Chris and I are great planners….but we really prefer to do all our planning at the last minute! This was no different with our wedding. We had been together for years, but once we decided to get married, we just didn’t want to wait anymore, or spend a whole year planning a wedding. We got engaged in July, married in September.
I’m also not one of those people who spent her childhood planning for a one day wedding…or even a single moment of their adult life thinking about a wedding, so there were no ideas of what we might like to see already in place. We were quite literally starting from scratch. I want to share a few things that helped us plan our wedding in under 3 months.
I’m just going to share some hard, honest truth with this first one. If you have very set plans in place of where and when you want your wedding, and exactly which vendors you feel you need to have there, a short planning timeline may not be for you. If you have a window of dates that you would be okay with, and can narrow down a style for each vendor (instead of one name) you’re more than likely to find everything you want for your dream wedding. Especially if you’re willing to consider off-beat options like non-traditional venues or weekday evening or Sunday afternoon dates.When you go looking for your photo and video crew, your favorites may not be available, so know WHY you like those people. If your favorites are booked, ask for recommendations of others who have a similar style. Do you like this photographer because of their documentary style, or is it more light and airy, or more dreamy and moody? Are you looking for a video that captures audio as well as video, one that encompasses the story of your day, or a music montage? Know why you like the things you like, and you’ll have a better chance at finding a vendor who is perfect for your wedding. Like venues, vendors often have more openings on weekday evenings or Sunday afternoons, which is something to consider when setting your date.
Again, if you try to have it all, you’re likely to be disappointed or overwhelmed. Find the things that really, really matter to you and focus on those.For us, finding a venue was really important . I wanted something that was already pretty (hey, less decorating) and had a bit of history to it. An important place. We also wanted something local so that we (along with most of our family) didn’t have to make travel plans on top of weddings plans. There were two venues that fit the bill, one turned out to be completely unavailable due to remodeling, and we set our wedding date according to the availability of the other. Another big time saver was that this venue offered both ceremony and reception locations (again, less planning, less decor needed), offered catering packages, and I was fine with the standard linen and china they provided. I wanted tables simple (so people could see each other and talk) so simple candle and mirror centerpieces were all I requested.3. Be realistic.
We were also planning our wedding on a tight budget, and were lucky enough to have friends and family who were willing to work with us. However, these friends and family members were also already established in their fields, with a proven record of ability to deliver. Chris’s aunt spent many many years doing floral design and offered to do our flowers as their wedding gift to us. Knowing that she was so skilled, I didn’t go to her with a billion photos of very expensive arrangements that would be unrealistic to ask her to gift to us. I was able to say “We’re using a fall leaf color palette, with a deep red as the main accent color, and I’d like my bouquet to be tightly clustered roses.” She took that and provided us beautiful, simple flowers that I loved.
(Side note – at the time, since I had no experience with the wedding industry, I couldn’t fully appreciate the magnitude of that gift, but now…oh boy. What a huge blessing that was, so Aunt Jean, if you’re reading this….thanks again, you’re awesome)
With Chris working in the radio industry, we had connections to DJs who were equally awesome, and found an officiant who knew us. These are two vendors who are often overlooked; but if you’ve ever attended a wedding with a bad officiant or DJ….you know how very important they are. I can’t tell you how many videos we’ve had to creatively edit because an officiant or DJ messed up the names of the couple. These people are setting the tone for your event! Find ones who know what they are doing.
All that is to say that while we used friends and family, it’s not always the best option if those friend and family members aren’t skilled or trained in what they do. You will not get the same result if you ask your Maid of Honor, who has never touched a live flower prior to the week before your wedding, to help you with florals. You may not get the same result asking a buddy with an ipod but no experience with sound equipment to get your party started. All that is absolutely fine if you’re okay with a less than professional performance in those areas (aka, it’s just not one of your priorities).
Seriously though, get those invites in the mail! Your guests need time to clear their calendar, schedule their travel, and find the perfect dancing shoes.
Keep It Simple.
When you’re working with a tight timeline, simple is better. When you’re talking to your baker, they may not be willing to add another elaborate cake into their packed schedule. A beautiful, yet simple design….they might make it happen. Allison from Paper Hearts Invitations says
“To save some time, I also advise the couples to forego complicated pocket folds or extra embellishments. Those items can add DAYS of assembly to them, and if we just don’t have the days, then that’s something that can be skipped.”
Most designers have a collection or pre-made items that will save lots of time from creating a custom design.
Alright, that’s it. That’s all I’ve got. If you planned a wedding on a tight timeline, I’d love to hear your tips as well. Just decided you want to get married in the next few months? Contact us today to talk about how we can tell your wedding story!