HOW TO ARRANGE A WEDDING AT (VERY) SHORT NOTICE
It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for. Following Boris’ announcement on Monday where weddings of 6 people will be able to go ahead from 6th March, this kicks off a gradual relaxing of the rules until the 21st June when weddings with limitless guests and no restrictions will be able to take place once more (YES!).
With many couples having had their plans on hold since 2019, we know lots of brides will be looking to get married at the earliest possible date. Planning a wedding used to be something that started months or even years in advance, but thanks to the ever changing rules over the past year, brides have been organising incredible events in just a few short weeks. We’ve spoken to some of our creative and resilient 2020 brides to get their tips on how to plan a wedding at (very) short notice.
OWN bride Emma & Greg (photo: Darina Stoda)
“Get excited!” says OWN bride Rachael, who arranged her wedding in the space of a month in-between lock downs,”There is something pretty magical about being about to get married to your loved one during these weird times, whether it’s exactly what you planned or not it won’t matter on the day, I can honestly say that we wouldn’t have our wedding any other way, it was simply perfect and it was just about us. Planning a wedding in a few weeks really isn’t as daunting as it sounds! In a way I actually really enjoyed it as suddenly everything was back in our control and secondly you just had to get on with it. I found it a very freeing experience as I knew it would be fab whatever happened, and I loved just having to make quick decisions but also just letting our amazing suppliers run with it.” OWN bride Chloe agrees and says, "try not to receive too much outside counsel. That actually delayed things a little for us at the start as we were worrying about others opinions. It's your day and your loved ones will just want to see you happy."
OWN bride Rachael & Will (Photo: Katie Rogers)
BOOK THE BIGGIES FIRST
Before you get into any of the detail, make sure you’ve got the legal ceremony booked, as this will guide the schedule for everything else. It might be that you can’t get the time you want on a certain date, but don’t let that put you off, if you can only get a late afternoon slot, why not break tradition and have lunch before the ceremony and drinks after?
If you have your heart set on a certain venue but they’re fully booked, make sure to ask them to let you know about any cancellations, but remember, “you cannot have a legal ceremony in the UK without giving 29 days notice no matter how quickly you might want to get married!” says OWN bride Emma who, after securing a last minute cancellation at Chelsea Town Hall, turned her beautiful wedding around in a matter of days last September. If you gave notice pre-covid you might want to check it is still valid (they expire after 6 months), find out more information on giving notice here.
OWN bride Lu & Lewis (Photo: Benjamin Wheeler)
DON’T COMPROMISE ON YOUR OUTFIT
Just because you’re getting married in weeks not months it doesn’t mean you can’t wear your dream outfit. We have dropped our rush order fees and have a team of seamstresses at our London Atelier dedicated to working on orders with shorter lead times; in some cases getting beautiful made-to-measure pieces ready in a matter of weeks for our brides. For a chic, effortless civil ceremony look, try our STYLE 007 or STYLE 025 jumpsuits, our beautiful tux jacket and trousers STYLE 004 & 005 or the super chic STYLE 017 satin halter.
Or if you're holding out for a larger wedding in June and beyond, try our beautiful minimal gowns such as our slips (STYLE 020, STYLE 006 and STYLE 018) with our silk organza overlay (STYLE 032) for the church ceremony, or try one of our beautiful separates options such as STYLE 011 + 031 with its beautiful, dramatic silhouette.
OWN bride Hannah shares her experience; “Having seen the perfect dress (only 5 weeks before the wedding!) I got in touch with Jess at OWN to ask about trying a sample on and ordering a dress with them. They kindly couriered out one of their samples for me to try on and within a few days I’d placed my order. My dress arrived just over a week before the wedding.... with the support and organisation from everyone it was stress free.”
