When you set your wedding date, it may have seemed a long way off. But now you’re probably wondering how the time has whizzed by so quickly because with three months to go, things are certainly hotting up.
There’s no need to panic though. If you’ve been calmly sorting out your list of to-dos with our help, then your wedding planning will be taking shape in all the right ways.
Over the next few months you will be deciding on your vows, the music you’d like to have played at your ceremony and researching readings. At some point you’ll also be experiencing your final dress fitting, issuing your wedding invitations and finalising how your hair is going to look on your big day. Then it’s time to relax a bit and enjoy your hen party and bridal shower (if you’re having one).
Here’s what to consider in the lead up to the big day…
Your ceremony details
Eight weeks or so before you tie the knot, you’ll be asked by your officiant or registrar to inform them of the readings you’ve decided upon. You’ll also need to tell them about the vows you’d like to say – there are several versions to choose between of different lengths.
The shortest vows don’t take very long at all – they’re only a few lines – and so you might want to embellish the ceremony with some readings. If you decide not to have readings, a basic civil ceremony would last about 20 minutes.
If you’re wondering why your officiant needs to be informed of your readings, it’s because they need to check that your choices are acceptable. For example, religious readings and hymns aren’t allowed at civil ceremonies.
Remember that music is a powerful tool for creating the mood you want. If you’d like something traditional, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March is a classical choice that won’t date, and is acceptable at a civil ceremony as it has no religious connotations. Or you could walk down to the aisle to the sounds of something a bit more contemporary – maybe It Had To Be You by Harry Connick Junior. If you’re still struggling for ideas, take a look at our suggestions for ceremony music.
Whatever tunes you choose, make sure that they hold some personal meaning for you – it will make the service all the more special.
When it comes to readings, think about the two of you, the relationship you have, things you’ve been through together and try to find a passage that reflects it. We’ve got plenty of suggestions for wedding readings for all sorts of couples.
For example, if you’ve been together for several years, we’d recommend the extract from Captain Correlli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres.
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.
Be careful who you decide to do the reading – don’t just appoint somebody because you’d like them to be involved. You need somebody who is a confident speaker, ideally used to presenting in public, not a friend who is going to look at the floor and mumble all the way through because they are shy! Don’t be afraid of offending here – you need the right person for the job.
Looking your most beautiful
Your bridal hairstyle shouldn’t be a huge departure from your usual style – ideally, it should simply be a more groomed version of your natural hair. Don’t go for a major chop or colour change, and if a formal updo really isn’t your style, don’t do it! You don’t want to look like a stranger – just yourself at your most beautiful.
If you’re having a colour or highlights on your hair, it should be done at least two weeks before your wedding day so that any mistakes can be rectified. Also consider an intense conditioning treatment a month before to get your hair in picture-perfect condition.
What about a golden glow for your skin? 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 – this is definitely the key to an A-list look. Talking of celebrity style, you may also want to consider a tooth whitening treatment so your teeth look extra sparkly in your photos.
We’re great fans of getting some together time with your H2B in the months before your wedding, so how about having a spa day together? You could have a relaxing massage side by side!
Who’s coming to your wedding?
Six to eight weeks before your wedding is the right time to send out your wedding invitations. You’ll need to specify whether children are welcome or not – this is one of hottest topics we find discussed on our Forum.
You will probably find most parents welcome the opportunity to have a night off their duties, but you’ll need to give them notice to arrange babysitters and children, so let everybody know if it’s a child-free day.
Remember to include an RSVP date – otherwise you’ll be ringing guests at the last minute and your venue may not be able to accommodate lots of changes.
Hen and stag nights
This is one thing you don’t have to organise – it’s the responsibility of the chief bridesmaid and best man. Hopefully you’ve chosen a chief bridesmaid that you trust to organise your hen, so let her prove herself. Just tell her who you’d like invited and the mood of the day you’d like (not everyone wants the L-plates and willy straws!).
Be considerate about costs and think of appropriate activities everyone will enjoy. An afternoon tea, a DIY wedding 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.