The Essential Guide to 11th hour Nuptials…
As some of you may know I’m getting married very soon at the end of December. But rather than having spent years arranging my wedding I have done the complete opposite and only set the date about 4 weeks ago!
Of course having worked inside the wedding industry for over a decade gives me a huge advantage as I have the inside knowledge on everything bridal, and know so many helpful contacts. So I thought I would write an essential guide to help couples out there who want to speed things up!
There is a lot to be said for arranging a quick wedding…… less time for any unwanted interference, less time to agonise over decisions that don’t need to eat you up and finally it can work out much cheaper!
Once you have decided on a timescale – be it 4 weeks or 12 weeks like me, the first job is to prioritise with venue right at the top of that list. Once you have selected a location then you have a firm date and everything else will fall into place so much more easily.
If you are set on the wedding being a Saturday, try looking on search sites for last minute availability at venues near you. The best site to try is Hitched.com but it is also worth looking at whirlwindweddings.com. Also try ringing a selection of local venues that you know of to ask about availability. Once you know of any with dates available make a decision to visit just 3. Couples can spend literally years visiting different venues and getting more confused. Simply see 3 and opt for the one you both get the best vibe for.
Going for late availability at venues can also save you thousands – many venues have special packages available for dates they have not sold. If the venue of your choice is all booked out for weekends – consider being more flexible and going for a friday or thursday which again will be a cheaper option.
Get that License
The next thing to crack on with is the legal paperwork. Make a booking to see your local registrar / church to make sure that you fulfill all the requirements within plenty of time (don’t leave yourself the headache of needing to complete forms the week before the ceremony) or risking that the registrars are fully booked. (This is as important as the venue but can be easily overlooked).
Now to the important bit (and most fun)! This is the part that girls dream about when growing up – so it’s important to get right and in time. With dresses now taking longer lead times this is the harder part to arrange quickly – but don’t worry it can be done!
Save yourself months of worrying about what style will suit you – get professional advice. The best bridal shops have the experience to help you find the right shape / style for you just in one appointment. For recommendations about great bridal shops see our weekly feature on Bridal Boutiques or e-mail us for advice about the best near you.
Once you know the style best for you enquire about designers that can make rush orders. Boutiques will be able to advise which manufacturers offer this service. (it does usually involve an extra charge but is worth it). Another option is to ask the store to sell you the sample for a reduced rate. Many times they will which means you get to take the dress away there and then (bear in mind it may need a good dry clean).
The next alternative is to look to buy an off the rail dress. Try large department stores as some great bridal companies have designed off the rail ranges – such as Anoushka G or Jasper Conran.
Also worth considering is buying second hand. Some amazing dresses are for sale on wedding forums having only been worn once. You may get a bargain on Hitched or You and Your Wedding forum.
Finally if you have no other luck anywhere else see Ivory & co. dresses (our own label) – we can make rush orders for brides…..
Invites need not take a long time – I arranged mine in a day. Try the printer Leafletfrog (100 x A6 invite cards just £19.00) as they take only a few days to print. You can send e-mail artwork from your computer (a picture of the two of you or a scanned image). If you are not feeling artistic enough – don’t worry – you can download gorgeous wedding invite templates from Etsy and just add your details.
Find a selection of local florists online and call to check if any have the free time in their diary for your chosen date. Best to get it booked in first – you don’t need to have chosen any colour scheme etc… but you don’t want to be left without any flowers.
Also don’t rule out doing it yourself. Look online for floral wholesalers near you as this can be a great experience and the route I am taking. You get to visit and chat with them about what you are looking for – they will advise the quantities you need and arrange a day for you to pick it all up. Arrange a girls day a few days before the wedding – invite some friends and family to help make arrangements for tables and bouquets. It can be great fun (and save you a small fortune!)
The bit we all look forward to after all the planning! Finding the perfect honeymoon for you can be stress free – rather than pouring through brochures and scouring the internet for flights, hotels etc… let a trained professional do all the hard work for you. Take the time for one phone call to a travel consultant with honeymoon experience. Try Travel Councellors, Independent Travel Consultants or Co-op Travel Consultants. Explain the sort of honeymoon that would best suit you as a couple and discuss possible dates (try to be flexible) and they will do all the hard work for you – finding the best deals and will e-mail them through to you so that you can go through all their research at your leisure. This makes for a much easier way of organising the holiday of a lifetime quickly.
Whilst the rings are really important (you will be wearing them for the rest of your life after all!) it does not need to be a stumbling point that takes a long time. Put aside one afternoon to go as a couple and try rings on – it doesn’t take long to find the styles that appeal to you both. Make a pact to decide that day and place the order be it at a huge chain or a local jeweller. For wonderful rings – try Hyde & Park Design at the jewellery district of Hatton Garden in London. This business is run by a talented duo of brothers who make stunning designs to order at wholesale prices. It’s where we’ve ordered our rings – they are so talented and you will leave knowing that you’re having something special made just for the two of you (and they can deliver within a few weeks).
A Hen Weekend with a Difference!
Helpful retail therapy! – Organise a weekend away (maybe in London or somewhere else with good shopping!) Invite your closest friends and family and make it a mission to find the extra things you need for your wedding day – bridesmaid dresses, shoes, favours etc…. it will be great fun and helpful to have everyone in one place to help make decisions and find the items you need all in one weekend. Shopping by day and partying at night (and your fiance will be so grateful not to have to go on endless shopping trips looking for all these things).
The quickest and easiest way to pick a wedding cake is to go for one off the shelf with someone like Marks & Spencer or Waitrose – they both do wonderful wedding cakes and within very short timescales.
All Things Sparkly!
For any accessories – of course check out our website at Ivory & co. – we have the largest selection of wedding accessories in Europe and that will make it easier to find what you are looking for quickly and easily…..
I hope these tips have helped – if you need any specialised advise – just e-mail me – I am always happy to impart any information gathered from my years in the business!
Good luck with your quickie wedding – plan it quickly and seamlessly and let everyone wonder how you made it look so easy!
Sarah – Head Designer at Ivory & Co. x