Last year my husband and I organised and planned our wedding in just 6 months.
That is we found our venue in the January and organised everything, for the most part, on our own, for a wedding in July.
It was a mammoth task, it completely took over our lives and our minds. And it ended up being quite the memorable occasion.
But it was hard. Really freaking hard.
When we first got engaged in November 2015 I had imagined that we would have been getting married the following year. But nope. The reality of planning a wedding, and not just any wedding as we were planning a fusion wedding with two ceremonies in one day, is so far removed from what the media might tell you.
Unless you are paying for a wedding planner (lucky you) you are going to have a pretty big task ahead. And unless you have experience of project management or event planning, it’s going to feel like you’re thrown in the deep end.
Now, I do have experience of event planning, I have organised conferences, workshops and social gatherings, but I still wasn’t prepared for the higgedly-piggedly nature of organising the event of all events – my own wedding.
The one thing that really held me back from organising my wedding any quicker was the lack of information or guidance out there.
The wedding industry is a hungry beast ready to swallow up your money, and it’s fuelled by a media that portray the pretty and the glamorous end results. But there wasn’t really enough to help me with the nitty-gritty, daily process of wedding planning. Or at least, not a wedding as complicated as mine.
Inter-racial relationships might be becoming more commonplace, but there is still surprisingly little on the internet about fusion weddings – inter-racial weddings – weddings combining two cultures. But more on fusion weddings another day.
Today I want to help any future bride and/or grooms planning their wedding with sharing exactly what I did to plan my wedding in 6 months.
It took a few false starts with our wedding (namely 3 venues letting us down over the previous year) but once we found a venue, we were able to get this process started and organise our English-Hindu fusion wedding.
Before planning a wedding I had to know what kind of wedding we wanted. I spent hours scouring Pinterest and wedding blogs to get an idea about the kind of possibilities there were out there. I made plenty of Pinterest boards, divided up by type of wedding detail – flowers, decor, dresses, hair and beauty, and overall wedding themes – and you can keep your wedding Pinterest boards private if you want to keep your ideas secret until the wedding.
Next, I also made a list of blog posts that featured weddings similar to our own, a fusion style wedding with both a western and Hindu ceremony. There weren’t that many, to be honest, but it served as a good starting point for ideas.
There were lots of daily discussions with Raj as we drew up a list on what we wanted our wedding to look like. We had to decide on what to include in our fusion wedding and what would not be included.
We drew up potential schedules for the day to see how different elements of the day could fit. And we made priority lists on what mattered to us the most. For instance, the wedding food was important to us.
I created an epic master wedding spreadsheet (more details on that below) that had loads of different pages for each section of the wedding. The first page of the wedding spreadsheet was the brain dump area to list words, ideas, and details that we wanted.
Anytime some new inspiration hit I added it to the front page of the spreadsheet (my words included – mauve, lace, fairy lights, foliage, bunting, and more…).
After a while, I could look at that front page and see a pattern, a picture, the kind of wedding I wanted. This helped with the decision-making process as well as creating a look and a vibe to our wedding day.
Wedding suppliers spreadsheet
I created a separate spreadsheet solely for wedding suppliers as there was quite a lot more to research.
Anytime I came across a potential supplier, for instance, whilst reading a wedding blog or on Pinterest, I would add in their name, link to their website, email address, the wedding category they covered (photographer, venue, caterer, etc.), any relevant notes, and costs/quote.
Wedding master spreadsheet
The wedding master spreadsheet is the main document we used to organise every single aspect of our wedding. It holds many different sheets (or pages) within it, all with different aspects of the wedding. This spreadsheet allowed us to quickly and efficiently organise our wedding in 6 months.
The wedding master spreadsheet was a spreadsheet saved in my Google Drive so we could both access it anytime from our devices and find the information we needed. Using a cloud-based spreadsheet meant it automatically updated whenever either of us added information, and it saved so much time in terms of accessing it.
I created lists for each section of the wedding. Each list had a new tab on the spreadsheet. They included:
- Theme and Decor
- Flowers and Decorations
- Food and Drink
- Entertainment and Travel
- Brides wedding day schedule
- Grooms wedding day schedule
- Hindu ceremony schedule and plan
- Day Schedule
- Reception Schedule
- Bride to do list (mostly beauty, gifts, etc)
- Groom to do list
- Shot list for photographer
Obviously, these were list/sections that worked best for us, and you may find other types of categories might work better for you. But you get the idea!
