Planning a wedding in 45 days (without missing out on anything)

So you recently got engaged, you were super excited, and why wouldn’t you be? Getting engaged is an awesome time in your life, however, you have probably started thinking about planning a wedding now, and perhaps that thought process has made you a bit anxious. Maybe you’re worried about the state of the world., lockdowns, pandemics and the like, making planning into the future a bit difficult. Maybe you want to get in and get married without any of that stress. So is planning a wedding in 45 days possible?

Yes, it is! Legally speaking, you only need 30 days to plan a wedding, bevause this is the waiting period while your notice of intended marriage paperwork is lodged. However, I think we can all say, that planning a wedding on 30 days is not a common occurrence.

So what is normal then? In my experience, I would say 12-18 months planning time for a wedding is pretty standard. Some do it on a bit less (typically if they’re having a smaller wedding), and some do it on more (particularly if it’s a bigger wedding, or requires internationally travelling guests). For elopements, the norm would usually be 4-6 months, so as you can see, the smaller and more low-key your plans, the easier it is to plan on short notice, that just goes without saying.

Why would someone want to rush this though? Why not take the 12-18 months and plan it like everyone else? Well, at the time of writing this (2021/2022), speculating on the future is difficult. The future is quite volatile, and for a lot of people, the idea of planning something out a year and a half, is pretty daunting and filled with stress and uncertainty which they want to avoid.

So is it possible to plan a wedding on short notice without feeling like you’ve missed out? Of course it is, in fact, the pro’s in my opinion far outweigh the cons. If you don’t want to read this document, don’t worry, I got you. See the video right there on the left? Watch that instead, it covers all this info, without the tediousness of having to read! Either way, I’m here to help you plan out your wedding or elopement in 45 days, so let’s go!

45 days out | Get tight on the details

This step is super critical. You might still be excited about your decision to do this, but you cannot just jump in and start booking things in. There are 3 major things you need to decide in this step; (1) your budget, (2) when and where, and (3) the style. Budget should make total sense to you, right? You only have 45 days, so your budget (unless you’re rich) will likely be more limited, and tight, so know it.

When and where is a bit more vague. You want tokeep the date open to suit your vendors, so choose a few ideal dates, and pick a few ideal locations. These can be refined and locked in later with your chosen vendors. As for style, this is where you decide if you want a full sized traditional wedding (hard), an intimate smaller wedding (easier), or an elopement (easy). If you aren’t fully sure what the difference in an elopement, intimate and traditional wedding is, click here! Sit down as long as you need to get a solid understanding of al these points.

40 days out | Vendor research

Why wait 5 days? Well, that first conversation can take a whole day, its intense, and you’ll need a break to avoid burnout. Now is the time to think not just about who you want, but what you want. Do you want flowers? Do you want stationary? A cake? Create a list of the vendors you will be wanting, keeping in mind, the only vendor you actually need to get married is a celebrant. The rest are all personal choice.

Now that you have a list of vendors you will need, time to start working out who you want for each. DO NOT make the mistake of of selecting a heap of each, that’s sure to overwhelm. Select 1-2 of your absolute favourites and reach out to them immediately. Give them info about you, your plans, your hopes for the day, and let them know why you think they would be perfect for you. This will ensure a higher and faster reply rate which is critical. If you want an amazing list of the best vendors in Newcastle, NSW, check it out here.

This is the crux of planning your marriage. If you skip this step, well, there won’t be any marriage to speak of. Despite what many believe, you cannot lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOiM) on your own, it must be done via a civil celebrant. This document is the legal paperwork required to get your successfully hitched. And how much notice do you need to give? 30 days, so 35 buys you just a little buffer room, so you don’t panic!

So by this point you will have obviously spoken to a celebrant you love, booked them in, and they will have lodged this NOiM on your behalf. You don’t need a date yet, you just cannot select a date any closer than 30 days away. Patience my friend. Give the celebrant 3-4 of your ideal dates you chose in step 1, and make sure they have at least 1 of them free. Let me get you started by recommending two, That Altar Guy and Dirty Deeds Celebrant, if you like me, you’ll love these two!

35 days | Photography & Film

Generally speaking, short notice weddings, elopements etc, tend to have at a minimum a celebrant (legally required) and a photographer, which is exactly why as soon as you have a celebrant booked in you need to land your photography/film team. These people are responsible for creating and capturing all your memories, so choose wisely,there are no do-overs.

