9 Tips for Planning a Quick Wedding
The appropriate amount of time for an engagement is whatever suits your personal preference. In other words, there is no amount of time “too long” or “too short” when it comes to planning your wedding. It’s completely up to what you and your fiancé want!
For couples who want to plan a wedding in 5 months or less (maybe even in just a matter of weeks), you’ll want to approach your wedding planning process a bit differently than a bride or groom who is planning a 12 month+ engagement.
To help get you started on the short road to the altar, here are 9 expert pieces of advice you’ll want to consider. And remember, this is YOUR wedding day! Take any advice with a grain of salt…and enjoy every moment, even the planning process.
- Narrow down a short list of venues
Most wedding planning advice will tell you that your first step should be picking a date. We agree, but for a wedding with a shorter planning timeframe, we suggest starting with your venue instead. Why? Because venues fill up early. It’s better to narrow down your preferred venues before you have your heart set on a date, because this could eliminate nearly all the ones you really love and back you into a corner. So instead, start with your venue and once you know you’ve “found the one” take a deep breath and ask what dates are available in your time frame.
- Pick a date – and be flexible
Once you have your venue (or at least a narrowed down list of options), you’ll want to know all the dates that are available to you. If you’re planning a really quick wedding, be prepared to be flexible. The only available dates might be a weekday evening or a Sunday.
While this isn’t the traditional day of the week many people get married on, since when has tradition every stopped love? Be mindful of your guests, especially ones who are coming from out of town, but don’t be afraid to opt for a non-Saturday wedding if it means getting the venue you love (and possibly at a cheaper rate)!
- Scope your guest list to fit the venue
With a venue and a date, you’ll now have a better idea of how many people you can invite to fit inside your selected location. Keep in mind that with shorter advance notice, a higher percentage of your guests may unfortunately not be able to attend.
Small weddings have their advantages too! If you’re worried that your guest list exceeds your venue’s capacity, consider making an A list and B list of invites. Be sure and work through those lists quickly so even the B list guests have more than a week or two’s notice prior to your big day.
- Pick the appropriate (i.e. fastest) way to inform guests
If you’re still more than 3 months out from your wedding, you have enough time to create and send mailed invitations. If you are crafty (or have a crafty friend), you can make your own invitations often faster than a professional designer can. You’ll want to be sure that these invites can be dropped in the mail 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding date to allow for guests to RSVP.
If you don’t have this length of time, consider emailing your invitations. There are many sites (www.punchbowl.com or www.evite.com) that offer electronic invitations for all occasions. Note, many guests may see this as informal, but they will hopefully understand the necessity given the smaller time frame for planning.
- Have a plan to make it legal
This is arguably the most important step, even when planning a quick wedding. You’ll want to be aware of all deadlines, waiting periods, etc. for securing an officiant and getting your marriage license. This varies from state to state and will also depend upon your personal contacts (for an officiant). But don’t overlook this important step, otherwise all your hard work in that short amount of time may still not get you legally married!
- Think outside the box for wedding attire
A couture wedding gown and custom made suit are likely out of the question whenever you’re planning a wedding in less than 5 months. But there are plenty of other beautiful options for wedding attire that will work just fine! Consider shopping sample sales and altering the dress to fit your needs. Allow your groomsmen to wear simple black suits that they likely already own. Also allow your bridesmaids to wear a sun dress in a certain color or style.
Finally, forgo the wedding party altogether and then the only outfits you have to find are for you and your fiancé! If you’re planning a casual wedding, a simple white dress is all you need. You can even rent one from www.renttherunway.com which will arrive to your door in your size in a matter of days.
- Get crafty for decorations
Just as you can hand-make your wedding invitations to expedite the process, you can also hand-make many of your wedding and reception decorations to save time and money. It doesn’t take much, just a few special touches to make your venue feel special and true to your personality. Talking with a wedding professional is a great way to get ideas and to know what options are available to you within your time frame. You may be surprised by some of the deals you can get by buying or renting items at the last minute!
- Keep it casual
Black-tie weddings tend to require more time, planning and money. You can save on all of these things by planning a more casual wedding. In the summer, an outdoor wedding where your bridesmaids wear short dresses and your guests dress comfortably will create a fun atmosphere where everyone will feel relaxed and in the mood to celebrate. Maybe a casual wedding is a more accurate reflection of your personality anyways? Don’t feel pressured to make a wedding a fancy ordeal. Keeping it casual will eliminate a lot of unnecessary details and lessen the items on your to-do list.
Finally, take all those lengthy “wedding must-haves” and hack down the list to only the things you really care about. Not crazy about flowers? Don’t have them! Want to skip cocktail hour and do a dinner buffet? Go for it! Your wedding is about you and your fiancé saying “I do.” The party is secondary. Put your energy into the things you love and make these details awesome. Then, let go of any outside stress and pressure and embrace your wedding day as the day you get to have exactly what you want!
Are you planning a short engagement? What other questions do you have for our event planning experts? Let us know by commenting below!