There are several reasons you might be getting married at the last minute. Plans change, things happen, and life moves forward. Whether you’ve made a spur-of-the-moment decision, have had to move up your timeline because of a job in another state or country, or have found yourself planning a wedding in a short period of time for any other reason, you likely feel a bit overwhelmed. After all, the average couple spends between 13 and 18 months planning a wedding, so it’s only natural to feel stressed if you’re trying to plan one in just a few short months or even weeks.
Despite the stress and pressure you may be feeling now, rest assured it is possible to plan and pull off a last-minute wedding without it looking and feeling last minute. If you’ve found yourself with a wedding date that’s sooner than later and you’re feeling underprepared, take a deep breath and check out the tips below to help you get things under control and ready to go in the short timeframe that you have.
Set a Firm Budget
When you’re on a tight timeline, you are usually on a tight budget since you haven’t had as much time to save up to cover the cost of your wedding. This means that setting a firm budget and sticking to it is important. Your budget may also require that you give up certain things or that you look for alternatives to what you may have been planning. For example, that may mean you will need to look at affordable plus size dresses instead of spending your entire budget on the one you saw in the shop window, but remember that affordable doesn’t mean you can’t have something just as stunning and captivating.
Go Simple with Refreshments
When you’re on a short timeline, it can be hard to find a caterer who will be able to make a full menu and cover your wedding. You don’t need a full-service caterer, though. Instead, you might want to consider going with simple refreshments instead of a full meal. For example, you could serve just brownies and cheesecake, or offer chips and salsa and churros for both sweet and savory options—there’s nothing that says you have to do something fancy or offer a full meal.
Consider an Invitation Without a Photo
If you go online you can find wedding invitations that you can make for free with or without photos. The average cost of a wedding photographer is $2,783. While you will still want photos of your wedding, your short timeline may not give you the budget or the time to hire a photographer, get photos done, and print invitations to send out. While you can still hire a photographer to do a mini shoot before the wedding if you want, opting for an invitation that doesn’t include a photo will help you get invites out faster so that you can hopefully get more guests to attend.
Adopt a “Something Borrowed” Policy for All Aspects of the Wedding
Many brides incorporate something borrowed into their wedding look, but if you’re on a short timeline, then you may want to consider taking that further and incorporating something borrowed into your entire wedding. When you’re planning something last minute, you don’t always have the time to look around and find décor elements and matching bridesmaid dresses. Instead, you can ask family and friends to lend you glass bottles, invite your bridesmaids to find and borrow a dress of a certain color, and so on to help you get things put together.
Use a Venue That’s Naturally Beautiful
Wedding décor can take a lot of time to set up and take down, and it can take a lot of time to find, buy, and receive as well. When you’re planning a last-minute wedding, choosing a venue that is naturally beautiful, (like a park, the beach, the mountain top), can help save you a lot of time and money since you can work around the natural decorations that are already there. If you’re hosting your wedding in a garden, you only need tables, lights, and centerpieces—you may not even need flowers!
Register for Gifts Online
Time is of the essence when planning a wedding at the last minute. That means you don’t have the time to go out and register for items in the store. Luckily, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Williams Sonoma, and hundreds of other stores will let you register online, from the comfort of your home, making it fast and easy to get the items you want on your registry and ready for guests who will be attending—even if the wedding is only a week or two away.
No matter what the reason, if you’re planning a wedding at the last minute, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. You don’t have to give up and settle for a wedding that’s less than you dreamed of, though. By borrowing things and help from family and friends, registering online, and sending out invitations without photos, you can save yourself time and still get a stunning wedding put together in a matter of months or even weeks.
What else are you doing to save yourself time and get your wedding put together on short notice?