There are many reasons why you might have to plan your wedding at short notice. First off, not everybody wants to spend lots of time organising their nuptials! Wedding planning is extremely stressful and time-consuming, and if you’re a very busy or anxious person, you may just not be able to foresee spending a year or more of your life organising a single-day celebration.
Perhaps you have a limited time to plan your big day due to a progressive illness in the family, a pregnancy, or another reason (such as an army spouse having to move away soon). Or, you may just be impatient to marry the love of your life, and want to get it over with as soon as possible!
Planning a wedding at short notice – by which we mean, having less than six months to get everything done – can be a lot more difficult than giving yourself lots of time. This is because very often venues, florists, dress hire etc will be booked up far in advance of dates.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here are some things you can do to make planning your wedding at short notice easier.
Figure Out Your Budget
One of the most important things to think about when planning a wedding at short notice is your budget. Of course, budgeting is important for any wedding – but it’s even more crucial when you don’t have much time.
When you are planning a wedding at short notice, you’ll most likely have a limited choice when it comes to venues and suppliers. You won’t have such a wide range of options and price ranges to choose from. Having a strict budget (and sticking to it) will help you avoid overspending.
You may find there may be some pressure put upon you to pay over inflated prices for services due to the short-term planning of your event. However, do not be swayed by this: stick to your guns and shop around, as not every wedding supplier charges short notice premiums.
You don't want to end up with debt surrounding your wedding so it's super important that you make a budget that is affordable for you and your partner, and that you live by it.
Be Diligent with Organisation
Organisation is very important when you are planning a wedding at short notice. There are many different aspects of planning a wedding including food, guest lists, etc. Even when planning a wedding on a normal timescale it can be hard to keep track of all the things you have to do!
Using a planner or online spreadsheet to write down what you need to do and when you need to do it can help. You can also use your planner to write down helpful information like contact numbers, which makes it easier to access key information about your wedding plans.
Organising your wedding more thoroughly will make it more likely that you’ll get everything planned and booked on time, and it’ll also help cut down on general wedding planning stress. If organisation isn’t your strong point, you could also consider hiring a wedding planner if it’s in your budget.
Book Your Venue As Soon as Possible
One of the most important things to do is to book your wedding venue as soon as you feasibly can. Wedding venues can be notoriously difficult to book in advance: many venues will have couples booked in up to 2 years prior to the big day.
Unfortunately, planning a wedding at short notice may mean compromising on where you get married. If your dream venue has no availability in the near future, you may have to phone around to try and find somewhere that can accommodate you.
Some venues may offer discounted prices for short-term bookings if somebody cancels, as they want to fill the space. This is a benefit for you as the money that you save on your venue can be put to other areas of your wedding.
To have more options for venues, try to cut down your guest list as much as possible – that way you won’t be limited space-wise. If you’re really struggling to find somewhere available that has a wedding license, consider having the ceremony at a registry office (which often have plenty of space last-minute)
Prioritise Your Wedding Invitations
Usually, the first piece of wedding stationery you’ll need to send out are your save the dates. Save the dates are sent out several months in advance of the wedding, and serve the purpose of ensuring your guests keep the date free, before any other details are finalised. The wedding invitations are then sent out around 4-6 weeks before the big day.
But if you’re planning a wedding at short notice, you may not have time to send save the dates and invites. In this case, we’d recommend sending your wedding invitations out as early as possible – ideally, at least 12 weeks before the wedding date.
You don’t want to be waiting around for your invites to arrive, so order from a professional stationer like Bride and Groom Direct to be sure of speedy shipping. Our fast delivery guarantee ensures that your invitations will be with you between 5 to 10 days after ordering.
You might not have time to decide on a wedding theme before choosing your invitations. If you are having trouble picking a template, and this is holding you back from ordering your stationery, it is best to go with a simple yet elegant design like this Romance wedding day invitation, which would work with any colour scheme.
Consider Alternative Catering Arrangements
Catering companies can also often be busy, and sometimes require a lot of notice - especially if you want a particularly complicated menu, or are planning on having lots of guests. To cut down on the time it can take organising catering for your wedding you may want to try something creative. For example:
1) Have a buffet rather than a plated meal for each guest – buffets are usually quicker and easier for caterers to organise, and as a bonus they’ll also be cheaper
2) Rent a few food trucks (e.g. pizza, hog roast, chicken sandwiches)
3) Contact local restaurants to see if they can accommodate a large party on your wedding day – travel there with your guests rather than hiring a caterer. Try hotels as well, as they often have large dining rooms that can seat 90+ customers
4) Have a “pot luck” wedding – ask each guest to bring a dish to share (which they can either make themselves, or purchase from a supermarket)
Going for a food truck or alternative food solution can get things moving quicker than going the catering route. If you are not fussed about the catering at your wedding, you could even rope friends and family into helping prepare the food – for example, making sandwiches, scones and and little cakes, and turning it into a wedding afternoon tea.
Get Creative with the Wedding Cake
Large, multi-tiered wedding cakes can take weeks to make, especially those that include complex design elements like sugar work, fondant sculpting and edible cake toppers. Professional wedding cake bakers also work to a tight schedule and are often booked up months in advance, so you may have trouble ordering a cake close to your big day.
Because of this, you may want to scale down on the grand ideas for your wedding cake, and get a little creative. For example:
1) Order a simple, single-layered cake purely for the “cutting the cake” photoshoot – and provide cupcakes or other desserts on a sweet table for your guests to enjoy
2) Bake the cake yourself, or seek help from a friend or family maker who’s good at home baking
3) Purchase several simple cakes from a high-street bakery or supermarket, and stack them together yourself
4) Go with a cupcake tower, or even a multi-tiered wedding cheeseboard, instead of a layered cake
Another good idea is to purchase a beautiful inedible cake topper instead of ordering custom-made fondant cake decorations. Inedible cake toppers still look the part, but can arrive on your doorstep in a matter of days and take mere seconds to pop on top of a cake.
Seek Out Amateur or Student Photographers
Wedding photographers can also be extremely busy and hard to get hold of at short notice. The best, most highly rated wedding photographers are often booked up a year in advance – especially for popular dates, such as Saturdays during the spring and summer month.
Luckily, though, you do have options. Try seeking out amateur photographers that do photography as a hobby, or people that are only just getting started in the wedding photography business and haven’t yet got many reviews - ask friends and family, as it’s likely they’ll know someone who knows someone.
Student photographers, currently working towards their photography degree, can also work – as can friends and family that are handy with a camera.
Of course, be very aware that it’s likely these photos will not be as high quality as they would have been if you’d used a professional wedding photographer. However, you always have the option of having the photos edited by a professional after the wedding.
Order Your Wedding Stationery and Accessories from Bride and Groom Direct
At Bride and Groom Direct we pride ourselves on providing high quality, unique wedding stationery and accessories at a competitive price. All of our designs can be quickly and easily edited online – simply input your wording and we’ll present you with a preview of how it will look. Our fast delivery guarantee ensures your order will be delivered between 5 to 10 days after placing it.
We stock thousands of wedding stationery designs including invitations, save the dates, and table plans. We also stock a large array of miscellaneous wedding accessories such as cake toppers, confetti, guest books and photo albums.
We have over 100 years’ experience in the UK wedding industry, so you can order stress-free knowing that your wedding necessities are in good hands.