Alternative Wedding Timeline

The barn at Ufton Court. Booking your venue is one of the first steps in the wedding planning timeline

When it comes to wedding planning, you can take as long (or short!) as you want. But if you’ve never done it before, it can all seem a bit confusing. I’ve put together a wedding timeline to help point you in the right direction and adapt to your own alternative wedding since no two are the same.

I’ve also included a timeline of the process from booking your wedding photography with me, up to and beyond the big day itself.

Alternative Wedding Timeline and Checklist

This list is based on a 12 month engagement/planning time and runs through the typical timeframes for researching and booking. However, you can adapt it to suit your own plans and suppliers.

As you start planning

  • Sit down as a couple and discuss your perfect wedding and get on the same page.
  • Get those Pinterest boards going
  • Settle on your budget
  • Create a rough guest list – this will be important for your venue choice
  • Pick some potential wedding dates – I’d recommend checking with a few of your most important guests to avoid any clashes!
  • Have a look around and book your wedding venue
  • Get those Save The Dates sent out!
  • Research and take out wedding insurance – this is IMPORTANT
  • Look into potential wedding suppliers – eg, photographer, videographer, florist, cake, make-up
  • If it’s your jam, get that engagement party going!

The inside of the barn at Ufton Court, featuring a chandelier

12+ Months Before

  • Book your photographer and/or videographer
  • Look into hiring a wedding planner
  • Consider your entertainment – do you want a live band?
  • Attend a cake tasting session and get an idea of your perfect wedding cake
  • Research into your venue decor and possibly a venue stylist.
  • If you need a caterer, research, book and discuss menu options
  • Enlist your wedding party
  • Book your hair and make-up artist
  • Start the dress hunt!

When you’re considering your photographer, make sure it’s the final product that you really love. While you might love the shots and the angles of their photos, the editing style is a part of the package – something that is unique to the photographer and likely non-negotiable. Make sure you love their style and want your day to be remembered like that forever. Ask questions and also consider the packages that they offer – How much coverage will you get? Do they offer bespoke packages? Should you have a second shooter

9-10 Months Before

  • Book your entertainment
  • Research any nearby accommodation for guests if necessary
  • Research and contact any decor hire companies if you need to rent tables or chairs for the ceremony/reception
  • Order your wedding cake
  • Book your wedding florist
  • Book your honeymoon! (and check the dates on your passports…)

Wedding Timeline: 6-8 months before your wedding, order your wedding cake, like this naked sponge cake

6-8 Months Before

  • Choose and order your wedding dress – you will need plenty of time for any alterations!
  • Order your wedding cake
  • Get your best man and maid of honour to start planning those stag and hen parties
  • Start looking into bridesmaids dresses
  • Buy your wedding accessories – veil, jewellery, lingerie, shoes etc.

4-6 Months Before

  • Buy your bridesmaids dresses
  • Shop for the groom’s suit
  • Rent (or buy) suits for the groomsmen
  • Choose and buy your wedding rings
  • Sort out your wedding night accommodation if necessary
  • Plan out your order of service and any readings, hymns or poems you might want
  • If you’re having a wedding gift list, set it up
  • Sort out wedding favours

Wedding Timeline: 4-6 months before your wedding, choose and buy your wedding rings. Lisa and Jason's wedding rings by her bouquet

2-3 Months Before

  • If you’re writing your own vows – start them now
  • Order (or make, if you’re more the DIY Bride) your wedding invitations and get them sent
  • Book in a hair and make-up trial
  • Go for wedding dress fittings
  • Organise gifts for bridal party, groomsmen, parents and each other
  • Begin writing the wedding speeches
  • Have a menu tasting with your caterers
  • Order any decorations for your ceremony or reception, including confetti

4 Weeks Before

  • Have final dress fitting
  • Organise any final details with suppliers
  • Contact any guests that have not RSVPd
  • Finish off any DIY projects
  • Finalise table plan and give caterers a final head count
  • Get on those stag and hen dos and let your hair down!

Once my couples get to this point through their wedding planning timeline, I’ll be sending over a digital questionnaire to nail down all the details of your day from start to finish. You’ll also be able to add any other details, list of group shots or other photo requests! I’ll also send over your final payment invoice along with it.

Wedding Timeline: 4 weeks before the big day, make sure all DIY projects are finished up, like Lisa and Jason's DIY decorations

2 Weeks Before

  • Head to the salon or barbers and get yourself all preened and beautiful
  • Send back photography questionnaire
  • Start breaking in those wedding shoes!

1 Week Before

  • Pack for your honeymoon if you need to
  • Get those beauty treatments done: eyebrows, massage, wax etc
  • Take bridal party through the plan of the day and pass your wedding on to them
  • Collect any hired items
  • Confirm all bookings and timings with suppliers
  • Make sure all invoices are paid

Now that the timelines of your wedding are all set and you’ve completed your questionnaire, let’s talk it through. We can do a phone call or FaceTime, and if you’re local we could even meet for a coffee, whatever you’d prefer!

The Day Before

  • Take the day off from work and wedding planning, relax and spend time with friends and family before tomorrow’s chaos
  • Get your nails done, ideally in the afternoon to avoid any last minute chips!
  • Try and get an early night – it’s almost time to get married!!

Lisa's sister helping her get ready on her wedding day

The Big Day

The big day is finally here, all the stress and planning has come to this. Don’t worry about whether it’s going to rain, or whether the flowers will be the right shade – all you need to do is get married to the person you love.

Pop the cork, sip the champagne and take it all in. I’ll be in the background making sure everything is captured.

A Few Days Later

Once the dust has settled and the hangovers have subsided, I’ll be sending you some sneak peek shots, perfect for using on thank you cards, social media and shouting to the world that you’re married!

One Month Later

I’ll send your images to you on a USB, in a bespoke wooden box with 6×4 prints selected by me. You will also receive an online gallery of all of your images to share with your guests for them to share and download.

Lisa and Jason during their couple portraits on their wedding day

And now begins the best bit: the rest of forever. If you’re still at the beginning of your wedding planning journey, and you’re on the lookout for an alternative wedding photographer, I’m ya gal. If there’s anything that you think should be added to the wedding timeline and checklist, then drop me a message! Wedding planning can be a daunting time, so let me know if there’s any advice you need and I’ll do my best to help or point you in the direction of wedding suppliers that I know and trust.

  1. […] The rules for the night were made clear. No speeches, no first dance and no cake cutting. Just eating, drinking and dancing. Which I can absolutely get on board with. The beauty of an alternative wedding, is that you can make the rules up yourself. No following traditions if you don’t want to. Add in the bits you want and take out the stuff you don’t. It’s making your big day your own. Although if you’ll be spending longer planning your wedding than the three months Lisa and Jason spent planning theirs, take a look at my wedding timeline and planning guide. […]

  2. […] let’s be honest). But if there are some other photos you’d like us to get during the rest of the day, like a nice photo with your grandparents, or a shot with your old uni housemates, then let us know […]

  3. […] have it. My five reasons to throw caution to the wind and just tie the knot. Plus if you’re thinking about having a big party once we’re allowed, then that’s two weddings, and who doesn’t want a bonus […]

  4. […] If you’re looking for more wedding photo tips, check out my confetti shot tips and my wedding planning timeline. You can take a look at more of my work and my wedding photography packages here, and if you like […]

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