The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist

The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist

(credit B.O.I)

Set your budget.

12 months before  Work out an overall cost for your wedding and start a wedding spreadsheet listing each item.

The average budget for a wedding including honeymoon was €26,000 in 2017*. (  Weddings Online Survey download here)


Pick your guest list. How many people are you going to invite? Establish a rough number then start making the list with names and contact details.

Irish couples invited 159 guests, on average, in 2017*.

Choose your bridal party Chief bridesmaid, bridesmaids, best man, groomsmen, page boys, flower girls: choose the people you want for each of the main roles.

Friends Brides

Plan the look and feel Use a mood board or Pinterest to set the theme you want to achieve for your wedding by gathering the looks you like.

Agree the type of ceremony you want.

Do you and your partner want a religious or a civil wedding?

Religious ceremonies accounted for roughly 64% of Irish weddings in 2017, 12% were civil ceremonies and 11% were humanist ceremonies*.

Check the legal requirements for your wedding ceremony Arrange an appointment with the religious celebrant or the registrar to give notice and book your wedding date for a civil marriage ceremony.

Book the venue for the ceremony and pay the deposit (if applicable) Venues can be booked out a long way ahead of time especially for the summer months and on Fridays and Saturdays so book well in advance if you can.

Book the reception venue and pay the deposit. Hotels were still the most popular choice for receptions 67% in 2017, then came country houses 19%, and castles 9%*.

Start researching photographers, bands, florists, and caterers. As soon as you have a date and a location for the ceremony and reception, it’s time to start looking into who is available on the date.

10 – 11 months before – Arrange wedding insurance. Wedding insurance will cover you if something goes wrong before or on your big day for things like the dress, the venue, the suppliers and the rings.

Hire the photographer. You don’t need to discuss things shot by shot just yet but make sure you find a photographer who can show you examples of the style of photos you like. The average spent on a wedding photographer, in 2017, was over €1,500*.

Hire the videographer The same goes for the photographer. Find one who creates a record of the big day in a style you like.

The average spent on a wedding videographer, in 2017, was over €1,200*.

Book the entertainment for the reception. Go and see the potential acts to see how they perform live in front of audiences before reserving your favourite.

Meet the caterers and check menus. If your reception venue doesn’t offer a catering service, ask about any ‘catering rules’ they might have and book a catering service now.

Book your wedding transport. A vintage Rolls Royce and chauffeur? A horse and carriage? Reserve the transport that will bring you to the ceremony then whisk you on to the reception in your first moments of marriage.

Book your florist now even if you are not yet ready to start discussing the details of the bouquets, buttonholes and floral arrangements.

Book your honeymoon Are your passports up to date?

Do you need any vaccinations?

Decide whether you want a luxury couple of weeks in the Maldives after the wedding or want to take a ‘minimoon’ in Ireland now and splash out later.

The average cost of a honeymoon in 2017? Just north of €5,000*.

8 – 9 months before – Find a wedding cake supplier It’s time to agree what kind of cake you want and book a supplier.

Buy, order or hire the wedding dress and accessories. Whether you have had a clear idea of the dress you want for some time or are still unsure, now is the time to make the decision.

In 2017, the average amount spent on a wedding dress by Irish brides was just over €1,700*.

Buy, order or hire the bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories.  Once you decide on your dress then it’s time to turn to the bridesmaids.

Buy, order or hire the flower girls’ dresses and accessories. If you are going to have flower girls then you need to finalise their outfits too.

6 – 7 months before – Buy or hire the groom’s outfit. It’s time for the groom to go for an initial fitting and buy or hire his suit.


Buy or hire the best man’s outfit and groomsmen’s outfits.

In 2017, an average of roughly €1,000 was spent on suits for weddings which covered the cost of four to five suits (including the groom)*.

Buy or hire the page boys’ outfits. If you are having a page boy or boys then you need to buy or hire their outfits now.

Arrange the gift registry. Wedding gift lists are common in the US and the UK and guests from those countries often expect to be presented with a list of gifts to choose from.

