My now-husband and I had a modern ‘whirlwind’ romance. We met, moved in together, and fell in love in three months. We’d been together 7 months when he proposed and we got married less than 9 months after our first date.
Some people are shocked when I tell them the story, others nod sagely and say ‘when you know, you know’. I think they are the ones who also ‘knew’ early on, but perhaps took a little longer over things than we did.
Anyway, when we decided to get married we also decided to do it immediately. We told our family in the last week of July, we announced our engagement to the world on 1 August and we got married on 14 September. People could not believe that we organised a wedding in 6-7 weeks, but with help and the right attitudes it came together a lot more easily and smoothly than you might think.
Here are my tips for how to organise a wedding in 6 weeks:
1. Let go of the ‘picture perfect’ wedding in your mind
This is important. If you have in your mind a plan for what you want your wedding to be like and it includes perfect and immaculate detail down to colour matching flowers to neck ties and cake decorations, handmade cake topper and getting married in a particular month because that’s when the flowers you want are in bloom, you probably can’t get married with only 6-8 weeks to prepare.
All of those details take a lot of planning and time to accomplish. It may indeed be possible to do all of those in a few weeks, if you enlist an army of helpers and run yourself ragged. But is that want you really want to do in the weeks before you get married?
If you want to organise a wedding in a short time, let go of all of those ‘perfect’ details. Let go of the custom-made gown (that might be a hard one to give up), step away from Pinterest and bridal magazines and just go with the flow. It will all come together in the end and it will still be the happiest day of your life, even without personalised bomboniere.
This is a big one. I outsourced a lot of important jobs to friends and family. I asked my dearest girlfriends, all of whom have good taste and personal style, to do the flowers and other decorations. Another friend made the play-list and was the ‘DJ’. I asked Kirst, who does her own make-up flawlessly every day, to do mine for the big day.
Outsource small but important and time-consuming jobs and watch your worries be dealt with by other people. You will also potentially save a lot of money, depending on what you ask people to do. Though you should have everyone over for dinner to say thank you.
And I promise you, your friends will Love doing these things for you! It means they are really involved in your wedding, not just guests. They are contributing to the happiness and success of your big day and it makes the day even more thoughtful and loving.
3. Be flexible and prepared to compromise
If you aren’t prepared to compromise on what you want vs. what is available at the time, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of stress and dissatisfaction. If you are relaxed about your wants and expectations you will be happier with the results.
For a lot of brides, the dress is a key ingredient of their wedding. White, classic, the most beautiful dress you may ever won. Even I was a teeny bit disappointed to not have the beautiful white gown, but I had often felt that I’d rather get married in a colour – specifically a blue 1950s prom-style dress. When I went shopping with my girlfriends for my wedding dress, that is what I was really hoping to find. Instead I ended up with a pink satin bead-embroidered 1960s cocktail dress that at the time I said ‘I like it, it will do.’ I didn’t have endless time to search for and find the dress I wanted, so I compromised. Of course, I love my dress now and I can’t wait to wear it again and again and remember how happy I was on that day.
4. Get the three big things sorted out first
This is general wedding planning advice. Sort out:
- Who is going to perform the ceremony– celebrant or priest, choose and book someone.
- Where it’s going to be.
- The date.
They all go together and are interlinked, but once you have those three elements locked in, the rest is detail. As long as you have those, you’re getting married. Add food, drink and a few friends and you have a party. A dress and a suit is good, music and decorations are nice. But get those three things out of the way and every other part of your day is comparatively easy and unimportant.
5. Different can be good
We were fortunate in that both my fiancé and I wanted a wedding that was low-key, relaxed and fun. A wedding like that lends itself to speedy planning, whereas if you want a big church wedding and reception, you’re probably going to need the usual 12-18 months to plan.
We got married in the same restaurant as the reception. We had a small number of people and ate tapas and drank a lot of good wine. The flowers came from the local markets and the decorations were hand made in a couple of crafternoons with friends. There were no seating arrangements or table numbers and formal proceedings were kept to a minimum. It was so easy and laid-back, it all fell together smoothly. It may not have been a usual wedding but it worked perfectly.
6. Keep in mind what your wedding is really about
As part of my outsourcing, my girlfriends went in to over-drive making sure I had a wonderful wedding, and I thank them for all of the hours of thoughtfulness and care they put into a day that was all about me (and my Husband of course). Sometimes I thought they were more concerned about making my wedding ‘special’ than I was!
But here’s the thing: whatever you wear to get married in, be it new or old, becomes the perfect dress. Because it is the dress you wore when you married the love of your life.
I had one of my very few stressed outbursts on the morning of the wedding when I tried on my dress and in the course of alterations, the fabric had softened and so it didn’t fit as well as it had in the shop – cue emotional panic! Fortunately, my mother was on hand to remind me of something I had said myself – once the wedding starts, you won’t care. And that is absolutely true.
Once you enter the church or restaurant, once the ceremony starts and then when the champagne pops, you won’t care if the flowers weren’t your favourites or you didn’t have time to order an engraved cake knife. You shouldn’t care. You’ve just married the person who makes you happier than you thought you could ever be. That’s what a wedding is really about and it’s worth remembering every step of the way.
I finally have to acknowledge that through work, luck and low-fuss wants, our Big Day was exactly the wedding I’d always wanted; romantic, fun, laid back and memorable. I had a ‘perfect’ wedding.
I would like to say a big thank you to all of my friends and family who put in time and effort to make mine and Husband’s wedding the wonderful day it was. We could not have had such a beautiful day without you.