Wedding Planning Timeline
A timeline guide to help you do everything you need to do in the run up to your wedding day.
Planning a wedding can be a daunting task. There are plenty of resources from websites, blogs and magazines that can help you make your wedding the event you want it to be. We also hold a lot of information on this website about the legal tasks and the various ceremony choices you have. This timeline page has put the 'must-do' tasks in order for you along with a few extra hints and planning spreadsheets to give you a helping hand when making a start with planning your wedding.
You can use the buttons below to jump to a particular section or carrying on scrolling to read the full timeline.
As soon as possible
Decide on the type of ceremony
Some details and requirements may be slightly different depending on the type of ceremony you are wanting. Click on the links below to view further information about each type of ceremony.
Your traditional ceremony conducted by a registrar at an approved venue or a registration office.
Unless you would prefer a civil partnership, a same sex marriage is arranged in the same way as any other couple, regardless of gender.
Sign a civil partnership document in the presence of a registrar and two witnesses with or without a ceremony.
Ensure that your legal marriage is on the same date and at the same time.
Keep it simple with just the two of you, two guests and a registrar in an office meeting room.
Combine a holiday and wedding in to one?
To discuss which kind of ceremony would be best for you, or if you have any requirements that you would like to be considered, please call 0300 111 8001 to speak to a member of our Registration Team who will be able to advise.
Choose your location
Start your research into where you would like your wedding to take place. You can view all our registration offices, approved venues, outdoor venues and our magnificent County Buildings on our choosing a venue page.
There are varying costs depending on the type and location of the ceremony. You can check these on our costs page before you make any decisions.
Book a registrar
With your chosen location in mind, contact our team to check that a registrar is available for your day and time of choice.
If you are getting married at an approved venue you will also need to check that your venue of choice is available on that day too. Some venues will take bookings up to two years in advance and can book up quickly!
If you are wishing to marry at a registration office then your venue and registrar will be booked in one go by contacting our team.
You may also want to book a different location for a wedding reception at this point to ensure that your date and time is available.
Once you have booked your ceremony you will be able to access your own wedding account that will help you stay on track in the lead up to your day. Simply log in by using your booking reference number and email address. Through your wedding account you can access your choices. This is where you submit your preferences, music choices and any readings you may want.
One of the legal requirements to get married is to give notice. Please contact our team to book a giving notice appointment. Once you have given notice, this is valid for 12 months only, so bear this in mind when planning.
There are also statutory fees to give notice, you can view these on our giving notice FAQ page.
Call and speak to one of our registration team:
0300 111 8001
Everyone has different personal taste when it comes to the style of their wedding. It’s always helpful to have your preference in mind when it comes to planning everything, plus its all part of the wedding planning fun!
There are plenty of resources available to help you create what you want. We recommend Pinterest for inspiration, think of it as a mood board for your wedding where you can search styles and ‘pin’ the images you like to your very own board. We have our own Pinterest page where you can find venue images and local suppliers.
Wedding fairs are also great for conjuring up ideas. We host wedding fairs throughout the year at our very own County Buildings in Stafford. Keep an eye on this website or our Facebook page to be the first to hear about the next one!
It may not be the most fun part, but it’s important to know what budget you have. Be prepared by using our budget planning spreadsheet (760KB). You may want to add or remove items to this.
You may want to take out insurance to cover the costs of your wedding if any plans change. Money Saving Expert has a useful article to help you decide if this is something you would like to do.
Time to decide who you’re inviting so you know how many people you need to seat and cater for. You may find our guest list spreadsheet (759KB) helpful to manage this.
12 months to go
Have you booked an appointment to give notice?
Be sure you have booked an appointment to give notice at one of our registration offices by contacting our team. You must both attend this appointment in order to marry. Please remember that this must be a minimum of 28 days but not more than 12 months before your ceremony date.
At this point, some people like to announce the forthcoming ceremony to friends and family by sending out a ‘save the date’ to ensure that guests keep that date free. Lots of creative options can be found online for these!
If you haven’t done so already, secure your ceremony venue, reception venue and caterers.
Some people have known what they want to wear on the wedding day for years, however you’d be surprised how different you may feel once you start trying things on! Start looking now as some clothing pieces can take a while to be made or be delivered.
Start researching (and booking if you know what you want) transport, photographers, florists, cake, entertainment, etc. Some suppliers have a long waiting list, so secure your day as soon as you can.
Always read previous reviews, small print and do as much research as you can when it comes to choosing a supplier. Wedding costs can be expensive, so it’s always worth checking your money is going to the right place.
This is also a good time to put a credit card to good use - pay for any goods or services over £100 using a credit card and by law, if the supplier or company goes into liquidation before your wedding day, you can claim for a refund through your credit card company.
For more information about consumer advice and any problems with services, visit Citizens Advice Consumer Service.
Getting Married in Staffordshire Wedding Fairs
We hold regular wedding fairs at County Buildings in Stafford where you can meet with local suppliers and see what they have to offer. Check our wedding fair page to see when the next one is going to be.
6 months to go
If you are going abroad on a honeymoon, remember to book in the name you will have in your passport at the time of travelling and check your passports are valid for at least 6 months from the date you depart
You can choose to book in your previous name and use your current valid passport, or book in your future name and get it changed by making an application to the Passport Agency.
This is also a good time to book a honeymoon if you were wanting to get away after all the wedding activities.
Finalise your guest list and prepare seating plans. We have a basic seating plan template (17KB) you can download to use, however you may want to customise it to suit your layout or draw this out on paper.
A local design and print company could help with this, or there are many online DIY options available for you to play with.
3 months to go
Send out your invites
Finalise any honeymoon arrangements
Ensure everything is ordered and on schedule with suppliers
Book any hair or beauty appointments
Tell caterers the final number of guests
Try on outfits in case of any required alterations
1 week to go
Confirm all arrangements with any suppliers
Wear in your shoes if they are new
Pack for your honeymoon and order foreign currency if you are heading off straight after your wedding day
The day before
If you are using your own cars, make sure you have enough petrol!
Get outfits and any essentials ready
Relax and look forward to the day you’ve been planning for so long - it’ all in hand!
We would love to hear how you found getting married in Staffordshire! Tell us all about it by leaving us a review on our Facebook page, please feel free to thank and tag any suppliers for other wedding planning couples to be inspired by, just like you were over a year ago!
Changing your name
The organisation doesn’t stop after the big day! If you have chosen to change your name you will need to notify some people of this change as soon as possible.
We have put together a handy checklist (83KB) to help you make sure you tick off everything you need to.
To apply to change your name with the various people on the list, you may need to order some additional wedding certificates to send off. You can easily order these copies online.