With so many sweet engagements happening lately, I’ve been inspired to take a little trip down Memory Lane and pull out my tips on how to plan a wedding in 5 months – because that’s how long our engagement was! We got engaged on September 19, 2013 and were tying the knot on a beautiful, crisp day in February 2014 (the 22nd). Wedding planning, even in such a short time, was something G and I had a lot of fun with. We knocked out all of the big things almost immediately and were free to play with the small details for the rest of our engagement. We really enjoyed it and our wedding turned out to be so much more than I could have ever hoped for.
Here are my simplified tips for how to plan a wedding in 5 months:
1. Make a List. A few days after G slipped a ring on my finger amidst the most unreal beach sunset I had ever seen, my mom in her infinite wisdom sent me a huge list of what needed to be accomplished and, knowing we wanted a pretty short engagement, a rough idea of when I needed to get it done. When I opened that email and saw what she had done, I cried. These were tears of joy and relief and gratitude because it was that helpful. When I had first sat down to start planning I was so overwhelmed by all the details – not to mention I hadn’t even been to a real wedding since I was the flower girl in my Aunt’s wedding when I was 3! And there I was literally 20 years later trying to plan my own in a short period of time. Crazy. Thank goodness for my sweet mama. The list she sent me looked a little something like this (if this is too hard to read, I’d be happy to send you a PDF – just leave a comment on this post!):
2. Decide on a Budget. This can be the most awkward and uncomfortable part of the planning process, but you, your groom, your family, his family – everyone needs to have a conversation. There can sometimes be a fine line between making others feel obligated and making them feel included, so be gentle! Don’t bully anyone. Just come up with a number that makes you sense for all of you because trust me, once you have it, whatever it may be – you will feel relieved! The budget it the driving force behind every single decision you will make from here on out so it definitely helps a ton to know exactly what you’ve got to work with and where it’s coming from!
3. Allocate your Budget. This is a big one. Once you have your number, decide where you want it to go. What is most important to you? Is it having an absolutely knockout dress? Do you HAVE to have fresh flowers? Is the food the main event for y’all? Do you want a live band or a DJ? Unless money is absolutely no object, chances are there are some areas where you will have to skimp – but make sure you have the main things that you and your hunny really want! For me, fresh flowers would have been nice, but our reception was outdoors in a courtyard with plenty of natural beauty already, so I opted for fresh flowers only in the wedding party bouquets and family adornments and my mom made these amazingly realistic paper flowers for the tables. They were adorable and it saved us SO MUCH of our budget!
4. Knock the Big Things Out First. By the time we were maybe a month into planning we already had the big things done. We had asked our groomsmen and bridesmaids to stand by us, we’d booked our venue which decided our date, I’d chosen colors and had given my gals a heads up on their dresses, we’d chosen our caterer, taken engagement photos to be used for our save the dates, I’d decided on a florist and the flowers and had cleared our pastor’s availability. After that we had the rest of the four months to focus on the sweet details like ceremony outline, decor crafts, gifts, etc.
5. Let Others Help You! If you’re anything like me, you hate asking for help and are hesitant to take it even when it’s offered. But, people always want to help the bride! When your mom asks if she can do anything, let her! Have a wedding crafting day with your friends. Consult with your significant other and ask if they want to anything specific for the big day and let them help you accomplish those things! It makes it so much more special when others have a hand in the details of your big day.
6. Take a Deep Breath.. and Enjoy it! Just after G and I had become engaged, a sweet old couple came up to us and congratulated us. We later saw that couple at dinner. They sent us over bottles of champagne and we went over to them to chat for a minute and thank them. They had one piece of advice for us that, in the moment, I had no idea just how valuable it would be. They simply said, “Enjoy this time. It goes by too fast.” I distinctly remember standing in our garage after G and I had come home from our honeymoon and looking around at all of the wedding decorations and pieces from the day and I remembered that couple and their advice and just how right they were. A couple of tears actually came to my eyes as I realized that it was all over. I was so happy and excited to be embarking on the journey of marriage with my sweet husband, but I was so nostalgic and a little sad that the planning and excitement of my wedding day was over. So take a deep breath, friends, and enjoy your time.. because that’s exactly what it is – yours. At the same time, don’t get too hung up on all of the little details! Some things you won’t even see on your wedding day – and that’s okay! The things you will see are the things you’ll cherish forever.
For me, the important things were feeling like this getting into my wedding dress:
and seeing my groom do this:
and having moments like this:
and having these:
and feeling like this:
and being fed this:
and becoming this:
I mean, what more could you ask for? What more could you want? Everything else is just pales in comparison 🙂
(photos by Woodlandfields Photography)