At this point, you will have chosen a photographer you love. Give them a few of your ideal dates chosen from step 1, and see if any of the dates they have free, line up with the dates your chosen celebrant has free. If there is at least 1 date that everyone is available for, lock it in immediately with your photographer/film maker, and call your celebrant to inform them of the confirmed date straight away.

35 days | Contact other vendors

So by now you will have already created a list of the other vendors you want to book for your day, and a shortlist of 1-2 of your favourites for each. This is where you reach out to them all. Same as with your celebrant and Photographer, give them details (including date), and explain why you think they would be a perfect fit for your plans.

It’s pretty simple, as they come back, if they’re free and you love them, book them in. This is not a place to ‘take your time’ or ‘think about things’, be ready to pull the trigger as soon as you find the right vendor. This could take a few days, because you will want to get on a phone call, or video chat with all these people before booking, but get right onto this, this is the most stressful bit, so once it’s done, you’re on the home stretch!

32 days | Location

Seems weird to choose a location after you’ve booked so many vendors  already. Generally speaking, planning a wedding on 45 days is better suited to micro weddings or elopements, which usually do not require big venues. However, if you are planning a wedding with a venue, at this step you may need to cast the net wide. You’ve already given your vendors an idea of where you want to do this, so keep to that and ask for their help if needs be.

If you’re having a micro wedding or an elopement, speak with your photographer, they will be able to advise you of some epic spots you could do it. If you need some kind of venue, consider an airbnb or a private property. Again, your photographer will probably know a few you can choose from. Finding a property or spot outdoors won’t be difficult, but beware, finding a venue on 45 days notice will not be easy, and you may need to compromise on what you want, and what’s available. If you want a list of epic locations in NSW for an intimate wedding or elopement, check this out!

30 days | Get outfits sorted

You’ve probably already got a pretty damn good idea of what you (and your partner) want to wear. Trust your gut, no need to second guess it. In my experience, people (particularly brides) put far too much emphasis on the outfit they have, the shoes etc. Honestly, it’s all irrelevant, so long as you feel comfortable and you love it, go with it. It’s a dress, it’s a suit, not the defining feature of your day.

So once you find the outfit you want, you need to ask, “will it fit off the rack?” If you are lucky enough that clothes fit you off the rack, then you’re sorted, but if you’re like most of us, your outfit will require some type of alternation. These usually do not take anywhere near 30 days, but again, this is a bit of a buffer to help you keep your stress down. So just make sure you get your outfit ordered and sent for alteration by 30 days and you’re good! If you’re looking for a dress, look no further than Karen Willis Holmes, and for suits, head to Rundles Tailoring.

30 days | Notify guests (or don’t…)

If you’re planning a traditional elopement (no guests at all), then go ahead and skip this step…but if you’re planning a modern elopement (a few guests) or a wedding of any size, now is the time to notify people. My recommendation is that when you first decide to plan a wedding on 45 days notice, let the guests you want at the event know about your intentions.

You won’t have a date to tell them, but you will put them on notice that ‘around this time, we will be having a wedding’. This way, when you give them the actual date, they will already be anticipating it, and hopefully for you, everyone can make it. Be prepared for some to be unable, this is just a cost of doing business in planning a wedding on such short notice. .

25 days | create timeline and plan

Hard part is over! You’ve got all your vendors booked in, a location and date set…it’s done! So now comes time to fine tune everything, and actually create a game plan. Your best friend here is your photographer. They’ll be with you the entire day, and have done this countless times before, so they know a good wedding timeline when they see one. Work with them, and create it together, that way you are aware of the plans as much as they are.

Timelines are not templated, espescially for smaller weddings or elopements. Explain to your photographer what you want (do you want a sunset ceremony, and midday portraits? A sunrise ceremony?), and work as a team to create a plan that creates the day and the flow you want. Remember to tell your photographer about all your vendors, as things like Hair and Makeup, styling, intricate dresses will need to be taken into account. If you’re wondering what a normal wedding timeline looks like, check this out to get you started!

21 days | Book accomodation

I know, I know, booking accomodation on such short notice is not super common, but again, this is short notice on steroids. There is no point booking accomodation if you don’t have a celebrant or a date yet, and as much as you may want to book this sooner, you do not want to overwhelm yourself and stress yourself into a catatonic state. So check out what’s available around your chosen area, keeping in mind if it’s just for you, or if other guests need accomodation too.

