A Short Engagement: How to Plan

Do you want a short engagement?  The below list is not an exhaustive list of short engagement tips, but they are 10 important tips, I think. I know that a lot of people want long engagements, or the timing isn’t right to get married quickly. That’s the beauty of relationships–every single one is different!

short engagement

The Knot’s website would lead you to believe that everyone is engaged for a year or more. All of the wedding checklists that I looked at estimated planning time and work that could be so intricate that you would need a whole separate planner, from your daily planner. As I Googled for information on short engagements, there was little information to be found, sadly.

When Brian proposed last fall, we knew that we wanted a short engagement. Not only did my health not allow for tons of wedding planning–I simply couldn’t drive to and from venue to venue and make decisions. An elopement was talked about, but we really wanted our families to be a part of the special day.

short engagement


10 Tips For a Short Engagement:

  1. Remember that you’re planning a marriage, not just a wedding. No matter what your wedding ceremony and reception look like, in 10 years, your marriage will not be affected by it.
  2. Find an officiant. Make sure that you know all the requirements for marriage and schedule your counseling sessions and meetings. A short engagement can put a time constraint on fitting in the sessions (we needed 6), so we had to make sure to have them all prescheduled.
  3. Pick a venue. You can look at tons of them, but a little internet research should narrow it down for you. Your short engagement will mean that you should only look at the venues in your price range that are available on the dates that you are thinking about. You may need to be flexible with your date. Remember, too, that a lot of specialized venues will either overcharge for food or require you to obtain an ABC license. If you are going to need an ABC license, start that process immediately.
    Talk to friends and family about using any land or buildings that they already have available. In my case, my parents’ house was the perfect place for a reception. I’ve had other friends who were able to use lake front land that belonged to family friends or even their relative’s backyards.
  4. Set the guest list. It’s your wedding. Talk to your respective families about how many family members need to be included. From there, you and your fiance will need to fill in the rest of the list. Do it quickly because you won’t need to bother with Save the Dates.
  5. Set up a wedding website. Since you won’t be doing Save the Dates, having a website is essential. In fact, we sent out the website ahead of time, once we finalized the guest list. We still had people RSVP through the mail, but all the relevant information was on the site.
  6. Find a dress. I found a great place in Charlotte where the salespeople don’t work on commission. I went in with an idea of the type of dress that I wanted, but told them not to show me anything that couldn’t be ready by my wedding date. I ended up placing an order for my dream dress, but had a back up in case they couldn’t get that one in time.
  7. Skip the non-essentials. I didn’t have a bridal shower. My bachelorette party was at Wine & Design. My husband didn’t have a bachelor party. We didn’t take engagement photos, and I didn’t do bridal portraits. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. Instead, I feel like I gained a lot more by preparing for our marriage through counseling and reading books, plus spending time with my husband-to-be.
  8. Research, research, research. I did a ton of research from the comfort of my own recliner. You can use lists from The Knot to remember what you’ll need, like a photographer, caterer, etc. The best parts of our wedding came from referrals from friends. We worked with the best photographers ever, who were personal friends of a friend.
  9. Keep it Simple. I was blessed to have my mom be able to do most of the planning for me, since I was sick and working. Since it was at her house, she took over decorations. I bought some things on Etsy, but she did a great job making the house look like a dream. We gave her free control over the food. We stipulated BBQ, but other than that, we didn’t care. Instead of going back and forth on menus, cake flavors, and what drinks to serve, we just asked her to make a decision and stick with it. If I had been doing that part of the planning myself, I would have gone with the same approach.
    Also, you aren’t going to remember the little details. Your guests might comment on how cute they are, but no one will care. Seriously. The only little details that I remember are because the photographer captured them in a photo.
  10. Have fun! It might be a short engagement, but you can still enjoy it. As one coworker of mine told me, my wedding day would be the happiest day of my life, until I had children. On the day of the wedding, I barely ate any of the food, enjoyed chatting with my bridesmaids, and of course treasured marrying the love of my life.

Since I didn’t do engagement photos or bridal portraits, my talented husband is going to take bridal portraits for me around the time of our one year anniversary. I’ve lost 30 pounds so far, since the wedding, so we’re just going to clip it in the back. Honestly, I think that I will be much happier with them. Once we’ve finished with the dress, I will be donating it!

Categories: Tips, Wedding |