How I Planned My Wedding in Only 3 Months

Hint: It’s doable—with deep breaths and lots of caffeine.
by Alex Ramey

Why three months? To make a long story short, we were gearing up for a move across the country later in the year and didn't see the point in waiting. So, after getting engaged in February, I hit the ground running for our mid-May wedding. I'm not talking about a small or simple wedding, either. We had a full-fledged, 200-person ballroom soirée. My dream wedding was actualized in a short amount of time with focus, dedication and a lot of help. Here's our timeline:

Three Months Out

First things first: the venue. Our ceremony was to be in a Mormon Temple (which is luckily free of cost), but can book up quickly during wedding season in Utah. Although we initially preferred Saturdays, our only option was a Friday, which wasn't a huge deal to me and turned out to be a less crowded day on the temple's property.

Next, we needed to get those invitations out ASAP (we didn't even bother with separate save-the-dates). It seemed like a daunting task, considering we were inviting over 200 people. It took extra discipline to quickly hire a photographer, take engagement photos and have the invitations made all in just two weeks. A big shout-out to my mom, dad, sister and fiancé who helped with the licking and sealing envelopes for a few nights in a row.  

Then, there was the dress hunt. Many brides go by the guidance of buying a dress 8 to 12 months in advance to have time for fittings and alterations, so I knew I had to win the lottery of dress shopping to find something that didn't need much work done. As I walked into the fourth bridal salon of the day, I spotted a dress and thought, "That's the one." Then fear ensued with, "Please have my size. Will it fit? Please fit!" I knew it was doubtful. To my surprise, the consultant came out from the back with my size. Even more shockingly, it fit like a glove—the length, the bodice, everything. My lucky stars were aligning.

Two Months Out

Since I was busy finishing my college degree, my mom helped a lot and became the implied wedding planner (bless that woman). She took on the tasks of finding a videographer and florist, and coordinating the catering. Vendors were less booked on Fridays, so that helped when searching for pros so last minute. Mom locked down brilliant wedding pros, and I got to do the fun parts like catering and cake tastings.

We decided on a large bridal party to include all of our closest friends, which meant 9 bridesmaids and 11 groomsmen. I prided myself on finding perfect, ultra-affordable bohemian-style dresses at Forever 21 (!!!). My fiancé found the gray groomsmen suits and we were all set.

The nitty-gritty details began to come together during the second month of planning. Deadlines were coming to a close. Floral plans? Check. Wedding guest favors? Done (inscripted mint tins: "It 'mint' a lot to have you here! 5.8.2015."). Tabletop décor? Getting there. Hair and makeup trials? No need—doing it myself.

Then there was the not-so-fun part of tracking down RSVPs and drafting the seating chart. The rumors are true—the seating arrangement was probably the hardest part. "Will Joe be bored next to Tom?" "We can't sit Nancy too close to Martha." "Where do we put crazy Uncle Fred?" I can still remember the nightmares about table four, seat eight, on nights leading up to the wedding.  

One Month Out

The countdown was on and we hunkered down to focus on legalities and finalizations. We realized our passports had expired, so we tackled that expedition process at city hall, along with getting our marriage license. Eventually, we completed the dreaded seating chart and catering submissions.

The next unforeseen issue was tabletop décor. Again, my mother was a champ and gathered boxes upon boxes of mercury glass and pewter for the centerpieces. We spent an entire week figuring out the best arrangements for each of the 20-something tables.

Finally, Mom and I jotted down the day-of timeline (but you can make your own here!) on a whim. We realized we had a recipe for disaster and sought help from the photographer and venue coordinator. They knew much more about weddings than we did, after all, and made the necessary changes.

Before we knew it, it was our wedding day and (almost) everything was perfect because what truly mattered to me was that I was marrying the love of my life surrounded by my friends and family. Sure, there was rain, the flowers were a little off and I tripped during the first dance, but those seem so irrelevant now. I'm glad we took the plunge with a short engagement after all.

The bottom line is for me, planning a wedding on a short timeline was certainly achievable without major sacrifices. If you're thinking of taking the faster route, luckily there are tools and technology to help you stay organized and on track.

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