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In Utah (where I live), it is very typical for an engagement to only last 2-3 months. People don’t consider that strange at all. In fact, my own was just under 3 months and it wasn’t difficult at all to find venues and vendors not only available, but “in the know” on such a short timeline. That isn’t the case in most other locations, and that’s why I’m sharing my best tips on how to plan a wedding fast!
Planning a Wedding in Two Months or Less
Set Your Expectations
The time limit may mean that you have to sacrifice some of your ideal wedding dreams for more realistic ideas. This doesn’t have to mean that it won’t still be amazing, it just means that you will find several areas that will need compromise as you proceed with planning. Set your list of things you MUST have a certain way, and then let everything else have a little flexibility.
Ask For Help
With such a short timeline, you’ll need to call in reinforcements. This isn’t a “Don’t be afraid to ask for help”, it’s a “You HAVE to ask for help!” situation. If you’re a controlling person (like me), and have had your dream wedding planned for years, this might be the trickiest thing to do, but in the end you have to focus on the marriage, not the linen colors. There are a lot of people who would LOVE to help, but need to be asked first, so be brave!
To start you need to have a planning meeting with your fiance. What do you each envision and what is realistic for your timeline and budget. Then, have a planning meeting with your parents to get their input. Important decisions to make during your planning meetings are:
- What is your total budget?
- Who is invited to the wedding?
- What type of wedding will you have? Time of day (breakfast, lunch or dinner), Day of the week (middle of the week weddings are wonderful, especially for securing a venue), Where will the wedding be held? Where will the reception be held? Will you have a small reception with hors d’ouveres after the ceremony, or a full meal?
- Who will be responsible for what?
- Who will be in the wedding party?
Set a Date and Send a Save-the-Date Email
Once you’ve had your initial planning meeting you need to select a date based on the feedback you received. Because many guests will need to make work and travel arrangements, send out an electronic save the date while you wait to get actual invitations made. Have this include the RSVP since you can’t wait for the invitations to be mailed and then to have them mail back an RSVP.
Reserve Your Venue
Get creative! Ask around among your friends and family to find out whether you can use someone’s backyard for your event. If that doesn’t work, check other locations like
parks, clubhouses or churches.
Select Your Bridal Party
Contact those in your bridal party and ask them to be a part of your wedding. There may not be time to order traditional bridesmaids dresses, so give them a color palette and let them select a dress that is flattering to them. I recommend asking each wedding party member to have a specific responsibility. Ideas can include:
- Hosting the bridal shower and/or bachelorette party. Ask them to include ways to help during these activities. You can have a lot of fun together while you stuff envelopes and address invitations.
- Making the wedding guest sign in book
- Assembling a bathroom basket for the ceremony and reception space
- Creating a wedding day survival kit for the bridal party to have on hand
- Helping assemble the wedding favors
- Arranging the wedding send off – here are 21 really unique ideas!
Hire a Photographer and Videographer
If you aren’t able to find one available on your date and in your budget ask around to find a friend or a friend-of-a-friend. My main advice on this is, DON’T USE A FAMILY MEMBER! Use someone that isn’t meant to be in any of the photos or videos. Find someone detached enough that they won’t be found on the dance floor when they should be taking pictures of the dancing. Pay them a little and give them access to a great DSLR camera if they don’t have their own and put them to work!
Mail Your Wedding Invitations ASAP
Have a simple engagement photo shoot and get the edits done as quickly as possible. You can either use a free wedding invitation template from a big box retailer like Costco or Walmart or expedite (costs more) the shipping from a site like Minted, Shutterfly or Vistaprint.
Find A Wedding Gown
With not much time for ordering a custom gown or even alterations, it’s important that you begin your hunt right away. If the bridal stores near you don’t have what you are looking for consider other options. I rented my bridal gown and loved going that route, you can also look online for previously worn dresses or borrow a dress from a friend.
Obtain a Marriage License
You may be wondering what the requirements are to get a marriage license. The rules for obtaining a marriage license vary from state to state. Check with your city clerks office to make sure you’ve got everything you need. Many will have information on their website about waiting periods, identification and documentation needed, and fees required.
Flowers and Decor
Many venues will already be “dressed” enough that you won’t need to decorate much at all. Still, you may want to have simple arrangements for the bridal party and the ceremony/reception space. If you’ve got a friend or family member with a green thumb, purchase in-season flowers in bulk from a wholesale store (like Costco or Sams Club) the day before the wedding and ask them to make the arrangements. You can get inexpensive bulk vases to put them in. This is where flexibility on colors and style are the theme of the day. You won’t be able to guarantee certain flowers, but with a broad enough color palette and style, you can certainly make it work! For even more simplicity, consider a flower-free centerpiece. They can be assembled ahead of time – which means you can DIY it rather than finding a vendor to do it.
Order Your Wedding Cake
A lot of large, well-known bakeries are booked months in advance. However, grocery stores and smaller bakeries make delicious cakes on short notice. Consider more contemporary dessert options like: a Cupcake tower, a Donut display or a Waffle cake.
Simplify the Food
Hosting a brunch wedding? Many breakfast foods can be made and or purchased in advance which make them ideal if you’re doing it yourself. Rather than a full meal, serve passed hors d’ouveres during a cocktail type reception following an early afternoon ceremony. I have lots of teenage nieces and nephews that would be great at passing out bites of food. Don’t forget the desserts! A chocolate fountain or candy buffet is easy to arrange. Here are 10 Fabulous Dessert Bars for more ideas. And again, ASK FOR HELP!
I hired a friend that graduated in piano performance to play background music at my reception. Others will go with hiring a band or DJ. The type of entertainment you select will largely be determined by your style, theme and budget. The important thing is to get creative. Get on social media and ask around for lesser known groups that will have more open availability.
ENJOY THE PROCESS!
It sounds so simple, but the stresses of planning a wedding are real! This will be a test of compromise, multi tasking, budgeting, reconciling different opinions and so much more! What a great preparation for marriage, which is really what this is all about! Don’t forget to enjoy the process of planning the celebration of your marriage.
Congratulations on your engagement!