So, you think it takes years to plan the perfect wedding do you? Many couples do take their time, but that’s often because they need to save up some money at the same time. It’s totally possible to do it quickly if you want to. Along my journey as a Leicester wedding photographer, I’ve picked up a few top tips to help you plan a wedding in under 6 months.
In all honesty, it’s not too different to organising it in the space of three years, you just have to be more organised and dedicate more (if not, all) of your spare time to your wedding arrangements. Most importantly, keep it simple.
Top Tips to plan a wedding in under 6 months
It might seem obvious, but to organise such a large scale event in a small timeframe, you really have to start with your guest list. It’s vital to know numbers before you can find a suitable venue, and you need to find a venue in order to set a date!
Because so many couples book their venue and set their date so far in advance, this will be your key stumbling block. So prioritise this and you’ll be laughing all the way to the aisle.
For those brides and grooms organising a religious ceremony, you will have more key factors to coordinate here, so I would advise asking for available dates from your church before you start contacting reception venues.
If you struggle to find a venue within budget that has suitable dates available, try broadening your search area a little. Remember, it’s not the venue that makes a wedding. It’s the guests! If you’re surrounded by all the people you love and respect most, then you’re all guaranteed to have a whale of a time no matter where you are.
The fun paperwork
Of course, there are legal obligations surrounding the union of two lives! In England, a couple has to apply to marry at least 28 days before the ceremony takes place. So get yourself booked in to see the registrar as soon as you have booked your venue and confirmed the date.
Back to those all important guests, the sooner you let them have a date, the better. Traditionally, invitations are sent out three months before the wedding, but as you may already be inside that three month window, send an email or text letting your friends and family know you’ve set a date.
You may worry that people will have already made plans, but for those really important guests, the key people in your life, trust me, there isn’t much they wouldn’t happily rearrange in order to celebrate with you. You can spend your life worrying about other people but you can only take responsibility for your own feelings. In other words, they might not be bothered in the slightest about moving a holiday or dental appointment. So don’t sweat it.
Fast, fun fashion
My friend Kirsten, who got engaged in August and married in November the same year, offered some great advice for wedding dress shopping. “The bridal shops I went to nearly had a heart attack when I told them my time frame. But by mentioning this early in the conversation, they were able to show me dresses that were easily altered.”
It can also be a great idea to look out for end of season sales, particularly if your wedding isn’t happening during the peak season of April to September. The very friendly Soar Valley Brides in Sileby hold dress sale days around Leicestershire with some stunning dresses at amazing prices.
A quick wedding can also be the ideal time to ask bridesmaids to source their own dresses, something they would be happy wearing again in the future. If you want your besties to have a more uniform and traditional bridesmaid-ly look, it would be wise to do your research before you shop, so once you have everyone together, you can nail this in a day.
Don’t forget your groom too. If he’s hiring a suit, he can get on and organise this pretty soon in the process. But again, getting a large group of groomsmen together can be difficult to organise, so consider having him choose a style from a national brand and asking his ushers to pop in for a fitting in their own time. But make sure you set them a deadline!
Delegate and trust in others’ expertise
Consider asking your venue for a list of recommended suppliers as that will seriously cut down the time needed by you in looking for someone suitable and by the suppliers themselves too. If they are familiar with the venue because its somewhere they work/decorate on a regular basis, they will be ready to go for your big day. Always make sure you talk to and get to know the suppliers that will be present with you on the day though. Your reception venue might trust the photographer, videographer and band that they recommend, but if you don’t get on with them, you won’t be able to relax and enjoy yourself.
Ask trusted friends or family to help with smaller tasks, especially if you’re doing any decorations or stationery yourselves. I’d strongly recommend doing this even if you didn’t need to plan a wedding in under 6 months. Getting a group together to do the same activity doubles up perfectly as a gossip session. Limit the alcohol provided if the task requires any degree of precision!!
Keep calm and focus on what’s important
Once you’ve covered off these points, the key to planning your day quickly is to be organised and don’t get precious. After all, you and your partner are getting married because you want to spend your lives together. You have all the time in the world to host fancy parties for your nearest and dearest if that’s what you want to do. Your wedding day is about making this commitment that you know you want above all else. You don’t HAVE to have a party at all. So long as you cover the legal bases, how big or small the rest of the day is, and therefore how much time it takes to organise is completely up to you. So long as you are both happy, your loved ones will be happy for you.
If you’ve been planning your wedding for a while already, but you are now in the final 6 months of preparations (or less, yikes!), you might find this blog useful to check you’re up to date and as organised as can be. Have fun planning and if you want some impartial advice, you know where to find me. I love a good wedding planning gossip.