How to plan your last minute wedding

So you’re planning your ‘last minute’ wedding for a number of reasons, traditionally this meant there was a baby in the making but nowadays there’s loads of people choosing to speed up the process and be walking up the petal scattered aisle within 6 months of setting a date. For some people a poorly family member means bringing things forward, or for many, you’ve been engaged for years and decided to “just do it” but what ever the reason, if you’re prepared to make some quick decisions and consider other venues than the one you dreamed of from being a 5 year old rein acting barbie and ken’s wedding, then you could save a pretty penny.

The most time consuming part of planning a wedding is the ‘browsing’ looking around for ideas, colour schemes, styles etc so if you’re planning a wedding in the near future you are going to have to decide what you want, fast! If thats something you struggle with, try looking at sites such as Rock My Wedding where you’ll find real wedding inspiration and more suppliers than you can shake a stick at on the Love Lust List.

The key to getting it done is cutting out the panic inducing extras so if you nail these three decisions before booking anything, it’ll be a breeze. Budget. Style. Guest list! Go!

1.The Venue

Now you have an idea of what you’re looking for, whether its a classic romantic affair set in a grand tree lined manor or a low key flowers in your hair party in the woods;  the first thing you’ll need to book is the venue. Given the timescale, many will be booked up so you may want to consider getting married on a Sunday or a weekday, or be willing to compromise. First, draw up a list of all the wedding venues in the running, then contact them to confirm availability. When you then have a list of the available venues its time to see what last minute offers they can give you, remember, weddings inside 12 months are classed as ‘late availability’ to a venue as the chances of booking that date are dramatically decreased, so 99% of venues should be able to give you a considerable discount. Even some of the most luxury venues in lancashire such as Mitton Hall/Eaves Hall/Bartle Hall offer these discounts so don’t be afraid to ask! Don’t be afraid to think outside the box too, village halls, barns and restaurants can also be transformed into amazing wedding venues and probably wont have the same constraints on available dates.

clitheroe-lancashire-wedding-photography-at-eaves-hall, eaves hall wedding venue

2. The Dress

Most bridal boutiques will shudder at the thought of dress shopping 6 months before, so be prepared for a “you’ve left it too late” warning from some. However, whilst the timescale may limit your options slightly, I don’t know a dress shop in the world that will turn you away and by buying ‘off the peg’ which just means a dress that is already in stock in the shop as opposed to being ordered in especially, you could save yourself some more money here. The main reason things need to be done so early when it comes to bridal gowns is because of the alterations, there are often several and they can each take up to a couple of months. BUT finding something that needs little or no alterations will solve that problem. Try Novak Bridal Dresses in Rossendale or Lulu Brown’s in Whalley. If you’re really lucky there may be a sample sale on and you can bag yourself a huge bargain and take home your dress the same day! Check your local wedding dress boutiques for details of upcoming sales.

3. The Photographer

Much like venues, good Photographers (and Videographers) can be booked up as much as 3 years in advance but typically 1-2 years before the wedding and this is usually the next decision after securing a date at a venue. But, there will always be photographers who have chance dates still free, I would recommend calling some of the ‘contenders’ to ask if they have availability then see if they have any deals for last minute bookings. As a photographer, I would much rather offer someone a discount to book a date within 6 months that would ordinarily not have been booked so again, you’ll be in for a saving here! In addition to that, when I get an enquiry for a date I am already booked for, I help the couple find someone who is available, knowing so many wedding photographers in lancashire means that we can work together to be able to provide the best service to all couples and ultimately make your search much easier.

Check reviews, look through their portfolio online and make sure they are insured, there might not be much time but your photographs are all you are left with after the wedding, its worth spending time finding the right one. And lastly, meet them or speak on the phone before you book, your photographer is going to be with you all day so its important that you are on the same wavelength and you like them!

Lancashire-Wedding-Photographer-2015-in-pictures, bride and groom looking at each other

4. The Invites

Sending out invites becomes even more important when you’re on a restricted timescale, get them out asap before Auntie Irene books her trip to Benidorm with the girls that weekend! You wont have time for custom handmade invites but there are some lovely pre-printed ones available in gift shops and most graphic designers could knock one up within a couple of days if you can show them what you like to cut out time doing the amendments.

5. The Bridal Party

Choose who your most important boys and girls are and get them to help with the shopping. Show the girls the colour you want and tell them each to find a knee length and full length dress in that colour then you choose the one you like best and TELL them what they are wearing! The boys suits can either be hired or bought off the high street.

6. Other suppliers

Make a list of all the other suppliers you need and start enquiring about your date one by one. You’ll more than likely need a Florist, Transport, Cake, Venue Dresser and don’t forget the registrar if you’re getting married outside a church! Don’t expect huge discounts from these types of suppliers as they can all usually do more than one wedding in a day so the whole ‘last minute availability’ thing isn’t quite the same here.

7. Hair and Make up

Your hair and make up is a big deal, the last thing you want is to look like something from the Rocky Horror show! Some of us like the natural look where others like something more dramatic, there’s a huge difference and it could make or break your day, so the most crucial thing here is to make sure you have a trial, and do this early enough so that you have time to make changes and it will all be stress free and smiles!

bridal preparations in rossendale, lancashire, bride getting ready for her wedding

8. The Seating Plan


By this point you are probably finding wedding planning a breeze, all of the most important decisions are taken care of and its time to fill in the blanks, shopping for favours, table decorations and altering the seating plan, oh yes, the seating plan! The single thing that causes the most stress when wedding planning. Why not make your own, or get something easily changeable so that any last minute changes are a breeze to fix. You’ll be laughing all the way up the aisle for doing that!



With some serious focus and determination this can all be done in a matter of weeks, yes really! I have met brides who have bought their dress on their lunch hour and planned a wedding in 3 months, want to see how it all turned out? Have a look at Charlotte & Steven’s wedding.

Delegate tasks to family and friends and let them help take some of the responsibility. Planning a last minute wedding can be very romantic, if you are organised and keep track of all your paperwork. But most importantly you’re going to be Mr & Mrs that little bit sooner!

Get in touch on if you are still looking for a photographer or see the wedding photography package here.