It’s almost been one year since I married the love of my life! Life has changed quite a bit since getting married, but all for the better! A lot of that good came from my partner joining the Army, and us lifting each up through this journey we’re on together.
As you can tell from the title this post is going to be about how I planned my wedding in less than a month. My partner and I didn’t expect this to happen, but life doesn’t always go according to plan. We had been together for about 3 years, and we had lived together for most of that time. We had always wanted to get married, but were waiting for the right timing. As it turns out his decision to join the Army fast forwarded out plans, and we began planning our wedding once we were given the date that he had to leave for basic training.
When we first starting trying to decide how to get married we debated going to courthouse or doing a ceremony and reception. Ultimately we decided to have a small wedding ceremony and reception. Which was beautiful and I’m so glad that we did it before he left for basic training!
Looking back, the wedding planning wasn’t that bad. It was more of me worrying way to much and hyper focusing on everything. If I could back I would of definitely try to go into planning with a relaxed attitude. I had pretty much everything taken care of since our venue provided ceremony and reception accommodations, as well the food. I highly recommend doing the ceremony and reception at one location it cuts down on so much stress the day of. I was already having anxiety, and everything flowing so well just made things a lot easier on everyone involved.
I could make this whole post about how my day was magical and I cried while walking down the isle. In truth, I didn’t cry and I’ve never been so nervous in my life. But I’m so happy I got to marry my spouse, and the day was a wonderful experience. But when I’m honest I had really bad anxiety about being in from of all my family, and being the center of attention. It wasn’t until I got to eat and had drink that I finally started to relax at my wedding.
So, for our wedding I’m going to run through some of the essential things that we did to plan our wedding in less than 45 days so my partner could leave for basic training.
First, and most important we had to find a location and set a date! We got really lucky and found a venue the day after we started looking. We had a choice of almost all the weekends in the month of August because their wedding season started in September, and they were willing to work with our budget. Our wedding looked professional because of all the work they put in for us. They did all the set up and tear down. The food they provided was delicious and wasn’t too pricey since we chose a pasta dish. We also paid extra to have a bar set up and to have the purple napkins. The resort also had an event coordinator that was very helpful with timing everything to make sure things went smoothly. If this hadn’t of worked out, or plan b was to get married in a park.
(Candlestone Resort in Belmont Michigan)
Secondly we had to figure out our guest list. This was less than 100 person guest list, and my husband and I both come from pretty large families so this was one of the biggest struggles we had. It was more of struggle since this was so short notice we didn’t think half would be able to make it, but in the end almost everyone showed. We were eternally grateful that we were so loved by our family and friends that they could even make it to something so short notice.
After our guest list was confirmed we got some invitation from Hobby Lobby, and my mom and aunt used an at home card printer to print out the invitations on. This was tricky with my mom being in Florida and me in Michigan. There was definitely some misspelled names and my registry wasn’t included. But it was a pretty quick process getting everyone’s invitation out! The invitations did end up coming back to me, because we hadn’t realized that the invitations were considered a package not a regular piece of mail. So that was a pretty big hiccup, but everyone got their invite on time. Looking back I’m so happy we saved money and had the help of family. After the wedding I ordered marriage announcements from Shutterfly.com for everyone who we weren’t able to invite to our big day.
(Big shout to my mom, who did so much to help us get things pulled together)
The next big thing we had to check off on our list was clothing! My husband ended up going to Men’s Warehouse, and picking out his outfit for the day as well as his groomsmen. They had tons of options and we were in and out pretty quickly, and that was with trying on the outfit and measuring him. I highly suggest going here, as well as picking grey as the color for the suits if you plan on getting married in August like we did. It’s blistering hot in August in Michigan, and black would not have been a smart choice.
For my wedding dress I was hoping to make an event out of it like most brides do, but we simply did not have the time. Since my mom wasn’t able to come Michigan, she ended up flying me down to Florida find a dress. We went to Davids Bridal where we had a less than pleasant experience, then went to a place called Minerva’s Bridal in Orlando. My mom and I picked out a few dresses and the first one I put on ended up fitting me like a glove. All I needed was some high heels so my dress wouldn’t drag on the ground, and to bustle the train since our wedding was on a deck.
(I’m so in love with dress. I’ve never felt so beautiful!)
For my fabulous bridesmaids I decided early on to let them find their own dresses as long as it was purple or silver, because we couldn’t pick a date to meet up. And I wasn’t about to tell my friends how much money they should spend, when in all honesty I just wanted them there to support me. They all looked beautiful and were very helpful when I was having some serious nerves before walking down the isle. A woman couldn’t ask for better friends as bridesmaids.
