Yes, it can be done! When G and I got engaged, we knew off the bat that we didn’t want a long engagement – 6 months max. To us, a longer engagement just meant having to wait even longer for things we wanted to be able to do yesterday. As much as I had dreamed about my wedding day, by the time I had realized that G was the one I was just ready to be his wife, for married life and to be able to wake up to my best friend sleeping right beside me every single day. With all that in mind, making decisions on vendors and food and this and that maybe didn’t come super easy, but I’d say I was more laid back in the decision making process. I had 2 goals for our wedding day: to be the love of my life’s wife by the end of it and for our guests to have fun and feel how much we loved them. That was it. That’s all that mattered. It turned out, though, that our wedding was so much more beautiful than I ever could have hoped for and we receive compliments on it to this day – over a year later. Looking back, I do remember a few key things that I think helped it to go so well in such a short amount of time and that’s what I want to share with you today.
1. Make a list. Make a list of everything that needs to get done! My mom did this for me when we first got engaged because, let’s face it, I had no idea where to start! She made a list of EVERYTHING and even set a rough timeline for what needs to get done by when and designated things that may need a deposit as a heads up! Honestly, I cried when I got it because I was so thankful! It really helped to streamline things and to help keep me organized. Trust me, you don’t want to get 1 month out from the wedding and realize you should have done something 2 months ago! Here is the list she made me – hope you find it useful! (PS- if any of you would like a PDF version of the document below emailed to you just let me know and I’ll send it over!)
2. Set a budget. This is especially the first thing you want to do if you know that you’re gonna need to stick to a certain amount (even if you don’t know exactly what that amount may be yet). Knowing your limitations will really help you determine which vendors are out of the question and which are much more realistic. This can save a lot of headache for everyone involved! Sit down with your fiance and whoever else might be contributing financially (parents? in-laws? grandparents even?) and hammer out the details. It’s not that fun, but it’s completely necessary and you’ll feel better moving forward once it’s done!
3. Book Your Venue First. The first vendor that I would suggest booking is the place in which you will get married. This will take so much stress and pressure off your shoulders. Booking your venue will give you two important pieces of information off the bat: 1 – your wedding date and 2 – how many people you can invite to the party. Of course, you and your fiance will want to have a ball park idea of how big you’d like your wedding to be before you book. For example, don’t book a venue that limits you to 100 people if you know you there will be that many coming from the groom’s side alone! Be smart about where you choose to get married and it will set you up for smooth sailing for the next few months of planning!
4. Prioritize and Be Flexible. When you are planning a wedding in a short time frame, one of your biggest challenges is finding vendors that you a) want b) can afford and c) who are available on your date. You have to decide what is most important to you both and work around that. For example, we knew from the start that we really wanted to get married at this plantation in Thomasville, GA called Pebble Hill. It was the only place we looked at and, although we got lucky and had several dates in our time frame to choose from, that was the one thing that we would have moved heaven and earth to have. For you, figure out what is most important. What takes priority for you and your almost spouse?Is it having fresh cut flowers? Is it having a specific type of meal or caterer? Maybe it’s the music or the decorations? Whatever it is, identify it off the bat and be willing to adjust budget allocations, vendors or even your date to accommodate those things.
5. ENJOY THE PROCESS. Seriously. I truly believe this is one of my most important tips. Planning our wedding in five months brought stress and frustration, but more than anything, it brought so much fun and joy. When it was all over all I could think was, “let’s go back and do it again.” If you have ever seen that Friends episode where Monica and Chandler have just gotten married, it’s the day after and everyone is checking out of the hotel. Monica sits down with Chandler and says in a slightly disappointed, slightly sassy tone something like “It’s all over. I’m never going to be a bride again.” I kid you not, that really resonated with me – I even said to G, “that’s exactly how I felt!” Planning your own wedding is truly a once in a lifetime experience and, as I said in my maid of honor speech for my best friends wedding a few weeks ago, “to quote our good friend Trace Adkins: You may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this, you’re gonna want this back.”
To reiterate, planning a wedding in 5 months is completely plausible, friends. Maybe 5 months of planning restricts some preferences, maybe it restricts your budget, maybe it goes by really fast, but honestly, as long as you get to see your groom do this: