2021 could be the year of the quick wedding. Larger weddings are postponing again because of coronavirus, which means there is venue availability in late spring and early summer for new weddings, particularly smaller ones. If you are up for a quick wedding, here’s a 20-point wedding checklist to help you plan.
1. Create a quick wedding checklist
Whether it is typed in Word, Excel or hand-written on the back of an envelope, a checklist ensures nothing gets forgotten.
2. Commit to being flexible
The shorter the time-frame, the more flexible you have to be when deciding on the date, venue and suppliers.
3. Agree on a budget
The best way to ensure you don’t spend more than you can afford is to create a budget. Try our free Excel budget-planner template.
4. Find a venue and decide on the date
If your heart is set on a particular venue, check the available dates. If you want a certain date, find a venue with that date available. Choose a venue with a comprehensive package to save planning time. An all-inclusive package with catering is even better.
5. Give notice in your area and book the registrar for your quick wedding
In England or Wales, you and your partner must “give notice” at the register office(s) closest to where you live at least 29 days before your ceremony. Then book a registrar to get married in a civil ceremony at a register office or any venue approved by the local council. If you want to use a celebrant at your venue, book your celebrant.
6. Create guest list and send invitations
With the venue and date confirmed, you know your maximum headcount. Send invitations and highlight the RSVP date. Electronic invitations save time and expense when planning a quick wedding and it is easier to send reminders.
7. Buy wedding rings
Look at wedding rings as soon as you can in case they have to be ordered-in or re-sized.
8. Book the essential vendors
Find or ask your venue to recommend vendors or provide services (usually at additional financial cost (but saving a lot of time). Pay the deposits to confirm. Essential vendors may include hair, makeup, caterer(s), photographer, videographer, band/DJ, florist, venue bar, mobile bar and wedding cake.
9. Find accommodation
Check if any accommodation is included with your venue hire package and decide who will stay. Ask your venue for other local accommodation providers and see if you can get any discount for a block booking.
10. Shop for wedding dress/attire
Wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, groomswear and other special wedding attire may need to be ordered and/or fitted. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Remember you can get great second-hand deals on dresses.
11. Book or buy any additional vendors or items
If your budget allows for extras, think about transportation, sweet cart, other entertainment, gifts and favours for wedding party and guests, DIY decoration items. Don’t forget to ask your venue for suggestions and what they provide.
12. Decide on your wedding party
Who is going to be in your wedding party? Parents, step-parents, bridesmaids, maid of honour, chief bridesmaid, flower girls, pageboys, best man, best woman, best people, your dog? We have even had a horse at Barnutopia.
13. Update your guest list
Harangue late responders for an RSVP. You need to know how many guests are coming so you can plan the final details of your wedding.
14. Finalise the catering
Let your venue/caterer(s) know the real final headcount. Be as accurate as possible. For meals charged per head, check the latest date you can confirm numbers so you don’t end up paying for meals you don’t eat. Don’t forget to confirm any dietary requirements, particularly serious allergies.
15. Book your honeymoon
This can sometimes get left off a wedding checklist when planning a quick wedding. Even if you don’t want to leave for your dream honeymoon immediately after your wedding, think about tacking on a few days at your venue or taking a short break somewhere else to prolong the enjoyment for a few days.
16. Confirm details and pay any balances due
Go through the details for your venue, all suppliers and wedding party to make sure nothing has been forgotten. Pay any balances due so you aren’t being chased in the final run-up to your day.
17. Make table and seating plan
Decide on table numbers, names or other theme and plan who you will seat together. Think about how you’re going to inform your guests which table they’re on. Will you have a chalk board, easel, other display?
18. Write speeches and toasts
Even if you decide not to have formal speeches, you will almost certainly do or say something. You’ll feel less nervous if you plan ahead and know what you want to say. If you don’t want speeches, there are plenty of alternatives.
19. Decorate venue or supervise venue dressing
Decorate the day before if you can to save stress on the day. Have a plan and stick to it. Delegate to trusted friends and family so it doesn’t all fall on you. If you have hired a venue dresser and/or a wedding coordinator, trust them to do their jobs.
20. Enjoy your wedding day
Remember that as long as you, your partner, the registrar and two witnesses turn up, you WILL get married. Don’t worry about the details. No-one will notice if the chair sashes aren’t the right shade of pink (only you knew exactly what you wanted). Savour every moment and spend as much of it as possible with your partner. It is a day that you should both remember as one of the best in your lives.
Anything to add to our quick wedding checklist?
If we have forgotten anything, please let us know so we can add to this list. See also Barnutopia’s standard venue hire package and all-inclusive micro wedding package for up to 15 guests with the option to add. For a quote please email or complete our enquiry form.