Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tips for Planning A Quickie Wedding

When talking about a quickie wedding, I don't mean eloping to Vegas.  In the wedding industry, a quickie wedding can mean leaving four months or less to plan the big day.  How long does it typically take to plan a wedding?  Ideally, there will be close to a full year of planning.  There are several reasons the planning process can be so lengthy. 

First, some venues get booked up a year in advance.  So, if you want your choice of venues for your prospective wedding date, then you have to start looking early. Also, if you're getting your wedding gown at a traditional wedding dress boutique, it can take four months just for your dress to come in after it is ordered, and then it will likely need alterations. And if you've dreamed of having the most prestigious wedding vendors do your flowers or bake your cake, again you're going to have to move quickly and book them up to a year ahead.

But not to worry.  If you just can't wait to say those vows, you can absolutely plan an amazing wedding in less than four months.  Here's how to do it....

Vary the Venue.  First you've got to find your venue.  Nowadays, weddings take place in so many different locales, and that's part of what makes them interesting.  Be open-minded. Consider hotels, synagogues, gardens, art galleries, museums, yachts, historic mansions, restaurants or even your own backyard. Especially for big city dwellers, there are so many different wedding venues that you're bound to find places with availability.  If you're having trouble, go off the beaten path and look at venues in surrounding towns and suburbs.

Find an Officiant.  Jewish law actually does not require a person to be ordained in order to officiate at a wedding.  BUT states do require an ordained officiant to sign the marriage license in order for the marriage to be legal.  Can't find a rabbi to officiate in your city on short notice? In some states, cantors can also serve as wedding officiants.  Rabbis or Cantors in neighboring cities may be willing to drive even a few hours to officiate, so expand your search.  You can also look online for "wedding celebrants" in your area, which are essentially freelance wedding officiants that are often unaffiliated with any religion.  If you aren't looking to have a traditional Jewish ceremony, ask a friend or family member to officiate.  Anyone can become ordained through the Universal Life Church. Despite being called a church, the Universal Life Church is not affiliated with any particular religion.  Its main tenent is simply to do what is right without infringing on the rights of others, and it advocates freedom of religion. It only takes a few days to become ordained online and couples then have the opportunity for someone close to them to create a special ceremony.  No matter who you choose as your officiant, be sure to make sure that person complies with your particular state's laws!

Searching for The One. You already found your groom, now you need the dress!  While it typically takes months for a wedding gown to arrive and be altered through a traditional wedding boutique, retailers like J. Crew, Ann Taylor, and White House Black Market have bridal lines. You can order online and have your dress within a couple of weeks! If you're really in a bind, some wedding dress boutiques will sell you their samples off the rack. You can also look online for sample sales in your area when stores are clearing out their sample inventory. 

Dealing with the Details.  You'll need a cake baker, florist, photographer, and DJ or band. Be willing to stray from the most renowned vendors, who are likely to already be booked up.  If you're under a time crunch, you may want to seek the help of a wedding planner. A wedding planner will already have lists of vendors at her disposal, and will save you the time of having to search for the possibilities. Also keep in mind that some of the biggest trends right now require little advance planning.  For example, any bakery should be able to provide cupcakes for the very popular cupcake tower with just a little advance notice.  And if your favorite band is booked, many couples are skipping the band altogether and opting to create their own wedding setlists using an Ipod and speakers. 

With a little creativity, you can plan that wedding and be on your way to a relaxing honeymoon in no time!

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