If you decide to use a wedding gift list service you need to start now. Many retailers offer this service.

Choose and order invitations RSVP cards, ‘thank you’ cards, the order of service, ‘save the date’ cards and cake boxes all need to be ordered now.

Reserve equipment rentals Book the marquee, tables, chairs, linen, crockery, cutlery, candelabras etc.

Book first night accommodation for yourselves. It may be included with your reception booking if your reception’s at a hotel but, if not, make sure to book a place to stay.

Review all your supplier contracts.

Time to read through the small print to see exactly what each of your suppliers has committed to deliver and when so there are no surprises.

Ensure you’ve paid all the supplier deposits. If you forget to pay a supplier their deposit they may assume you’ve decided not to use them so check you’ve paid the deposit for each supplier.

Send ‘save the date’ cards if needed

5 months before –Choose and order your flowers. It’s time to choose which flowers you want. Remember that if the flowers you choose are not in season, locally, they will have to be flown in adding to the cost.

The average spent on flowers in 2017 was approximately €675 a wedding*.

Plan your reception using your mood board or Pinterest. Finalise your theme, décor, centrepieces, favours etc.

Select the music for your ceremony. Book singers and musicians and finalise the music selection.

Select the music for your reception. Run through the music choices for the reception and make your final choices.

Brief all the musicians. Make sure they know exactly when you need them, for how long and what you expect from them.

Book children’s entertainment and facilities. If you’re planning to keep the little darlings entertained then now’s the time to book their entertainment, onsite crèche facilities and any special requirements.

Finalise the guest list. Some of the guests on your list may not be able to make it; some may want to bring partners and children you haven’t allowed for. It’s time to create the final list.

4 months before –Review your budget. Are you still on track?

Are you overspending in one area and need to cut back?

Do costs you didn’t plan for have to be taken into account?

Review your budget.

Have you selected your wedding rings?

In 2017, the average spent on wedding rings, excluding engagement rings, was roughly €1,300*.

Select outfits for your mothers. You want the mothers of the bride (or brides) and the groom (or grooms) to look and feel their best on your big day.

Arrange a tasting. Now that your wedding day is in sight, arrange a tasting with the caterer to ensure you’re happy with your menu choices.

Finalise your cake design. It’s time to make the final decision about the cake.

In 2017, couples spent on average €378 on their wedding cake*

Select a master of ceremonies for the reception.

Select your ushers. Which of your friends and family will show guests to their seats and act as general guides during the day?

Plan your hen. The hen is traditionally the responsibility of the chief bridesmaid but you will want to know the plans and approve her suggested itinerary.

Plan your stag. The same is true of the stag which is traditionally organised by the best man.

Plan your rehearsal dinner. If you want a rehearsal dinner for your friends and family to meet then now is the time to plan and book it.

Finalise your honeymoon plans.  Renew your passports if you need to. You may or may not want to change your surname on your passport to reflect your married status. You might also need visas and vaccinations if travelling abroad to countries that require them.

Marriage Registration Form

Make sure you have the form now. You’ll need to give it to whoever solemnises your marriage before the marriage ceremony on the day.

3 months before – Book hair stylist and make-up artist. 

In 2017, Irish couples spent an average of €368 on make-up and €313 on hair for the bride and three bridesmaids.

 Beauty treatments need to be booked now for the run-up to the big day.

Brief caterer on menu options and beverage requirements. The caterer will need to know the numbers of diners and any special dietary requirements.

Determine customs and traditions. Are there any ‘must do’ traditions that you want for your wedding day?

Meet with celebrant to finalise order of ceremony . Go through the running order and the number of readings etc.

Select readings and readers. Choose the family and friends you want to read at the ceremony and appropriate readings you’re both happy with.

Write personal wedding vows. If you want to make your own personal vows at the ceremony, it’s worth starting to work on them well in advance.

Determine order of events at the reception. Where and when will everything happen and what are the timings?

Finalise details of rehearsal. 

The rehearsal itself does take a bit of organising so finalise the details.

Prepare information for guests. 

