Hale March 18 Masthead

So you’re engaged, now what?

HerCanberra Team

Planning a wedding can be an exciting – and sometimes overwhelming – time.

Jess Dixon from Willowhouse Weddings and Events provides your essential timeline for planning the perfect celebration. And from what her clients have said – she knows her stuff.


“Your priority at this stage of planning is to pick a date, setting a budget, and booking the venue. You can then look to lock in your wedding planner/stylist, photographer/videographer, florist, music and celebrant.”

  • Set wedding date
  • Set wedding budget
  • Draft guest list and bridal party
  • Research and book: wedding planner/stylist, ceremony and reception venues, photographer/ videographer, music, florist, celebrant/church
  • Start looking at dresses


“Organisation is key. A final (or close to final) guest list at this stage is crucial for future planning – especially for the budget-conscious bride. In the coming weeks you’ll need to send out your Save The Dates and order other stationary, so having your number of guests locked in will be handy.”

  • Order wedding dress and organise accessories
  • Finalise guest list
  • Book hair and make up
  • Research and order bridesmaids’ dresses
  • Research and order groom’s and groomsmen’s suits
  • Order the ‘Save The Dates’ and invitations
  • Book hire items
  • Research and book cake—a great time to sample!


“Top tip: to save money, look at using paperless post options for Save The Dates or developing a wedding website.”

  • Send out Save The Dates
  • Book transport for the day
  • Appoint MC and advise those you want to give speeches
  • Organise wedding rings
  • Order wedding favours
  • Book wedding night accommodation
  • Look at honeymoon ideas


“It’s important to have a clear style, theme or colour palette for the wedding. Stylists or weddings planners can help you develop this and can assist with sourcing and buying items you love–it’s never too early to start.”

  • Menu tasting
  • Discuss ceremony with celebrant or church
  • Choose readings and vows
  • Send invitations
  • Buy gifts for bridal party
  • Confirm styling and start buying!


“Top tip: Don’t leave writing your vows to the night before. There is nothing worse than trying to find the words to describe your significant other when you’re flustered.”

  • Write vows
  • Book wedding rehearsal
  • Have hair and makeup trial with veil and headpiece
  • Organise hen’s night or bridal shower
  • Develop draft run sheet


“This is crunch time. You need to confirm all arrangements with vendors and suppliers. This is when checklists and run sheets will become your best friend–utilise them!”

  • Confirm honeymoon details
  • Collate RSVPs
  • Draft seating plan
  • Organise final fittings for bridesmaids
  • Confirm suits for Grooms and Groomsmen
  • Write your speech
  • Finalise rehearsal details
  • Finalise menu
  • Finalise run sheets


“The perks of having a wedding planner – you can hand everything over and enjoy every minute of the lead-up to your wedding and have confidence that everything will be perfect. They can also be the point of contact so that you don’t receive calls form suppliers on the day.”

  • Confirm wedding date, delivery time + location with: florist, cake creator, photographer/videographer, celebrant/church, car hire, hair & makeup, venue music, hire equipment, planner/stylist
  • Final wedding dress fitting
  • Confirm guests numbers with reception venue
  • Finalise seating plan
  • Complete place cards


“In the last week, your priorities should be meeting with your church/celebrant, having your wedding rehearsal and meeting with you planner or stylist.”

  • Pick up dress/suits
  • Pack for honeymoon
  • Clean engagement ring
  • Hold wedding rehearsal
  • Final meeting with planner/stylist


“Don’t underestimate the power of relaxation. Try and book yourself into a massage or get your nails done with your bridesmaids. You don’t want to be stressed the day before because you’re going to need your beauty sleep.”

  • Talk to bridal party about tasks they will be assigned on the day
  • Relax!

This article originally appeared in UNVEILED Issue Four for Spring 2017 as part of HerCanberra’s Magazine: Disruption. Find out more about Unveiled here


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