Author Topic: I'm getting married in June! Tell me how you planned a ceremony in a short time  (Read 10652 times)

yakamashii

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More +++s for the park idea, especially if you're in California. My wife and I got married in a park four months after the proposal. Would have cost us $100 to rent the space; her aunt and uncle lived in the city the park was located in, and we got it for $35 by having them do the paperwork.

Sister baked the cake. Young cousins provided the music. A family member officiated the ceremony. A family friend did the photography for a song, and sent two photographers on top of that. The distance from the park to the reception venue was walkable (we SUPed across the harbor in our wedding digs, no charge in exchange for the pub for the board rental company). The reception venue was deeply discounted for some reason, but I don't remember why :)

It's totally doable, and we succeeded in having a smallish event (~80 people), but in retrospect could have found more opportunities to save, and done things more our own way. Neither my wife or I were or are "dream wedding" people and viewed the whole thing as more for our families than for us, but it caused significant friction before and after. I think if we had to do it again, we'd do it at the courthouse and have a small reception at home or the park.

cavewoman

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Ten years ago, we got engaged in July. I went abroad for a six week trip and therefore didn't start planning until late August. We married at the beginning of December, in large part because a close relative was dying and we hoped she could come to the wedding. She died a little over a week after our marriage and sadly was too ill to attend, but I'm still very happy we planned a wedding in three months.

The main reason is because a short time frame doesn't give you time to worry about all the crap that doesn't matter anyway. I feel like taking a year or more to plan a wedding just means that you are going to over-think it and spend more money.

The main downside was that some out of town family weren't able to come because they didn't have enough lead time. That stunk but it also kept our guest list down somewhat. Our final count was around 120, which was still pretty large.

I think that's HUGE!  More time to plan, more time to spend.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and stories!!  It feels totally doable.

midweststache

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Engaged in November, married in April.

1. Keep your guest list tiny. There were under 10 people at the ceremony, less than 30 at our "reception."
2. Justice. of. the. Peace. Our ceremony was under 5 minutes. (obvious caveat: we're not religious)
3. Don't DIY anything. DIY takes time. Just pay (within reason) for whatever you want. For us, it was paying for a private space at a local brew pub (brunch reception) and footing the bill for all 28 guests. I contacted the pub in February and, because it was a private brunch, it was NBD. They were also very excited when I said I didn't want a buffet (the typical "private event move"). I guess it resulted in more money, but more importantly it enabled me to cover all the food-restrictions of our guests.
4. Figure out what is important. For me, pictures. I had semi-professional photographer acquaintances take photos that came out great. My mom brought a bouquet she picked up that morning. No favors, no decorations, no special dances (no dancing at all, actually, because it's always awkward and weird and it was noon), no wedding cake.
5. Either don't do a "real" wedding dress (mine was a custom-made floral tea-length from an Etsy vendor that I often wear to teach) or expect no alterations.
6. Skip the engagement party/bachelor/bachelorette/etc. It's just more shit to plan.

At the end of the day, all you really need is you,  your partner, and someone to legally hitch you. Everything else is icing on the proverbial (wedding) cake.

Edit: You can see our financial breakdown on my journal (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/couch-cuddles-and-mustachian-ish-musings/50/) and a write up about planning on wedding on OffBeat Bride (http://offbeatbride.com/2015/06/plan-a-wedding-in-a-month)
« Last Edit: January 09, 2016, 10:35:08 AM by midweststache »

onlykelsey

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I think that's HUGE!  More time to plan, more time to spend.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and stories!!  It feels totally doable.

Adding on to my earlier comment with more concrete ideas:
  • find a cheap photographer if you want one at all.  I flew up up a friend trying to break into the industry who was able to use the time to do headshots in NYC, and then paid him 250 (which was not part of our deal but felt fair).  Photographers in NYC seem to start at 3K and then you pay for images.  Maybe it's different where you are, but it's a huge cost that's worked around easily.
  • I agree with the suggestion about DIY taking more time, but with a few caveats:
    • Order flowers online.  Find something that will stand alone or look good with just one filler.  Costco has good options. I ended up ordering orchids from an online supplier because they don't need arranging and are interesting on their own
    • Use free labor if anyone offers.  My sister in law made name cards (3 hours for her probably), my best friend planted a bunch of succulents (3 or 4 hours), etc.  Make them easily digestible projects so no one flakes or backs out.  And don't give them to flakes.

