As we are approaching our one year anniversary next month, I have had a decent amount of time to process and ponder our special day!
I have also had an alarming amount of questions as to how I pulled it off.
I planned our entire wedding in SEVENTEEN DAYS.
(As a side note, I was also in my third-trimester of pregnancy. Yeah. Let that sink in a little bit!)
So, let’s start out at the beginning.
I have known for a long, long time that Dakota and I would end up getting married! On our first date, we both talked about how important our families were. As our relationship grew, I knew that we both wanted marriage in the future. People might not know this, but about five months before we found out I was pregnant, Dakota took me up on a mountain and confessed his devotion and commitment to me, and that one day he would marry me.
So, even with the pressures of a pregnancy and then moving into a new home together, I was never really stressed about us getting married. I knew it would happen, and that we loved each other. I wanted Dakota to ask me when he wanted to. I see girls in relationships constantly drilling their significant others about a proposal and a ring… and that just wasn’t my style. We were happy. I knew we would one day get married. And I was content with waiting until whenever that was!
It was worth the wait, because on September 4th, 2016 Dakota planned a beautiful proposal in the state where we both were born- Arizona. It was honestly right out of a fairytale. I’ll never forget how genuine, sweet, and thought-out it was.
We talked about when we wanted to get married, and we settled on October of 2017. I mean, I would have enough time to “plan”, right? Certainly I would have to wait until I got my “body back” after baby, too.
Well, four days later, on September 8th, we reached an insane decision. Why not get married in 17 days? And not just get married, but actually have a wedding!
(I will let the record show that I tried to convince Dakota in eloping! He was not for it, and wanted a wedding where all our family could attend!)
We made the decision to get married so soon for a few reasons.
After thinking about it, we realized it would mean a lot to us to be able to bring our daughter into the world as one family unit. I wanted to share the same last name with my baby and my husband. Oh, yeah, and I wanted to be able to curse at my HUSBAND on delivery day! (ha ha) We also realized that planning a wedding AFTER we had our baby, would be very difficult- and today, I am SO grateful I realized that! It was also essentially the end of an era- the end of just us TWO. And what a way to end it then with a wedding!
Ah, bless our young, romantic hearts.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I want to heed with a warning. When planning a wedding so quickly, there are obviously going to be some sacrifices you will have to make.
My whole life, I dreamed of a bridal shower- as odd as that sounds. I remember going to bridal showers for relatives and family friends, even as a young child. It was such a fun, beautiful memory. A woman before her big day- being honored and celebrated. Gifts JUST for her. And not regular gifts like socks or books- no, beautiful lacy, pretty gifts. Money. “Wife” Gifts. It was just such a fun, up-beat atmosphere. (and later working in the lingerie retail industry for two years, I had developed a love of all things lacy and pretty!) So, as unusual and petty as it may sound, growing up, I looked forward to a bridal shower almost as much as I looked forward to my future wedding!
With our time and circumstances, I never had one.
We also didn’t have
a Wedding Registry,
or even a real honeymoon. (Dakota later expressed to me that growing up he always looked forward to “The Big Send Off” and anticipated, adventurous honeymoon with his new wife.)
So, yes, you will make sacrifices and you very well might end up with a wedding that will differ from the one you grew up dreaming about. But, again, we knew that, and we chose that. And the wedding we ended up with, was perfect for us! I don’t mention these details to be negative, simply to be realistic. You will need to prioritize, because honestly, you won’t be able to do EVERYthing.
SO…. How did I do it?
17 days is already a short amount of time, but while I was doing this I was also STILL working two jobs. I think I looked it over and only had two full days off during this time period! HAHA! YIKES. I remember in between phone calls at the office, I had about 47 tabs open on my computer with wedding planning taking place. I utilized every waking second that I had.
Another obstacle we faced was budget. I didn’t have endless funds, so on top of rushing things, I also had to manage to DIY a lot as well.
I Did My Own Wedding Flowers!
I researched a few online stores, and ended up going with Fifty Flowers. Fifty Flowers is an online wholesale flower shop.
I will add, that I have NEVER, ever, in the history of EVER done anything like this before!
But, I was able to find a lot of useful tips and tricks on their website, as well as finding additional blogs and of course, Pinterest. I spent a total of $370.45 for my wedding flowers- centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnieres! Which, is INCREDIBLE! (By the way, if you are ordering ANYTHING online, EVER, always google coupon codes before you submit! This is one of my life lessons!) Also, I put my order in about ten days before our wedding, and they were delivered 2 days before the wedding! So it is very possible to do in a rush!
