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Last Minute Organisation | Wedding Planning in 30 days

Whether you’ve just got engaged but want to get married in 30 days, or have you left planning wedding until the last minute, this is your last minute organisation guide (the wedding planning procrastinator’s handbook). While you won’t get a lot of use out of our wedding planner book in just 30 days, you might like to use wedding planning pack – including excel templates for wedding budget and guestlist, and vendor question guides, it’ll get you through any sticky spots over the next month.

Set a Wedding Date

If you’re looking to set a date in just a month, consider an off-peak day. If you’re having a winter wedding, you may also find this easier, as wedding venues and vendors aren’t as busy then. If you’re having a summer wedding, talk to vendors and venues about a Thursday, Friday or Sunday wedding.

Have you found a wedding venue?

If you haven’t secured a wedding venue you love, or the ones you loved are booked well in advance, think outside the square. In most countries there are thousands of private properties which are suitable for a hiring for a wedding. In New Zealand, the wedding map operates like an ‘Air BnB’ for wedding venues – you can search by location or category (e.g. beach/barn) and specifically opt for a private home, as we did. You still need to ask any and all questions you possibly have about hiring a wedding venue before you sign a contract – even when you’re in a rush! You may be working on a tight deadline, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have time for clarification. The wedding planning pack includes all those niggly questions, including the legals you need to know.
Consider restaurants, art galleries or even museums for your gathering, have a look at 20 unique and alternative wedding venues to help you think outside the square.

Write a Guest List and Send it Soon

Though it may feel a little rushed to send your wedding invitations (you can skip save-the-dates!) as soon as you’ve booked a date and wedding venue, your guests aren’t going to have much time to get time off, arrange transport, childcare and possibly accommodation, so give them as much notice as possible.

If your Wedding Venue doesn’t have in-house catering

Even if you’ve left it til the last minute, you still may be able to find an independent wedding caterer. If you’re having any trouble, talk to local restaurants and see if they’re able to provide even just the main course. Friends and family may be able to whip up canapés, crudités and cheese for after, and your wedding cake can do double-duty for dessert –add cream and berries for a summer feel.

Booking a Last Minute Wedding Photographer

The difficulty in finding your wedding photographer at short notice will depend on whether it’s a busy Saturday in peak season, or if you’ve chosen a less busy day for your nuptials. Your wedding venue or other vendors may know an up and coming photographer who’s not yet fully booked, or you could also enquire with Design schools or universities who have photography students willing to shoot for you.

Finding Wedding Attire in 30 days

If it’s a wedding dress you’re after, you can find one off-the-rack and have it altered, but as most custom wedding gowns take 3-6 months to make, it may be too tight to have a completely bespoke dress designed. While there are beautiful off-the-rack styles, you might also consider a ‘non’ wedding dress from a department store or even Asos, who have incredibly cost-effective bridal options.

For suiting, likewise you won’t be able to do custom, but do start shopping around now to allow time for alterations.

For your wedding party, Asos has an incredible array of bridesmaids dresses too!

Find a Live Musician at Short Notice

Contact a music school or a University music class to find a student or instructor, or even a band. Of course, you could always put together your own playlist instead, just be sure to check the sound system in the days before the wedding. Consider whether you need to hire a microphone, speakers or any other set up for your musician at the wedding venue.

Writing your vows and wedding speech

This can be a tricky whenever you do it – when else are you expected to express your most personal feelings in front of dozens (if not hundreds) of people? Even if you’re a wordsmith, it’s unique to share such intimate and private feelings in public, but its also one of the most special and sentimental elements of a wedding, and important that your promises are witnessed by friends and family. I recommend using a couple’s journal like our love story throughout your wedding planning journey (however short), noting down things you love and admire in your partner, recalling special memories and making speech notes along the way. If you haven’t done this and there’s not long to go, spend an evening with your partner and a bottle of wine and discuss your shared history, favourite memories and intentions for the future. Our love story is also a prompted wedding anniversary journal for after the Big Day

Don’t forget your Marriage Licence

Marriage Licences need to be applied for at least three clear days out from the wedding, but you can do so up to three months out, so don’t delay (we know the Government don’t do things in a hurry!). See NZ marriage legalities here.

A Relaxed Taupo Lakefront Wedding

“Our story began 5ish years ago. We had worked together for a little while in a restaurant in Melbourne. There were a few work friends that had suggested that we would end up in a relationship but at that point Brad had a girlfriend so that was off the cards. We were given tickets to see the All blacks and Wallabies play in Melbourne as we were the only 2 that cared about rugby in the business. Brad reckons that after that night there was something there. As luck would have it things didn’t work out with his girlfriend and they parted ways…

In classic hospitality style, a staff party assisted in our original “hook up”. We continued to see each other in secret after that. We would finish work and leave separately only to meet up around the corner…. Seems funny now but it made things fun and allowed us to maintain professionalism at work. We spent a hell of a lot of time together, it was and still is so easy.. It seemed a natural fit.”