Where is it again? How do I get there? Where is there to stay?

Start building a Frequently Asked Questions list for guests which you can share on paper and on social media.

Prepare your wedding day itinerary.

What has to happen on the day itself, who will be involved and what time will everything take place.

Agree the ‘almost final final’ guest list . Who can’t make it? Who will you ask instead?

Send invitations It’s time to send out the invites to your guest list.

2 months before – Confirm venue arrangement.  Run through all the details with the venue.

Arrange for wedding dress fittings. Time to ensure that the dress fits.

Prepare instructions for bridal party.  Let everyone know what you need them to do so there are no surprises on the day.

Prepare instructions for all suppliers. Go through each of the suppliers in turn and be clear and specific about what you expect to be provided.

Agree guest lists for stag and hen. Who is going on the hen and who on the stag?

Select going-away outfit for bride. What are you going to wear as your going-away outfit?

Buy gifts for bridal attendants, parents, bride and groom. Time to organise the gifts for everyone involved in your day.

Print order of service, menus, and place cards Best get your printing done and set aside for the day.

Send information to guests as replies are receive.

As your guests confirm their attendance, you’ll need to provide them with information which you’ll hopefully have already gathered together as part of your wedding FAQs.

1 month before –Track RSVPs as they come in. Keep a running total of confirmed attendees.

Acknowledge the gifts you receive and a description of who sent which gift (take photos on your phone if you need a reminder).

Brief your photographer. Work out what kind of video(s) the videographer will provide and decide how much or how little you want them present during the day.

Confirm arrangements with musicians, transport, florist and equipment hire. 

Finalise venue arrangements. Check everything will be as you agreed and visit to take another look.

Get reception accessories. Buy, hire or borrow everything you need.

Arrange trials with hair and make-up artists. Your wedding day isn’t the time to experiment so use your trials to work out what you want beforehand.

3 weeks before – Give final numbers of guests to caterers and reception venue. How many?

Prepare seating plan for reception. Who is on the top table? Where is everyone going to sit?

Organise place cards.  Put the names on the cards to let everyone know where they are expected to sit.

Compose wedding speeches.  The sooner you start preparing the better!

2 weeks before –Confirm all arrangements with suppliers. Check everything will be as you agreed.

Provide wedding day schedules and instructions to all suppliers. Let them know what you expect in black and white.

Arrange final wedding dress fitting.  Last fitting.

Pick up wedding dress and accessories.

Collect or print tickets and your travel itinerary for the honeymoon.

Arrange foreign currency for your honeymoon if you need any.

Wrap your gifts If you haven’t wrapped your gifts, do so now.

Test drive the route to ceremony and reception. How long will it take? Are there any road works or diversions planned (remember to let guests know of any closed roads etc.)?

1 week before – Confirm rehearsal date and details. Ensure everyone will be there at the right time.

Review all wedding plans. Run through everything from top to bottom.

Make arrangements for receiving gifts at reception. How will you receive them and where will they be stored safely?

Prepare to pay balance of fees to suppliers. Ensure you pay your suppliers according to the terms you agreed.

Pack for honeymoon. Time to pack the suitcases and set them aside.

2 days before – Arrange to pick up the groom’s and best man’s outfits, if hired

Give gifts to parents and each other.

Pack all the items you need for the wedding ceremony.

Drop off all items at the reception venue.

Confirm the wedding day itinerary with the bridal party.

The day before – Attend and direct the rehearsal (make changes based on what you learn)

Give the updated itinerary to all involved.

Brief your ushers on their duties.

Ensure you have the rings somewhere safe.

Oversee the decoration of the ceremony and reception venues.

The wedding day – before the ceremony – Make sure your mobile is fully charged (and you know where your charger is)

Make sure you have all the wedding details and checklists with you.

ensure you have Marriage Registration Form and wedding programmes.

Coordinate the musicians, photographer, videographer, officiant, florist, transport or ensure somebody carries out this responsibility.

Liaise with your reception venue manager to ensure everything is in hand.

The wedding day – during the ceremony and after – Provide any final payments to suppliers or ensure somebody carries out this responsibility.