AnAmericanAbroad

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I proposed in March and we got married in May, so we also did the small wedding thing in a short turnaround. We only had immediate family attending and got married in a park, then went to a really nice dinner afterwards. And it was amazing, definitely the best day of my life. I really liked having the small ceremony and reception.

Bateaux

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We planned our wedding in 4 days.  Two hundred people showed up.   We had everything those who planned for months had.  Just made 25 years.

cavewoman

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We planned our wedding in 4 days.  Two hundred people showed up.   We had everything those who planned for months had.  Just made 25 years.

That is entirely too short of a post for what you just said!  (but maybe that's your style, heh heh)

Please tell me more!  200 people in 4 days ....  For some reason I picture handing flyers out to strangers on the street like for a rave or something, lol. 
That's amazing.

Bateaux

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I was a National Guardsman and got called up for Gulf War I.  We decided to get married and thought to do it small.  Word got out and it got big.  The dress was borrowed but fit like a glove.  My dress blues took the place of a tux.  The music was unbelievable and free by friends.  The flowers by my wife's aunt's shop.  The food was by family and friends.  The invitations by phone and word of mouth.  The church was available as well as their reception hall.  We had mini bride and groom.  Candles everywhere.  The photographer a friend of my wife.  Awesome photos and video.  Everyone wanted to be there.   It was standing room only.  You only need 4 days. The cost was only almost nothing.  Less than $1000.

Distshore

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We planned an NY wedding a few years ago in 5 months.  "He proposed" (no comments please) in mid-January and we planned and executed the full party in mid-June of that year.  It was a pretty big party (80 ppl including an overseas contingent).  I would have liked something smaller and simpler, but my husband was very much of the mindset of meeting his friends' and family's expectations, and we weren't yet introduced to the ways of the Mustache. 

Anyway, it's definitely possible to do the full package in 5 months should that be your wish.  You can even get "last minute booking" discounts with some vendors who have an opening and have assumed they're not going to fill it at this late date.  IMHO we could have done it in 3 months if DH had been less picky about having everything just so.

Just structure your planning in order - the big stuff first like venue, dress if you're doing a traditional one (they have to be ordered; I had to order from the "rush" list), catering, church/celebrant, photographer and of course invitations, because they're time-critical; and the small stuff after like decor, music and personal grooming.

The things I certainly do not regret lashing out on are the photographer, venue and food.  We put in a lot of effort to have our guests enjoying themselves so that we could enjoy ourselves too. 

Congratulations and good luck!

fitfrugalfab

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Yay congrats! I was able to plan a very nice wedding in Vegas in about 2 weeks. We did a rooftop ceremony and reception. Since there are so many places to get married in Vegas most places are a one stop shop and very affordable.

justplucky

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Decided in late February to get married. Called both sets of parents and future sister-in-law to see what dates in June/July would work to take a long weekend to Vegas. Decided on date in mid-June, then booked our plane tickets and hotel. Called and booked the wedding chapel (in the gardens at the Flamingo) and a fancy-ish restaurant for a private wedding dinner (Bouchon). The chapel took care of everything related to the ceremony except for clothes and photographer; I just told them what I wanted. They would've provided a photographer, but I had someone in mind I wanted to use already.

It probably took me about four hours to plan my wedding, the majority of that time spent looking for the dress. No regrets (except for never finding my dream dress - ah well).

ender

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We did our wedding of ~150 people in less than 4 months from engagement to ceremony (and that included Xmas/thanksgiving during planning season). Fancier than most here but it was about $10k and fairly traditional. We've had a lot of people say it was the nicest/best wedding they had ever been to.