Often times booking on such short notice opens up some pretty cool deals, so keep an eye out, particularly on things like AirBNB if you’re wanting to book for other people too, or Riparide if you’re eloping and just booking for yourselves. Pro tip, make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing to you, as this is likely where you will do your getting ready photos! Check out AIRBNB and Riparide (if you want something a bit more funky and edgy).

14 days | payments & finalisations

The hardest, and easiest bit all in one here. Even if vendors have terms of payment on the day, or day before, I recommend paying 2 weeks out. It allows time for payments to settle, any disputes or issues to be fixed, and is generally better for your financial mental health. The last thing you want is a payment for your photographer having bounced and not cleared the morning of the wedding…

This is also a great time (since you will be in touch regarding the balance) to confirm everyone has the final timeline/runsheet, and to confirm everyone is on the same page. Most vendors will do this with you 30 days out, but given your 45 day timeline, this is unlikely, so just touch in with everyone and put your mind to rest knowing everyone is paid, and prepared 14 days out.

14 days | Little touches

I’m a big proponent of making sure your wedding day is a true reflection of you two. So here is your time to go ahead and make it a bit more ‘homely’. If your partner is a big Star Wars fan, order some light sabers online and have a light saber battle with them during your portraits. Some might call it cheesy but who gives a shit, it’s your wedding, not theirs, so do whatever will make the day feel perfect to you.

This is also a great time to go ahead and purchase finishing touches like bottles of champagne to pop, some to drink, any kind of picnic spreads (if you’re eloping for example) to eat while you’re out shooting portraits. I even tell my clients to create a spotify playlist that they will want to hear during portraits. This sets the mood, gets you amped, plus, if you leave it to me you might end up with metalcore blasting at you while you try to take romantic photos…so use this time, create that playlist.

7 days | Pen & Paper

This one is more of a ‘if you want to do it’ kind of thing. To be honest, I recommend it heavily, it’s a great way to remind yourself why you’re doing this, and also a great way to get yourself amped up the morning of the ceremony. You don’t really need to do this 7 days out, however, in my experience, most people who leave this to the night before end up forgetting to do it…so get it done early.

Write it in pen, don’t type it. I know this might be foreign to some people, but it is so much more heartfelt and special than a nicely typed letter. Think about why you love this person, what you’re excited about for the future and put it all down. Why you’re so proud of them…this is your chance to really get them crying. This is espescially brilliant if you are getting a film (check out this amazing film, it’s a great example), because you’ll get to see how emotional they were before the show went down!

So planning a wedding in 45 days…possible?

By now you should have realised that it is completely possible to plan a wedding in 45 days. Is it going to be easy? No, but in saying that, planning a wedding in 12 months also won’t be easy. When it comes to weddings and elopements, the more simplistic you want to go, the easier it will be. The cheaper it will be. The less stress and anxiety you will be faced with. So go ahead, take that first strep and get started! If you want any help, please, hit me up and I can walk you through it right here.

How long before a wedding should you start planning?

It totally depends. The average wedding is planned out over usually 12-18 months. Some are planned out much longer, particularly if you have international guests, or if your wedding plans are more lavish (ie you need more time to save money). Some take less, especially if they are smaller weddings, and thus often more cost effective. You can plan a wedding on a minimum of 30 days notice in NSW, Australia.

What is the first thing you do when planning a wedding?

First thing you need to do is set a budget, agree on the type of wedding you want to have (traditional, intimate, elopement), and work out roughly when and where you want to have the wedding. After this you can start diving into the more intimate details like the vendors you want etc.

How do you plan a simple wedding step by step?

First thing you need to do is work out exactly what vendors you need, and from there, follow the information in this article to start contacting them. There is no single template that helps plan a wedding, all weddings are different, but this article will help you plan a simple wedding in 45 days.

What is the shortest time to plan a wedding in Australia?

In NSW, Australia, the shortest time you can plan a wedding is 30 days from when your celebrant submits your NOIM. You cannot legally get married on less than 30 days notice.

How do you arrange a quick wedding?

If you are wanting to plan a wedding in 45 days (or even a few months), you can simply follow the day by day breakdown in this article!

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