Have someone collect your marriage licence, candles, guest book etc. after the ceremony.

Have someone coordinate the photography and videography.

The wedding day – the reception – Coordinate caterer, musicians, DJ, cake supplier, photographer and videographer or ensure somebody carries this responsibility out.

Have someone oversee the reception receiving line if you have one.

Ensure somebody provides any final payments to suppliers.

Have someone to coordinate your first dance, cake cutting, bouquet throwing and any other ‘moments’.

Ensure someone has the responsibility to collect all your wedding gifts.

Wedding Shots

After the wedding – Ensure the dress goes to the cleaners.

Arrange to have the dress stored.

Return any hired attire and ensure all the bridal party do so.

Ensure the bouquet is preserved.

Place an announcement in the newspaper if desired.

Send out ‘thank you’ notes for gifts.

Ensure you pick up and store your marriage licence somewhere safe.

*Source: All figures supplied by based on a survey of over 1,200 participants which took place in January 2018.

Wedding Band Costs 2017 Weddings Online Survey

How to Search for Great Wedding Bands for your Wedding in 2019?

Wedding Band of the The Year Finalist

Searching for The Ultimate Wedding Bands Ireland

How to search for Great Wedding Bands in Ireland for your Wedding in 2019?

Here are a few ideas and tips. The first tip is there are lots of great ones to choose from so don’t worry too much. The second is enjoy the search.

For more practical tips read on………..

Planning your Wedding should be almost as much fun as the Big Day itself.

Every aspect of the research and arrangements can be made online ( at least in the first instance).  It has never been easier to find Wedding IdeasWedding Suppliers, Wedding Directories, Facebook Wedding Groups  Wedding Bands and virtually anything Wedding Related without having to leave your house.  The World Wide Web has provided a catalogue of choice at our fingertips. Now you can look further afield than ever before for ideas, inspiration and of course online shopping too!

HIGM Facebook Logo

Wedding Fairs

Long gone are the days when the only show in town was the annual Wedding Show in the RDS, or the local hotel Wedding Fair.  Now there are a host of fantastic wedding events such as Ultimate Weddings Live.

Ultimate Weddings Live Wedding Fair

Sure, Wedding Fairs including the Annual Wedding Show are still going strong and are of course a fun day out and an opportunity to communicate with a great many top suppliers in one place. You can also Check out many Wedding Bands Playing live at these events.  However you can arrange and plan most things online. If you like the idea of visiting some Wedding Fairs then here is a link to a timetable of upcoming wedding Fairs Courtesy of Wedding Directory  Wedding

Wedding Websites such as The Knot are intended to be inspirational. It is however, important to separate the real from the fantasy. The Perfect Wedding Day is possible. Help is at hand from many Wedding Professionals.  If you are looking for the Ultimate Wedding Band then here are a few places to look.The Knot Wedding directory

Wedding Bands Ireland Agencies

In recent Years there has been a huge increase in Wedding Band Agencies. Wedding Bands without the necessary time or expertise to deal with all of the business requirements, team up with Agents. The expertise and required skills of running a business often is not where Wedding Bands excel. It makes total sense that Bands can offload this task to a Wedding Band Agency that has the necessary skills and resources to promote them. Wedding Band agencies such as AMA and Audio Networks  Irish Wedding Bands (all the same company) work on behalf of Wedding Bands.  They arrange all of the necessary promotion, marketing and financial supports etc.  They act as the point of contact between the Act and Bride and Groom. Agencies generally take a fee from the Band so there is no additional cost to the Wedding couple.  The Agency deals with all the small details.

Wedding Bands Ireland

A Wedding Band Agency will Handle all the Arrangements.

Wedding Band Directories


The Jukebox Kings Featured on Junebug WeddingsWedding Band of the The Year Finalist

There have been many Wedding Directories that have appeared over the Years. Perhaps the most successful in Ireland is weddings online . In recent times many more have sprung up such as One Fab Day, Mrs2Be,, The Vow, Hitched , wedding

Changes to the Equality Law for same Sex marriage has also seen an new wave of wedding directories such as gayweddings, Rainbow weddings, irishlgbtweddings

More recently there has been a new niche created in spin off Wedding Band directories. These are effectively directories where Wedding Bands Post a listing and the directory owner takes a fee for advertising the Band.

