Bespoke is great - you get something made for you, and it is just for you. Normally, I prefer to take time on bespoke items, but it doesn't always work out like that, and sometimes (often!) brides need a little bit of urgent turnaround for that extra little something.
Here are two great examples with totally different timelines. One was ordered 2 days prior to the wedding and hand delivered. The other was ordered 3 months before the wedding and travelled 9,500miles across the world. With the latter, a pair of similar berry-coloured sashes for twin flower girls, I had time to shop for materials that matched the colour theme of the wedding, time to make the items, and time to post the item with delivery a few weeks before the wedding date. This is great for a relaxed bride, and relaxed me!
But if you're short of time, bespoke is not necessarily out of the picture.
This beautiful set of matching corsage and boutonniere was done and delivered in 48 hours. The brief thankfully was simple: nothing big and elaborate, and something that goes with a white dress to be worn at the registry. And the bride had a quick look at the internet for some inspiration and shared what she liked with me - great to get a good understanding of size and design preferences. I used materials that I already had in stock, with the bride's agreement on colour, and used a simple flower design that was quick to make but still looked lovely.
So here's my realistic rundown about last-minute bespoke:
1) Don't expect something that looks very elaborate to be turned around in short time. If you are short on time, you can still get great simple bespoke designs made, without complex features that add time. Be flexible about the design you are looking for.
2) Factor in delivery - don't go for a supplier who is half way around the world, unless you are prepared to pay for very expensive international couriers. Unfortunately I have refused work in the past because the cost of delivery would just be ridiculous to meet the deadline. You also need to remember that every delivery always carries a small element of risk, even if you're paying massive amounts of money, something out of everyone's control could still go wrong with the courier.
3) Consider picking up the item when it's ready - whether by yourself (not ideal if there are a thousand other things you need to do), preferably by well meaning members of the wedding party or bridesmaids party. This immediately shaves off a day lost in postage if it is within the same country.
4) It's great to have a few pictures of what you like to share, but be aware that any decent designer / maker will refuse to copy a design for you. You can request a similar style,or similar features, but not an exact copy.
5) Be very clear about your must-have requirements, especially dimensions - how wide, how long, how deep, how thick, etc. You don't need to specify every single detail if you can't but the important ones will be needed, especially if it is something that need to fit.
6) Don't be scared to contact a supplier even if it is last minute, particularly if they're local to you. They may say no but if you don't ask you don't get. But make sure they know it is a rush order so they can quote realistically.
7) Finally, in today's world of emails and online communications, don't forget that phone and even text is probably faster than online, so if you have a telephone number, don't hesitate to pick up the phone. Much better than send a message and wait a day before getting a response.