As you embark on the last three months of your wedding checklist, you will start to see your carefully laid plans come to life.
This is one of the most exciting parts in the entire wedding planning process. During the next few months you will choose your vows, readings and music for the ceremony, have your final dress fitting, send out your invitations and finalise your bridal hairstyle. And when all that has been confirmed, it’s time to let your hair down with your hens and stags!
Wedding checklist for ceremony details
Around two months before the big day, your registrar or officiant will need to know about your choices for wedding readings and music. They will also need confirmation about which vows you’d like to say to each other during the ceremony. There are several different versions of civil ceremony vows, some of which are longer than others. If you choose the shortest vows available (just a few lines) you may want to add in a couple of readings to may the ceremony more substantial. Without readings, a basic civil ceremony could last around 20 minutes.
Your officiant needs to see your readings and music because they need to check that your choices are acceptable for the venue. No religious readings or hymns are allowed at civil ceremonies. Music can help you create the mood you want at your ceremony. Want a light-hearted, uplifting entrance? Who can forget the couple who danced down the aisle to Chris Brown’s Forever? Want a more traditional choice? Mendellsohn’s Wedding March will always get heartbeats racing with excitement. Whatever tunes you choose, make sure that they hold some personal meaning for you – guests will understand and it will make the service all the more special.
When it comes to readings, think about your relationship and try to find a passage that reflects it. For example, if you’ve been together for several years, we love the extract by Louis de Bernieres’ Captain Correlli’s Mandolin, which reads…
Love is a temporary madness,
it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness,
it is not excitement,
it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.
Think carefully, too, about the person you choose to present the reading. They need to be a confident public speaker and project their voice enough so your guests can hear the special words you’ve chosen.
Hair and beauty
Your bridal hairstyle should be a more polished version of your everyday self. Dramatic changes of hairstyle or colour are not advised this close to the wedding. Your h2b wants to recognise you as you walk down the aisle – something that Kate Middleton insisted on during her wedding to Prince William. Any colour or highlights should be done at least 2 weeks before the big day to allow for mistakes to be rectified. You should also consider an intense conditioning treatment a month before to get your hair in picture-perfect condition.
When it comes to tanning, if you’ve never tried a fake tan before, go for a light colour so you don’t look too orange or artificial. Professionally applied spray tans are best, as they can also exfoliate you beforehand – the key to an A-list look. Talking of A-list looks, you may also want to consider a tooth whitening treatment so your teeth look extra sparkly in your photos.
A month before the wedding it might also be a good idea to try a spa day with your h2b. Banish those pre-wedding stresses some pampering treatments like back massages and mini manicures.
Send out your wedding invitations six to eight weeks before the big day or earlier if you have guests coming from overseas. You also need to make it clear if you have inviting children or not – one of the hottest topics discussed on the Wedding Ideas forum. If you choose an adults-only affair, be upfront straight away and put in a courtesy call or email to the couples that will be affected. Let them know well in advance to allow them plenty of time to arrange a babysitter. You will probably find that most parents will enjoy having a night off when they can really let their hair down.
When it comes to wording your invitations, traditionally they come from whoever is paying for the celebration (usually the bride’s parents)…
‘Mr and Mrs Brown request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter…’
In more recent times, more couples are hosting (paying for) the party themsleves, therefore the invitations should come from them…
‘The honour of your presence is requested at the marriage of Miss xxxxx to Mr xxxxx’
The number one rule with invitations is to include an RSVP date. If you don’t, you’ll be ringing guests at the last minute and your venue may not be able to accommodate lots of changes late in the day.
A pre-wedding shoot is the perfect way to get to know your wedding photographer. But even if you have met with him or her before, they will still require a shot list for the day itself. List any specific shots you definitely want to be shown in your album … a picture of you and your mum, a shot with you and your best friend and so on. Ask your chief bridesmaid or best man to direct the photographer to the right people on the day so you can get on with enjoying yourself.
Hen and stag nights
The hen and stag night organisation should be the sole respnsibility of the chief bridesmaid and best man – not the bride! It is also not your responsibility to chase money for hotels, nightclubs, meals or anything else for that matter! Leave it to an organised, responsible friend to take care of this for you. Think also about the number of friends you’re going to invite and how much money they’ll have to spend on the party. Also consider the age of the people attending and think of appropriate activities for everyone, so no one feels left out. An afternoon tea, a DIY wedding or craft activity and then on to a club should keep everyone happy. Gohen, UKGirlThing and Red Seven have a great range of packages to suit all budgets.