HELP! How do I plan a wedding?

Hey Dollface,

Planned a wedding before?

If you’ve never been a bride, bridesmaid, flower-girl or even a guest in a wedding before, this blog might help you understand the logistics of planning a wedding.

You’re Engaged!

Congratulations, you have completed the first step on a long road to your wedding day. The choice of whether you actually get married or not is totally up to you, no judgement from my end. Many people wish only to be engaged, which is totally cool, however the rest of this blog post will not apply to you. So stop reading now and go back to trying to predict the ending of GOT.

But what now? How long should you wait until you book…well…everything? Well lady (or gent), I’ve been there and done this both personally and professionally. Here’s my recommendation.


Do a budget up.

How much do you over-all want to spend on a wedding? According to a very brief, uneducated search on Google – they say the average cost of a wedding in 2019 is 50k. NO THANKS. But maybe you’re rich AF and are happy to spend that on your wedding? I support you. Whatever you want to spend, work it out now before you get your heart set on fireworks that light up your last name in the sky at the reception on a 10k wedding budget. Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.

Looking for a wedding budget spreadsheet? Check this one out.

Go to a wedding expo.

Get an idea of what you are in for! Re-do or base your budget according to what you find out things cost at the expo. Choose/jot down some quirky extras you may or may not be able to afford. They give you bags full of advertising at the beginning of the expo so try and not collect paper while you’re walking around. A lot of vendors will give you discounts if you book at expo, so possibly do some research before you go and see if you like any of the vendors presenting there. It is overwhelming, so take back-up not in the form of your fiance (if he is male he will be useless and if she thinks like a male, likewise).

My sister, Mum & bridesmaid helped immensely on the people trying to shove advertisement in my face – plus side I got $500 off my photographer (shout out to Nick Murray you legend).

Choose a season.

Do you want to get married in Winter? Spring? Take into account when it rains the most, what months are more windy and what season it will be on your honeymoon. I personally chose August in Brisbane, not too hot for the guys in their suit-jackets and I would not sweat off my makeup! We honeymooned in Bali straight after, so it wasn’t wet-season and we could spend our whole time in the pool (or naked wink wink – didn’t need to wink you knew exactly what I meant). If you’re getting married up in the hills or down-south, perhaps a spring/summer wedding might be preferable. Whatever the case, set your wedding up to be seasonally-perfect.

Get your guest list together.

Who’s coming? Figure this out and write it in a list. This step might seem a bit premature, however research indicates that many venues have a limit to how many people you can have at your reception (whether it be a minimum or a maximum). The people on this list don’t have to know they are invited yet, you just have to have an idea of roughly how many people you might want there. This will determine your venue choice!

I’d create a table in word to add peoples addresses to (later on) so that when it comes time to order your invites, you’ve got it all there ready to go!

Don’t feel pressured to invite anybody you don’t want to be there. You’ll look back and regret inviting the Aunty you never spoke to and that your partner has never met. Have people at your wedding that know you as a couple and put value into your lives. All the rest don’t matter.

Pick a Venue.

A church, a beach, The Twins in Riverrun (would not recommend); it doesn’t matter WHERE you choose to get married, however it does matter when venue of your choice is available. Don’t pick a date first, pick a venue and work around their availability. Most venues will ask for a deposit to lock in your date, a lot have meal and drinks packages. I HIGHLY recommend making sure you ask all of the questions upfront. The most important question is “will there be any extra-costs that might spring up that I haven’t been told about”. Get their words in writing so that you have absolute certainty where your money is going and what the maximum budget is. Remember that DIY is not always cheaper. Time is sometimes more valuable than money.

Choose your Photographer & Celebrant.

These two things are the next most important thing to get locked in. They are the foundations for the memories you’ll hold dear in years to come. DO SOME RESEARCH, look at Instagram – get recommendations from your friends. I have a list of Photographers/Celebrants whom I recommend on my ‘vendors’ page.

