You just got engaged – congratulations! Now it’s time to start planning the wedding, so we’ve created a timeline to keep you on track

To keep things simple we’ve based this off one year of wedding planning, although many couples do take longer or less time to bring together their big day. If you’re just getting started with planning your wedding, let this serve as a rough guide so you don’t forget anything!

Just engaged? 

First of all, congratulations! Welcome to the world of wedding planning.

Once the whirlwind excitement of being engaged settles in and you’ve told all of your nearest and dearest, you can start making some rough plans for your wedding. At this stage you should figure out your guest list, budget and look around for inspiration for colour schemes and themes.

Set up a Pinterest board, get scrolling Instagram and TikTok and have a flick through Tie the Knot Scotland to get inspired and excited for how your wedding could look.

One year before the wedding


Take a look at your budget and prioritise what is a must for your wedding and the things you’d like to have if the budget allows. This will help you figure out which things you’re willing to spend a bit more on and what you could live without.

Book your venue

The wedding might seem like a long way away but there’s plenty to get on with. First thing on the list is to figure out where the wedding will be happening. Start viewing venues and get a date and place locked in.

Keep in mind that weekends and the summer months are the most popular and the most expensive for weddings, so you might need to be flexible with dates to stay in budget or book your dream venue.

If you need a hand getting started with venues, have a look at our wedding venue guide.

Groom holds umbrella over bride as they walk through Edinburgh

Photo: NC Photography

Book your wedding dress appointments, photographer and filmmaker 

There are lots of fun things to start with, like wedding dress shopping, and booking your photographer and filmmaker. See 50 of the best wedding photographers to help you choose the right one for your day.

It might take you a while to find the perfect dress, as well as suppliers you click with, so give yourself plenty of time.

Get wedding insurance

On a less glamorous note, you should also consider getting wedding insurance to protect your big day just in case something happens out of your control.

Start thinking about who will officiate your wedding ceremony and make enquiries

If you are getting married in a church or other religious building, chances are your wedding ceremony will be solemnised by a priest, minister or other religious leader associated with the ceremony venue.

If you would like to have a civil ceremony at a venue of your choice or at a registry office, a local registrar will lead your ceremony.

If you’d prefer to have a humanist, interfaith or other celebrant-led wedding, you should reach out to the celebrant or their organisation around now.

Read more about the legalities and rules of getting married in Scotland here.

11 months before the wedding

You might want to invest in some folders, planners and apps to keep on top of everything you have arranged so far and all that’s still to come.

Arrange a wedding planner

If you’d like to work with a wedding planner, this is the time to bring them on board. If you’d like your friends and family to get involved in anything on or leading up to the day (speeches, making decor etc) now is a good time to let them know so they have plenty of notice.

Organise the venue decor 

If the venue decor isn’t being provided by the venue (blank canvas venue) or you’d just like to add some of your own touches, you should lock this down once you have your venue booked.

From signage to table decor, there are lots of ways you can bring in a theme or colour scheme and personal touches that reflect your own style and love story. Reach out to a wedding decoration company to discuss ideas.

Book your honeymoon 

It’s not just the wedding day you have to think about! This is also a great time to book your honeymoon if you plan on going away shortly after the wedding.

10 months before the wedding

Set up a wedding website 

Many couples now choose to have a wedding website so that their guests can easily access all of the information. It’s useful to set up an FAQ page (to save you from being asked the same things over and over) as well as a way to RSVP online.

Save the dates

Send out your ‘save the dates’ so your guests have plenty of time to arrange their travel and accommodation if needed. You can either send them a link to your wedding website which should be set up with all the need-to-know info, send a digital save the date, or stick to traditional methods and send a physical version through the post.

Book your music and entertainment 

If you’re planning on having a live band, DJ or piper at your wedding, you’ll need to give them plenty of notice – especially if you have your heart set on someone specific. Make sure you also give the musician plenty of notice of which songs you would like played so they have time to organise this.

You should also book any other entertainment so they can definitely make your wedding day; from photobooths to magicians and everything else in between. There are so many options to add some fun interactive elements to your day, so get inspired by these wedding entertainment suggestions.

Get the bridesmaid dresses

Gather your bridesmaids and get their dresses ticked off the to do list. This gives enough time to order dresses and do fittings if needed (usually a minimum of 12 weeks required). You can also pick up accessories for yourself and the bridal party.

9 months before the wedding

Get the groom, groomsmen and mother of the bride/groom outfits

It’s the men’s turn to get suited and booted. The groom should shop for his own outfit, as well as the groomsmen, best man and dads. This is normally all done at the same time in the same highlandwear or suit shop if they plan on matching.

