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Fast-track your wedding

Fast-track your wedding

Written by Katie Byrne

Don't have the patience for a long engagement? Get the ball rolling with a speedy planning schedule - here's how!


When the royal engagement was announced back in November 2010, it's likely that plans for the big day were already well underway - but what if you don't have a head-start or a small army of dedicated helpers to plan your dream day? Could you still pull it off in six months? With our top tips to planning a wedding on a tight time schedule, you could!

Six months to go...

The most important thing to get sorted is the venue. The later you leave this, the more limited your choice will be - both in terms of what's available and desirable dates, so it helps if you can be flexible. Why not take a leaf out of the royal couple's book by opting to tie the knot on a Friday in spring?

If you're set on a sunny Saturday in summer, you might find it much harder to find a venue that hasn't already been snapped up. Now's also the time to choose your attendants - the sooner you pick them, the earlier they can help with the planning.

Five months to go...

With the reception venue booked, the next thing to attend to is the ceremony. Contact your church or registrar to secure a date as soon as you can. Once that's out of the way, it's on to the fun stuff: the dress!

Many designers and boutiques will need at least five months from the date you order your gown, so if you want yours made-to-measure, don't hang around. Make a list of your favourite styles, find local stockists and call to arrange appointments as soon as you can. Also, ask if you can take your maids along to try on their dresses at the same time. Two birds, one stone!

Alternatively, consider looking on the high street - Phase Eight and Monsoon both offer great affordable bridal collections that can be bought straight off the rack. Also start thinking about honeymoon ideas now - last-minute deals aren't always the best.

Four months to go...

According to tradition, wedding invitations should be posted out to guests 12 weeks before the big day. If you'd like your stationery custom-designed, you might struggle to find a supplier who has availability, but it's certainly worth asking.

Other (more speedy) alternatives include designing and printing your invitations online, or even making them from scratch yourself. All you'll need is some quality card, a few decorative details such as ribbon or lace and an army of friends armed with Pritt Sticks. Oh, and a few spare hours, of course!

Three months to go...

Time to talk flowers and cake. Even if you're not sure of exactly what you want, at least get the florist and cake maker booked and pay the deposit to secure the date - the details can be worked out as you go along.

It's also a good idea to sort out the wedding transport now. If you're keen to get in shape, now's the time to kickstart a new health regime, too!

Two months to go...

By this point, you'll have a good idea of how you want your wedding to look - so make sure you do all your hard work justice by booking a photographer who can capture it all beautifully. Take a good look at the websites or blogs of local photographers and contact a few to check their availability. Once you have a shortlist, visit two or three to talk through what you want, have a thorough look through their portfolios, then get them booked.

It's also a good idea to arrange a hair and make-up trial to ensure you look your glamorous best on the big day - after all, even the most talented photographers can't work miracles!

One month to go...

Make sure you have all the music for your ceremony and reception sorted. Good bands and DJs can get booked up pretty far in advance, so if you're having no luck with the act you loved from your cousin's wedding, move swiftly onto Plan B.

Do any of your friends play in a band or know someone who does? Maybe some of your fiancé's mates would love to take a turn on the decks? Or perhaps you should just sit down together and create a playlist on your iPod - it's quick, easy and gives you total control over the tunes - and it's a cost-effective option. It's also time to pay the final balance at your reception and ceremony venues. You should plan to have your hen and stag dos about now, too.

Three weeks to go...

Finalise the detail of your bouquet and tablecentres with the florist and liaise with your car hire company over the finer details, such as confirming the route and timings.

Two weeks to go...

If you didn't order them along with your stationery, it's time to turn your creative skills to the table plan and the orders of service. Don't let anyone tell you it's too last-minute - if you made them any earlier, you'd only have ruined them after any late changes to the guest list or running order.

One week to go...

Not long to go now, so make sure you tie up any loose ends. If you ordered a custom-made gown, it'll be time for the final fitting. Also get your wedding rehearsal out of the way and make all the arrangements necessary to get everything (flowers, decorations, etc) delivered to the venues.

One day to go...

Now is not the time to take on any new tasks. Simply take things easy, give your groom a big kiss and spend some quality time with your mum and bridesmaids, in preparation for the your big day. 

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