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Brighton and Sussex Wedding Planner/ Planning a last-minute wedding

May 3, 2011

Photo credit: Wedding Bee

We’re not sure if it’s the post-recession mood or the recent Royal nuptials giving everyone wedding fever, but this year we’ve had lots of enquiries for last-minute weddings here at Brighton Wedding HQ.

Of course, with the help of a professional wedding planner it should be relatively stress-free trying to organise your big day in six months or less. But if you’re going it alone, and determined to arrange your big day this year, here are our top tips on making  sure it goes without a hitch:

1. Set a date

This is the most important aspect of planning a wedding as nothing else can be booked before you have a venue sorted and date pencilled in. Draw up a shortlist of venues based on your requirements (guest numbers, location, civil licence, etc) then ring round, asking them if they have availability in your chosen month. Be flexible on dates and even days of the week as mid-week dates can often be free until the very last minute and work out a lot cheaper than weekends, which tend to book up 1-2 years beforehand in most venues.

2. Get the legal stuff sorted

As soon as you have a venue, date and time in mind, call your local registry office and arrange a meeting with the Registrar. Notice for marriage must be given in person at least 15 days in advance of your wedding, and you’ll also need to check that the Registrar is free for your ceremony. If you’re having a Church wedding, you’ll need to publish Banns in your local parish over three Sundays during the three months before your wedding, so make sure you leave enough time.

3. Talk to suppliers

Perhaps you’re keen to have fabulous photos or you’ve dreamed of the perfect wedding cake. As soon as you’ve set a date, prioritise your most important suppliers and look in wedding magazines and directories for inspiration on who to call. When talking to them, even if they’re not free on your date, ask them if they know of other local suppliers they would recommend – both in their field and elsewhere. This can save you a huge amount of time as you’re getting personal recommendations from people who really know their stuff, and this can help you to get lots of things organised at short notice.

4. Keep your guests in the loop

The sooner you let your guests know your plans, the better. Many people book holidays up to a year in advance so email people as soon as you have the bare bones of the wedding in place to get an idea of numbers. You may find that the venue you’ve booked for 100 is suddenly too large for the 50 guests who can make it on the day if you leave it too late. It also makes it easier and cheaper for your guests to arrange their transport and accommodation if they know your plans sooner rather than later.

5. Haggle on everything

The great thing about last-minute weddings is that if suppliers and venues aren’t already booked by the time you enquire, they’re often prepared to do great rates to secure your business. Always check for ‘last-minute’ rates and ask for the best price they can do – they’re unlikely to get another enquiry for your date if it’s coming up very soon and won’t want to turn you away.

6. Hire a wedding planner

A good wedding planner really can make the difference between a last-minute rush to get everything together on time and a calm, enjoyable day. Wedding planners have a book of reliable contacts they can call upon at short notice and can often get the best rates and service. You’ll be able to rest assured that your big day will come together as planned without worrying about your budget spiralling out of control due to lack of  supplier or venue choice.

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