I did keep my flowers to a minimum- they were certainly not the focus of my wedding. But, they were beautiful, and I don’t regret my choice one bit!
The trick with bulk, online flowers, is that they will deliver them to you before they have fully bloomed. Then, you get to steep them in water 1-2 days, and THEN trim and arrange them.
(TIP- You will end up plucking wilted petals away from the buds, a job a florist typically does, but I kept all the petals and ended up using them for the Flower Girls to toss!)
I did end up finishing the bouquets THE NIGHT before the wedding, with a lot of amazing help from my bridal crew! So, helping hands is a huge plus!
I Kept It Personal
It was really important to me to have some personal details in our wedding! The board in the above picture was actually another “DIY” that Dakota and I did.
We went to Home Depot, cut and stained the wood, and then went to a Vinyl Store in our mall and customized it! It turned out so pretty and is something I plan on keeping for a long time!
I also took full advantage of the talented shops at Etsy and had some cute gifts made for our guests.
When using Etsy on a time-crunch, I highly recommend reaching out to the shop before you order! Let them know the date you NEED the items by, and find out if they will be able to accommodate that. With some purchases, I did need to pay for ‘Rush Processing”, but it was worth it to get these last-minute touches!
This is YOUR wedding, and even rushed, it is and should be personal to you and your S/O.
I Got Married On A Sunday Morning
Ok, this is pretty self-explanatory, but I learned a lot in doing this!
If you want your wedding to be held at a Venue, and you don’t have a lot of time, consider doing yours on a Sunday! Not only will the availability be greater and sooner, most likely it will also be a lot more affordable. Our Venue Planner showed us the price difference after we had already decided on a Sunday, and WOW!
Also, you’re still having your wedding on a weekend, so out-of-town guests will have a good chance of being able to come- even on short notice.
I Stayed Organized
I cannot express my gratitude enough for the FREE tools I used to keep everything on track.
Mainly, I used the Budgeter and Checklist tools from The Knot.
I couldn’t have pulled it off with these! Since I was my own wedding planner, I had to keep everything on track and on budget by myself! Even if you have all the time in the world, I would recommend using this site or one similar to it.
I Used Local, Small Resources
I overheard a co-worker mention that she had a small hobby of making cakes, and I jumped on it.
“What are you doing next Sunday?”
No Joke! Keep your ears open! I get that the wedding cake may be really important to some couples, but it was not important enough to Dakota and I to shell out a month’s rent on one. I had a really simple design to begin with, which of course helped. We saved a TON by finding someone to make ours versus finding a wedding bakery to make ours! Also, big-time wedding resources might be less flexible on time restraints.
And, the internet can be an incredible resource! I utilized local Facebook Yardsale and Wedding Pages. You cannot believe the amount of people that have leftover wedding decor and are willing to part with it for pennies on the dollar!
You may also get wildly lucky like me, and have someone let you borrow their Wedding Arch for free! (Shout out to Chelsie!)
I Didn’t Forget What A Wedding is All About
So, if you haven’t had your own wedding yet, I hate to be the one to break this to you… but weddings are stressful.
Which is a sad irony, because it’s supposed to be a very blissful time in your life!
So, squeezing all the stress and tension of a wedding in a meer 17 days can be EXTREMELY hazardous to your mental health… and maybe even your relationship.
That being said, my husband and I had to remind ourselves WHY we were doing this. Getting married is about celebrating and honoring the special devotion that Dakota and I have for one another.
We were about to stand in front of our loved ones and promise our undying love to each other- to support each other, to be true to each other, and to enter a sacred commitment to one another.
I get that dresses and appetizers and table cloth colors are a part of the deal, but the reason we were doing ANY of this, was to make those incredible vows to each other.
Dakota kept me grounded in the wedding prep, and reminded me of this. So even when things went wrong (Because, SURPRISE, they always do!) it didn’t matter!
And after going through it all, our ceremony was the most amazing experience. We both talked later about it, and decided we really didn’t care about the reception once we said our vows! We were content! The floor could have caved in, and we still would have been floating on that “just-married” feeling.
It doesn’t matter if you plan your wedding in two days or two years- don’t forget the reason you are having a wedding after all.
Because the flowers will eventually die, and people will forget what our cake tasted like, but our marriage is forever.