Although many brides and grooms take up to a year and a half to organize their weddings, other couples want to make it snappy. "I'm getting more calls from brides who would like to get married in a couple of months," says event planner Julie Pryor of Pryor Events in Los Angeles.
There are plenty of reasons for having a wedding in a hurry-from a job change or military deployment to just plain eagerness to tie the knot. Here, some pros' tips to ensure that even with fast-and-furious planning, your wedding goes off without a hitch.
1. Make the first month count.
Wedding timelines usually start a year before the big day. So what’s a bride to do when she’s just six months out (or less)? "First, set your budget and make all your major decisions and purchases," recommends Christine Paul of Christine Paul Events in New York City.
"That means booking your ceremony and reception sites, purchasing or ordering your gown and the bridesmaids' dresses, hiring a photographer and deciding on the honeymoon."
You'll also want to sit down with your fiancé and set your priorities. For example, your top three might be great jazz music, authentic Italian food and a first-rate photographer. "Once you’ve done all that, you’ll be right on track with brides who’ve been at it for months," says Paul.
Tip: Enlist the help of your friends. Give them jobs they'll feel comfortable doing, like managing the RSVP list. You'll be glad you did.
2. Be flexible and creative.
You may find that some of your first choices aren’t available. For example, many popular wedding locations are reserved a year in advance. So learn to be flexible; a fabulous venue could be a place you haven’t yet imagined. "Instead of the more obvious choices, perhaps a friend has a beautiful beach house, or you could get married in a local park," says Paul.
Open your mind to different dates and times as well. Sometimes it’s much easier to find and secure a place for a Friday or Sunday — or earlier in the day. The better able you are to come up with creative alternatives, the happier you’ll be with the end result.
3. Ask for help.
Event planners may be hired to do the entire wedding, or simply to handle a few tasks you can’t fit in or even just to manage things on the big day itself. Researching vendors to learn who’s right for the job is time consuming, and a good wedding planner with a network of reliable vendors can figure out the logistics quickly and easily.
4. Enjoy yourself!
Remember to take time to soak it all in. Sure, you’ll be in a hurry, but taste-testing dishes and listening to bands is still fun. Luckily, you’re already on top of this. "Brides who’ve gotten their weddings together in six months or less have told me they actually enjoyed the process," says Paul. "They had less time to stress out and found the preparations surprisingly exciting."
5. But will it cost more?
In many cases, you’ll receive the same treatment — and fees — as any other bride. In other words, giving shorter notice to vendors and other service providers doesn’t mean you’ll be getting a higher fee. And, says Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event in Chicago, "Don’t assume you should refrain from negotiating prices just because you’re on a short timetable. Negotiate whenever and wherever it seems reasonable."
Although there shouldn’t be rush fees for booking your venue, your band, your florist or most other vendors, Lilly notes, "You can expect to pay extra for hurrying your and your bridesmaids’ gowns and maybe the invitations or favors." So try to make quick, smart decisions. You really don’t have time to be fickle about the colors of your bridesmaids’ dresses or about whether to have roses or white orchids for your bouquet. Chances are, you won’t regret your choices — especially when you find you’ve eliminated costly "rush" fees.
Photo Credit: Mango Studios