  • Order your wedding gown
  • Select a designer for all the other apparel
  • Choose and hire musicians or a DJ
  • Finalise your guest list
  • Decide on the bridal car and other transportation
  • Start looking for a stationer for your invitations
  • Start planning the honeymoon and make reservations. If you are getting married over popular holiday periods, or are going overseas for your honeymoon, you might need to start planning as far as one year in advance
  • Ensure that you have valid passports and visas if your honeymoon is an international one.

In the three months ahead:

  • Order invitations and personal stationery
  • Make final arrangements for the ceremony 
  • Make sure all deposits are paid and contracts are signed
  • Make sure all the bridal attire is ordered for the bride, groom and attendants
  • Have the two mothers get together to coordinate their wedding outfits
  • Register at a bridal gift registry
  • Shop for wedding rings or have them designed and ordered.

In the one to two months ahead:

  • Address all invitations and send them out 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding. Send them two months before if there are holidays in between.
  • Meet with your photographer, suppliers, caterer, florist, venue representative, etc to make final arrangements
  • Meet with your DJ / musicians to select all the special songs you want played e.g. Reception entrance, first dance, cutting of the cake, etc.
  • Finalise ceremony details with your marriage officer
  • Write out your personalised vows and confirm with your wedding official that they are appropriate
  • Make rehearsal arrangements
  • Purchase gifts for the bridal party
  • Give caterer and baker preliminary guest count
  • Make appointments with hairdresser and beautician
  • Arrange accommodation for out-of-town guests
  • Finalise honeymoon plans, sort out flight tickets and passports
  • Call and confirm arrangements with each and every service provider

In the three weeks ahead:

  • Call the guests that have not yet responded
  • Plan reception seating arrangements
  • Finalise transport arrangements
  • Go for hair and make-up trials, and coordinate these with a studio shoot with your photographer for some formal portraits
  • Have a final fitting of all gowns for bride and bridesmaids
  • Keep a record of all gifts received, and write thank you notes immediately
  • Make sure you have all your wedding day accessories: garter, unity candles, ring pillow, etc
  • Select a responsible person to take care of your gifts on the wedding day, accept all envelopes if there is no envelope box at the venue, and to take care of the guest book, making sure it is being signed
  • Attend to all the legal details: If you are changing your name, get the necessary forms from everywhere that you have accounts, for your new ID, passport, driverís licence, insurance, medical aid company, banks, etc. Remember that you might be changing your address as well, so do both at the same time.
  • Buy foreign currency if you are honeymooning internationally
  • If you are having wedding announcements sent to the newspapers, now is the time to complete these
  • Confirm accommodation for out-of-town guests
  • Arrange to have possessions and gifts moved to your new home

In the last week ahead:

  • Give the final guest count to the caterer
  • Confirm your suppliers and service providers for the wedding day, making sure they know arrival times and details. Inform them of any changes since you last spoke
  • Give the photographer a list of the special pictures you want (especially group shots)
  • Arrange for someone to help with last-minute errands
  • Pack your honeymoon suitcase
  • Create a detailed schedule for your wedding day, together with your coordinator / venue representative and let the photographer have a copy
  • Pick up the rings
  • Pick up the attire
  • Have your rehearsal with all participants. Make sure everybody knows their duties
  • Arrange with someone to make sure you have lunch on your wedding day. Some brides forget to eat because time just flies by!
  • Get the car checked / serviced if necessary
  • Organise for someone to pick up your flowers from the florist on the wedding day and deliver them to the ceremony and reception venues, as well as to get your bouquets to you.

One day before the wedding:

  • Donít eat (or drink!) too much, stay calm and get enough rest
  • Visit your local spa / salon for a manicure, pedicure and maybe even a massage
  • Make a list of all the items that should go with you to the venue
  • Give the marriage officer / minister a call and remind him / her of the wedding. Don't overlook this - I once went to shoot a wedding where everybody pitched except the minister!
  • Give the entourage their gifts
  • Donít get to bed too late

Your wedding day!

  • Donít get up too early
  • Eat a good breakfast 
  • Take a nice bath, and apply lots of body lotion
  • Apply blockout lotion if it's an outdoor wedding. You do NOT want to be sunburned for your honeymoon!
  • Get hair and make-up done
  • Start dressing +/- 2 hours before the ceremony (if you are having pictures before, otherwise +/- 1 hour)
  • Make sure the groom is at the ceremony site 30 minutes to an hour before the starting time, to welcome guests. Allow time for the photographer to finish with the groom and his entourage first.
  • Relax and have fun! Remember, if small things do not go the way you planned it, nobody will notice.
  • This is a once-in-a-lifetime event - enjoy every minute!


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