So you’re engaged- congratulations! Now comes planning, yes it can be scary, daunting and overwhelming, but it should also be an extremely exciting experience. In order to get you started, we’ve put together a full wedding planning timeline, as a rough guide for you to follow to take some of the stress out of planning you’re perfect day. We’ve set our timeline for 12 months but feel free to fast track this, or take it at a more leisurely pace- it’s your wedding after all!
What to do right now:
What do you and your partner really want- here you need to sit down together and really take the time to decide what you guys would like – Big or intimate? Summer or Winter? Colour scheme? Outdoor or indoor? What date would you like?
Set a budget– this is one of the less exciting tasks but a necessary one at that. This budget needs to include everything, how much are you willing to pay for the entire event in total?
Top Tip: we recommend investing in some lever arch files for you to organise all of your paperwork into, alternatively make use of online storage spaces such as Google Drive or One Drive. Organisation is key here.
12 months before the big day:
Guests- make the first draft of your wedding guest list to ensure you have a rough idea of numbers. Choose your wedding party- how many bridesmaids and groomsmen would you like?
Visit venues- book a show round at Offley Place Country House Hotel and come and visit our gorgeous venue!
Book officiant for your ceremony at Offley Place- think about whether you’d like your ceremony in the Conservatory, the Ballroom or even outside!
Apply for and obtain your wedding licence and insurance
Research suppliers- hopefully now you will have more of a vision in mind. You should now put some time into researching your suppliers: do you want any specific entertainment? What flower theme tickles your fancy? Make sure to thoroughly look over Offley Place’s recommended suppliers.
Planner & Toastmaster- If a wedding planner or a toastmaster is something you’re interested in, now is the time to do your research and find someone that suits your style. They’re excellent in making sure everything is running on time and takes the stress out of your day!
Engagement party– this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if it is yours then now is the time to have an engagement party and celebrate with your loved ones.
11 months before the big day
Book photographer- research and book your wedding photographers (and videographers if this is your thing). Discuss with your wedding photographer the kind of locations you’d like your photos taken- the Rose Garden and the spiral staircase are our favourites!
Begin dress searching- grab your best girl pals and begin the search! Make sure to research the bridal shop beforehand and book an appointment.
Confirm venue- finalise your date with Offley Place and have your wedding night accommodation included in the exclusive price (that’s one less thing to organise!)
Research honeymoon- relaxing beach holiday? Mountain adventure? Cultural city break? Whatever your interests, now is the time to put some research into costing, accommodation and flights.
9 months before the big day
Research stationary styles- now is the time to confirm a colour scheme and stick to it. Research a supplier for invitations, menus and place cards
Confirm florist- research and book a florist for your confirmed date
Order dress- hopefully by now you have found that perfect dress as now is the time to order it with the bridal shop.
Send save the dates- in your confirmed colour scheme, send out save the dates to your guest list
Register for gift lists- why don’t you take a look at The Wedding Shop or Prezola to get you started
Book hair and makeup- don’t forget to book a trial as well to ensure no disappointment
Grooms attire- now it’s time to think about what the groom will be wearing on the day and start having a browse around- try and get a pretty solid idea in mind at this point
Book your honeymoon
6 months to the big day
Shop for bridesmaid dresses- grab the girls back together and get those bridesmaids dresses sorted. Whether you wanted the entire bridal party to be identical or would rather each outfit have its own flair- this is your time to decide
Confirm catering- now this is dependent on whether you’ve opted for a dry-hire or an all-inclusive wedding with us. If dry-hire was your preference then you’ll need to select and confirm food choices with your external caters. If you’ve chosen the all-inclusive wedding package, keep an eye on your email inbox for your invitation to your wedding menu tasting.
Book entertainment- DJ, bands, saxophonist, string quartet- the options are endless, but now is the time to book your entertainment for the day. This includes everything from evening party entertainment, drinks reception music, ceremony music- anything you fancy really.
Transport- we’ve seen a wide array of wedding transport here at Offley Place, from limousines to sports cars, to horses and carriages. Whatever makes you tick as a couple, this is the time to organise and confirm wedding transport for your special day.
