Following the sense of relief, I realized something: we had less than a month to plan the wedding. How did we pull it off?
Decide what's important. When you have a limited time to plan, you need to decide what's important and what isn't. Since my husband-to-be was unemployed, I simply gave him a list of things to take care of. I was working full time and had no way to do everything that needed to be done. My notes looked like this:
- Get flowers. 3 bridesmaids. I want hydrangeas. No preference on other flowers.
- Order cake. 75 guests. Colors: navy blue and white. No fondant.
When it came to other items, however, I was fully involved. Although I didn't have much time to select a dress and have it altered, I crammed as much dress shopping as I could into two days. My matron of honor graciously accompanied me on this quest and kept me on task.
Trust others. When you're short on time, you need to trust others with the details. Two of my bridesmaids flew across the country on short notice for my wedding. I didn't want to burden them with the additional expense of a dress. Instead, I showed them a photo of my dress, which included a navy blue trim, and asked them to match the navy. I just had to trust them and didn't even see their dresses until the big day. They coordinated on their own and all picked something similar. Their outfits also cost under $50 each, and they were able to select dresses they'd wear again.
A friend also offered to design our wedding website. She updated it with details as they were added, which was seriously important considering it was all so last minute. My mom (a very organized person) also stepped in and managed the RSVPs for me. I just sent her my list and handed everything over to her. My matron of honor hand made chocolate favors for me as well. I loved what they did on everything even though I didn't have a huge role in each aspect. (Those chocolates helped with lingering wedding stress, too.)
Use the Internet. Etsy became my best friend when I planned my wedding. I was able to find simple, affordable, handmade personal touches that really made our reception sing. I searched using our theme (nautical) and colors (navy blue, white and yellow). In some instances, I just sent the designer samples of our wedding invitations and clips of things I liked along with the money and let them design it. They all did a great job.
DIY last minute items. There were a few last minute touches and decorations I wanted, but didn't have time to order them. Armed with $30, I hit the local craft store and purchased some supplies such as ribbon and cardstock. Using my existing scrapbooking equipment including a papercrafting machine, I personalized my reception in the last 48 hours before my wedding.
Patronize local businesses. When my husband had a list of things to take care of in a limited time, he went to local businesses to tackle the list. He was able to accomplish multiple details in each trip. We were also able to check on the progress in person. This eliminated a lot of stress from our wedding planning.
Despite the fact that the wedding was last minute, people really enjoyed it. I was really worried about ordering food from a place I'd never even patronized, but it turned out to be a highlight of the reception - all because I went on a friend's recommendation.
This post was originally published on Examiner.com.