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The Super Awesome New Zealand Wedding To-Do List

You're recently engaged and all of your friends and family keep asking when the wedding is...annoying isn't it! You just want to enjoy being engaged for the time being without all of the pressure of planning the wedding right away.

This to do list will give you a starting point as to what you need to think about first. Of course it is entirely possible to plan a wedding in a shorter time frame and this list may contain items that you will not include in your wedding and that is A.O.K, your day, your way!

New Zealand Wedding South Island Mountains

1 Year + before the wedding

⬚ Budget - Before you even think about booking vendors, it is so important that you sit down together and plan how much you can afford to spend. Your wedding planner can help

you decide what areas are most important to you both, and assign a budget accordingly.

Venue - It is best to find a venue you love then pick a date that they have available. If you have a date that is significant to you then it might be best to email venues initially to find out if they have it available rather than falling in love with a place that is booked out. You might choose a venue where you can have the ceremony and reception, or two separate venues.

⬚ Photographer - Photographers also book out crazy far in advance so best to get in early.

⬚ Send Save the Dates - This is important if you have guests coming from overseas.

⬚ Throw an Engagement Party - Get your closest friends and family together to celebrate with you

⬚ Attend Wedding Shows - Go to as many wedding expos and shows as possible and meet lots of vendors.

⬚ Create a Pinterest Board - Inspiration is everything!

9 Months before the wedding

⬚ Choose your Bridal Party - These guys will support you throughout your wedding planning journey so pick your favourite people who you know will help out wherever necessary.

⬚ Order your dream dress - Made-to-measure wedding dresses can take 6-8 months so it is best to leave yourself plenty of time.

⬚ Book your caterer - Your wedding venue might have suggestions or preferred caterers to choose from.

⬚ Book Hair and Makeup - Read reviews online and look at photos to find the style you like.

6 Months before the wedding

⬚ Celebrant - Choose a wedding celebrant that you can relate to and who share the same values as you.

⬚ Entertainment - Decide if you want a DJ, a band, any music for between the ceremony and reception, or any additional entertainment such as a photobooth.

⬚ Guest List - Finalise the list and bear in mind that on average 10% of your invitees will not be able to make it.

⬚ Create a wedding website or Facebook page - This is a great way to convey important information to all of your guests.

⬚ Book your Honeymoon - Be sure to mention to your airline and hotel that it's your honeymoon... they might give you an upgrade 😉.

⬚ Groom's attire - Get fitted for the suit.

⬚ Bridal party attire - Decide on style and gather them for a fitting. Bear in mind people come in all shapes and sizes so talk to them about what they would feel comfortable wearing.

⬚ Book accommodation - Make sure any out of town guests are looked after.

⬚ Book your Florist - Decide if you need flowers for the tables, the arch, or hanging above the head table. As well as bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids, consider buttonholes for the guys and corsages for mums and other important people. You might want petals for the aisle or for flower girls to throw. It's best to get rose heads and take the petals off on the day to keep them looking fresh.

5 Months before the wedding

⬚ Choose your wedding stationary - It looks nice if your invitations, placenames and seating plan all match.

⬚ Book themeing or wedding hire - Decide on a theme for your wedding and whether you want to have a stylist decorate the venue, or hire/buy items and do it yourself. Remember to check with your venue the rules around decorating and when you can get into the space.

⬚ Engagement Photoshoot - As well as getting some stunning photos to display at your wedding, this is an ideal opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera and get to know your photographer.

⬚ Organise Transport - Between the ceremony and reception venues, and home or to accommodation if your venue is out of town.

⬚ Alcohol - your venue may provide some or all of the alcohol, in which case you should decide on a tab limit, or pick a beverage package if that's an option. If you are allowed to BYO, it's cheapest to buy alcohol over a number of months when it's on special at the supermarket.

⬚ Wedding Rings - Order your wedding rings.

⬚ Wedding Cake - Book cake and if possible have a tasting.

3 Months before the wedding

⬚ Book Hair and Makeup trial - decide on whether you want a natural or dramatic look.

⬚ Send out formal invitations - RSVP date should be 1 month before the wedding. Some caterers require a menu pre-order so you might need to get people to select their meal with their RSVP. Don't forget to ask for dietary requirements and allergies.

⬚ Apply for your Marriage License - You can apply for this between 3 days and 3 months before your wedding.

2 Months Before the wedding

⬚ Meet with your celebrant - Your celebrant will need time to write your service. You will need to decide whether or not you are writing your own vows, whether you want a traditional aspect in your wedding (sand ceremony, hand fasting, whiskey ceremony etc.) and whether you have a deceased loved one you want to recognise in the ceremony.

⬚ Buy any accessories - Decide if you want a veil, hair accessories, a garter, jewellery and shoes.

⬚ Ask someone to be your MC - This is the middle man on the day so that your wedding coordinator doesn't have to bother you two. He/She will also be responsible for announcing speeches amongst other duties.

1 Month before the wedding

⬚ RSVP's in - You should have your numbers to give to your caterers. Chase up any guests who haven't responded, often they assume you know they are coming!

⬚ Meet with your Caterer - Communicate numbers and dietary requirements and finalise menu.

⬚ Book a rehearsal with your celebrant and venue - This is best done the day or a couple of days before the wedding.

⬚ Start your daily beauty routine - this should include drinking plenty of water and maintaining a healthy diet.

⬚ Have Hens and Stags Parties - This is best done a decent amount of time before the wedding in case of any injuries!

⬚ Finalise the timeline for the day and discuss with your wedding coordinator - it's best to take advice from your caterers when it comes to meal service.

1 Week before the wedding

⬚ Choose your songs - For the ceremony you need at least: - One processional (walk down the aisle). - One for during the signing of the register. - One recessional (walking back down the aisle with your new husband or wife).

In addition you might need: - One for walking into the reception room.

- First dance song. - Father-Daughter / Mother-Son song.

⬚ Get your engagement ring cleaned - Your jeweller will usually do this for free.

⬚ Final dress fitting and pick dress up - Minor adjustments may need to be made.

⬚ Get Nails Done - If you are having acrylic or gels then up to a week before is fine. If they are regular polish, as close to the wedding as possible so you don't chip them!

⬚ Get facial - Get any last minute treatments done so you are looking radiant on the day.

⬚ Emergency Kit - Put together a kit of items you might need on the day - deodorant, safety pins, band aids, etc

The Day before the wedding

⬚ Rehearsal - Practice the walk down the aisle and how the service will run. Make sure everyone involved in the rehearsal is in attendance and knows what role they are playing.

⬚ Decorate the venue - Your venue might let you set up the day before if you are DIY-ing.

⬚ Make sure your bridesmaids know how to bustle your train up - This is always an awkward part of the evening so if they have had prior training it will save heaps of time!

⬚ Rehearsal Dinner - This is more of an American tradition but you might get the bridal party and parents together for a casual meal to say thanks for getting you this far!

⬚ Get some sleep - Make sure you don't cram too much in to the day. If you are staying separately from your partner the night before then make sure you are both on the same page as early as possible so that you're not stressing and can chill with your friends.


The big day is finally here. Everything is done and you can enjoy marrying the love of your life. Remember, if you need any advice along the way then get in touch with a wedding consultant. A wedding planner can help organise all of the above and more.

With love, Amanda xoxo

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