Think you need a year or more to plan your wedding? Think again! In our post-pandemic world, after brides were forced to cancel and reschedule their 2020 weddings due to lockdowns, many brides-to-be are now opting for shorter engagements, with the growing popularity of elopements and micro weddings. But even if you do want the big flashy wedding, with just a little creativity and flexibility, you can pull off a great event in a short amount of time. Here are a few tips on how to plan a wedding in 90 days.
Bring in the Professionals
Unless you’re not doing anything else but planning your wedding for the next three months, (or you’re employed as a wedding planner) hire a planner, or find an all-inclusive venue that offers a planner or account executive to help with the many details, before you do anything else. Not only will a planner contact venues and secure dates, wedding planners have trusted vendors at the ready that they can often call on for favors. They can usually find a number of photographers or musicians in a hurry.
Find the Best Venue
When planning a wedding in a shorter time frame, having your wedding and reception in one setting just makes sense. It’s easier logistically, and having dedicated people to assist with details like décor, music, and wedding florals, takes a tremendous burden off you. Howe Farms’ Tennessee estate plays host to six unique Chattanooga wedding venues, each venue boasting its own personality and attributes, making exquisite backdrops for weddings and special events. We can also help you choose the perfect venue that aligns with your wedding day vision, whether it’s a laid-back vibe or full-on glam. Clients are more than welcome to bring in their own vendors but in the interest of time our curated vendor list is provided exclusively for our Howe Farms couples to help ease their search. This ultimately keeps you from having to call and race around town meeting with potential vendors.
Having your big day at one of our six Howe Farms venues is a great way to pull it all together, and be confident that your wedding is in a unique, gorgeous setting, while enjoying serenity and feeling pampered in one of our elegantly curated bridal suites. The Pavilion at Five Gables, for example, holds our grandest bridal suite yet. Featuring a wet bar, two massage chairs, a lounge area, getting ready areas, and more, the bridal suite gives you everything you need for your special day. Rushed? Pressed for time? Stressed over details? In this setting, you’ll never even notice!
Start Planning, Be Flexible
If you’re going it alone (ie. without a wedding planner), decide on a date and venue as soon as possible. Be willing to choose a date just for its availability, or consider alternative days of the week. Typically, Saturdays are the busiest days for weddings, so maybe you take a look at Fridays and Sundays.
Check for local bridal fairs, as this will allow you an opportunity to speak with lots of vendors all gathered under one roof. These are usually held in January or February.
Find an Officiant
Finding an officiant who’s available on your day is important, and they book up quickly, so don’t put this step off. Also remember that a judge, a member of the clergy, or a friend or family member who’s ordained could marry you. If time is not on your side, you may need to ask around quickly. Some clergy members will not marry couples that do not already attend their church, and some request that couples attend counseling sessions ahead of time so be sure to plan ahead for that. Worst case scenario, have a friend get ordained online. It’s a fairly quick, and simple process, plus a great way to incorporate someone you care about into your ceremony.
Brides with shorter time frames do not have the luxury of ordering custom gowns and having multiple fittings in the months leading up the big day. Call around to see if you can visit sample sales or a trunk show. Brides of standard size can often buy right from the trunk show with minor alterations. Consider an off-the-rack gown in a time crunch, after all, many a celebrity bride has pulled this off with panache and no one was the wiser! That said, try to allow yourself a few weeks to make any last-minute alterations you may need.
If you are open to the idea, you could go with a more nontraditional wedding dress for your big day. For example, if you broaden your horizons, you’re also opening up a larger selection of possibilities for a gown. Try a color other than white, or a print even! It’s your day, and there are no rules anymore. You can also check your local upscale retail stores or even consignment options to find the dress in time.
Food, Cake, Bar
If you’ve not secured an all-inclusive vendor, your next best option in a hurry is to hire a full-service vendor. Having an on-site coordinator handle the caterer, cake baker, and bar will take a great load off your mind. If you have a tight budget and the cost of a full-service vendor is not doable, negotiate a tavern (wine and beer only) open bar, agree to an off-peak day (like Thursday) or cut your guest list in half. Another option is to call local restaurants to ask if they would be willing to cater for a large crowd, or check with your favorite food trucks you frequent at lunch. As for the cake, consider putting in an order at your local grocery store or bakery for a standard sheet cake or even cupcakes. Publix makes beautiful wedding cakes, if there’s no time to put in a custom order. A small wedding cake with fancy donuts is also a popular option.
Photography, Entertainment, & Lighting
The sooner you can book your photographer/videographer, lighting, and musicians for the ceremony and reception, the better. Check with local churches for ceremony organists or soloists. Bands and DJs often book up to a year or more ahead of time, but consider your local theater companies or high school music programs, as many music or theatre directors can point you to former students who are looking for wedding gigs to play or DJ. Many DJs include a lighting show so you won’t have to hire for this separately if it’s a part of your vision.
Order & Mail Invitations, Create a Wedding Website
Thanks to savvy software and online companies, you can have frame-worthy, customized invitations in the mail within a week. Online stationers let you choose a theme, color, and font, then print the invites with your specific wedding details, which takes only two or three days. You should also share the link to your wedding website with guests since it will be the easiest way for them to stay in the loop about plans. Rather than designing one from scratch, go with a pre-built option for ease, and keep adding more information as things get firmed up. When you register for gifts, include links to those stores to make things easier for your guests.
Order the Rings
If there’s no time to engrave, just do this after the ceremony! If you don’t have time to find the rings of your dreams, go for temporary options, and plan to upgrade the rings down the road. This could even make for a great one-year anniversary gift for you and your love.
Don’t Forget the Marriage License!
You typically need at least a week to obtain a marriage license before your wedding ceremony, but it’s often overlooked amidst the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding. You will still need a valid marriage license to make your union legal, so do not put this step off too long.
Breathe, and Stay Sane
Finally, while getting married in less than 90 days is challenging, it can be done and done well! With a positive outlook and a sense of humor, you and your partner can keep stressful arguments at bay, and ensure that wedding-planning strife doesn’t become an unwelcome guest at your celebration. We hope these tips on how to plan a wedding in 90 days prove helpful for you as you nail down the details for your nuptials. And remember this, planning a wedding in a short time frame means you’re that much closer to your happily-ever-after!