Most vendors will ask for a deposit to lock in your date, which is deductable from your final invoice. Some vendors take payments in stages, keep note of this so that you are not suprised when something is due!

Research Wedding Dresses & choose your theme.

OK. So generally speaking MOST dresses that you try on in bridal shops will either be made to order OR be ordered in from overseas. They usually say 6-9 months in ordering time. I would start at least LOOKING for the style of dress you like now-ish. If you are getting your dress made, I always recommend trying on some styles in shops first because a) its fun and b) you actually might end up with a style you never thought you’d choose in the first place.

The second part to this step is to choose a rough “theme” to your wedding day. Do you want it to be rustic? Formal? Holly-wood glamour? Whatever “look” you’re going for, nail it down now. You’ve probably already begun to form an idea around what goes with your wedding dress. You’ve sorted your venue, you know what sort of dress you want – it’s time to chuck it in a category so that everything flows. This will make your flower, hair & makeup and other important choices that much easier!

10 months before.

Choose your bridal party.

Figure out your bridal party and ask them! Some people choose to send their beloved friends/family cute letters or surprise them with gifts. I was stingy and just presumed my girls would be my bridesmaids and told them as a-matter-of-fact that they would be. Be cute. Don’t be me.

While you’re at it, decide who might be signing your wedding register (there will normally be two witnesses that sign the fancy piece of paper that makes yo marriage legit). Also, don’t be coy with how much it is going to cost your people to be in your bridal party. Are they paying for their outfits? Are they paying for their hair & makeup? Give them a cost estimate before you ask them so that they can make an educated decision. Don’t be angry at them if they say no due to cost issues, they might be in a place where they cannot afford to be in your bridal party.

Choose your MC.

Who’s going to run the show at your reception? Don’t pick the cousin who tells bad jokes, choose someone well-spoken with a good sense of humor. Ask the lucky ring-leader if they mind talking in-front of strangers and batting away unwanted speech-makers.

Get your dress sorted!

Find a dress-maker, book in sessions at your desired bridal boutiques. Go into second-hand shops and find your golden number. I don’t care what you wear, just figure it out and NOW-ish. Your bridesmaids dresses, hair/makeup and flower-style all depends on what YOU are wearing.

Example: you choose to wear a dress COVERED in sequins. Can your bridesmaids also wear sequins? OF COURSE. Do you want that? Hmmm will have to think about it. THESE are things you need to think about, and soon.

Save the dates.

If you are having a destination wedding, now would be a good time to let you know that your loved ones need to book time off work, accommodation or flights to be at your big day. You may choose to skip this option if you don’t care if said people come.

I would also recommend looking at accommodation for yourself if it is a destination wedding. If you think places might be limited or it is a small country town, booking early might be a good idea!

9 months before

Get your bridesmaids dresses.

What are your bridesmaids wearing? Who cares, you’re the main attraction. Think of your wedding theme and your own dress before they or you choose a colour/style. Figure out whether you would like to choose what they wear or if you simply don’t care as long as they don’t rock up in slutty club dresses (or if you want that, totally whatever you – do you boo).

Book your band/DJ.

Music defines the atmosphere of your wedding. Whether you choose a live band or a Spotify playlist, now is a good time to start researching. Make it fun! Go on a pub/club crawl with your fiance and sample some live music. If you choose to do it yourself, start compiling a list and sharing it with your friends!

If you do go with the Spotify list, make sure that you’ve got someone controlling it that is NOT YOU. Put someone in charge of taking requests and running the night musically. It’s the last thing you want to think about, trust me.

8 months before

Order your flowers.

If you are getting real flower bouquets made, get in and find someone to do it! They don’t make the actual bouquets until the week of, but a lot of GOOD places get booked out pretty quick! Most florest’s also do table decor, archways, your men’s corsages and flower-crowns just FYI.

Don’t always expect the flowers you wish to use to be available – some flowers are only available around certain times of the year! Maybe keep this in mind when you are thinking of the season your wedding might be in.


