Not all couples have a lot of time to plan their wedding. In fact, some couples have under six months (or in some cases, just 30 days) to plan their perfect wedding.
But, a tight timeline does not have to ruin your wedding or even mean you will sacrifice on the big day. It just means that you need to be much more organized and move the pace a little faster than you would for a longer engagement.
Establishing the Timeline
Before you can start planning, you need to see how much time you really have to plan. Do you have exactly six months? Will there be any issues that arise causing you to push it ahead even further?
Rushed weddings often turn chaotic because the couple isn’t clear on their deadline. To create an accurate wedding timeline and checklist, you need to know just how much time you have and be able to squeeze every aspect of the planning process out of the few days you have to work with.
It is possible for any couple on a short timeline to stay within budget too – as long as they know where to start with the planning process. So whether you have an unlimited budget or you have a tight budget, make sure you follow these tips for getting your short-term plan right.
Get the Venue Out of the Way First
Now that you know when the date is, you need to work on the venue. Most venues book fast and if you are getting married during “wedding season” – anything between April and August – you may find that the best venues cannot accommodate your wedding date.
Create a list of venues that you are okay with and have a backup in case the first few are booked. You may need to be flexible with your dates – such as moving it to a week before or after or even doing a mid-week wedding so you can still enjoy the venue you love.
No matter what, book the venue first. This is the most important part of short-term wedding planning – because you can’t exactly move forward if you don’t know where the wedding will be.
If everything is booked up, you can also consider a park or even a friend’s house with a gorgeous (and large) backyard.
Getting the Dress
Next comes the dress. Most brides purchase their gowns at least a year out. This is because the designer needs time to create the dress and you need enough time for all of the dress fittings. But, do not think a short timeframe means you cannot get the dress you want. You can still get a custom-made wedding dress in just under three months. You will, however, have to pay more for the rushed service – most designers charge anywhere from 10 to 25 percent more for a rushed gown.
If you are on a budget and a strict time, get the ready-to-wear gowns off the rack.
Skip Save the Date and Go Straight to Invites
Instead of hassling with the save the date cards, move straight to invitations for the wedding. Not only will this save you a step, but it will save you a bundle of money too. If you really want save the date cards, send out electronic versions instead of paper. It’s eco-friendly too.
Start Working on Your Cake Order – Pronto
Cake designers book just as fast as venues. So, you need to find one and give them enough time to plan. While making a wedding cake is just a week process, most cake designers take on multiple wedding cakes that same week – so you want to make sure you squeeze in a spot during their week they still have some availability.
Also, some cake designers will charge more if you book last minute -because they do not have time to save on better deals from their suppliers.
You will need to put down a deposit to book the wedding cake, so have your deposit funds ready. If no cake decorators are available, consider skipping the cake and serving accessible sweets – like a donut tree, chocolate bar or even a chocolate fountain.
Get Talking with Caterers
Caterers book up fast too – and if you haven’t booked one, now is the time. You will also need a deposit with your caterer, so have that money ready to go. Make sure your caterer is available for the date you have booked with your venue.
If all of the caterers are booked for that date, try something simpler, yet still refined, like a food truck. Food trucks are more budget-friendly than most couples realize and it could give your wedding a fun twist.
Don’t Forget the Honeymoon
While you are trying to scramble and plan a wedding, don’t forget to plan your honeymoon too. You will definitely need a vacation of some sort after planning a wedding in record time.
Destinations like Puerto Rico, Mexico and even cruises often have plenty of availability and accommodations for those last-minute honeymoon bookings.
Don’t forget other locations on the East Coast of the U.S. or even visiting California’s Napa Valley.
If you are planning a short-term wedding, you may be strapped for cash. So, look at hotels that offer honeymoon bundles – which may include your room, activities, food and airfare in one. These can save you additional money. You may also want to speak with a travel agent to see if they can find any other applicable discounts to make your honeymoon more affordable.
Planning your wedding in under six months won’t be easy and you may feel rushed. But as long as you do everything as soon as possible, you should be able to pull off a perfect, memorable wedding that takes others a year to plan.
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