Regardless of the reason, a fast wedding can still be a wonderful and memorable experience. With a bit of planning and a firm budget, you can make the most of the time you have to plan the ceremony. Simply follow these few guidelines and no one has to know you didn't plan for months.
Fast Wedding Suggestions
Probably the most important requirement for fast events is to set a budget. Understanding how much money you have and are willing to spend on the ceremony allows you to plan accordingly. Discuss costs with your fiance and family and be firm in your decision. Waffling about how the wedding will be financed will only cause anxiety.
Determine your time line. Set the date then use a calendar to document each milestone and when you need to complete them. Keep it simple. Planning a wedding with a short window of opportunity typically requires a simplified version to be successful. Prevent stress and disappointment by making a list of the things that are most important to you and sticking with it. Things to consider are: guest list, location, reception, bridal party, flowers, music, entertainment, cakes, photography, and attire.
Many popular venues are booked months in advance so they may not be an option when you are planning a fast wedding. If you are considering a church wedding, many ministers also require you to attend pre-marital counseling so a traditional religious ceremony may not be possible. Consult with your minister to determine if your church is available and what counseling is required. If either of these are an issue, a notary public or justice of the peace should be contacted for availability. Don't give up on a church wedding if your church is booked because many churches allow non-members to rent the facility. Make a list of the churches in your area and call around. Other options for locations include gardens, parks, and country clubs. If none of these venues suit, you should also research destination wedding locations such as beach or mountain resorts. Though these book early during peak season, off season bookings may be attractive and available, even at the last minute.
Though this may be an area of contention, you should take the location into consideration when determining the guest list. If you have a large extended family or a significant list of friends, it may be difficult to invite everyone. This is especially true if many live out of town since hotels and flight arrangements must be made and time is short. Instead of having a large wedding guest list, it may be more feasible to have a small, relatively private wedding now and a large reception sometime in the future. This will allow you to fully plan the reception and invite whoever you like without worrying about the cost your guests may incur for last minute flights.
Due to the shortened time line, it is better to limit the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen for a quickie wedding. If you are planning a traditional wedding, the bridesmaids will have to choose dresses off the rack and depending on their size and the availability of ready made dresses in your area, the colors or styles may not all be the same. This is also true for your wedding dress. While most bridal stores now carry an array of sizes, be prepared to have to choose from a limited number of styles. Most custom dress orders take months to arrive and then must be altered, so for a fast wedding that will not be an option. Bargains and beautiful dresses are still available though, and alterations to in store dresses usually can be completed in a few weeks.
For the best price and freshness, choose in-season flowers. If the wedding is held in a church, opt for large plants instead of floral arrangements to cut down on the time needed to meet with the floral designer and on the cost. Devote your time and money to ensuring the bridal bouquet is all that you dreamed of.
If you are getting married on a weekend, you may have a hard time finding a wedding photographer on short notice. Opt instead to get married on a weekday which should increase your chances of photographers being available and also perhaps providing venue availability too. You might also consider a weekday bridal portrait session but use guest snapshots to capture the wedding day.
As with the flowers, today's wedding cakes are works of art that can cost several hundred dollars and require several months' notice to order. To accomplish your goal of a fast wedding, choose a simple tiered cake and add live flowers that match the bridal bouquet. The result is still tasty and beautiful but the timing is not a problem. Wedding sheet cakes or cupcakes are other options.
Though the amount of time you have to plan is limited, make the most of it by keeping the real reason you are getting married the top priority. No amount to time, money, or planning can make up for marrying the partner that is perfect for you.