From Engagement to 'I Do' in Four Months

UK brides spend on average 14 months planning their wedding, but is it possible to plan a whirlwind wedding from engagement to 'I Do' in just four months?

Our wedding co-ordinators say yes, absolutely.  But you'll need a clear plan.  Here's how it's done:

The Four Months to Wedding Top Tips:

1)       Clear your diary.
Whether you have the odd days of annual leave from work you can take, or you need to opt out of non-essential social events or commitments, it's important to do whatever you can to clear a bit of time to take on the most time-consuming jobs, like dress shopping.

2)       Secure the venue. 
All other elements of the big day will revolve around this - so check out late availability dates at your venue of choice, be prepared to be a little flexible and once you've made a decision get it booked before someone else beats you to it.

3)       Tell your nearest and dearest
As soon as the venue is booked, get your Save the Date notices out and make sure it's in everyone's diary

4)       Get organised
It's time to head to Paperchase and bring out the pretty stationery - you'll need folders and spreadsheets to keep on top of your planning and to keep all your ideas and contacts in one place.  Pinterest is also your friend, as long as you can keep your time spent on there to a strict limit.

5)       Prioritise
When you're planning a whirlwind wedding you might not be able to get your first choice for every supplier.  So decide what matters most to you both - whether that's having the best photographer, florist, or band.  Focus more of your time and attention on those elements and relax a little more on the less important elements.  No one will mind if you forgo favours, so don't put yourself under unnecessary pressure.

6)       Get your wedding team together… and delegate
Bridesmaids, parents, ushers and relatives - they all have a role to play in planning the big day so accept their offers of help.  Then, accept that you may have to relax a bit of control and be prepared to delegate.  Match your volunteers up with their specific talents and give them a job to do - whether that's researching local bands, phoning wedding cars for prices or addressing invitations.  Remember too that your wedding co-ordinator at your chosen venue should be able to help you with some of these details.

7)       Think creatively
You're not going to have the normal amount of lead in time to order that designer dress. but youcanvisit sample sales or even try eBay to score the perfect bridal gown. If you're open to a non-traditional bridal look, you could opt for a white bridesmaid dress. You can also check out vintage shops and and scour the racks at high street stores -  The QHotels team particularly rate Monsoon and Phase Eight's bridalwear.

8)       Get crafty.
Get your friends together for a night of cocktails and crafting - those centrepieces and place cards aren't going to make themselves!

The Four Months to Wedding Timeline

Plenty of these steps are optional - so if you've decided that you're not sending out paper invitations or that you'll rely on friends to photograph the day, don't feel pressured by this list.  It's your big day; do it your way.

Four months to go:

  • Set a date and secure your venue including booking your registrar
  • Agree your guest list and confirm with venue your provisional numbers
  •  Confirm that your venue are holding rooms for overnight guests
  • Send out Save the Dates - with details on the overnight room booking process
  • Recruit your bridesmaids
  • Get your long list together of preferred suppliers
  • Dress shopping!

Three months to go

  • Order invitations
  • Order rings
  • Meet with and confirm your main suppliers from photographer to florist
  • Meet with the caterer to taste foods and plan the menu
  • Book wedding cars
  • Order cake or agree who'll be making it for you if a generous friend offers
  • Check your passport doesn't need renewing.  If it does - get the process started this month.

Two months to go

  • Book your honeymoon
  • Book appointments for a manicure and pedicure for the day before the wedding and a hair and makeup stylist for the big day
  • Send out your invitations
  • Buy bridesmaid dresses, groom, best man and usher suits or tuxes.
  • Register for gifts.
  • Meet with the registrar to plan the ceremony.
  • Confirm final guest numbers with your venue and settle your account.

Four weeks to go

  • Create a music list for your band
  • Contact guests who haven't responded to your invitation
  • Create your table plan
  • Hold hen & stag celebrations

Three weeks to go

  • Have your dress fitting

Two weeks to go

  • Pick up rings

One week to go

  • Pick up your dress
  • Give the venue and caterer your final headcount
  • Pack for the honeymoon.
  • Treat yourself to a pampering massage or just a long soak in the bath.  Your big day is almost here!


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