There are a multitude of wedding timelines which are interesting to look at. Find out the "long timeframe" items. Normally date, venue, catering, photographer, dress/alterations. Plan to lock those down early (date is complicated because of venue/family potentially if you want everyone there and care about a place, caring less makes it easier) if you care about them. The less you care, the less important timeline is.

Have a document for the details you care about. Google had a good template we used and then removed things we didn't need - https://drive.google.com/previewtemplate?id=0AhN0y99GtIFTdEc0ZzFkMU8tZmFTSVp3dmhhMlRycWc&&ddrp=1#  The budget was particularly useful as there were a ton of random line items. We removed most of them, but a few of them were good "oh right"

Figure out your budget. Make a goal to stay within your budget. You'd be surprised how much easier planning is when you have constraints. If you only have $X for food then.. you can immediately eliminate places that are way more than $X.


To save your sanity, unless you are planning the biggest wedding ever, don't delegate decision making. If you plan a smallish wedding (even our 150) it is often easier to just work with your fiance and figure the details yourself. Adding other decision makers makes everything more complicated, because you can't decide on things without a committee. Feel free to delegate tasks - just not decisions. Things like, "Aunt Betty will coordinate the meal [and we don't care what it is]" can be good. Things like "Aunt Betty will coordinate the meal and ask us tons of clarifying questions" are bad.

Last, if you have reliable friends, give them the responsibility of ushers for the day of. We had four close friends as ushers and basically told them "just make any unexpected problems go away" and knowing that they would, since we trusted them (sorry random cousins I hardly know, but I trust my close friends as heck of a lot more to do this than you!) made worrying about all the details a lot easier.


Oh, and all this is made a heck of a lot easier if you don't have crazy family. If you do... I'm sorry.

ELE_Erin

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RE Wedding
« Reply #62 on: January 18, 2016, 07:08:36 AM »
got engaged October 4 and married Jan. 22nd.

live in Cleveland so didn't have to worry about vendors being booked quite as much as a June wedding. we got married in our church (no problem with it being booked) and picked a reception hall that included linens and table decorations and a cake. picked a photographer and the DJ (DJ was a rec by the reception hall) and made our invitations. DIY'd flowers and bought my dress off the rack at a bridal shop that only sold off the rack last season or so dresses, and didn't stress too much about details I couldn't control. check out your local board on the knot.com, those girls will be experts in your area.

If I were doing it over I'd have it catered by the local BBQ place and get a Costco cake.

my BFF had her wedding in her church, lunch followed in the adjoining reception hall with trays of shrimp, salads, and deli meats from Costco. super easy and cheap (relatively so).

elaine amj

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Last, if you have reliable friends, give them the responsibility of ushers for the day of. We had four close friends as ushers and basically told them "just make any unexpected problems go away" and knowing that they would, since we trusted them (sorry random cousins I hardly know, but I trust my close friends as heck of a lot more to do this than you!) made worrying about all the details a lot easier.

YES to this! I appointed a cousin as "coordinator" for the day. He wasn't involved in the planning beforehand though. Still, he was immeasurably useful as the person people went to with problems. If I had a problem with anything, I could go to him and ask him to deal with it rather than trying to deal with it myself. Stuff like dealing with the venue folks, getting people to shift around on time, determining timing of things, talking to the band, telling the band to shut up when I was fed up with them (ok ok - I had a lot of issues with the band trying to take over my wedding *sigh*). There ended up being a lot of little details during the event itself.

backandforth

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We had ours in NYC, got a large suite at one of the great hotels. Had less than 20people in total (just imediate family members and closest friends). The location was great, just needed some flowers(won't cost much if you only have one room to decorate), drinks(brought our own), sancks, and someone with the license to marry us!We did hired a phographer, used our iphone music colletion playing in the backgroud. No "reception", but we all went out to dinner at a cool restaurant afterwards. It was great, simple, and took us less than 2 months to prep and 2.5K total (including hotel and dinner).

It was not a produciton, but really allowed us to celebrate it with the people we cared the most about. We did do BBQs in our backyards with friends later. That was a lot of fun(very low cost) and relatively easy prep too