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We had been working long hours and hadn’t really seen much of each other for a few weeks. I was looking forward to a Sunday off together and we had one planned. When the day arrived Brad got up and told me he had to go into work for a little bit. I was pissed off.

On his way out the door he told me to pack an overnight bag and that he would be back soon. I had an idea of what he was up to. He returned to pick me up. I was wearing my best flannel shirt and ripped jeans and we left. He started heading towards the great ocean road. I hate that road. Don’t get me wrong it’s beautiful but I’m not great with windy roads and he knew it. It took forever to get there and I was a bit grumpy.

We got to the 12 apostles and pulled in to a gravel driveway that lead to a pretty big tent. We opened it up and it was the equivalent of a hotel room inside a tent. I sat down and Brad dropped to a knee. I cried and he proceeded to ask the top of my head to marry him. I managed to say yes. After that we celebrated with a large hamper of amazing food and my favourite champagne that he had prepared and packed in secret.

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Our inspiration for the day was us. It had to be who we are as people. We wanted to have a relaxed, country, family feel to our wedding. We wanted our guests to feel special and at home. We didn’t want the day to be overly formal or starchy, it had to be fun and have the potential to get rowdy. We wanted have nature to play a part in the day hence the outdoor ceremony and we wanted to have a lot of family and personal touches so a lot of our decorations were made and assembled either by us or by family and friends.

I walked down the isle to Best Friend by Queen and when we walked back down the aisle as husband and wife we had What Is Life by George Harrison. We were lucky enough to have musician Marc Joseph from Hamilton playing and awesome array of music that had everyone on the dance floor singing along and dancing. He provided the exact atmosphere that we were after… We definitely recommend him to anyone planning a wedding or special event!

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Save Items…

We saved by doing a lot ourselves or having family help. For a start we did our own invites. Brads suit and the grooms outfits were all bought on sale for a steal. On the day… Flowers for the table were mostly dried flowers that Mum grew and dried for us. The fresh flowers for the table were purchased at the supermarket on the day and were really cheap. I made the bunting and we set up the marquee for the reception ourselves. And at the advice of our caterer, desserts consisted of our cake and a couple of delicious slices made by our mums.

Splurge Items…

My dress was a splurge item because I’m not good with shopping so bought the first dress that I tried on and liked. No shopping around whatsoever. We spent on the flowers for the arch that we got married under and the bouquets for myself and my bridesmaid and button pins for Dad and Brad. Well worth it as they looked amazing! We also spent a bit on our photographer. This was massively important to us to have have great photos and as you can see they were well worth it!

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If I could do anything differently…

If we could do one thing differently we wouldn’t have trusted a builder saying that Brads parents house would be pretty much finished. As a result our marquee was pitched in the surroundings of a bit of a construction site. It didn’t really effect the day but if we had to pick one thing that we could change, that would be it.

Advice for future brides…

My advice for brides would be to make sure you don’t get carried away on small details and remember to enjoy the day. Don’t get lost in the mayhem and don’t sweat it if a few things don’t go quite to plan. Also make sure you take time to be with your husband, stand back with him and take it all in. It all goes by too fast.

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Photography David Le Design & Photography
Flowers XOX Floral
Hair Havargo
Make Up & Beauty Beauty On Location
Cake ICED, Dannevirke
Brides Dress Katie May
Groom Saba
Venue Kinloch, Taupo on brides parents property
Catering Yum Food Company, Taupo


A Colourful Christchurch Wedding

Today’s unique wedding is like a bunch of colorful flowers, simply looking at these bright and cheerful images will put a smile on your dial! Held across three venues, Robyn & Caleb’s focus for the day was people and community, making their guests feel as welcome and included as possible through ‘speed mating’ and other unique activities that look like a whole lot of fun! Utilising the talents of friends and family and making the most of public Christchurch venues adds a really unique and personal element to today’s clever DIY love story, there is loads of inspiration here for creative couples who want to want a beautiful yet quirky day. Enjoy xox

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Who Caleb & Robyn

Where Christchurch

Locations Ceremony at Millstream Lawn (Mona vale Gardens) | Reception/afternoon tea was in the staff room/library of Robyn’s old primary school, Hillview Christian School | Pot luck dessert and dance night at South West Baptist- Caleb’s Church

Guests Family and friends, we wanted an opportunity to thank the numerous people who have made invaluable contributions to our lives, the attendance was approx. 150. We also wanted everyone to have the opportunity to make the reception hence the afternoon tea rather than evening event (allowing families with young children to be present.) Our view for our wedding day was we wanted to honour God and honour the people who have played a part in our lives so the evening potluck dessert provided us the opportunity to spend more quality time with our guests once the formalities of the ceremony and reception were complete.

