How To Quickly Plan A Wedding
Planning a wedding is no easy feat, especially if you’ve never done it before. After the initial glow of the engagement has faded, you’ll suddenly be faced with a veritable ocean of tasks. Some couples take their time and plan their weddings over the course of a year. Others are ready to get it over with so they can get to the happily ever after part of “I do.” If you fall into the latter category, here are the absolute bare bones essentials that you should consider when planning a wedding.
Consider Your Timeline
If time is of the essence, there are a couple of important things to remember. If you want a full-scale wedding, we don’t recommend cutting your timeline any shorter than three months, especially if you want others to attend. Traditionally, invitations are sent out six to eight weeks before the wedding. This allows your guests/wedding party plenty of time to make their travel arrangements and your vendors enough leeway to make sure your food, venue, decorations (flowers, linens, etc) are lined up and properly staffed.
Make a Plan
This is probably the most important piece of advice we can offer. Sit down with your soon-to-be spouse and make a plan. Make a list of must-haves, then work on the would-be-nices, and go from there. There are several wedding planning sites out there that can help you get a broad scope of what should be getting done and at what time based on your personal timeline. These sites can also help you keep track of your guest list, help you with your invitations, wedding website, registry, and more. All-inclusive sites like these are a speedy bride’s (or groom’s) best friend. Making a game plan is essential to making a quick turnaround wedding work. However, that brings us to our next point.
This is good advice for anyone who is planning a wedding. Choosing to be flexible will not only save you time but your sanity as well. It’s okay to be particular about what you want, but if a split-second decision needs to be made, be prepared to make it. Flip a coin, ask a trusted friend; do whatever you need to do to keep the process moving along. We’re telling you to sacrifice your sensibilities, but a wedding involves many moving parts, and not all of them are going to work together perfectly on a tight schedule. If your florist can’t get you that brilliant flower in time for the wedding, that’s okay. Your bouquet will still be beautiful.
Big Decisions Come First
If your wedding timeline is short, it’s critical that you knock out the big items early. In our book, this includes items like venues, menus, florals, entertainment, and attire. The venue is pretty high on that list because the rest of your wedding is highly dependent on where it’s going to be held. Is it an outside ceremony, or inside? Does it have on-site catering? Does your venue have experience with weddings? Do they have a wedding planner on staff? Knock out the big list items first, then focus on the smaller details.
Consider Your Wedding Budget
This should be part of your original planning phase, but some couples lose sight of this. Daydreaming about your dream wedding is one thing, and paying for it is another. Most vendors will be willing to work with brides and grooms who are hoping for a quick turnaround because it’s an opportunity for them to fill gaps in their business. Many vendors won’t usually book an open date after around month five. Vendors, as you should be, can be more flexible on last-minute dealings. Don’t be afraid to ask for a deal.
Divide and conquer when it comes to tasks. You obviously get to lead the charge, but if your bestie is offering to mail a check, or pick up flowers, let them. If your mother can pick up your dress from the tailor while you meet the caterer for a tasting, let her. It’s fine if both the bride and the groom aren’t on every call for the photographer. When time is of the essence, it’s okay to let some of the responsibility go.
Quick Wedding To-Do List
Here are our top of the list recommendations if you’re planning on having a wedding as quickly as possible.
Hire A Wedding Planner
Remember what we said about planning? We recommend hiring a planner, or at least a month of/day of coordinator to ensure that all of the pieces of your wedding come together at once. A professional and experienced planner will have their own relationships with reliable vendors that they’ve worked with before and are literally professional organizers. They’ve been there, done that, eaten the cake, and gone to the next wedding. Many venues even offer wedding planning services as part of their rental packages. If you’re planning a rush wedding, we can’t recommend this enough.
Book Your Venue
Having your venue locked down lets you move forward with all of your other planning stages. You can send your invites, tell your caterers where they’ll be working, give an address to the florist, and all of those other exciting bits. Your venue also sets the stage for the theme/color/overall feeling of your wedding. Looking for a charming antebellum landscape? A rustic barn? A blooming garden? Venues like Evergrove have a variety of settings to choose from to help you get a sense of the details.
Hire Your Photographer/Videographer
Most people want to hire a photographer or videographer to capture their special day. On average, wedding photographers book their dates as far out as 9 months, so make sure your photographer understands that you’re on a tight schedule. Every photographer is different, but many are willing to negotiate, so don’t be afraid to ask those nitty-gritty questions!
Send Your Save the Dates/Invitations
If you have time, consider sending save the dates. If you’re pressed for it, send your invitations/rsvp as soon as possible. Your wedding is a wonderful day that should be all about you and the person you love. However, take into consideration that your wedding means taking time off and making plans for your friends and family, as well as spending money. Be considerate and get these out as soon as you can.
These days, most couples opt for a wedding website that is easily put together via templates through wedding websites like Zola or Wedding Wire. These sites offer features like digital RSVPing, looking at registries, and checking dates/times if they misplace their physical invite. It’s also a good way to communicate with your guests if there are any last-minute changes that they need to be aware of.
If the dress and tux are an important part of your day, then it’s critical you get this taken care of as soon as possible. If you order a wedding dress from a bridal boutique, it usually takes at least four months to get your dress. Most boutiques have many dresses that you can buy “off the rack” that will let you walk out of the store with a dress on your arm. Take alteration time into consideration as well. This can take a few weeks or a few months depending on the extent of your desired specifications.
We find that most men opt to rent a tux or buy theirs off of the rack. However, other grooms choose to go the bespoke route and have a custom made suit. As with the dress, having a suit made from scratch takes time, so if it’s on your wish list, account for that time (around 2 months or more).
Optional (But Worthwhile) To-Do Items
We’ve categorized a few other items into a “nice to have” to-do list. Not everyone imagines their wedding the same, but these are other iconic wedding items you’ll want to take into consideration.
Cake and Food
When you think of the word “wedding” you probably picture a big white dress first, followed shortly after by a big pretty cake. Those big pretty cakes take between 3-6 months to nail down. So if you want a custom wedding cake, make sure you move this item to the top of your list.
As for food, we’ve seen couples handle their receptions a multitude of ways, including going out for burgers after the ceremony. However, if you’re hoping for a buffet or plated dinner, let your venue and/or coordinator know this upfront so they can help you get your menu set and determine if you want to have an open bar or leave that up to your guests.
Some brides or grooms have allergies or want a more modern feel with fewer florals. However, if flowers are part of your plan, get in touch as soon as you can. Florists sometimes have to work with what’s in season, so be flexible when it comes to selecting your arrangements. Florists should be hired ideally 6-9 months in advance, but can usually manage 2 months notice.
Wedding Registry/Honeymoon Fund
A wedding registry is a wonderful way to acquire household items that you as a couple might still need. Get this set up early so your family and friends can plan. Alternatively, you might consider a honeymoon fund. This route allows your guests to contribute money to your honeymoon instead of getting you material possessions.
We’re Wedding Professionals
Evergrove Estates has served hundreds of happy couples all over the midsouth. Our professional, on-site staff and superior amenities make us an easy choice for most couples looking to make their day run as smoothly as possible, no matter their timeline. Reach out to us today to see how we can help make your wedding dreams a reality.