Wedding planning timetables

Every wedding is one-of-a-kind and that is why the following checklist is just a guide of when to do things, which you may wish to incorporate into your wedding and not a list of things you have to do.

The timing on some of these items may vary as well depending on where you live, how long it is until your big day or your priorities. There are likely to be numerous other things involved in planning your civil partnership as well, not to scare you! But this will be a great help in getting you started. A wedding co-ordinator can be a huge help in making your wedding day run smoothly and help organise the many different elements for you and your partner.

You're Engaged!

Congratulations - have you told your family, and close friends? You may want to write to them unless you are planning an engagement party. Engagement parties can be a good way of including more friends and family if you already know you want a small wedding.

Buy a diary and a folder or something to keep track of all those receipts, appointments, invitations, gifts, etc.

12+ Months Before the big day

Determine how your wedding will be financed: you and your partner, parents? And how much do you want to spend? Check out our article on budget venues and download our budget spreadsheet.

Now that you know how much money you have to spend, it is time to start your budget and division of expenses. Once you start spending money, you may want to consider purchasing wedding insurance - this can cover having to cancel because of ill health, a sudden bereavement, they often cover loss of presents, rings - all sorts of eventualities.

Select the wedding date and time. Think about which day of the week you want. Week day weddings are often cheaper and not that uncommon, especially for smaller weddings.

You could consider meeting with a wedding coordinator to take the stress out of planning and bring your dreams to reality

Reserve the location for the ceremony and reception, they fill up fast! To search for a gay friendly approved civil partnership venue search on our site or to find a list of all approved civil wedding venues in your local area visit

Reserve hotels and inns for your guests (negotiate a discount)

Select your attendants and ask if they'd like to be in your wedding party.

Book your caterer and reserve all rental equipment including tables, chairs, and china (if your caterer is not handling it for you)

Sit down with several photographers and videographers and book the ones you like and can afford.

Start researching local florists: meet with several to review their work and find out what flowers will be in season.

Make enquiries to find a baker for your wedding cake.

Be sure to sign contracts with all of your vendors and make sure the budget is clearly noted.

9 Months Before

Start compiling your guest list, you could divide them into definite and maybe if some of the definites can't make it.

Determine a theme or wedding colours.

Purchase wedding attire and accessories.

Book your DJ or band for the reception and any music you may want at the ceremony.

Select the florist.

Arrange for transportation for you and the wedding party

In order to form a civil partnership you must first give notice at your local registry office. Notice is valid for 12 months once given Find out more from the General Register Office website

If you choose to have a ceremony for your civil partnership formation(this is optional and determined by you and your partner) this can be done with a registration authority. Religious services are prevented from taking place under the Civil Partnership.

Click here for more information

However, you can find people who are willing to give your ceremony a blessing on our site or you can try the gay and lesbian Christian movement Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement

6 Months Before

Order invitations and any other stationery. You may want to include an Order of the Day card (a great alternative to an Order of Service for civil weddings). It can be very useful to advise your guests where they should be and what time!

Complete the guest list

Send out Save-the-Date cards (or emails) with information about the local area, accommodation, and maps/directions (especially for out-of-town guests)

Pick the honeymoon destination and make necessary reservations

Order the wedding cake

Purchase dresses/tuxedoes/outfits for the wedding party

If you plan on having a ceremony you should determine who will give readings, your vows, timing of the ceremony, and so on.

4 Months Before

Order wedding favours

Organise jabs or visas for the honeymoon

Register with a gift list service

Purchase wedding rings

Mail your invitations

2 Months Before

Select gifts for your attendants, parents, helpers

Make appointments with hairdressers, makeup artists, manicurists (consider having a trial hair appointment)

Buy cake knife, toasting glasses and guest book

If it is not included in your catering contract, order liquor, wine, and/or champagne

1 Month Before

Pick up wedding rings

Contact guests who have not responded

Do a seating plan for the reception & get table plans printed

Have final attire fittings for the entire wedding party

Pick up wedding rings

Choose the music for the ceremony and reception: first dance, parent dances, etc. and give to band/DJ

2 Weeks Before

Give the final count to the caterer

Pack for your honeymoon

Buy traveller's cheques/foreign currency for honeymoon

Make plans to collect your civil partnership licence

1 Week Before

Review all the final details with photographer, videographer, band/DJ, florist, officiant, etc (delivery/arrival times and so on)

Confirm details with all wedding party participants and inform them of any changes

2-3 Days Before

Pack an 'emergency kit' including paracetamol, sewing supplies, safety pins, makeup, extra hosiery (an on-the-day wedding coordinator will have this much and more with them!)

Confirm wedding day appointments

Day Before

Relax, get a massage, manicure and get a good night's sleep

Wedding Day

Confirm with people giving toasts at the reception

Begin dressing two hours before ceremony starts (possibly longer if you need to travel to the venue)

Snack - you'll still look great in your attire and won't faint from hunger!

Present your wedding party with presents during the speeches

Have a great time and enjoy your special day!