Literally the only thing my husband was interested in doing was CAKE TASTING. It was fun. You just tell them you’re getting married and you would like to try a selection of their delicious flavors and BOOM: free-cake.

7 Months before

Hair & makeup.

If you’re in South-East Queensland, you just go to my contact form and book me. Pretty easy. However if you’re unlucky and I’m not available, now is the time to do some research on who you would like to style you on your wedding day. I 100% recommend getting a stylist/artist who travels to you on the day. So much less stress! If you have someone in mind that you are OBSESSED with, book them earlier than this. I take weddings up to a year in advance.

Extra cute things.

Now you have booked all of your big things, you’ll now have an idea of how much your wedding is actually sticking to the budget you made a few months ago. Figure out how much you’ve got left over (if any) and decide on the things you may have question marked at the beginning. Things like photo-booths, table favours, special vintage cars or clowns (who knows maybe?) might top this list.

6 months before

Check out some suits.

Get your other half sorted. If you a lady who is marrying a lady, get both of you sorted at the same time (around 10 months before your date). You may allow your other, less important half choose their own attire on their wedding day. If you like living on the edge, IDK.

Send out your invitations.

Make sure you include an RSVP date! Remember, sometimes DIY actually costs more than letting a professional take care of it. Some companies even mail them to your prospective guests! Depends on how lazy (or time efficient/clever) you are!

Include dress code and present idea’s on your invite. If you want a wishing well, say so – or else you’ll end up with 5 salad bowls you didn’t ask for or need. Also, you don’t want people hassling you with the same questions over and over. Put important info on the invite. Also, always set the time of the ceremony to 15mins before it actually starts. You’ll always have those no-hopers who are late, ensure this doesn’t happen by tricking them to think your ceremony starts earlier!

Book Acommodation.

If you haven’t already, book the accommodation for your getting ready location on the day-of AND where you and your groom/bride will be staying that night.

Most bridal parties stay in the same hotel the night before, it makes getting up & ready the next morning that much easier!

Sit back and relax.

Hazzah you’ve pretty much planned your wedding! Time to chill the F out and enjoy being engaged for a bit. Maybe plan your honey-moon? IDK.

2 months before

Hair & makeup trial.

Get your hair & makeup trial (if you haven’t done so already). Most people choose to do their trials on their hens parties which should be happening around now. Luckily I wont have to add “hens night”” into your to-do list as your super-awsome bridesmaids will be taking care of this for you!

Write your speech/vows.

If vows are required to be written, now would be a good time to start writing them! Work out who you’d like to say speeches at the wedding and if you are one of those peoples saying a speech, start writing your thank-yous and what-nots. I literally googled my speech and changed the names, events and locations. Everyone cried, thanks google.

Stuck on writing your vows? Check out my blog on how to.

Table favours.

I don’t like this tradition, however it still seems to be a thing. If you’re an idiot who is giving your guests ANOTHER gift (that is, other than the gift of watching you get married, celebrating your love AND drinking all of your free booze) probably organize this now.

1 month before

Holy shit you’re getting married next month!!! Are you feeling overwhelmed? You shouldn’t be. You’re amazing and have followed my guide so there really isn’t much left to do!


Who’s coming? Most venues require your numbers in no later than 2 weeks before your wedding day. Now is the time to start reaching out to the lazy bum-holes that just presumed you’re a mind reader and that you should just KNOW they are coming.

Work out a wedding day timetable.

I am a super-dooper organised person. Timelines make me relaxed. Plan your day out hour-by-hour so that you know what should be happening and put it on a spreadsheet for all to see! If you don’t want to do this yourself, enlist the help of your maid-of-honor, its what they are there for.

Most photographers will give you their time schedule, which will help to highlight where you (and your bridal party) should be at all times during the getting ready process. Let them guide you as the more smoothly their day runs, the better your photos will be.
Your florest will normally drop the flowers to your getting ready location a few hours before the ceremony (ps. meaning you carry them in the car so bring paper towels). Ensure someone is available to drop the men’s pocket corsages to their getting ready location and that anything else goes to the venue.