OWN bride Hannah & Tim (Photo: Lavender & Jasmine)
When it comes to outfit prep, ”make sure to try your outfit ahead of time!” says OWN bride Grace, “Not just the dress and shoes but your underwear, nipple covers etc. Having done it at least once beforehand will take away some stress on the day.” Check out our recent ‘wedding proof underwear' blog for the best underwear suggestions. For accessories, we love the idea of renting a selection of incredible pieces for the day, our favourite rental site HURR has an amazing collection of shoes, bags and jewellery to choose from. Here are our top picks:
Tortoise sunglasses, Celine; Drop Earrings, Chanel; Amelie Leopard Print Velvet Bag, Rixo; Crystal Earrings, Racil; Wild Thing Heels, Aquazzura
“Smaller weddings or last minute changes actually give you the chance to be a bit more creative.” Says Emma, “We decided to be more adventurous with our photography and embrace the fact we were now having a city rather than country wedding. Once we had provisionally secured our ceremony, drinks and reception venues we did a walk through of the local area in Chelsea and picked out some fun photo shoot opportunities & locations which we shared with our photographer in advance and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.” Smaller events also give you the chance to go out for each guest. See our ‘small wedding, big touches’ blog for inspiration.
OWN bride Emma & Greg (photo: Darina Stoda)
SPREAD THE LOVE (AND THE LOAD)
“Communication with friends and family is key.” shares Emma, “Make sure you are open and honest with everyone about what you have planned, but also that things could change last minute and that you need people to be on board and supportive.” For smaller guest lists we love the idea of setting up a whatsapp group with the entire wedding party to share any last minute updates quickly and to ask for help or delegate. And for those that can’t be there, make sure you speak to your venue ahead of time about streaming the ceremony (if you want to do this) so you don’t have to think about tech on the day.
OWN bride Hannah & Ollie (photo: Lucy Birkhead)
WIth rules changing all the time, it’s worth having a plan-b in place, just in case. “If the reception venue falls through due to government hospitality restrictions, think about having open air drinks or an outdoor picnic in a local park or back garden instead.” suggests Emma. If you are having to choose between two dates, “it’s worth looking for a couple of back-up suppliers too, adds Grace, "say an alternative hair and makeup stylist, in case those you have in mind have a clash with another wedding.” Chloe agrees, saying there are some clever short-cuts which help with your planning - "if you can find a venue that comes with an event planner that will help massively!"
OWN bride Grace (photo: Richard Payne)
DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR ORIGINAL PLANS
Having a smaller or short-notice wedding doesn’t mean forgetting about your original plans and ideas. You can still incorporate elements of the stationery, styling and food into the day. Speak to your suppliers about your original vision and they will do whatever they can to make it a reality. “Everyone is used to this now” says Rachael, “and you will be surprised how quickly people can make things happen. For example we didn’t confirm what flowers we needed until 5 days before the wedding as we didn’t know! At the end of the day your suppliers are the experts, and you have picked them for a reason so let them do their job.”
OWN bride Katie & Jamie (photo: David Jenkins)
EMBRACE CHANGE & ENJOY THE RIDE
“If you’re worried about people wearing masks in your photos - we were the same, but they’re a moment in time captured, and put simply that’s what it was like.” says Hannah, “We actually love the photos of family in masks just as much as the others. Plus you’ll be amazed what photographers can do with the right angles! Perhaps also do what we did and buy a few cotton plain masks for your guests on arrival - so no one is in clinical masks!” or for an extra special touch, check out our silk satin monogrammed masks here.
L: OWN bride Shelley (photo: Emily Rose Hamilton) R: OWN bride Katie & Jamie (photo: David Jenkins)
“Given there is so much uncertainty with lockdown and the easing of rules, it’s better to go into your planning knowing that some of your plans might change again along the way. Much easier said than done, but with that mindset you’re likely to feel less stressed when you may need to make last minute adjustments.” says Emma, “At the end of the day, even if everything doesn’t fall into place as perfectly planned, you’ll have a great day with your closest loved ones. A smaller micro-wedding isn’t going to feel any less special with your closest friends and family in attendance.” We couldn’t agree more.
OWN bride Hannah & Ollie (photo: Lucy Birkhead)
For more inspiration on venues, food and style check out our recent blogs:
- How to Plan a Fabulous Elopement
- Ten Things We Wish We'd Known When Planning Our Weddings
- Our Go-to Sources for Cool Wedding Inspo
- Ten Best Intimate London Wedding Venues
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