One of my best friends is engaged (my maid of honor in our wedding) and is in the process of planning her wedding. I love wedding planning, and am over the top excited about this one. I planned my wedding in 3 months, not on purpose, but it just worked out that way for us; a date happened to be available and all our vendors fell into place. I realize this is both rare and hard to do in the age of pinteresty-perfect weddings, and I wanted to offer my best tips for planning a wedding on a short time frame (and on a budget).
1. Know your vision
For me, this was easy. I had a clear idea of what I wanted the day to look like, from the venue to the flowers even before I started the planning process. I always dreamed of an outdoor wedding at my grandparents' lake house, and our date happened to be available. We booked it immediately, and I could check off the ceremony site, reception site, and wedding date all in one phone call.
2. Get organized
From there, I made lists on lists on lists. The checklist suggested by the knot proved to be too in-depth for me and overwhelming, so I created my own thanks to searches on Pinterest and wedding planning books. I had spreadsheets and highlighters, and I was as organized as I possibly could have been to stay on top of all the details.
3. Make a decision, and move on
If you are the kind of person to second guess your decisions, now is the time to not do that. With only three months to plan, for each detail, you weigh a few options, make a decision, and move on. Becoming decisive will be your best asset in efficient wedding planning.
For tasks that can be completed by other people, ASK THEM. Your bridesmaids are great resources for running errands or helping make DIY projects. Your fiancé will likely feel useless unless you give him specific tasks to complete, even if that just means grocery shopping or doing other errands you don't have time for. Utilize all the help you can get.
5. Hire a day-of coordinator
When we asked people about their wedding planning experience and their best piece of advice, we'd hear over and over again about those magical day-of coordinators, and the rumors are true. We got married outside and had a completely DIY ceremony and reception, so I knew this was key player for us. We got married in a tiny town in Northern California (population 2,000) and I hired Jodi Drysdale of CES Weddings and Events in the nearest bigger city, and she was the best investment I made for the wedding day. More than just a day-of coordinator, Jodi was an amazing resource that helped me find multiple vendors, went through all the details to make sure I had thought of absolutely everything, and helped our ceremony and reception run smoothy. A good day-of coordinator is my number one recommendation for brides on their wedding day.
6. Pick a color scheme/theme
Determining your style will give you a framework for planning, everything from your attire to your bridal party, to the food and decor. Our wedding has a rustic/preppy/lakeside feel to it, some of those details played out in navy lace bridesmaid dresses, simple and neutral flowers for the bridesmaids, a giant, loose, mostly neutral bouquet for me, grey suit bottoms for the guys with navy checkered shirts and no jackets, my hair was down, we ate tacos, and danced outside under strands and strands of lights. I loved seeing the vision come to life, and it was so very fitting for us as a couple. I love that there are a thousand ways to have a wedding, and your day gets to be however it works best for you.
7. Have fun
As stressful as it was to pull off really quickly, it was mostly a fun stress. I really enjoy the process of planning for all kinds of parties, so it felt natural to me. If wedding planning just isn't your thing, hire on someone or enlist the help of a friend who loves to do it. The day is really all about your marriage, not the color scheme or the striped straws, and if you can remember that one piece, it will make the whole day much better. See more on how to handle any wedding catastrophe graciously (hello, pouring rain) in this post here.