6 Months to go!
The first thing to manage when organising your wedding in a short space of time is your own expectation. If you’ve always dreamed of having your wedding in the most popular luxury venue in your area, on the Saturday of the August bank holiday wearing a bespoke bridal gown by a top designer, all for £5,000, then you will no doubt set yourself up for disappointment. Enter the planning stage with an open mind and know that by being flexible you can still have the fantastic wedding you want, you may just need to compromise on one or two things, or you may not!
Choosing a Venue
Being flexible on the month or even the day of the week you are looking to get married will open up your options considerably. Saturdays remain the most popular day for weddings but what’s to say you shouldn’t go for a Friday? Yes, some guests may have to take the day off work but with the generous notice you’re giving them, there’s plenty of time to get a day of leave booked in, and if they don’t want to they probably shouldn’t be on your guest list anyway. The upside of Fridays, apart from the reduction in cost, is that you can continue the wedding high on Saturday with a post-wedding get together with your nearest and dearest to relive the day. Wedding reception venues will always have dates they are looking to fill and more often than not you can make a great saving by opting for a shorter lead time. Berwick for example offers a reduction of £2,550 for weddings held on certain dates in May 2016.
Decide on a budget and stick to it. This is even more important to remember when looking at a shorter time frame as you will have less time to save or spread the cost. In order to decide on your budget, you will of course need to consider your guest list. You could have a small wedding allowing you to have the day you’ve dreamt of just with the people who mean the most to you – reducing the need to compromise on other parts of the day such as the food and drink. Considering a wedding later in the day means you could serve lighter catering in the evening, or none at all (as long as no additional guests are coming to the party only). However much you budget, add more for contingencies!
Whilst there are very few dressmakers who tell you this, you can often choose and order a dress with 6 months to go and have enough time for fittings and alterations. Lots of bridal shops have sample sales where you can buy the most gorgeous dresses at discounted prices just because they’ve been hanging up in the bridal shop. The advantage of buying from a sample sale is that you know it’s already made and it’s yours! Obviously the sooner it’s chosen, the sooner you can relax and start planning your accessories.
Last but by no means least, book and confirm your ceremony time with the church or registrars.
5 Months to go!
The next big step is to source your main suppliers; caterers (if not supplied by venue), photographer, florist, wedding cake and evening entertainment. Venues will usually have a recommended supplier list so make use of that and other personal recommendations from friends. Websites like Hitched, Confetti and The Wedding Secret are great sources of suppliers in your area too. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want yet, get a supplier booked up whose services resemble your style , then you’ll have plenty of time to get wedding ideas by searching websites, magazines and Pinterest boards for the detail you want.
Save the date
Send your guests a ‘save the date’ so they have time to prepare and take holiday if required. To save time and money, opt for an online version such as Paperless Post. There are many designs to choose from so you can personalise your save the dates and invitations. The added bonus of this service is that you’re able to track responses and send follow up messages to guests.
4 Months to go!
A great and enjoyable way to spend your wedding planning, and to save money of course, is to make your own decorations or extras for your wedding day such as favours or unique entertainment pieces. Pinterest obviously homes a lot of inspiration for this, and offers plenty of ideas for you to steal and personalise, even if you’re not naturally creative! If you’re worrying about the time in which you have to create the decorations, ask your friends to help out. Invite them over for a wedding DIY party where you can show them how you’d like things made, get creative for a few hours then give them dinner to say thanks. If you don’t want slap-dash decorations, leave the wine until dinner too!
Send your invitations with an RSVP date of a week – 10 days sooner than you need it, to allow for those last minute replies! Again, online invitations give you the ability to send follow up messages to those who have forgotten.
2 -3 Months to go!
Now is the time to look into the more practical side of the wedding planning with items such as buying the wedding rings, creating a gift list and choosing your wedding music and readings. Alongside the practical aspects to consider of course there is the more fun side of wedding planning, including bridesmaid/best men outfit shopping, bridal accessory shopping and most importantly – hen and stag do parties!
Arrange a meeting with your venue to discuss details such as timings, your menu, wines, final costs and anything else you want to know.
1 Month to go!
The finer details
The month before the wedding is ‘crunch time’ for all the outstanding little bits and last minute remaining details that need to be nailed down. By now you should be able to confirm your final numbers and arrangements with your venue, discuss a ‘shot list’ with your photographer, finalise playlists and your first dance track with the evening entertainers, create a seating plan and other personal things, such as buying gifts for the bridal party.
If you start to panic that you don’t have enough time, try blocking out an evening a week in the final month, to get on top of things. The thought of how much there is to do is often worse than it really is. Don’t put things off, as soon as you start ploughing through them that list will get shorter very quickly. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.
The Big Day!
And so it has arrived! All that’s left is for you is to enjoy all of your efforts and celebrate the most special day with those you love! Congratulations – you’ve done it!