I’m Married! Also, I have fortunately proved that you can plan a wedding in one month and make it an unforgettable and beautiful occasion without going crazy. Here’s how.
A month ago, my husband and I tied the knot. Our wedding day was a beautiful and unforgettable occasion, especially for one prepared in, literally, less than a month.
We’ve been engaged since Easter of last year, and since then, have kept it low key. So low key that no actual planning went into this wedding until, literally, less than a month before the date. We thought we would go for a “Surprise, we got married!” kind of situation. We’re weird like that. Also, throughout our engagement we were in a long distance relationship, and I didn’t want to jinx it. I know, I sound like a seven year old. But that’s for another post.
After announcing to some friends and family that we were planning to tie the knot, we gave in and realised that celebrating the moment would, in fact, be better shared. I went ahead and switched on my bride-to-be mode, then the four week prep to the big day began. So there I was, a new girl in London, trying to pull off her wedding in one month. Cue montage of frantic wedding preparations with cheesy happy soundtrack in the background. As long as you don’t let the occasion overwhelm you, setting up your wedding under a month is actually a very enjoyable journey. Here are my top tips.
1. Be Clear and Specific with your Vision for the Wedding
Fortunately, we both had clear ideas of how we want our wedding to be like. It was all down to marrying our two preferences and really ironing out expectations. I wanted a small wedding, and he wanted a bigger party for wedding drinks. With very little time, sitting down and talking about each other’s expectations openly and honestly really helped us. We fleshed out what we really felt about each other’s choices, and made clear of which things we would be uncomfortable with.
I definitely wanted a bouquet and buttonholes, a wedding dress, and photography. He was okay with these. He definitely wanted a Michelin starred lunch and then a party for people to get drunk in. I am all for it. We agreed on wedding speeches but dropped the wedding dance. We both don’t like the color pink and we both don’t understand why we should care for elaborate event styling. From the get go, there has to be a clear understanding of what things you definitely have to have or things that you definitely must avoid to make it a wedding that you and your husband would be happy about. You only have a month. It will be hard to keep switching decisions and preferences from this point.
I thought finding a wedding checklist like this from LaurenConrad.com is a good way to have an idea of what would be needed in the wedding. Be realistic and really understand what effort and cost will go into wanting anything extravagant. Once clear with which ones I need, I want, and I can live without, I envisioned the month ahead and started writing down my deadlines. This will give you a better idea on how to tackle the preparations ahead.
2. Guest list and Invitations
This was a bit more complicated for us because of our situation. We were getting married in London, but my family and friends are in Manila. My husband was very considerate and asked me about how I would feel about each and every person he invited. We also talked about the roles that key people would be playing, such as who to assign as wedding witnesses. However, because you are a month away from the wedding day, be considerate of other people’s previous engagements and understand that you can’t expect urgent RSVP’s or hope for a 100% turn out. Be flexible with your guest list, show appreciation for anyone who is readily able to say that they can come, and understanding towards people who will say that they will try their best.
One mistake that we made in our wedding is not sending a save the date. We felt that it didn’t matter because we would be sending an invitation a few days later. The invitation was eventually delayed because of our venue hunting, so we weren’t able to send our invitations until a week before the wedding! Fortunately for us, we still had a great turn out. My advice is for you to send a Save the Date as a courtesy to your guests, or at least send them a message letting them know of the date of your wedding and that a formal invitation will be sent to them ASAP. Also, don’t be embarrassed to use E-vites. They are a great way of getting out the information quickly without giving up aesthetics.
3. Budget and Style
Your wedding style and budget goes hand in hand. While your time and budget may limit you from booking a 100 pax wedding party at the Ritz, it shouldn’t keep you from creating a lovely and memorable event. My husband and I both believed that our money can be spent better in building our home, so we decided to keep the wedding simple and intimate. From this decision, we discussed numbers, and then I was able to use this as direction in planning the wedding.
With one month to the big day, organization is key. What I suggest you do is to really write down an itemized budget that would show an estimate of what you are willing to spend per item. Your wedding license is one item that would have a set cost and would go on the top of the list. Your wedding venue would follow it on the list and will be a high ticket item that would get a bigger portion of the budget. List down everything that you want to have in your wedding, line them up by priority and give each one an according budget. After knowing how much your budget is per item, go online and use this budget as reference when researching costs and asking for quotations. Reorganize your priorities and research on ways on how to spend less on the things you care least about. For example, at the end of the day, to be able to buy my husband a surprise wedding gift and afford two photographers for our wedding day, I decided to DIY my flowers, hair, and make up. Which leads me to the next tip.
4. Research, research, research… and when you can, DIY.
One of the problems of planning a wedding this close to the date is that everything suddenly comes at a premium price. Not only are you asking for quotation for something wedding related, you’re also asking for rush services. It is because of this that you should stop yourself from giving in at the first sign of a good deal. Don’t settle for the first venue that gives you your date for a premium rate. Don’t decide to throw your budget out of the window as soon as you find a gorgeous dress that fits you. Be calm, collected, and rational. With today’s technology, you have the advantage of covering your bases in a small amount of time. Set a strict research timeline for costs and quotations, and compare everything before making a decision. You can have the fabulous and beautiful wedding you want, but it will take some focus, openness, and creativity.
For example, hair and make up was low on my list of priorities because our wedding was very simple and intimate, and I have a hard time trusting others with my make up anyway. After researching thoroughly on the cost of getting my hair and make up done vs. the cost of doing it myself, I decided to DIY my hair and make up. Patry Jordan’s easy short hair up do video was a lifesaver! With a bit of practice, I was able to create the look I was going for, and also ended up with some new tools and make up that I can use later on. With so many tutorials floating around in the internet, all I needed to do was watch and learn. I also made my own Spotify playlist instead of hiring a band or a DJ. Technology is on your side. Take advantage of it.
5. Don’t be ashamed to ask for or receive help.
You’ll realize that many people will be kind enough to offer their help with wedding preparations. Take the help, and let go of the reigns a little bit. The main goal of your prep time is to get as much done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, having limited time means you may have to let go of your impulse to control every small detail. Allow yourself to relax and let others help. My mother in law helped with the cake and the champagne flutes, my father in law helped with the champagne. My mom and dad helped with our accommodations for the wedding night. My sisters arranged a long distance reception for my family abroad. Our friend, Felicity, helped me make my flowers. Our wedding party even helped dress up the pub for our wedding drinks! I know we wouldn’t have been able to pull off our wedding day if not for the help of so many people.
My biggest wedding tip of all: change your mind set.
Don’t look at your wedding as an event, think of it as a celebration. So many women lose track of what the big day is all about. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to make it perfect. Here’s the truth: it won’t be. Some plans will fall through the cracks, and some will turn out even better than you expected. Plan as best as you can and come wedding day, let go and enjoy the moment with your partner. Your guests are there to celebrate your union as husband and wife. That’s all that matters. The secret to a truly successful wedding day, based on my experience, is simply to enjoy it. The happiness that you and your husband will share on the big day will set the tone for everything else. Make sure that you are filled with nothing but joy and love.
If you’re looking for more wedding inspiration, here’s a post I published about the specifics of our wedding. Enjoy!
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