Over the years I’ve taken part in several weddings, attended dozens more, and walked down the aisle myself. Seeing others take a year, or two, or more to plan their “perfect” weddings made my future husband and I determined to avoid such stressful limbo. When we got engaged, it was because we wanted to be married and start our life together as soon as possible. We had a beautiful event that we enjoyed, and it only took four months. You can do it, too!
This is good advice for any wedding. Trust me, no matter how well you plan, how much money you spend, and how much you threaten vendors, your wedding will never be perfect. Things go wrong, accidents happen, unforeseen delivery delays force last-minute changes, and people are unpredictable. The more flexible you are about the details of your special day, the faster you can get things done, and the calmer you will be when something inevitably goes awry.
Just like your marriage, a quick wedding will involve compromise. If the venue you want isn’t available this year on the exact date you want, you’ll have to give up on the venue or the date. My dream throughout my college years was to be married in the beautiful campus chapel. So we picked the month, got the dates the building was available, then found a minister who was available on one of those dates. Choose what element of your wedding day is most valuable to you, then plan around that.
Tell Family and Friends About the Wedding Right Away
If you want to get married in six months or less, you need to tell the people you’re close to right away so they can make themselves available. If you can be flexible on your wedding date, try to choose a time that’s best for your most important guests and the bridal party. Giving everyone a quick heads-up is especially helpful for those who will have to travel from out of town.
The lead time is also helpful for shower, party, and gift-planning. My best friend had long promised a beautiful wedding cross-stitch as a present, but always joked she needed a commitment before she started it. When I told her of our engagement and four-month wedding date, she was a bit shocked by the short deadline, but she got the piece done just in time. It’s a story we both love to tell now, of how she took that cross-stitch everywhere for four months, working on it in every spare moment to make sure we had it on our wedding day. That dedication made it an even more treasured gift, and it’s one of the first things you see when you enter our home.
Your venue is one of the most important elements of your wedding, and can also be the toughest to arrange, so make that your first priority. Once you’ve got a time and place to get married, it’s much easier to plan all the other elements. Make a list of the things you absolutely have to have, like a DJ, wedding cake, and flowers. Work on those first. Save the things you might want but don’t need, like homemade gifts for guests or a violinist for the dinner portion of the reception, for after you’ve gotten your main priorities settled.
Don’t Take No for an Answer
Many bridal stores, florists, and other wedding vendors will tell you it’s impossible to arrange anything in less than a year. Of course they’ll tell you this, because it makes their job easier if they have more time. But once you press them, insistent on the date you want, you’ll be surprised at the solutions they can find. Most vendors want your business, so they’ll do what’s necessary to get it. If they don’t, then find someone who will.
We located a bridal store that offered us dress selections from a local supplier that could get us our gowns the fastest. A small local florist was excited about a large wedding order and found a way to work us into their schedule. Rather than trying to get into one of the many lookalike reception halls that are booked years in advance, we reserved a large, charmingly decorated room at our favorite restaurant. Since we were already good customers, we got a great rate and the owner oversaw every detail.
A short wedding time frame forces you to be assertive, explore unique options, and use all of your creativity. This is a perfect recipe for creating a truly special day.