Holdsworth House in Halifax is no stranger to weddings, and traditionally the average time to plan a wedding is 18 months from start to finish. Yet not all our guests have or need the luxury of years to plan their wedding day. In fact we’re seeing a trend of many brides taking the ‘chilled’ approach, with more and more weddings taking place within a few months of booking.
We asked Holdsworth House’s expert wedding coordinator Claire Nicholl to give us her top tips for planning a wedding in no time at all.
HH: Claire, what’s the shortest time you’ve seen a wedding take place from the initial booking?
CN: We’ve had couples arrange weddings within six weeks of walking through the door, it’s not that uncommon actually. There are lots of different reasons why, but more recently brides seem a bit more relaxed about the preparations. Couples are very educated and know they can source lots of information and products for their wedding on the internet, so shopping around and making decisions is so much quicker and easier.
Also whilst some couples take the traditional approach of sending out beautiful card invitations, we see some now emailing really inventive and interactive invitations, which also solicits a much faster response if needs be.
The world works much faster than it used to yet expectations are increasing all the time. Just because you fancy tying the knot in a few weeks you don’t have to compromise on the quality or standards. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but just imagine what the Romans could do in a day now?!
HH: What would be your top tips for planning a wedding in 6 weeks?
CN: OK, here we go:
1. Book your venue and your ceremony
This is your priority and the two go hand-in-hand (excuse the pun). At Holdsworth House we work closely with the Halifax registrars so once you’ve checked the date with us, call the Calderdale Register Office on 01422 288080 to book your ceremony. They will talk you through the process of the ceremony and any fees payable to them. If you’re getting married in a church or religious venue you can hold your reception with us afterwards. Registrars require at least 15 days notice period for the marriage license, religious venues may be longer.
Use the expert knowledge around you. Any reputable wedding venue will have a really good wedding coordinator. In fact, we have a larger team here at Holdsworth House and over 50 years combined experience of wedding celebrations. You’ll have been a guest at a wedding before but this is (probably) the first time you’ve been through it as a bride or groom – we can talk you through how a really fabulous wedding works and what you can expect on the day.
Be flexible with dates. Civil ceremonies can take place on any day of the week here. As well as Saturdays, popular days are Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. Guests are usually more than happy to take a day off work to help you celebrate and then make a weekend/extended stay of it.
The easiest way to book a wedding is to go for a package, without lots of complicated working out of costs, numbers or add ons. Ours includes room hire, meals, wine, canapes, toastmaster, disco, evening buffet etc. It means that half of the things that you need to sort out are already done for you.
2. Compile a Gift List
Not all couples have one, but guests often want to buy you a present. If you’d prefer people to buy you what you want (rather than end up with a heap of things you’d prefer not to have) then making a gift list is a good option. Most high street department stores offer this service free but I find many people now ask for travel money, gift vouchers or simply the pleasure of the guests’ company at their wedding!
3. Send out your invitations
Getting the invitations out isn’t usually a problem, it’s getting responses from everyone. You can buy off the shelf wedding invitations to hand write and most printers (on the high street or online) can turn personalised ones around in a week and offer place cards and menus if you wish.
Make sure the RSVP date is clear. Allow people to RSVP by text or email. You could set up a Facebook Event page for your wedding where people can RSVP. You can also use this to add images, location maps or link to your wedding venue. On your invite make sure you include:
- Date and arrival time
- Whether you’re inviting them to the wedding and evening or just the evening party
- Venue – location map, postcode and telephone number
- How guests can book accommodation
- RSVP date and method: phone, letter, Twitter, Facebook… anything goes these days
- Dress code
- Gift list
3. Find your dress
Many brides panic that bridal shops won’t be able to order in their dresses in a short timeframe and that fittings take weeks. This is untrue – most good retailers will work to your timescales. Or you could buy dresses straight from many department stores like John Lewis, Debenhams or Monsoon. Bridesmaids and menswear can also be found off the peg or you could opt for a colour theme and have each bridesmaid choose their own outfit to fit the theme.
We like local suppliers:
Cameo Rose Vintage Inspired Accessories: 07734 821232
The Swanky Bride 01422 206640
We’ve had some ultra-trendy weddings recently where vintage has been big. Dresses available from vintage shops or mums’ 1970 pre-worn wedding dresses are seeing a massive come back.
4. Photographers and Flowers
With the improvements in camera technology you might be tempted to ‘do it yourself’ but a really good wedding photographer takes the strain off you, gets the all-important brilliant and memorable pictures and is worth their weight in gold. We don’t make any commission from the suppliers we recommend so rest assured I’m speaking from the heart!
Holdsworth House looks great at any time of the year but a good photographer will help to get the lighting right for indoor shots of you and your guests so that your fond memories are captured in every picture. A wedding not on a Saturday will give you the best chance for top suppliers to be available.
I recommend local photographers:
Alex Knight Photography 0113 204 9857
6. Buy your wedding ring
Now the fun really starts. Some brides ask their chief bridesmaid to make the hen party arrangements, others like to be fully in control and do it themselves. But gone are the days when brides want to go all out on a cheesy (not so memorable) night on the town; sophistication is the name of the game. Holdsworth House offers an overnight hen House Party which lets you take advantage of our private dining rooms with their iPod stations, cocktails and gin menus so you can wine and dine in style. If you’re after more of an action packed weekend, we’d recommend Rokt in Brighouse for a complete unique indoor climbing, abseiling, adrenaline-packed time.
For the men, a group golf break is good whether you’re beginners or amateurs. We’ve tied up with West End Golf Club in Halifax to offer some great views, great dining and friendly rivalry for stag parties.
9. Enjoy it
Everything really can be taken care of quickly and easily. The organising should be as fun as the day itself and with the help of friends and professionals, you’re guaranteed the whirlwind wedding of the season.