Many wedding experts will tell you it takes at least a year to plan a wedding, and a lot of brides-to-be take even more time. While it can be easier to get the exact flowers you want or get a wedding dress custom made, there are plenty of benefits to having a short engagement. I was married within four months of getting engaged, and here are five reasons you should consider a dash to the altar, too.
Keep the Excitement Alive
I never understood how anyone could sustain the excitement for a wedding over such a long period of time. When wedding planning fills up your days for months on end, and you’re constantly arguing with florists, event planners and bridesmaids, that’s got to get old quick. If you get very intense about the preparations, this could also put a long term strain on your friendships, and even on the relationship with your fiancé. Having a short engagement means you’ve got the Big Day easily in sight, and you can enjoy the little flurry of planning and the excitement that quickly builds to the moment you say “I do.”
Many brides-to-be think that having years to plan will ensure they’ll end up with everything exactly as they imagined. The problem with taking so long is that change happens. The venue you booked could get sold and turned into a furniture store. You might drift away from, or have a falling out with friends that are supposed to be standing up in the wedding. Your tastes could even change. My friend bought her wedding dress a year and a half in advance, and by the time she picked it up, she didn’t even remember if it was the right dress or if she still liked it. Obviously things can still go wrong in a shorter engagement, but the odds for last-minute changes increase the longer you wait.
No Time for Procrastination
Anyone who’s ever procrastinated knows that the more time you have to do something, the more you’re likely to leave it up to the last minute. If you only have a few months to get your wedding together, you know you have to start working right away, and you’ll probably check off items on your to-do list faster than if you’d had an extended deadline. With four months to plan my wedding, I had everything arranged and booked more than a month before the big day.
Getting the church and/or the reception hall are the trickiest to plan at short notice, so make your guest list fast and then book an appropriate venue. You’ll have to be flexible. I chose a few preferred weekends in the fall, and I was happily able to book my alma mater’s chapel for one of those dates. If the date is non-negotiable, you’ll have to be flexible on the venue.
Keep Perfectionism at Bay
When you’ve got two years to plan a wedding, this opens up all kinds of time to obsess over finding the perfect dress and shoes, all the way down to what texture of ribbon you want on the bouquets. All this does is make you crazy and increase the opportunity for your plans to go awry. Do you really need to taste 100 cakes before you choose one? I love chocolate, and had always wanted a cake with a fountain between the tiers, just like the one I’d seen as a child in a posh bakery window. My mother gave this information to a friend with a cake business, who had made ornate creations for corporate events my mother organized. This talented baker made me a gorgeous chocolate cake with a fountain, and it was affordable and tasty. I got my dream cake with no obsessing, and it all turned out perfectly!
With such a short time to prepare, you’re going to need to enlist help, which also means letting go of absolute control. My godfather handled the invitations and monogrammed napkins; I selected from a book he sent me, and he did all the rest. I told my grandmother what flowers I liked, and she made silk arrangements for all the tables at the reception. Letting people take part in the wedding makes them feel special, takes the pressure off of you, and everyone enjoys the shared experience.
Focus on the Important Things
My husband and I made a pact when we got engaged, to remember that the most important part of the wedding was the two of us getting married. You should do the same. Forget all the little stuff, and don’t worry if those silver spray-painted flowers didn’t arrive in time, or that there wasn’t an opening at the venue that would have landed you in a bridal magazine. The wedding is one day, and your marriage is for a lifetime. Focus on why you’re having this wedding, and everything else will fall into place.
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