words Alexa Wang
The average UK couple spends 12 months being engaged, according to a survey by Hitched, and planning their wedding usually takes the bulk of that time to complete. However, 5% of couples in 2017 managed to plan a wedding in less than three months, which is a drastic difference.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were a super organised couple, and the royal wedding took less than six months to plan, proving that it is very possible to plan an entire luxury wedding in just half a year or less. Here, we’ll run through everything you need to do in the build up to your wedding, in order to cut the time spent planning as much as possible.
Hire a wedding planner
If you’re on a strict time limit, you won’t have as much time to find and contact all the vendors for your wedding day by yourself. Thankfully, wedding planners have all these contacts to hand, giving you access to thousands of vendors for every aspect of your wedding. From venue hire, to caterers, to photographers, and all the little extras that made a wedding day stand out, an experienced wedding planner will already have long-standing professional relationships with these companies. This massively speeds up the entire planning process, and your planner may even be able to negotiate a deal for you. Snapdragon, for example, have been touted as the “best event designer in Europe”, and work closely with a wide stable of suppliers, including luxury entertainers, pop-up bars, and interior designers, on every wedding they plan. Even if you are planning a small wedding it wil help speed things along.
Wedding planners will also have all the experience needed in order to get the event planned quickly and efficiently, particularly necessary if you have less than six months to get everything sorted. A wedding planner will also know about any extra details you will need to sort out before getting married, such as giving your notice to the council, or helping you get a marriage licence. If you’re planning on getting married as soon as possible, remember that you will need to give at least 28 full days’ notice at your local registry office.
Book a wedding venue and vendors
Once you have selected your wedding planner, you can start looking for the perfect venue to host your wedding. Venues often get booked up well in advance, so it could be tricky finding somewhere on such short notice. Once you have somewhere you’re happy with, and it’s available, ensure you pay the deposit in order to secure it. Booking the venue then means you know how much space you have, allowing everything else to fall into place, particularly how long your guest list can be. This also means you can start sending out invitations as soon as possible.
The venue will likely eat up a considerable portion of your wedding budget, so if you’re looking to save money there are a few tips you can take. With more couples tending to go for Saturday weddings, booking on a weekday or Sunday can work out considerably cheaper, and increase your likelihood of getting your dream date. Consider booking your ceremony and reception at the same venue, which saves you from paying two deposits, and transporting flowers and decorations (and yourselves) between the venues. If you can, try to look for last minute cancellations, as venues may offer great discounts in order to fill the space.
If your venue offers an all-inclusive fee, you could take them up on this to ensure that you aren’t stuck with any hidden costs. This also allows for everything to be organised at once, including food, drinks, and sometimes even the entertainment. However, if this isn’t available, your wedding planner will be able to help you get in touch with all the vendors you’ll need, including:
● DJ or band
● Photographers and videographers
● Hair and makeup artists
● Cake baker
Take advantage of your wedding planner, as things will move much more quickly if you use them as a point of contact, thanks to their professional relationships with these businesses. Your wedding planner will also be able to make recommendations based on past events they have organised, to ease any stress while making sure there are no nasty surprises that crop up on your wedding day.
Design and order your outfits
Having a custom outfit made for your wedding can take a minimum of 6 months. You’ll need to settle on a design, be measured, and keep returning for fittings to ensure it fits perfectly. Some designers will even offer a mock-up of your outfit in cotton, allowing you to see how the finished outfit will look on the day, and give you the chance to make any adjustments to the design. If your designer can create the dress sooner, you’ll need to give them as much notice as possible. If you simply don’t have the time, you can buy a design “off the rack” or even a sample gown, providing there is one available in your size. However, in most cases these will still need minor adjustments in order to fit correctly.
It’s always best to start outfit shopping early, and if you do wind up losing or gaining a couple of pounds before your big day to get to your “goal size”, this will usually only necessitate a minor adjustment which can be easily fixed. This is where the fittings come in. Regular fittings with your dressmaker ensure that any adjustments that need to be made, are made well before the wedding day, so you’re not left with a dress that doesn’t fit you right. Make sure you call the boutique before visiting to give them an idea of your timeline, so they can tell you if they can accommodate.
For grooms, there is a little more leeway with the time, but it’s still better to shop sooner rather than later. You should also use this time to gather your bridesmaids and maid of honour, and groomsmen and best man, and decide on outfits and colour schemes with them.
Pick wedding rings and plan the honeymoon
This is one of the more fun parts of wedding planning. You’ll be wearing your wedding rings for the rest of your life, so you’ll want to pick something that you like and will enjoy wearing. Go ring shopping as a couple to pick your bands, and make sure the jeweler has enough time to adjust the band if necessary. Any extras, like engraving or coloured stones, can take up to a month extra, so decide what style you want and make sure there’s plenty of time to have it made before the wedding. While you don’t have to have the same style band, it’s a good idea to have some aspect of your rings which matches, whether this is an inscription, or the same style but in different metals.
You should also plan your honeymoon (if you’re having one) in advance, to ensure you book the destination during the dates that you want. Be realistic with the location and time limit—there’s little point in going away to Australia if you only have a week, as you’ll have to spend around 3 days on your travel there and back again. Take any jetlag into consideration too, especially if you have to return to work as soon as you get back. You don’t want to be falling asleep in the office because you’re still a few hours ahead on honeymoon time.
And with all this shopping around for rings and honeymoons, you might want to set up a wedding registry. While it is better to physically pick the items out in a store, if you’re pressed for time you can register online, and direct guests to the link. This also gives you a choice of retailers to pick from.
Finalise all the details and get married
In the final build up to your wedding, there’s a few things you’ll need to finalise, including:
● Final guest count
● Seating chart
● Confirm vendors
● Pick a song list
● Wedding day timeline (your wedding planner will help you with this)
● Rehearsal and rehearsal dinner (if you’re having one)
Once you’re done with all the planning, you can rest easy knowing that your wedding day will go smoothly and (hopefully) without a hitch. Leave the worrying over the order of the day to your wedding planner—after all, they’re there to make sure everything runs on time—and enjoy your day celebrating with your nearest and dearest.