Overall epic wedding planning to-do list
The epic to-do list was a tab on the spreadsheet and an entire list.
I made an epic list of every single task that needed to be done right up until wedding day. This was our most used tab on the spreadsheet, it was our guide, and our daily checkpoint to keep us organised and on track.
We wouldn’t have been able to pull of such a big, complicated wedding without this epic to-do list.
This is how we created our epic to-do list:
1. Created a wedding spreadsheet with several pages (see above for the different tabs we used)
2. One page is home to the epic to-do list
3. Make a list of every single task that will be needed to be completed to make the wedding happen. From big tasks like booking a photographer to small tasks list assigning a wedding hashtag. Include everything!
4. In another column, list who will be responsible for each task … bride? groom? member of the bridal party? parent? friend?
5. In the next column assign a deadline for each task. Some deadlines will be hard such as when you have to pay certain suppliers, or when you have to do notices at the registry office. Other deadlines you need to guess but might have flexibility and you can change when you get more information.
6. Now, you need to sort the task list by order of date priority. Highlight the deadline column and select the arrow on the right-hand side of the column, on the drop-down menu click on ‘Sort Sheet A-Z’. Now all of your tasks are listed in the exact order you need to complete them.
7. Create another column to write when the task was completed to help you track what has been done so far. Be sure to mark when each task is completed, you could do this either by highlighting the row in a certain colour, making the text bold or simply doing a secondary ‘sort A-Z’ in the date completed column.
8. Add important deadlines to your personal calendar (Giving notices, paying suppliers, sending invites, giving final numbers to venue and caterers), whether that’s a paper diary or a digital calendar. Whatever you use every day to track your daily and weekly appointments.
How to prioritise tasks
Once you have your giant spreadsheet of tasks listed out with your provisional deadlines inserted in, you need to research actual timescales.
For instance, check how long before the wedding you need to hand in your notices at your local registry office (many people doing DIY weddings forget this step).
Check how long before the wedding day your caterers need final guest numbers. You will need to make sure your invitations have an RSVP deadline before that date.
Check how many days before the wedding you need to book in your beauty treatments so your skin can settle down.
Check how long before the wedding day the venue needs their payment.
Get these dates into your spreadsheet (and don’t forget to select the deadline column and sort A-Z so the tasks are listed in order of date priority), and input them onto your everyday calendar.
Sharing my wedding planning epic list with you
Every wedding is unique in its own wonderful way, but there are some elements we all have in common. For that reason, I thought it would be helpful to share my epic wedding to-do list for every task we had to complete to organise our wedding in just 6 months.
I’m sharing the epic wedding planning to-do list in spreadsheet form to help you easily download and use it for your own wedding. But please note some tasks may or may not be relevant to you.
There may be elements of your wedding that I didn’t do so please do add them in. And of course, we all work to different levels of detail – so add in as little or as much detailed tasks as works best for you.
The wedding to-do list literally made our wedding happen. There is no way we could manage to organise such a big, complicated wedding without it. The wedding to-do list was our daily reference point for where we were on our wedding planning journey and it kept us on track.
I recommend saving the wedding to-do list as a Google spreadsheet in your Google Drive and adding your partner to have access to it. That way you can both keep the spreadsheet open as a reference point on your computers/devices.
Issues with time
Organising a wedding in 6 months is hard work as you might have to deal with booked up suppliers and lead times for bookings, payments, etc. Most people take at least 1 to 2 years to plan a wedding. That is why you might find that popular dates will already be booked up with venues, photographers, caterers, etc.
To get around this we chose a mid-week date, it was a lot cheaper than a Saturday, and it meant most suppliers were likely to be available. But you also have to be adaptable with your choices if you choose to organise a wedding in anything less than a year.
Final thoughts on wedding planning
Planning a wedding is a mammoth task, and if you are not hiring out to a professional wedding planner it can be overwhelming. But it can be done!
If you start the process feeling organised with an epic wedding to-do list, you’ll have something to guide you as you go through juggling all the tasks ahead of you.
I hope you have fun organising your wedding (top tip: celebrate the little milestones with your partner as you go along to make the process fun and memorable) and please do pop me a comment if you have any questions.
Happy wedding planning!
Wedding photography by Simon Brettell
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