Proposal to wedding vows in just eight weeks. But how?
If the thought of a short-term wedding fills you with an overwhelming sense of dread, you’re not the only one. It seems an impossible task to plan a wedding in eight weeks, right? I mean first there’s the venue to choose. And then there’s colour schemes to think about, dresses to buy, food to taste, entertainment to sort… and that’s not even the half of it. The list really does go on.
But all of this wedding day pressure shouldn’t get in the way of your desired wedding date. And it definitely didn’t for Stacey and Kevin: ‘We got engaged on 10th July, 2014 and were married by 12:30 on the afternoon of 5th September, 2014.’
‘WOW’ was the best response I could muster up when I was chatting to Stacey about her big day. Eight weeks from proposal to wedding vows, plus a five-day mini moon to Paris tagged on the end. That’s definitely worthy of a WOW. And, if you thought it was all made possible by a whizz of a wedding planner and a huge budget, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Stacey and Kevin spent about £6,000 and invited 60 guests. Stacey took the lead on the wedding planning and her mum helped out along the way.
You don’t have to cut corners with a short-term wedding.
Stacey tells me about her wedding day and, I’ve got to say, no stone was left unturned, despite the tight time frame. They had all the detail-y flourishes you’d expect at a wedding – handmade favours, table decorations and playlists. They made time to make inserts for the official invitations, and they suited and booted the bridesmaids and page boys. But that was all down to hard work. When it came to the venue, Stacey says they got lucky:
‘We went with the second venue we viewed, and it was just perfect. Luckily, they had the Friday [5th September] available. We phoned close friends and family there and then, to check they could make the date. And then we booked it.
The staff were incredibly helpful, and on the actual day, they blew us away with the food. Because I have intolerances, they went above and beyond and made me my very own dairy free dessert. It honestly was the best I’ve ever tasted!’
It helps if the Universe is in your favour (and you’ve got the right attitude).
The venue fell into place for Stacey and Kevin. And the more I found out about their big day, the more I realised that a short-term wedding worked because of their attitudes from the outset.
‘We started playing around with ideas at the restaurant after Kevin proposed. We wanted a summer wedding and didn’t want to wait until next year. Because it was impulsive, we both knew that we’d have to be laid-back about it, as we knew our choices would be restricted. I was really keen to do the majority of the work and, as my mother always says, if you want something done right, do it yourself.’
That’s exactly the approach Stacey took. With the help of her mum, she got straight into the planning. Stacey made sure she was assertive when it came to dealing with difficult vendors, and she wasn’t afraid to ask vendors for the best deal. Her soon-to-be husband was happy to take a step back from the planning.
‘Kevin helped me with the big yes or no decisions. Otherwise, he just let me get on with it. Except for one request; he wanted to wear a charcoal grey suit and a very particular blue tie. It seemed a perfectly normal request at first. But when it came to bridesmaid dress shopping, it took some creative thinking to get the dresses to match the colour scheme. But I loved that challenge!’
Expect to come up against some hurdles.
Speaking of challenges, finding a registrar was probably Kevin and Stacey’s biggest one. Registrars get booked up in advance, really quickly. So, when it came to getting an appointment at such short notice, Kevin and Stacey only had a choice of half-hour slots in the morning or late afternoon.
‘We chose the 12 noon slot and it worked perfectly. Everyone had plenty of time to catch up over drinks on the lawn, and the kids were running about having fun. It was just such a relaxed atmosphere – something that you could never create through endless planning.’
Stacey would be lying if there weren’t any hairy moments. Kevin’s wedding ring came back after a resize just three days before the wedding; the DJ in the evening played unsuitable music far too loudly, and it took some time for the bridesmaids to agree on one dress. But none of these things were enough to stop Stacey doing it all over again, even the dreaded ordeal of finding a wedding dress.
‘Shopping for my wedding dress was a military operation. We hit three or four shops in a day and there was a real pressure to find one quickly. It is hard when you’re buying straight off the rail to find the perfect dress as your options are limited. In the last shop, I found a dress. If I’m honest, it was a bit of a ‘make-do’, and if I had more time, I may have looked further afield.’
Step away from the last-minute tinkering – it’s not necessary.
On her wedding day, Stacey looked and felt great in her dress. And, whilst talking to me, she makes a brilliant point about last-minute weddings overall; that compromise has to win over absolute preference. Saying that, she didn’t feel the lack of time had her surrendering the nice-to-haves she’d always dreamed about. In fact, the time limit made the whole process more focused, and it proved to be a really good motivator:
‘My mum and I made all the wedding favours and table decorations in the week running up to the wedding. At the time it felt really rushed. But, actually, I’m grateful that we had zero spare time – otherwise I know I’d be trying to perfect things when it just wasn’t necessary.’
Whether you’re planning your wedding in two, six or twelve months, it will always feel like there’s never enough time. But, more often than not, the longer you spend on something, the more tweaking, worrying and spending you do. I’m not suggesting a short-term wedding is the right choice for everyone – I mean, it’s a really ballsy step to take. And Stacey has proved that you have to be incredibly organised and driven. But it does highlight one resounding message we can lose sight of when we’re in the thick of wedding planning. And Stacey summed it up nicely:
‘You can spend a year faffing about with colour schemes and place settings, but – ultimately – it’s about who you’re marrying and the people you choose to share that experience with. You definitely can’t plan atmosphere and ambiance.’
If you are in the midst of planning a short-term wedding, or have had a similar experience to Kevin and Stacey, we want to know. And if this article has inspired you to bring your wedding date forward, good luck with the planning.
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