Sites such as Best Wedding BandsWedding Band Reviews, Wedding Band Association, specialise in promoting Wedding Bands Ireland You get the chance to contact all suppliers through one e-mail. This is routed to all acts and they quote their price if available. The Band pays the fee to the site who manages all promotion on their behalf. Fees and arrangements are usually between the acts and the Bride and Groom.

Wedding Band Sites

In this the Internet age it is expected that a  Wedding Band like all other suppliers will have a Website. in fact one of the best ways to find a whole list of Music Wedding Bands in Ireland is to search Google.  Page after page of Wedding Bands advertising themselves as Wedding Band Ireland’s best Band. However the standard of the videos and quality of the Musicianship is usually excellent. While you must choose from a host of Bands who quite frankly are very similar in style , suits, music , set list. Its great that you can view so many from the comfort of your armchair.  Wouldn’t it be great if cake tasting was so easy? Now that you have viewed some of the Bands you like online, you can short list the ones you want to see live! Most bands just like The Jukebox Kings  offer showcase viewing dates.

Wedding Band

Wedding Band Reviews

The final way to search for a good Wedding Band is through reviews.  There are several sites dedicated to this. Websites such as Wedding Band, specialise in reviewing bands.  There are also features from Weddings Online The 10 Most Reviewed Wedding Bands and One Fab Day The Best Wedding Bands in Ireland. Although you do need to be aware that only paid members of these sites can receive reviews from Bride and Grooms.

Wedding Music Mistakes To Avoid – The Knot

Top 9 Wedding Music Mistakes

Don’t Make These Music Mistakes at Your Wedding
The music is definitely one aspect of your day that you don’t want to mess up—and we’re here to help – The Knot
by Simone Hill

Bride and groom first dance at wedding reception
Whether you consider yourselves music people or not, the music at your wedding is super important, and a great band or DJ can be the difference between a pretty fun wedding and an unforgettable one. Avoid these mistakes and you’re guaranteed to have truly amazing wedding music.

1. Dismissing the idea of a band or DJ before doing some research.
This is your first music decision to make and it’ll narrow down your options by half. Love live music and have a bigger budget? A band might be your preferred pick. Have a tighter budget or dozens of songs you’d like played perfectly (in other words, exactly how they sound on Spotify)? A DJ could be your perfect choice. But don’t dismiss either because you think a band will automatically be out of your budget or a DJ will be cheesy.
Music Must: Do your research (check out amazing DJs and bands on The Knot or on Gigmasters to get started) and get recommendations from friends. You’ll see there’s a lot of variety—from mash-up artists to barbershop quartets—among both types of entertainers.

2. Starting the ceremony in silence.
Most guests will arrive 20 to 30 minutes before the ceremony starts, but the wait will seem a lot longer if they have to wait around in silence. Book your ceremony musician to start no later than 20 minutes before you begin.
Music Must: Having music before and during the ceremony will also help signal to guests that it’s time to be seated or get quiet by upping the volume or tempo.

3. Offending your officiant with your ceremony music.
Getting married in a house of worship? When it comes to ceremony music, many churches, synagogues and other religious institutions have rules that could affect your choice of ceremony music, like prohibiting certain secular songs. It may be your wedding day, but unfortunately it’s not technically your church, so respect the regulations.
Music Must: It’s a good idea to speak to your officiant before you book musicians to play a classical version of The Beatles’s “All You Need Is Love” composed for your ceremony and can’t get your deposit back.

4. Skipping a sound check.
Depending on your venue, there may be limitations (like power supply, sound amplification or time-of-day restrictions) to the type of music you can have. Even without regulations, it’s still a good idea to ask your venue manager what type of music typically works best for the space (for example, a soloist may feel tiny in a grand ballroom, but may work well for an intimate garden party).
Music Must: Plan for your band or DJ to do a walk-through if they haven’t worked in the space before. While you might not realize that crashing waves could easily drown out a string quartet or trio of flutes, a pro can help spot and solve any tricky music situations with a sound check.