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How did you meet?

We met at a bible study that Robyn was leading out of a cafe in Christchurch. A mutual friend brought Caleb along, it was love at first sight! (Not quite) Caleb took another couple of months to whip up the courage to ask Robyn on a date.

In three words describe your wedding style… Colourful, People-centered, Inclusive

What music did you play for those special moments?

Aisle song  ‘Holy Wedding Day’ by City Harmonic
Processional  ‘Must Have Done Something Right’ by Relient K
First dance ‘Uptown Girl’ by Billy Joel, Caleb’s brother found it on the spot! We weren’t expecting to do a first dance.

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What were the save and splurge items for your wedding?

Splurge Photography- We wanted to remember our day particularly the people attending and all of those little moments of emotion we may have missed. We got that and so much more, we were stoked with the job that Michelle and James from Patina Photography did.

Save As much as humanly possible, we wanted to allow all of our friends an family to have an opportunity to be involved in the wedding- this for us was a representation of how life is all about teamwork (it takes a village to raise a child) we were blessed with incredible generosity in return.

Tell us about your unique guest games!

To get people mixing with each other at the reception we got everyone in 2 rotating big circles ((creating a speed “mating” (i.e. becoming mates) process)) achieved by giving each pair a card with 3 questions on it, at the dessert evening again people got into 2 big circles and everyone did the ‘Gay Gordon’ (the dance). We also had a snazziest shirt competition for the guys and most handsome hat competition for the girls to ensure people’s attire was colourful and fun and as a symbol of our shared love for competition.

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Did you DIY? 

This wedding had DIY in its DNA!

From the wedding cake to the DJ the whole day was a combination of diligent planning and the hard work of friends and family.

– Stationery design by one of Caleb’s groomsmen Josh
– Caleb’s Aunty made the wedding cake and then drove it all the way from Te Puke to Christchurch – mammoth effort!!!!
– Layout of venues plus signage by Robyn’s friend Irenie
– Trophies for the 2 competitions by one of Caleb groomsmen Sam
– Set up on the day at the 3 venues by lots of family and friends
– Decorations for ceremony and reception (e.g. aisle flower boxes, hand-made bunting plus, photo booth, photo display and so much more!!!) by Robyn’s Mum, Dad and Sister
– Bridal party (bow ties, girls belts and jewelry) by Robyn’s mum
– The BBQ boys (sausage cookers) were Caleb’s Cousins and Uncle
– Serving platter pieces of wood cut and prepped by Caleb’s cousin

And lots of other things too some of which are mentioned under savings…

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What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? And the most fun?

The hardest part was distance. Caleb was in Christchurch while Robyn had taken a job in Palmerston North, so we had to organise things apart from one another over FaceTime plus google docs.

The most fun was seeing it all come together and knowing the loving hands behind it were those of our family and friends. Subsequently on the day it was a joy spending time with our guests and seeing them enjoying each other’s company.

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Do you have any money saving tips for engaged couples?

1) Borrow. It is amazing how people love getting on board with weddings, lending time, talents and possessions you find the best helpers in all sorts of places. People can’t help if they don’t know. We were fortunate to have family and friends who were excited to get on board.

2) Be organised and do lots of research planning things and booking well in advance allows you the best options at the cheapest prices avoiding the disappointment of missing out.

3) Make a wedding budget and stick to it.

4) Google docs was great for lists, lists and more lists, as well as schedules which we could email out to our volunteers.

5) Flowers are expensive, but you can get greenery to bulk up your arrangements from all over the place, no need to pay for that on top of flowers! (Check what flowers are in season too).

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Photographer Patina Photography
Catering Subway, Countdown, Sweet As, Cashmere Cuisine
Hire Companies Wine Barrel & Retro bike from Without a Hitch | Big Games from HiJinks | Continental Event Catering
Stationery Printing Freedom Print & Design
Celebrant Daryl Judd
Accessories Sherrington Jewellers
Shoes Atticus Shoes
Bridesmaids Dresses Pagani
Grooms Suit & Accessories Hallensteins & Barkers, Braces from NZ Ties
Rings Sherrington Jewellers
Bubbles Party Shop
Wedding Cake Penny Carey