The mother of the bride and the mother of the groom also have their turn shopping, and they’ll need the full works, including a dress, shoes, bag and hat! Check out our mother of the bride/groom guide for answers to all your mum-dressing questions.

Contact a wedding cake maker and florist

As for the wedding day, book your cake and florist. Even if you don’t know the exact flowers you want yet you can give the florist an idea of colour schemes and which season you’re getting married during. The same goes for the cake, get the baker you want booked in and you’ll go over the specifics of how many people it will serve and the design closer to the time.

See our wedding cake process guide to keep you right and get inspired.

8 months before the wedding

Choose your weddings rings

Go shopping for your rings and decide on any engraving you’d like on the bands. You’ll want plenty of time to choose the right ones and pick them up before the wedding day (being a key part of the ceremony), and it can take up to eight weeks for bespoke designs. If stones have to be ordered in by the jeweller this can also add a few more weeks to the process.

See more about organising your wedding rings.

Meet your celebrant/officiant 

It’s all well under way! This month let’s think a bit more about your ceremony. It’s time to meet with your celebrant, registrar, minister or priest to start shaping up your ceremony.

Arrange the catering 

If you need to choose an external caterer, book them now. If the venue is providing the food have an initial chat with them about the menu. There are plenty of external catering companies that can work in collaboration with your venue.

For inspiration, check out these amazing food and drink suppliers.

7 months before the wedding

Book the transport 

Assuming you don’t have something elaborate planned for your wedding entrance (like parachuting out of a helicopter), this is a good point to book your wedding transport. Think about how you are going to get to and from the venue(s) as well as whether your guests will need transport. There are plenty of ways to travel in style, with vintage Bentleys and red double decker buses available for the newlyweds and guests to enjoy the journey.

Consider putting on a coach if there are a lot of guests coming from one location to the venue or if you’re moving between venues for the ceremony and reception. If anyone is needing overnight accommodation, make sure you or they book this as soon as possible.

Make DIY favours and decor

If you are planning on making any of the decor of favours, now is the time to order everything you need. Make some trial versions if possible so you can work out any kinks and still have six months to make everything you need (or decide to give up and order it instead).

If you’re feeling creative, you need to check out these nine wedding DIY projects.

6 months before the wedding

Order wedding stationery and favours 

If you’re not making your wedding favours, you can order them now. Also order your wedding invitations and any other wedding stationery you might need – welcome signs, menus, programmes, thank you cards etc.

Book your hair and makeup 

Book your hair stylist and makeup artist now and get a trial for both booked in. If possible try to get both done on the same day so you can check the styles work together.

Plan the hen and stag do

It’s also time to plan your hen and stag parties, and if this happens to coincide with you having your hair and makeup freshly done then that’s a bonus!

You might be in charge of this or you might have appointed a trusty friend to sort it out. Get the details locked down as soon as possible as plans made in a group chat tend to take forever to sort.

5 months before the wedding

Set up a gift registry 

If you’re planning on setting up a gift registry, this will give your guests plenty of time to organise a present. If you’d rather have money towards the honeymoon or something else, let your guests know that too.

Pick up accessories

The groom should make sure he has all the accessories he needs – cufflinks, shoes, watch etc. Meanwhile the bride should get her shoes and any undergarments she might need; think about whether you need a bra with the dress, whether you’ll see underwear lines and opt for nude lingerie!

If you’re getting special wedding jewellery for yourself or your wedding party from a jeweller, think about this now too so you can definitely get the pieces you want.

4 months before the wedding

Write your vows and speeches  

If you are writing your own vows, do this now, so you’ll have plenty of time to make tweaks and practice! If you’re stuck for words, we’ve got some vow ideas from Scottish celebrants. Don’t forget to prepare a speech, and you don’t need to just stick to the traditional speakers on the day, make this part of the wedding your own.

Do some honeymoon shopping 

Get excited for your honeymoon too. It’s nice to have something to look forward to after the wedding is over. Treat yourself to a new bikini or sunglasses if you’re going somewhere warm, or some nice outfits for going out to dinner.

Have a menu tasting 

With your catering already booked, it’s time to sample their delicious food and decide what to serve on the day.

3 months before the wedding

Sort out your documents and legal paperwork 

Now for a bit of paperwork, because as well as being an excuse for the biggest party of your life, there are some crucial legal steps.

Obtain your marriage license, this is a MUST for getting married. You must fill out the M10 form between three months and 29 days before you get married.

If you’re changing your name, make sure necessary documents are completed. If you want to travel after the wedding as ‘Mrs’ you can change this on your passport, and also check it is in date. Make sure you have booked time off work and sort out visas and vaccines if you need them for your honeymoon.