5. Waiting until the wedding to meet your musicians in person.
Want to know exactly what your music might sound like in real life (rather than a recorded sample)? Take in a live performance. Checking this task off your list can actually be a lot of fun. Go to a showcase if that’s an option. Grab your fiancé, put on your best going-out outfit and make it a date night. While you’re there, pay attention to the tunes and also how the band or DJ emcees, whether they take requests, and how well they get the audience going. If you can, talk to the DJ or bandleader at some point one-on-one or set up another time to meet face-to-face. This person will be your emcee, so you want to have an easy rapport.
Music Must: Make a note of the names of the particular musicians or DJs you like, so you’ll be sure to book the same exact people for your party.

6. Forgetting to talk through the must-play songs.
Don’t assume your band or DJ is going to play every one of your favorites. If it’s a band, talk to them about this list before you decide to book—they may have to learn a song or two. For DJs, just be certain they’re open to your suggestions.
Music Must: If they’re missing a few of your favorites from their repertoire, ask whether there are any fees associated with adding them.

7. Making it impossible for guests to hear each other.
Your reception isn’t the place for nightclub-level volume. It’ll only frustrate your older family members and make it tough for them to talk to one another and enjoy the party. And you don’t want your guests to wake up with sore throats from having to yell to each other all night.
Music Must: When going over your timeline with your DJ, you can make volume requests. Ask for low volume during cocktail hour and dinner (like instrumentals and soft ballads) and louder for dancing and the final song (yes, you can go all out for “Sweet Caroline”). On the wedding day, ask a bridesmaid or your day-of consultant to keep volume on their radar and alert the band or DJ if there are any issues.

8. Choosing a really long first-dance song.
You may do anything for love, but if you choose Meatloaf’s “I’d Do Anything for Love” as your first-dance song, you’ll be swaying with your new spouse for more than five minutes (12 if you choose the album version!). Do a run-through and you may realize four minutes can feel like forever if you’re just rocking back and forth. Yes, it’s about you two, but keep your guests in mind too.
Music Must: A little choreography goes a long way, so you might decide to take a few lessons. Or if your heart is set on a certain ballad, work with your DJ to cut your song down to a reasonable length, or talk with your band about performing a shorter version.

9. Leaving out a do-not-play list.
Sit down with your soon-to-be-spouse and go through your favorite songs together to create the must-play and do-not-play lists. If you decide to use a band instead of a DJ, give them plenty of time to review your picks, in case they have to add a song to their repertoire. Once you’ve handed over the lists, leave the rest up to the pros. And be careful not to micromanage (that’s why you hired them).
Music Must: If your must-play list gets too long (say, more than 10 songs), create a third list. This can be more of a wish list of songs you’d like to be played only if your guests respond positively to them.

10. Playing explicit songs before the after-party.
You won’t be able to please everyone, but ask that your DJ or band keep it at least PG-13 during the reception. When it’s just you, your college besties and adult cousins at the after-party, feel free to play the songs that weren’t appropriate while your grandparents and baby nieces and nephews were around earlier in the night.
Music Must: Beyond blatant profanity, really consider the song’s lyrics and meaning. There may be a very innocent inside joke behind your choice of a raunchy song, but most guests will be on the outside—including your cute little flower girl.

11. Sticking to one genre.
You both may truly love ’90s grunge, but five full hours of Nirvana might drive some guests to leave early. You’re sharing this day with family and friends, so save your more obscure favorites for the honeymoon playlist and let your band or DJ play a mix of songs that everyone can enjoy.
Music Must: Give your parents a thank-you shout-out with Frank Sinatra’s “Chicago,” or Huey Lewis & the News here and there. Seeing them enjoy the night will be well worth a little Frankie Valli (and you know deep down you love the classics too).

Article Originally Appeared on – The Knot