Is it really possible to go from popping the question to saying ‘I do’ in less than a month? The short answer is, yes! But that doesn’t mean that to plan a wedding in 30 days or lee is not without its difficulties. Sure, they pull it off in the movies, but in reality a lot of time and effort goes in to planning a wedding.
With the average length of an engagement said to be around 12 to 18 months, 30 days doesn’t exactly leave you much wiggle room. However, recent events have thrown the wedding planning norms into disarray. The spread of coronavirus and global lockdown measures have meant many couples are postponing weddings or resorting to cancelling their big day altogether. As a result, dates for the autumn months and summer 2021 are already getting booked up, and quick. Future brides have had to get creative when it comes to rebooking and setting a wedding date.
Once the lockdown measures are relaxed, you may find you need to fast-track your wedding planning process for a fast turnaround. Think less shotgun wedding and more starting your new chapter as soon as possible.
How to plan a wedding in 30 days or less
So after looking at all angles of wedding planning we have put together some top tips for getting married with a quick turn-around. From the cake to booking your venue, here’s everything you need to know about how to plan a wedding in 30 days or less.
Know when to give notice for marriage
First things first, if you’re planning a civil ceremony as your legal marriage, you will need to give notice. Both you and your partner will need to complete marriage notice forms. All the relevant documents, declarations and fees will then need to be given to the Registrar of Marriages for the council district where you intend to legally marry.
The minimum period to give notice for marriage is 28 days before your proposed marriage date. Only in exceptional circumstances will the Registrar General allow a marriage to take place if less than 28 days’ notice has been given.
However, if you leave things too late, you could be faced with the need to postpone your marriage. The alternative is to have a non-legal ceremony conducted by a celebrant and then hold a legal ceremony at another date.
Bring in the professionals
Planning a wedding in 30 days? You need professional help… and by that we mean an experienced wedding planner. Consider hiring a wedding planner who will already have that little black book of contacts and as such, can organise a wedding very swiftly with you. The beauty of this is you will be reassured they have already vetted the suppliers on your behalf, they will do all the admin so you can concentrate on the fun planning tasks.
Go virtual with your supplies
You should also check whether you can hold virtual or digital meetings with your wedding planner and various suppliers. Ask if you can do zoom meetings with suppliers to speed up the process, maybe the florist can show you samples of flowers, containers and size of arrangement on video. If you act quickly you may also be able to receive samples in the post in order to aid your decisions.
Look for last-minute wedding venue deals
While this strange time has meant desirable dates in the future have already been booked up, it could also mean that more dates will become available at short-notice, once the official lockdown is relaxed.
No-one really knows how long we’ll be in this situation for, and everyone’s health is the main priority, but it is worth regularly checking for last-minute available dates when we’re given the go-ahead. You never know, your dream wedding venue could now be available! Silver linings and all that!
Keep an eye out on venue websites to see what last minute deals they have, some will have cancellations or the odd date available and as such offer a fantastic whirlwind offer for you. You should also be willing to think outside the box and consider and ‘alternative’ wedding venue. Choose a venue that is off the beaten track of ‘traditional’ venues. These will (sometimes) have more availability and be more likely to go out of their way to help you get things done beautifully and quickly.
You could also consider splitting up your big day by doing the legal bit with a small amount of people a day before then have a big party with friends and family to celebrate somewhere like a beautiful London pub or smaller events space. These invariably charge a minimum spend and minimal (to non-existent) hire fees. So not only does this allow you to be creative with the venue but also with your budget.
Photo by James Bold
Wedding cake tips for a short-notice wedding
You may need to limit your ideas a little. Large wedding cakes, especially those with lots of sugar flowers, can take days and even weeks of preparation. Booking in such a tight timescale may leave little time for preparation and also your chosen supplier may have other wedding commitments.
While no one wants to compromise on their dream wedding, if you want to plan a wedding in 30 days or less you will need to be realistic with a timescale and try to think logically when it comes to design and size.
Top tip: Break away from tradition. Avoid a specially made fruit cake as these require a minimum of eight weeks to mature properly. But new wedding cake flavours such as red velvet or salted caramel can be whipped up quickly and taste delicious!
Get creative with wedding stationery
Your invitations and wedding stationery can often be sorted with quite a quick turnaround, and is definitely one of the wedding tasks you can still be getting on with while stuck at home. Whilst you are in lockdown, you can still be planning your wedding. Identify your wedding stationer soon on and they can then start working on the designs so that they can be printed as soon as lockdown is over.
You can use technology such as Zoom to have a consultation. This way you can have either a bespoke or off the shelf design, as printing can be turned around quickly. You can also make the most of the all the digital invitation options. These can be designed online and sent out via email, or you could even make a wedding website for guests to directly RSVP to. This can also serve as a great hub for all your last minute wedding details.
Why not create a video message for all of your guests and share it privately on social media or on your wedding website. These quick videos can help to keep your friends and family in the loop and help to lift spirits during this difficult time.
On-the-day wedding stationery can also be turned around within 30 days, but again you need to manage your expectations and think logically about the detail involved. Choose a pattern or motif from your stationer’s existing collection of designs to save time and then use this across all your reception stationery, from place cards and menus to table numbers and table plans.
Photo by Mockaroon
Planning a wedding in 30 days: Catering tips
Rather than going down the 3-course meal route why not change it up, make it fun and support small business’ too. Food trucks or pop-up catering is a great way to bring something different and can be turned around (literally) fast.
Short-notice wedding hair and makeup tips
Obviously, if you want to plan a wedding in 30 days or less you may not always have the luxury of knowing exactly the time of year you will be tying the knot in advance. However, if your wedding is in the autumn or winter months – you could be in luck with securing a hair and makeup stylist at the last minute.
Availability varies from supplier to supplier but overall winter months in the UK are the wedding industries down time or at least slightly quieter resulting in lower fees and more availability.
Or you could turn to the DIY method. Hairstyling lessons 1-2-1 are increasingly popular for those that have time and budget restraints, these lessons give you skills and confidence to be able to style your own hair for the big day. Online services are proving extremely popular alongside 'the how to tutorials' during the lockdown period. If time is literally of the essence, why not book the bridal hair stylist for an online lesson, using zoom for video calls can work perfectly within everyone’s schedule.
Don't let the lockdown kill your spirit. If you're determined to get wed and plan your wedding in 30 days or less do it, but do it safely and adhere to all the warnings. Our collective health must always come first. Together we're stronger.