Frankly speaking, when my boyfriend proposed in June I had no idea that two-and-a-half months later we’d be married.In the past, I had always dreamed of a spring wedding and though we got engaged a little later than we first planned, I just expected to wait another 10 or 11 months so that I could have my dream wedding. However we thought about it some more. Neither of us were thrilled about paying another year of separate rent, plus, why wait? We knew we wanted to get married anyway and we had already gone through premarital counseling. Therefore just like that we picked a day in the next three or four months that we could fit into our work schedule and got planning.
1. Once you decide to have a short engagement commit to it and begin planning immediately. You cannot vacillate; there is literally no time for that. Try to pick a day that works as best as you can, knowing that no day is going to be perfect. Something always comes up. But you’ll have that regardless of whether you choose a day in the next month, or 10 years.
Initially we picked a day that was about three-and-a-half months out. But none of the vendors we wanted were available that day, plus our work schedule wasn’t ideal. So we did what any sane, logical couple would do — we bumped up the wedding by a month! Ironically, this date worked better with possible vendors we were looking at, and work. Vendors, venues, photographers and even makeup artists can book up a year or two out, reminding me of my next point.
2. Lists lists lists. We used Wedding Wire that gives you a handy and free checklist, but the Knot has been helpful for many couples too. There are so many things I just wouldn’t have thought of if someone didn’t put it in a list for me. A few days before the wedding I was ordering a Jenga game on Amazon Prime for our guest book thanks to that checklist.
3. Be realistic. This is good advice whether you’re getting married after a three-year engagement, or three months. If I had lived in Western New York and didn’t have a job, you can bet I would have DIYed the heck out of my wedding. But that just wasn’t an option so I had to be even more careful about how our budget was spent. For weeks I was obsessed with the idea that all the guests had to have fancy high-backed chairs, instead of the free ones provided by the campground. As it so happens, the decision ended up being made for me. The chair vendor I wanted to work with was difficult to reach and about time she did get back to me, told me all the chairs were gone. I’m actually glad this happened, as the chairs would have cost an extra $500 — far over the budget — and I doubt anyone remembers the chairs anyway. We invested in a great dinner instead.
4. Skip the RSVP card normally placed in your wedding invite as well. Instead of mailing out an RSVP card — which we’d have to wait for people to fill out and return — we put a card in our formal invites directing people to our website to RSVP. It was quick, convenient for our guests, and free. This idea worked so well for us I’d recommend it even for those with a longer engagement.
5. Remain grateful. This also reminds me of my last point. Wedding planning can be both equally fun and stressful. We happened to be doing it in an extremely short period of time, hundreds of miles away from the venue, and also while we looking for an apartment to move into after the wedding. There were many times I threw my arms in the air and said, “We should just elope!” Honestly, I still stand by the fact that it’s not a bad idea.
But I wished I had enjoyed the process more, too. Yes, it can be stressful. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, you may get into a fight with at least 10 people over an idea and you’re sure-as-heck not going to back down… but it’s good to remind yourself also that at the end of the day, this is an exciting time in your life and the beginning of something beautiful.
Not only that, however I am so grateful for all the helping hands. Like I said, my parents did plenty of the legwork since they lived in the area and for that I am so appreciative. A friend did my hair and my bridesmaids hair, a family friend styled the flower girls hair, and a good number of guests helped decorate, move flowers, dry benches, write the name tags, donate hundreds of bunches of hydrangeas, place name tags on tables and about a dozen other items I’m sure I will never realize.
Be grateful that people want to help, show appreciation where you can (cards and gifts work great!) and when you have a chance to help — pass it forward.