While the average engagement typically lasts 18 months, there are many reasons why couples may want – or need - to speed up the wedding planning process to tie the knot much quicker. Royal couples the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Duke and Duchess of Sussex both married within six months of announcing their engagement, as did Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger, who surprised fans by revealing they had wed in June – only five months after they got engaged.
However, even if you don't have an A-list budget or celebrity wedding planner on hand to help you get everything sorted, it is possible to plan your dream wedding in less than six months. Bernadette Chapman, the original founder of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP), who has organised more than 100 weddings and trained more than 600 wedding planners, shares her expert advice…
How to plan a wedding in less than 6 months:
Bernadette says: "Some couples love nothing more than spending one to two years planning their wedding, but for others they wish to do the planning faster. During my time as a wedding planner my quickest turn around was just three months, some of our members have had even shorter lead times.
"If you have a shorter lead time then you need to approach wedding planning in a more logistical way. Yes it's more intense and challenging but in many ways it's far less stressful. Here are my top seven steps to planning a wedding in under 6 months."
MORE: The ultimate wedding planning checklist every bride-to-be needs
What can you afford?
Knowing how much you're working with will help you set your priorities for spending. Personally, I feel no one should start their married life by being in debt. Have a wedding that you can afford. So what is that amount to you? (Money already saved + family contributions + what you can save leading up to the wedding).
What are your priorities?
What is the highest priority for you? Is it the venue or food or entertainment? Every couple is unique and as such their priorities will differ. This helps you with budget allocation, ensuring you are spending on the areas important to you. But also it helps ensure you book the key suppliers first, work down your list of priorities.
It is vital you are flexible with your choice of venues and suppliers. Couples need to recognise that at times their first choice may not be available. Don’t be quite so stubborn, open up your mind to different suppliers and venues. Consider marrying off season or midweek for greater availability.
Create a timeline
Most wedding planners will create a timeline of tasks for their clients, and I highly recommend you create one for yourself to follow. Write down every single action or decision related to your wedding and put a deadline next to it. This helps you remain focused with completing all tasks in a timely manner. Thus no panic in the final week.
READ: 5 ways to reduce wedding costs for you and your guests
This is a huge tip. You do not have time to procrastinate or be indecisive. You need to ensure you are making decisions fast. Be committed to following your timeline and stick to decisions. I'm also a big believer in trusting your instincts and not second guessing every decision.
Check your chosen ceremony venue is available. Whether this is your local church, registrar office or indeed the reception venue. If having a civil ceremony then you will need to check the registrar is available and need 29 days to "give notice".
GALLERY: Summer wedding inspiration from celebrity brides
Now isn't the time to prove you are a super hero. Learn to delegate certain aspects of the wedding to friends and family to lighten the work-load.
Bernadette adds: "If budget allows this, could be the perfect time to hire a wedding planner and they are well versed in organising weddings with a short lead time. They know the best suppliers to use and have already vetted them. They have the systems and procedures in place to organise a wedding perfectly even with just a few months' notice. All members of the UKAWP have been vetted and are insured, and do not accept commission thus you can be clear on their honesty and dedication towards you.
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