4 months before the big day
Buy your wedding underwear and shoes- these seem like such obvious things but you’d be surprised at how often they are overlooked when planning a wedding, make sure they are comfortable and stylish.
Confirm groom/groomsmen attire- purchase outfits for the day, ensuring you don’t forget about ties, pocket squares and any other accessories you might like.
Send invitations- give information on the location of Offley Place and detail how many guests are invited.
Buy rings- this will be a big decision- you’ll be wearing it forever after all! Take time to choose one that complements your engagement ring and make sure you stick to a budget.
Schedule dress fitting- this is incredibly important as your bridal shop will need ample time for alterations to ensure your dress fits perfectly for you
Hair and makeup trial- here is your opportunity to trial any looks you’ve been thinking about these last few months. Don’t be afraid to ask to change it up or try something new- it’s your wedding day after all.
8 weeks to go
Finalise music choices- make sure you have music for your ceremony, drinks reception and evening party
Chase outstanding RSVPs- it’s extremely important you have a confirmed final guest number, especially for the wedding breakfast, make sure to chase up guests who haven’t returned the RSVP
Book Grooms hair appointment- it’s not worth risking that his favourite barber will be booked up closer to the time, take the stress away from the final few weeks and get this booked in beforehand
Reconfirm all suppliers- send a quick email or phone all your suppliers just to reconfirm any remaining last details with them
Confirm readings and order- how do you want your ceremony personalised? Are you wishing for family and friends to speak during your ceremony or would you prefer a more religious affair?
Buy gifts for bridesmaids/groomsmen- here is your chance to give back to your nearest and dearest to say thank you for all their help with planning your wedding
Paperwork for changing names- make sure you are clued up on how you are meant to legally change your name after your marriage
Hen/Stag do- here is your time to let loose with your best pals. Whether you prefer a more extravagant affair to Ibiza, Barcelona, Malaga, or a quieter celebration with a sit-down meal- this is your celebration so enjoy it!
1 week to go
Hair cut- there will be no bad hair days here! Get your hair cut and coloured how you usually do, this is not the time to experiment with new styles before the big day!
Send out day schedules to suppliers and bridal party- ensure every member of your team is thoroughly briefed on what will be happening and when
Pack up day items and bring them to Offley Place- table centrepieces, room decorations, CD’s and anything else you may need for the day, now is the time to put them all in boxes and bring them around to us. We’ll ensure they are kept nice and safe for you.
Confirm transport times- get in touch with your transport supplier to organise the timing for the day
Beauty treatments- eyelashes, eyebrows, fake tan, waxing- whatever you need to make you feel as gorgeous as possible on your big day, not is the time to get those done
The night before the big day
Organise things for the morning- it’s going to be an early start tomorrow so make sure you have everything ready to go. If you’re coming to get ready with us in the morning in our Rose View Suite dressing room, make sure you have all your bags packed so you can spend more time sleeping in.
Ensure suppliers know call times- triple check with hair and makeup that they know where they need to be and at what times. It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared!
Morning of the big day
Give a list of important contacts to someone- whether this is your mum, dad, maid of honour or another trusted person- make sure a contact number of every supplier and any other important people are on there.
Have a hearty breakfast- it’s going to be a tiring day, so make sure you give yourself some energy early on with a proper breakfast
Enjoy your day!- sit back, relax and enjoy the day you’ve spent all this time planning!
After the big day
Arrange for collection of decor- everything will have to be cleared away after your wedding day, however, if you are staying in the hotel with us, our team will round up all of your decorations and package them back up for you, we’ll hold onto these for you to collect the day after check out
Write thank you letters to suppliers and letters to guests- it’s always nice to show a little appreciation for everyone who made your day the spectacle it was
Share Photos and Videos with Offley Place – we’d love to share your photos on our platforms and give your suppliers the shoutout they deserve!
And that’s about it! Our complete 12 monthly wedding planning guide for Offley Place!
Photography by Matt Margesson