Tying the knot in six months or less? Never fear, it can be done! Here are our top tips for planning a last-minute whirlwind wedding…
Ah, the sheer unremitting romance of it! If you’re suddenly faced with the prospect of planning a whirlwind wedding, don’t let it overwhelm you; ’tis truly a glorious thing! And it absolutely can be done! Stay calm, breathe, have a Kit Kat Chunky and read on…
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Use your whirlwind wedding time wisely!
You don’t have months (or even years) to make wedding decisions, so you’ll need to start quickly in the first month or two of planning to get important suppliers sorted early. Discuss your priorities with your fiancé to ensure you’re both thinking alike when it comes to the feel of your big day, and ensure that you’re in a financial position to put deposits down as soon as you can. You may even have to take time off work to get venue visits and suppliers’ meetings done quickly, but the sooner you can tick the big things off your list, the less stressful the rest of the planning process will be.
Get a wedding date and venue early
The two big decisions you’ll have to make early on are getting the wedding date sorted and your wedding venue booked in. Be sure to check availability with VIPs such as parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen before making any decisions on date, but prepare for the fact that some of your other guests simply may not be able to attend, even with six months’ notice.
When it comes to the venue, you may want to consider a wedding package that includes elements such as the catering, drinks, flowers and decorations to keep your planning simple. We’re not saying that you can’t put together an entirely DIY day, but it’s likely to be a lot more stressful this way!
Send out your invitations ASAP
Once you’ve got the date in place, give your guests as much notice as possible to ensure a maximum turn out. Whilst difficult, you can’t be too much of a perfectionist with getting intricate, custom, save the dates made if you’re on a short timescale. The important thing is getting the word out quickly so that your guests have the date in their diary. Either send simple DIY save the dates (or even drop your guests a text or email) and then follow up with more customised invitations at a later date, or skip save the dates altogether and have your invitations sent out as soon as possible after the date is confirmed.
Be smart about dress shopping
Although we usually advise dress shopping a year in advance of your big day, that doesn’t mean you should give up on your dream dress if you have half the amount of time! If you know you want a specific style (or you want as many options open to you as possible), then do your dress shopping six months ahead of time, because this is how long it takes to order a gown in. Some designers also offer rush options for an extra fee, so be sure to ask your boutique about this if time is of the essence. If you have less than six months to go or you’re on a tighter budget, then keep an eye out for sample sales and trunk shows, which usually involve you taking the dress away on the day.
Delegate to your friends and family
Once you have the big things ticked off your list (things such as the venue, catering, photographer and accommodation), then you can relax a little. Ask friends and family to help you with the details such as stationery, favours and décor – this can either mean researching on your behalf or helping you to blitz through a session of DIY creativity. If you’re on a tight budget for flowers or can’t find a florist for your date, then visit a flower farm or market and have people help you to put together arrangements a day or two before the wedding. Ask around to see if any budding bakers would be willing to help you with a cake, or make jam or chutney favours for your guests.
Delay the honeymoon
Although you may be tempted to plan your honeymoon at the same time as the wedding, we recommend putting this on hold until after the big day. It’s not a necessity to go on honeymoon immediately after getting married, and delaying it will both save you the time and stress of planning a separate event, and give you time to recover financially after your wedding day. If you have your heart set on getting away immediately, then you could always arrange a short minimoon for after the wedding and plan your main honeymoon at a later date.
Don’t forget to give notice!
Anyone who’s watched Don’t Tell The Bride will know how a time-crunch can interfere with the legalities of tying the knot! Wherever you’re marrying, you’ll need to give at least 28 days’ notice at your local register office for your ceremony to be legally recognised. If you’re having a Church of England or Catholic wedding, then your church may ask for up to three months’ notice to read your banns.
Remember to be flexible
When planning a last-minute wedding, you’ll have to be flexible and prioritise. Many of your preferred suppliers may be booked up by the time you contact them, or you might find that you can’t tie the knot on your dream date. Some of your guests may already have plans such as holidays, and will be unable to attend. If you stick to a rigid idea of your dream wedding and then find that you can’t achieve it in your time-frame, then you’ll just end up being disappointed. However, if you’re prepared to be flexible with your choices and put in the research, then we guarantee that you can plan an incredible day in six months or less. Not only will you be able to take advantage of fantastic last-minute deals and discounts, but you’ll also be committing yourself to the person you love that much quicker – and that’s what it’s really all about!
Watch out for our top tips for securing a last-minute wedding venue too, later on today!