Have your hair and makeup trial and dress fitting 

Have your hair and makeup trial and wear white to the appointments (if that’s what you’re wearing on the big day) so you get a good idea of how it’s all going to look.

You’re close enough to the wedding now that you can also get your first dress fitting.

Sort out ceremony details and invitations 

Send out your official invitations and keep track of the responses as they come in (if this is all via a wedding website, that should look after itself). You’ll likely need to chase people as the day gets nearer.

Confirm your ceremony plans with the celebrant/registrar/minister/priest. You should decide on your ceremony music and readings/poems or anything else you’d like to include. Let anyone who is speaking know so they have time to prepare.

If you’d like to have a rehearsal, make sure this is booked.

Go on your hen and stag do

Traditionally the hen and stag do’s happened the night before the wedding, but it’s much better have a bit of breathing room between them and the wedding day so you can really enjoy both. And just in case you miss your flight home or have a sore head the next day!

2 months before the wedding

Prep your skin 

Time for some beautifying – if there’s any skincare or beauty treatments you want done before the wedding, now’s the time to have an appointment. From teeth whitening to tweakments to skin rejuvenation, you should have time for a couple of sessions and recovery time (if needed), so you’ll see the benefits on the day.

Some treatments with more immediate results like a lash lift should be done about 3-4 weeks before the wedding to really see the effect on the day, so make sure that’s booked in too.

If there are any makeup, skincare or tanning products you want to try, you’ve got enough time to get used to using it before doing it for real.

1 month before the wedding

Have a final dress fitting 

Have the final dress fitting wearing your wedding shoes and the lingerie you’ll be wearing on the day. Start walking around the house in your wedding shoes – you’ll be glad you did.

Check in with suppliers 

Reconfirm the wedding arrangements with your venue, caterer, photographer, filmmaker, florist, cake supplier, transport, travel agents/honeymoon, all entertainment, and any other suppliers.

Finalise the numbers

Chase up straggling RSVPs and confirm final numbers with venue. Finalise the seating plan and write out the place cards if you’re doing them yourself.

1 week before the wedding

Collect your wedding rings

Pick up your wedding rings from the jeweller if you haven’t already, and keep them safe!

Finalise ceremony and legal details

The Marriage Schedule is the document that shows that you are legally allowed to marry and you’ll need it on your wedding day. You can collect this from the registrar for area your wedding is taking place in (which may not be your local registry office) from one week before the wedding.

For those planning a civil ceremony, led by a local registrar, it’s important to note that the process surrounding the marriage schedule is different. The registrar will not issue the marriage schedule to you in advance (so no need to collect), but will bring it along to the ceremony ready to be signed on the day. They will also take responsibility for returning it to the registration office.

You should also finalise all ceremony details with whomever is conducting your ceremony now too.

Get your nails done 

If you’re getting your nails done you’ll want them to be perfect on the day, whether you opt for a gel manicure or regular polish, an appointment a couple of days before the wedding should ensure they look beautiful on the day.

Get waxed 

If you’d like your legs or eyebrows waxed for your wedding day you should get this booked in about a week before so any redness is gone and you’re left with silky smooth skin.

The day before the wedding

Final check of outfits 

Make sure the wedding party check that any hired outfits are complete and fit well. Pack up your own outfits if you won’t be getting ready at home, make sure you have all jewellery and accessories too. If you plan on having a small bag with you on the wedding day you can pack this now too so you’re not scrambling at the last minute in the morning.

See our top tips the night before the wedding for a smooth wedding morning.

On the day of the wedding

Final touches

Give the rings to the best man and delegate any other on the day tasks to someone in the wedding party so you can relax and enjoy the day. Make sure your wedding team know where gifts and cards should go.

Make sure you have breakfast as it will likely be a while before you eat again. Don’t forget to enjoy the day and have some time alone with your partner at some point.

After the wedding

The big day is over, but there are a few things to sort!

Paperwork and collecting items

Return the Marriage Schedule within three days of the wedding (unless you had a civil ceremony where the registrar will have done this for you).

If you didn’t collect your own decor from the venue at the end of the night, you’ll need to pick it up the next day.

Contact your bank, the passport office and the DVLA if your name has changed and you haven’t already told them.

Commemorating your wedding 

After walking around all day, the bottom of your dress is probably looking less than pristine. You should get dry cleaning it out of the way soon so it can be packed away or sold onto another bride.

Many brides choose to get their bouquet preserved, and again you should act quickly so your blooms look as good as possible.

And then you just need to patiently wait for the photos and wedding film to come through so you can relive the whole day all over again!

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