How to Plan a Wedding in 30 Days


Planning a wedding in 30 days takes diligence. Your big day should be the way you want it, but lack of time can get in the way. Be flexible. For example, if you dreamed of an intricate, lace wedding dress from a designer bridal store, modify that dream by going to a vintage shop, asking relatives or visiting a bridal outlet. By staying flexible, you can pull of a memorable wedding in 30 days.

Week One

  • Make a list of everything you need to do in a notebook. Find a location. Around holidays and during spring and summer, most places are already booked, so look for unusual places like museums and restaurants.

  • Apply for the marriage license and find an officiant. When you apply for a license, ask for a list of officiants if the one you want isn't available.

  • Choose your wedding party. Shop for off-the-rack dresses from bridal stores and outlet stores. Because of the time constraint, everyone may not be able wear the same style. Pick a color and coordinate that way. Buy shoes, rings, veil and other accessories at this time. Rent tuxedos for the men.

  • Hire a photographer or ask a friend or relative to take the pictures. If you can't find a professional photographer, arrange to take additional pictures of you and your spouse at a later date.

  • Visit a local flower shop or grocery store to order flowers. Do not tell them it's for a wedding unless you absolutely have to since some shops have restraints on the number weddings they can do in one day. Choose flowers based on time of year. In-season flowers cost less and are easier to find.

  • Make the guest list and mail out all invitations. (Keep in mind the size of the location when making your guest list.) Make a gift registry online to save time. With the time constraint, understand that out-of-state guests may not be able to make it.

Week Two

  • Decide on your menu and order the cake. Some caterers also provide cakes. Grocery store bakeries may be available to make a cake on short notice.

  • Start buying decorations at party supply stores or department stores. Shop for supplies at bulk food stores, which usually sell plates, cups, tableware, napkins and flatware. Rent chairs, tables and any other equipment needed.

  • Hire a DJ. Popular DJ business may be booked, so consider finding someone who's just starting out. Provide a list with the music you want and don't want. You can also upload the music to an MP3 player or computer and ask someone to push the buttons.

Week Three

  • Set up the rehearsal time and rehearsal dinner. Double check clothing, music, food, location, officiant and flower arrangements. Test hair and makeup. Hair salons may be booked up, so try at-home styles.

  • Buy all the nonperishable items if you are providing food yourself. Buy the rest of the decorations.

  • Make or buy favors. Favors are optional and can be anything, such as bundles of hard candy: Place candy in plastic bags, tie with a ribbon and add a tag with the date of your wedding.

Week Four

  • Count the guest list. If you have assigned seating, double-check it. Because of the short notice, some people may show up without notice, so have extra seats available.

  • Pick up tuxes, dresses, chairs, tables and anything else rented the day before the ceremony. Check the fit of all clothing right away. Keep a list of what equipment you have rented and when its due back to prevent late charges.

  • Buy perishable food items the day before the wedding. Flowers should be picked up the day of the wedding, if possible. The cake can be picked up the night before the wedding.

  • On the day of the wedding, set up the reception and ceremony. Allow at least an hour before the ceremony for getting dressed. If possible, put someone in charge of ceremony set-up and another in charge of reception set-up. As the bride, try to supervise instead of managing the details.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have someone assist you in planning. Keep a small guest list.
  • With the time constraint, it may be impossible to get exactly what you want.

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