The average couple spends around 18 months planning their big day. But what if you don’t want to wait that long?
Writer Rachael Kilgour speaks to our industry experts “ and a bride who’s been there and bought the dress “ take you from diamond to ˜I do’ in less than a year¦
IMAGE | Emma Lawson Photography
T H E D R E S S S H O P
We’ve all hit up the high street in a frenzy looking for a party dress at the last minute, but this method of shopping doesn’t lend itself to finding a wedding gown.
“While six months may seem like plenty of time, it is in fact a very short window frame to order a dress while allowing time for alterations to take place,” explains Jennifer Gilbert from dress boutique The Bridal Courtyard.
“Most brides have two to three fittings prior to their wedding, however, we are very flexible with this and will work with you to make sure everything is exactly the way that you want it to be,” adds Jennifer.
“Brides should be aware that rush orders from designers can at times incur an additional charge and this should be factored into costs, but we always try our best to avoid this happening.”
Alternatively, Jennifer reckons you should consider a sample gown. “We always have sample gowns available. They’re kept in pristine condition, meaning you can buy a dress off the rail in immaculate condition at a reduced cost,” she says.
Many boutiques hold sample sales throughout the year, too “ keep an eye on our events section for upcoming sale dates.
IMAGE | Emma Lawson Photography
T H E P H O T O G R A P H E R
“If you’re planning on a tight schedule, the first thing to do is lock in your suppliers! You probably won’t get your first choice, but you will find the right ones for you,” says photographer Emma Lawson.
Check out our online directory for an at-a-glance list of some of the best photographers in the business. Once you’ve found the right photographer, you may want to meet them ahead of the big day.
If you don’t have time to do that, many will be happy to chat over Skype. And don’t forget to make the most of your photographer’s knowledge when it comes to wedding-related questions.
“Photographers are excellent sounding boards for scheduling the day. We tend to know how things run, so take advantage of all that experience,” says Emma.
“Just remember that weddings almost never go completely to plan, and that’s okay. The couples who enjoy their weddings the most are the ones that embrace the day as it unfolds!”
T H E V E N U E
Your venue is the very first thing you need to book, regardless of when you intend to tie the knot.
“Couples can book with us any time ” from three months to three years in advance,” says Rachel Grant from wedding venue Arta (pictured above). “We just need to know the date you had in mind and a rough estimate of guests, then we can take it from there.”
Bear in mind it may be difficult to get a weekend date at short notice at your dream venue. Saturdays are more readily available in
winter, but in summer you may have to compromise by going for a mid-week date.
Bonus: both these options can often work out cheaper, with many venues offering competitive off-peak rates.
T H E W E D D I N G P L A N N E R
“When planning a wedding in a short period of time, prioritise your needs versus your wants. You need to make a plan and stick to it,” advises Ruth Marshall, creative director of SuperNova Wedding Design & Flowers (pictured above).
“Generally, the only challenges you’ll face in a short timescale are availability of products, as they book up very quickly.”
The beauty of hiring a wedding co-ordinator to oversee the big day is that they live, sleep And breathe weddings and know everyone in the industry, so they’ll be able to start contacting companies on your behalf straight away.
“We have an abundance of external suppliers in our little white book who we work with closely and highly recommend,” says Ruth.
A wedding planner can also save you from deliberating too long over how you’ll theme your day (and can steer you in the right direction if you’ve no clue where to begin).
“We will set about tying all of your elements together quickly, from the initial invites to the on-the-day styling and flowers,” explains Ruth.
And while hiring someone to help plan your day may seem like an extravagant spend, don’t forget you may recoup costs through the discounts they’re able to secure.
T H E F L O R I S T
When time’s not on your side but you want to add immediate wow factor to your venue, flowers are your fastest route to pretty.
“The flowers themselves aren’t ordered until much closer to the day, so the actual arrangements can be changed right up to a week or so before, but it’s important to have the florist team booked earlier to create them,” reveals Heather Spurling from Make Believe Events and Floristry (pictured above).
“We ask our couples to bring along a few pictures of flower types they like. They say a picture paints a thousand words, and these pictures mean the process moves much quicker,” adds Heather.
“Something to bear in mind is that the season can have a high impact on the cost and size of your arrangements ” especially on very seasonal flowers like peonies. Jam jars of wildflowers are a big trend right now ” they’re great as a cheaper alternative to larger arrangements, and can be coupled with candles to create a beautiful ambience!”
T H E R E A L B R I D E
Haley Cobern planned her wedding at Ecclesgreig Castle, Montrose, in just five months.
“We decided to plan the wedding in five months because we probably didn’t grasp quite how much there was to do! The first thing we organised was the date of our wedding ” the dress was a close second, though.
The last thing we organized were the flowers, all picked the night before from our own garden.
“The hardest part of organising the wedding in the time we had was sourcing, printing and sending out all of the invites in plenty of time ” we definitely underestimated just how long it would take!
“Planning a wedding in five months didn’t prevent us from having anything we wanted, but I think I’d have struggled to find a dress if I’d chosen a traditional one. Looking back, I probably would have delegated more.
You have to be very organised, write everything down, and accept help from anyone who is offering!”