Planning A Wedding in Three Months or Less: Everything You Need to Know
The big question was asked, the answer was yes, and you don’t want to waste any time. Perhaps your biological clock is ticking. Maybe this isn’t your first marriage, and this time around you’re looking for the partnership and the forever after rather than the long engagement and perfect wedding day. Maybe you just cannot wait another moment to call this person your own. Whatever your reasons for wanting to get married right after your engagement, you can do it. The naysayers will tell you more time is needed. The pessimists will tell you you’re rushing things. The bold and uncouth will speculate you’re having a baby.
Ignore them all. If you don’t want a long engagement, we don’t blame you. It’s entirely possible to plan a wedding in three months – or less – which means you’re on track for a lovely summer wedding this year. Do it. Get married, start your forever after as happily as you want, and get it done. Do not put off unto tomorrow what you can do today, right? Life is too short to make long-term plans, so we’re all about doing it now and doing it well. If you’re looking to forget the long engagement, you’ve come to the right place. If anyone can help you plan your wedding in a few months or less, it’s us.
Bid Adieu to Procrastination
There’s no time to start tomorrow. You’re getting married in just a minute, and you have plans to make. You must get started yesterday, and we’ll tell you where to get started.
- Choose a venue
- Choose a date
- Get a photographer
- Make a guest list
- Food, food, food
These are the first things you’ll do. I know you’re shocked not to see wedding dress shopping on that list, but let’s be honest; you can hit up Nordstrom, Saks, J. Crew or Rent the Runway for a perfectly bridal wedding gown and have it delivered to you, fitted, and customized in no time. This is, after all, the new millennium.
Three months or less until the big day means you’re going to be a teeny tiny bit limited on things, like a set date. You want to get married now, so you’re going to need to find a location with an opening. This might mean your three-month engagement is a 6-week engagement, or you might just have to find a new location. We recommend the venue first, because that’s what really sets the tone for the date of your wedding.
And remember – you aren’t required to hire a professional venue in which to wed. If you have a friend or family member with a gorgeous back yard, ask them to do it there. Do you have a beach house you can rent for the week and take all your friends and family on a little last-minute vacation? You can do that and get married right on the beach. There are always places you can get married, but do know the Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton will probably be booked for some time – so you might need to get married on a Tuesday at brunch or in your beautiful backyard. The date comes with the venue, in case you were wondering.
Pick a Photographer
Second to the actual wedding is the photographer. You need one, so it’s time to hire one. You’ll want to call as soon as you have a date, because you know good photographers have no free time in the near future. You might need to call several, you might need to beg and plead, or look to someone else. Just be sure you always ask to see photos from past weddings, you talk price, you talk time frames, you talk about things like what you want versus what they want, and you call past brides and grooms and ask for references.
You do not have time to hire a less-than-stellar photographer. You already can’t remember where you put your keys half the time, so you know you’re not going to remember your wedding perfectly for the rest of your life. You need these photos to be better than good.
Plan the Guest List
This might seem like it should have a spot reserved a little higher on the list, but we vote no. Your guests are important, of course, but the ones that matter will be there regardless. This is not your first choice because you’re already cutting it close on venues. You need a venue so you know how many people it can accommodate. If you invited 300 people to your wedding and then chose the only available local venue with a maximum allowance of 120 guests, you’re going to probably want to elope. Make the guest list important, but not the most important.
Now, get to sending out invitations. With only three months or less to go, we’re not even opposed to an online invitation to start with so you have time to order some prettier invitations to get them in the mail. People want notice, so give it to them. Forget how in-elegant it might seem to send out a Facebook invite three months in advance. It’s easier than calling your 300 nearest and dearest to let them know invitations are to come.
Check in With Reality
You’ve come so far already, and now it’s time to take a breather. You need a reality check around this point in the planning process, because what’s to come is not going to be easy. This is the point you’re going to need a really nice date night, perhaps a massage, or just a weekend to recoup so you can remind yourself the timeframe you’re working with doesn’t leave much room for perfection. You can have amazing, beautiful, and perfectly imperfect, but you can’t have it all.
Reality is an unwelcome guest in the wedding planning process, but she’s here to stay. It’s time to remind yourself there isn’t time to order a designer wedding gown custom-made for you by your favorite Italian designer. It’s time to understand what’s going to happen, and what’s actually realistic.
Buy a Gown
You haven’t any more time to wait. We are going to go outside the box here and recommend you buy – gasp – off the rack. There are beautiful white gowns everywhere you go (and who says you need to wear white?) and you can order them in your favorite boutique or store. They’re far less than traditional wedding gowns, and they’re really pretty.
You can also call some local wedding boutiques and ask them if they have any dresses they can sell you right now. You could get lucky and find out they’re selling old floor models on sale, or that another bride decided to skip out on her dress and there it is all lonely and unwanted – and never before worn – waiting for someone her size to come in and love it.
Also, don't forget to plan ahead and having your wedding gown cleaned after the day is over so that those invisible stains from your wedding day don't turn into a yellow and brown nightmare down the road.
Menu, Food, and Bar
Now is the time to search for a caterer for your wedding, and to make some menu decisions. It’s sometimes more cost-effective and a lot faster to choose a buffet style menu than a sit-down dinner. It’s also less formal if you’re going with a more casual affair. You can choose anything you want, find the caterer of your dreams, and you get as creative as you want.
We’ve seen couples with short engagements call their favorite food trucks to their venue to offer a selection of amazing food. We’ve seen couples choose an all-appetizer menu for fun, and have pizzas delivered at the end of the night for the hard partiers looking to dance the night away. It’s your day, which means you can ask your favorite Mexican restaurant to create a custom taco-bar for you on your big night. It might not seem very wedding-esque, but everyone loves tacos.
Now is not the time to DIY unless you have a lot of free time and you’re good at it. Now is the time to utilize the lovely men and women of Etsy to create beautiful centerpieces, custom items, and whatever else you want on your wedding day. Hire a florist to create centerpieces, or go to the local grocery store and pick up all their beautiful – and cheap – flowers and have your creative best friend throw them in a few mason jars in the center of each table. It sounds simple and really budget-friendly (because it is), but it’s still gorgeous.
Learn the Art of Compromise
Short engagements mean many sacrifices. It’s not your favorite – ours either – but learning the art of compromise is usually a good idea. When you learn to do this, you face fewer disappointments. It’s also a great time to find out whether or not you can learn to relax and let it go. We love it with couples realize things will go wrong and they choose to roll with it above all else. Do it, and you’ll be forever grateful you learned this life skills.
Welcome the Help
If your mom, your mother-in-law, your best friend, your husband-to-be or anyone else says, “Let me know what I can do to help,” call their bluff and put them to work. Help is always appreciated with time is of the essence, which is why we recommend you go ahead and let your friends and family put their money where their mouth is. Let them help, and let them take some of the burden off your wedding-planning shoulders.
Have Fun & Make Memories!
This is your wedding day. You can plan for the worst, plan for the unexpected, and do everything in your power to create perfection, but unless you are Jesus or Joanna Gaines, you’re not going to make that happen. Now is the time to relax, have fun, and remember that at the end of the day all that matters is your smile. Don’t let anyone take that off your face in this short time. It’ll be over before you know it.
There’s so much that goes into planning a wedding, and it seems impossible to do it in three months or less. It’s not. In fact, we have a kind-of secret thought that maybe it seems so impossible when you have a year to plan because you have too many choices, too many options, and too much time to stress yourself out. Roll with the punches, have fun, and remember you can do anything. Nothing makes you more productive than the last minute, and it’s always a little fun to prove those who said you can’t possibly do it wrong.