At this point we’ve gone through all the major stuff that we needed for the wedding, the rest is all extras that just put the cherry on top of our day. For our decorations I really wanted to go all out, but we simply didn’t have the budget for a full-out 20’s themed wedding. So I decided to go with a plum and silver theme, which turned into a purple themed wedding. Our napkins were purple, and so were our centerpieces. That was the extent of the theme! My husband strung up some twinkle lights on the deck that we bought off amazon. In the end I loved how it all looked. It wasn’t to much and the environment was very relaxed, which is everything that we are as a couple.
Another extra that I wanted was flowers. We went with artificial because it was the cheaper option, and no one is allergic to artificial flowers. I had a budget of a little over 100 dollars for the bouquet and the bridesmaid bouquets, and the woman at Flowerland did an amazing job with making something beautiful for me. I planned on keeping my bouquet to display later, but after one move it was looking kind of sad so I ended up having to throw it away. I do however have one or two my bridesmaids bouquets which are equally beautiful! Since we didn’t see the need for boutonnieres we didn’t have them made a Flowerland, but my mom thought it would be more respectful to have them. So she purchased pre-made boutonnieres from Hobby Lobby and glammed them up for all the parents as well as my spouse.
The only reason we throw weddings is to sign that document, and we didn’t really have the time to search for the perfect officiator. So we ended up having a few friends offer to do it since they were licensed, which was a godsend! One of our good work friends husband ended up officiating our wedding, and it was his first wedding but it was ours too and he was perfect for our wedding. We are so lucky to blessed with such amazing friends!
One of the things I really wanted to do for the wedding ceremony was wedding sand! I found a cute set on Etsy that I really wanted to add that extra element into our already short ceremony. We did decide to add it, and I’m really happy that I’m able to have that physical memory from our wedding. It was probably one of my favorite things about the wedding, but I’ve been meaning to redo the sand because it’s not perfect (and I am a perfectionist). The sand never turns out as perfect as they advertise it to you, and YES we did get the sand from Hobby Lobby!
(The sand set I bought off of Etsy)
The cake was probably the easiest thing to get checked off. Since people were just going to eat it anyway, we went to Sam’s Club and ordered a sheet cake. You can order wedding cakes, but it wasn’t in our budget and I was perfectly happy with the sheet cake. I picked out purple and black icing, which turned everyone’s teeth black! It was one of the more memorable moments of the reception for me! Finally, the photography was done by my brother-in-law who does a great job taking pictures, and we were super happy with the end result!
Beauty was a really important aspect of my wedding celebration. I know that in the long run it’s not that important, but I was excited to feel like a queen or a celebrity for a day. I don’t normally get to have my hair and makeup done by professionals, so it was pretty exciting! My salon offered bridal packages so I signed up for that to get my makeup and hair done. On top of that I got some extensions from Sally Beauty, because I was only a few months of growing out my pixie cut. And the evening before my wedding I went to a nail salon and had some artificial nails put on, as well painted my toes. I’m sure they don’t show in pictures, but they made me feel beautiful on my wedding day. Even if I hadn’t of been able to afford all of that I’m sure my bridesmaids would have helped me with my hair since I’m no where near proficient at curling my own hair.
(You can see how exhausted and nervous I am in this picture, but Janie did a great job making me beautiful )
Finally, we come to rings! We spent time at some of the jewelry stores trying on rings, but the prices just blew our minds! So, we went online and found an Asha diamond ring within our price range, and decided to skip out on my wedding band for now. My husband found a ring that he liked and we were able to order it from Sam’s Club. After basic training it was basically destroyed, and doesn’t fit so now he wears his qulo ring all the time instead. But before the wedding we were extremely happy we got our rings in the mail on time, and they fit perfectly.
The point of this post is that planning a wedding can be a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be a lot of money. A wedding can just be a the courthouse if that’s what you want! This was my experience trying to balance my dream wedding with reality and my budget. And I wanted the focus to be on the reception not the ceremony, because I made a commitment to my husband long before our marriage began. Our wedding wouldn’t of been a success if we hadn’t had the help of our friends and family, and we are eternally grateful for that.
Below I’ve bullet pointed everything that I personally had on my list, and checked off before the big day! You might not need or want everything that’s on my list, and you might need to add your own categories. But this list helped keep me track of what needed to get done, and I set each category with a certain budget in order to make sure I didn’t over do it either.
Here is my list:
- Dresses/ Tuxedos / Shoes
- Rings/ Jewelry
- Invitations/ Stamps (Send these as early as possible)
- Cake/ Food
- Marriage License
- Officiant / Pastor
- Hair/ Makeup/ Nails
- Bridal Party
- Guest list
- Perfume/ Cologne
Congratulations on your engagement. and I hope you have a fun time planning your wedding!
All the Best,