Write up a seating chart and other paper things.

You can download a mock seating chart online. Figure out who’s sitting where! If you need to do DIY things, make sure they are done this month WELL before the week of your wedding. DON’T LEAVE THINGS TO THE LAST MINUTE GIRLLLLL. It’s a bad idea. Don’t be stressed.

3 weeks out.

Dress Alterations.

By now you should have received your dress! Final alterations happen around now. Most brides/bridesmaids choose to get them altered and sent back to them no later than one week prior to your wedding day.


You may not choose to do this, however it is a trend for the bride to gift her bridesmaids a gift on the wedding day. Examples include robes/pjs to wear on the day while getting ready, jewelry/clutch purses to wear with their bridesmaid dresses, a bottle of alcohol etc etc.

The groom may also decide to give his groomsmen a flask, cufflinks..blah blah be cute. These guys planned the perfect bucks/hens nights for you! Treat them. Or not.

2 weeks out.

Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Send out your wedding day timetable to all of the important people. Make sure your bridal party have all of their bits and pieces together (or allocate a bridesmaid to do so). Meet with your MC to discuss the logistics of your big day and what their jobs/roles are as the ringleader of your event.

Pay up bitch.

It’s time to start paying your final invoices! If you haven’t heard from a vendor in a while, send them a follow up email to confirm your booking/order. 99% of vendors are trustworthy, however you may be unlucky. Two weeks is still plenty of time to fix broken things. Now is the time to start collecting your remaining invoices and start paying up!

I paid all my invoices by the week before so that I didn’t have to stress about money the week of. Most vendors will let you pay before hand if you ask them for the invoice.

1 week out.

Get your hair & nails did.

If you get your hair coloured, do it about a week before to give the colour time to settle. Book a day-spa with your bridal party and get your nails did! While you’re at it, book your partner an appointment too!

My husband is a frustrating nail biter, I also booked him in for a MANi the week before our wedding. Not. A. Bridezilla.

Rehearsal dinner.

It’s a lovely time to get your bridal party and family together before the big day! Don’t go anywhere risky like Japanese or Indian – the idea of being stuck in the middle of the street pooping in your Vera Wang is not a happy one. Also, lay off the cocktails. Hungover brides make for bad photos.

The day before.


Get some food together for tomorrow. You will need to eat! I always recommend pickies like a fruit platter, cheese platters and small sandwiches. You might be the bride who eats herself silly out of nerves on the big day, you might feel like you want to vomit for most of the morning. Either way – your bridal party will be ravenous if they don’t eat. HANDS UP WHO DOES NOT WANNA DEAL WITH A HANGRY BRIDESMAID (MEEEE!!!). Get your Mumma to do some baking, order a platter from Subway (with all of the cookies). Please don’t forget the champagne! This is something you can delegate to your Mum/bridal party.

While you’re at it, organise some muslie bars and other portable snacks for the photos. Just incase! Once your pre-wedding jitters wear off – you’ll be hungry!

Drop everything at the venue.

If you have a wedding co-ordinator or someone who is setting up your reception for you, now is the time to get all of your shit together and put it in the place where you gonna party! If they allow you to, today might be spent setting up the venue yourself.


Most ceremony locations will require you to do a rehearsal the day before. Check with your priest/celebrant whether this is necessary. If not, get yo bridal party together in your living room and practice walking! There might be a pace you want to set so that you walk out to the very right part of your entrance song.

Practise your Vows

If you haven’t already, read them over – get familiar with the words you’ll be speaking. Most brides I speak to or see before a wedding are the MOST nervous not about tripping down the aisle – but reciting their vows. Don’t stress about this tomorrow. Put your mind at ease – read them over and…


Try. You wont. But try anyway.

The big day has arrived and you are super, mega organised! Look out for my blog post (coming soon) on the logistics of your big day, what to expect and how to plan it so that you are not stressed!


Gifs from Tenor

Published by Emily Fishburn - Dolls & Sailors


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