Most popular wedding planning guides assume that you have months to spend on the planning process. What if you don’t have that kind of time, though? What if you only have a month on your hands because an important assignment at work needs all your attention, or you’re expecting military deployment overseas?
Putting a super-fast wedding together isn’t as difficult as it may first appear. Here are 11 steps that you’ll need to take.
1. Decide on the budgetBefore you buy a single thing for your wedding, you first need to determine what kind of budget you have to work with. If your parents have a wedding fund set up for you, you need to know what it is.
Otherwise, you need to determine where the money’s coming from. It’s almost never a good idea to pay for a large chunk of your wedding expenses with credit cards. The interest could ruin you.
2. Prepare a guest listBefore you choose a venue, rent guest accommodations or call the caterer, you need to know how many guests will come. When you have a dependable list, you still need to know who will really come, considering that they have very little notice and you will possibly be forced to pick an inconvenient date…
3. Choose a venueWhen you have mere days to plan your wedding, you need to take what you can get. Most good wedding venues are booked months in advance.
For the best chances at a good venue, you could choose a weekday date. You do need to think about whether your guests will be able to take a day off from work and make it, though.
4. Find accommodations for the guestsOnce you’re sure who’s coming, you need to check out the accommodations at the venue, and at hotels nearby. You usually get to negotiate favorable rates when you make reservations for a large group. Be ready to pay a lot for accommodations if you have a huge guest list.
5. Make arrangements for the receptionYou can usually save by using one venue for both the wedding and the reception. Whatever venue you pick, you need to make sure that you can live with their rules. Many have restrictions against loud music, smoking and open fires, and even have early curfews.
You can save a great deal of money on your catering bills by the way you time your reception. A reception held in the afternoon, for instance, wouldn’t require a full meal. Light refreshments will be all you would need to serve your guests.
More: 10 Unique Wedding Reception Ideas
6. Get the invitationsOnce you sign a venue contract, it’s time to invite everyone on your guest list. Since you only have a couple of weeks, overnight service would be a good idea.
To hurry the process, you shouldn’t even contact a printer. Rather, you should consider hiring a calligrapher to prepare a beautifully inscribed invitation, take a photograph of that invitation, and then send copies out.
7. Find your wedding dressWedding dress shopping can be fun if you don’t let it stress you out. With a 30-day wedding plan, though, you don’t have the luxury of taking your time. Seamstresses need at least a week to make alterations, after all.
You also need to find bridesmaids dresses and tuxedos. It’s usually a good plan to take no more than 3 days to decide on all the dresses.
8. Book a great photographerThe best way to find a great photographer is usually to ask friends for recommendations. These suggestions are usually more reliable than the user reviews that you see online. Nevertheless, if you’re in a hurry, simply picking a good name out of a Yelp can give you the results you need.
More: 10 Must-Have Wedding Photos
9. Arrange for the entertainmentWhen you only have a month, you’ll have a hard time finding a well-known DJ or wedding band that’s available. If you can’t be sure of the quality of the bands that are available, going with a DJ is usually a safe choice. The only problem is that it can be rather expensive.
10. Plan the catering and the décorOnce you have all the arrangements in place, you can take a little time to plan the menu and the décor at your leisure. You need to speak with the venue staff about your plans. Many venues insist on doing the catering and the décor themselves.
11. Choose your honeymoon destinationFinally, decide on where you want to go on your honeymoon. The Internet is chock-full of easy-to-book honeymoon packages that you can choose from.
They tend to have plans for every budget. If you are on a very tight budget, you and your partner can just take a small trip to the place you both love.
More: 10 Biggest Wedding Money Wasters
For many people, planning a wedding is the largest scale undertaking that they will ever embark upon. While the thought that you need to ace the project in very little time may be overwhelming, plenty of people do manage it. All you need to do is to be focused and organized.