Most couples take eight months to a year or more to plan their weddings. Even if that was your ideal plan when you were dreaming about your future wedding, life brings surprises. Job transfers, family issues, health problems, or any number of other situations can arise that cause a couple to decide to get married sooner rather than later. It doesn’t mean you can’t have an absolutely beautiful wedding!
Lots of long and happy marriages began at City Hall with witnesses the couple didn’t even know. Assuming you’re not quite in that big a rush, here’s what you can do to plan a great wedding in only a month or two.
Let the Most Important People Know
Phone your nearest and dearest, including everyone you’d like in your bridal party, to find out any dates they can’t be available. If you’ve got a special officiant in mind, contact that person, too.
Set a Budget
Don’t spend more than you want to just because you’re doing everything so quickly. In any case, forget about the little things or you’ll go crazy. No one will notice if you don’t have monogrammed napkins or favors of homemade marmalade wrapped in ribbon you loomed yourself.
Hire a Wedding Coordinator
He or she will know about resources and have relationships with contacts that might make all the difference.
Find a Location and Pick a Day
The good news about searching out a wedding location on short notice is that venues are happy to work with you on pricing if you’re flexible about time and day of the week. Hotels and banquet facilities occasionally have Saturday cancellations, but don’t count on that. Think about a Friday evening, a Sunday morning, or even the Thursday night before a holiday weekend.
Find a Caterer
You’ll want a caterer who will also take care of the bar and order any rentals. The venue or caterer will be able to create a wedding cake or lead you to someone who can.
Buy a Dress
Even though there’s no time to order one, there are still gorgeous dresses available to buy off the rack at David’s Bridal and Anthropologie’s Beverly Hills bridal location. Or you may luck into a sample sale at a local bridal shop. You can also order online at Bhldn or J. Crew, and with expedited shipping you’ll have your dress in a matter of days. Don’t leave this to the last minute, because alterations may take as much time as you can allow for them.
Wardrobe the Groom and Bridal Party
If the groom and any male attendants won’t be wearing tuxedos, they may find appropriate attire right in their own closets. Dark suits, khakis and blazers, whatever you decide, even if all the guys are wearing their own versions of it, the overall look can be pulled together with matching shirts and ties. Off-the-rack dresses for bridesmaids are available at the same stores and online sites as the wedding dresses, or give your female attendants some guidelines and set them free to buy coordinating dresses of their choice.
Now Let Everyone Else Know
Call or email the rest of your guest list and be specific regarding exactly who is invited. (Kids or adults only? Plus-one or solo? If you think you need to make the point again with someone you’ve talked to on the phone, follow up with an email.) Try to get responses on the spot, or give people no more than a week to let you know if they can come.
Find a Florist, a Photographer, and Music
Your wedding planner will be able to help with this. In addition to your wedding planner’s recommendations, ask your venue hosts for their recommendations. They can offer valuable advice and insight when selecting your vendors. As with discounts for venues, photographers and other service providers may offer reduced prices for less popular days of the week.
Reserve a Hairdresser (and Makeup Artist, if You Like)
This may not be the best time to experiment with a new cut, but make an appointment to try out some styles. If you’re not getting married on a busy Saturday, your regular hairdresser may be free to get you ready at your home or the venue.
Register for Gifts — and Buy Some, Too
While you’re registering for what you’d love to receive, think about the people in your bridal party and if time allows, get them presents, too. If you’re too busy before the wedding, just tell them to expect a surprise later.
Get Your Wedding License
In California, you can apply for a license and receive it on the spot. Licenses are good for 90 days. Search “wedding license” and the name of your county for complete information. (Some religious ceremonies require documents other than a civil license, so find out about those, too.)
Accept Help From Friends and Family
People love to be useful. And who wouldn’t like to help put together such a happy event?Read More