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How Long Before A Wedding Should You Plan?

If you’re newly engaged, it’s always a good idea to start planning your wedding as far in advance as possible. That’s to give you the best chance of securing the date, venue and suppliers of your choice. But even if time is limited, it is still possible to have the wedding of your dreams. In this blog we’ll look at how long before a wedding you should plan, with some top tips from Lapstone Barn’s wedding coordinators. 

Can I Plan A Wedding In Under 12 Months?

 

According to the 2022 National Wedding Survey by Hitched, the average couple spends around 18 months planning their wedding. However, having that time to plan may not be a possibility for you. If that’s the case, then there’s definitely no need to worry, says Lapstone Barn’s General Manager, Agi Duhig: “Don’t panic! We have run weddings in as little as four weeks from booking to the wedding day. Everything is possible and we will be able to guide you through the process, recommend suppliers and help you plan the day with minimal stress. In our experience, couples with slightly shorter engagements can actually enjoy the process a lot more and the sense of excitement is maintained throughout.”

A good wedding venue and vendor will have onsite wedding planners and coordinators who will pull out all the stops to make sure your wedding runs smoothly, no matter how tight your wedding planning timeline. They have the knowledge and experience to make sure your wedding is as memorable as you’d hoped, but there are some things you can do to get the ball rolling. Take a look at our wedding planning checklist below for some top tips on how to plan a wedding in a short timeframe.

 

Top Tips On Planning A Wedding In Under 12 Months

 

1. Agree a date

Bride and groom photographed outside this beautiful Cotswold wedding venue. Photography: Rachel Jones Photography

Once you’ve set a date, then the rest of your wedding plans can start taking shape. If you’ve got your heart set on a particular time of year, you may find there’s more availability by looking at a mid-week wedding. You could also benefit from late availability offers and don’t forget to look at cancellations – it is not unheard of for venues to have couples pulling out at the last minute for all sorts of reasons.

2. Choose the venue

Bride and groom walking hand and hand in the garden

As soon as you find a venue that can offer you a date you’re happy with, book it! Because, without a venue, there’ll be no wedding. You’ll also find that many venues can then help you with the wedding planning process. Lapstone Barn’s General Manager, Agi Duhig, has guided many couples through their wedding plans: “At Lapstone Barn, every wedding has an event coordinator allocated to help them in the run up to the wedding and will be with them on the day to ensure everything is perfect. We will guide you through everything you need to do, make sure you are on time and even fluff your dress as you walk down the aisle.”

3. Send the invites

A wedding without guests would be a very quiet affair! Try to give people as much notice as possible so they can make arrangements. If you’re planning a wedding in under 12 months, then forgo the ‘Save the Date’ cards and focus on getting your wedding invitations in the post.   

4. Book your registrar

Bride and groom exchanging vows during their wedding ceremony

If you are not having a church ceremony, to ensure the wedding is legally binding it needs to be overseen by a registrar. Couples are legally required to ‘Give Notice’ by signing a legal statement at the local register office to say you intend to get married or form a civil partnership. This must be done at least 29 days before the date of your wedding and within 12 months of your wedding date.

5. Contact wedding suppliers

Rustic trestle tables set up for the wedding breakfast

Now you’ve got the main pillars of your wedding sorted, you can focus on all the extras. This includes things like the caterers, wedding photographer or videographer, florist, wedding car and reception entertainment. Some venues, such as Lapstone Barn, come with their own caterers which makes things a lot easier to plan in a shorter timeframe. And bear in mind that if you are ordering a wedding dress and bespoke wedding rings, they might need a few months to complete. 

6. Reserve accommodation

Bedroom with brass bedstead and exposed Cotswold stone fireplace

If you have guests coming from out of town, it’s a good idea to block book rooms for them. This takes the pressure off your guests to find somewhere to stay, especially if they’ve not had much notice to plan their trip. Wedding venues that offer onsite accommodation, such as Lapstone Barn, are ideal for this sort of situation as you can take care of everything all at once. At Lapstone Barn, we have onsite accommodation for 14 guests, including a bridal suite for the newly weds, with more rooms coming in summer 2024 – watch this space!

7. Be flexible

Bride and groom cutting their wedding cake

At the end of the day, a wedding is about the people involved, not the colour of your flowers or type of car you arrive in. Try to approach your wedding planning with some flexibility, as Lapstone Barn Wedding Coordinator, Mylie Gardner, says: “I would recommend making a list of suppliers and figuring out which are most important to you both so you can look at getting them secured for your date or finding a similar alternative if they are not available. Flexibility is key with last minute wedding plans.”

How Quickly Can I Plan A Wedding?

Sometimes, asking how long before a wedding should you plan is unhelpful because the answer is that anything is possible! For example, Mylie recently helped a couple plan their wedding at Lapstone Barn in under 10 weeks. This worked because everybody was flexible, says Mylie: “Instead of organising a tasting, we offered the couple the chance to chat with our chefs over zoom. They have been really decisive and kept their food and beverage offering quite simple, choosing dishes they already know and love.”

In fact, planning a wedding in a shorter time frame can be a positive experience. “It means you build a strong relationship with the wedding coordinator and the venue,” says Mylie. “I personally showed the couple round, have helped them with their plans and will be with them on the day. If their wedding was over 12 months away, this might not have been possible. At Lapstone Barn, we value the personal touch and love to be involved with the journeys of our couples, so this is as much a plus for them as it is us!”

 

Let us help you plan your wedding!

Our experienced wedding coordinators know exactly what it takes to put on a fabulous wedding, whatever your timeframe. If you’re planning a wedding on short notice, get in touch with us for our 2024 and late availability dates. We are also taking bookings for 2025 and beyond…

 

 

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