Planning your wedding in less than a month can seem daunting, but I am here to tell you that it can be done. After the initial “are we crazy!?” emotion broke down, my fiancé Alex and I knew that if we were going to plan our wedding in three weeks we had to get to work. Soon we came to the realization that organization was going to be imperative if we were going to successfully plan our wedding. Lists became our best friends. As our to-do list got longer we also knew that we couldn’t do it alone. Delegation became second nature to us as we enlisted the trusted help of our friends and family. It soon became obvious that planning a wedding in just a few short weeks was not only possible but also a fun family affair.
Below are some specific steps we followed that allowed our wedding to go off without a hitch.
Decide your location of your nuptials and reception. If you are getting married in the busy season realize that most venues will have already been booked for months. Look for alternatives such as a local park, a restaurant that has a banquet room, or even a family or friends backyard.
We opted to have our ceremony at a quaint country church that had been relocated adjacent to the college that Alex and I both attended. Our reception was held in the wine cellar of a local Italian restaurant. Both places were perfect and fit the casual, intimate feel of our wedding.
Decide your guest list and mail your invitations. Depending on your guests you could opt to go paperless and send electronic invites. Whether you choose to do paper or paperless invites, request the RSVPs via telephone or through email.
For our wedding we had a small guest list (less than 30 people) so we chose to call our family and friends. Some would say that was not the proper way to invite guests to a wedding, but hey, what is another rule thrown out the window? Most of our guests were close relatives that would have expected a phone call prior to our wedding. You have to do what is right for your situation. Remember with short engagements your guest list will most likely also be shortened. Not everyone that you would like to make it will be able to attend. It is up to you to be happy to share the day with those that can and not fixate on those that can’t be at your wedding.
Find your officiant and get your paperwork in order. The sooner you know who your officiant is the better, especially during peak wedding season. If you cannot find an officiant, have a friend or family member become ordained online. In addition to finding an officiant, get all of your paperwork in order. Contact the county clerk and find out the requirements for a marriage license.
We were lucky because my uncle is an ordained pastor and he agreed to marry us. All we had to do was meet with him to tell him our preferences for our ceremony and go down to the county courthouse and apply for a marriage license.
Choose your wedding party. You will want to give your wedding party ample time to clear their schedules and make arrangements for your wedding. This is especially true if you have out of town attendants.
For our wedding I chose my sister-n-law to stand up with me and my brother to walk me down the aisle. Alex chose his sister to stand up with him. We wanted to keep it simple and by using just family members no friends felt left out.
Decide what everyone is going to wear. In a previous post I discussed how I found my dress online. Remember with your dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses you may not have time to have them fitted.
For our wedding I ordered simple black dresses online through David’s Bridal for my sister-n-law and Alex’s sister. Prior to me ordering the dresses both of them were able to try them on at the store which meant they did not need to have them altered when they arrived in the mail. As for Alex and my brother they opted to wear coordinating suits. We bought matching jewelry for the girls and a tie for my brother for wedding gifts that they also wore.
Order your cake and flowers. Remember in peak season you might not get your first choice but that doesn’t mean you have to settle on something you do not want. If your first choice is booked ask them for a recommendation for someone else. Most likely the vendor will recommend someone similar to their style and tastes. And once again, if you keep things simpler, the easier it is for them to create you vision.
This is one step that was easier for me then most because I am a florist. I knew I didn’t have to worry about the flowers. The cake on the other hand, I ordered from a local baker who I have worked with before. When ordering it I told her my favorite flavors and the types of cakes I like and gave her free rein to be creative. The cake turned out beautifully and tasted even better then it looked
Figure out your music for the ceremony and reception. Ask yourself what type of music do you want at your wedding – live music, a DJ, or track music? If you have trouble finding musicians ask a local college. Often they have students or facility members that will play at your wedding. When choosing track music remember to pick songs that appeal to a wide range of ages. You want all of your guests to enjoy your celebration and throwing in a few oldies will be sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Again, we were lucky with the music at our wedding. At our ceremony my brother sang and played guitar to one of my favorite songs and my mother’s friend played the piano for the processional and recessional. For the reception we played a track that Alex compiled with songs that had everyone asking for a copy after the wedding was over.
Purchase any of your additional needs. For example, will you need centerpieces, favors, partyware, or a guest book? This is the time to tie up all your loose ends. Planning a wedding in weeks takes a lot of organization; but, most importantly remember that even the most well planned weddings never go exactly right, so laugh at the mistakes and enjoy your day!