Everything You Need to Plan a Last-Minute Wedding

Everything You Need to Plan a Last-Minute Wedding

Let’s face it… this year, a lot of things haven’t gone according to plan. Life as we know it has changed, in rapid fashion, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. And, it continues to change. Similar to that time you ordered (what looked to be) a great outfit online, only to be horrified at the wrinkled pile of cloth that shows up on your doorstep, 2020 might not be exactly what we ordered. But, if the last six months have taught us anything, it’s that sometimes we simply have to trust the larger workings of life. Sometimes, change isn’t the enemy, and sometimes, plans fall apart so better plans can come together.

Weddings are no exception. Although the way in which we say ‘I Do’ may, at the present moment, look different than it did in our Pinterest feed… that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to tie the knot in an intimate, COVID-19-friendy fashion.

After all, for many, love has been a grounding experience amidst an ever-changing world. You know… the kind of love that makes the prospect of quarantine life not so bad. The kind of love that reminds you that romance can be found in the most seemingly mundane places (notably, sweatpants and Netflix). The kind of love that provides certainty, even when everything else seems like a question. That kind of love deserves to be celebrated, don’t you agree?

And so, we arrive at a new, up and coming trend: last-minute weddings.

For those couples not willing to wait until 2021 to experience their big day in all it’s originally planned glory, last-minute, micro-weddings have become increasingly popular. Still with the romantic bells and whistles, of course, but less the overwhelming guest list and a handful of distant relatives. Fortunately, wedding venues and catering companies around the globe are now offering special, micro-wedding offers specifically for a time like this. These packages invite newlyweds-to-be (and their 8-10 closest friends and loved ones) to join in an intimate and carefully curated celebration of love and lifelong commitment –  and don’t worry, you don’t have to recite your vows to an Elvis impersonator (unless you want to, of course).

That being said, even small, last-minute weddings require some planning, so we’ve compiled the ultimate last-minute wedding guide to make sure you have everything you need prior to your big day (metaphorically speaking, of course).

1. What Matters Most?

With a wedding date right around the corner, couples are encouraged to focus on the elements of their day that matter most to them. What will make your wedding day special? How do you envision the moment you say “I Do”? Is music an important element, or are you more worried about flowers and decorations? Once you establish the priorities for your ceremony (and the budget), you can truly set the last-minute planning wheels in motion.

2. The Guest List

Fortunately for couples planning a last-minute, micro-wedding, the guest list will be extremely exclusive. While a larger reception can be postponed until next year, the ceremony guest list should include a handful of loved ones you wish to be in attendance as you exchange your vows. If the wedding is especially last-minute, you may want to skip the formal wedding invites, and rely on digital/in-person invites instead. Also make sure to remind your guests that face masks should be worn during the ceremony, as recommended by public health officials.

3. The Venue

Where do you want to tie the knot? Are you picturing a beachfront wedding, or an intimate backyard affair? The restaurant you went to for your first date? A lush garden? The courthouse? Most cities will offer plenty of Instagram-worthy venue options, even when planning a relatively last-minute affair. Pro tip: Consider booking a venue/space that can host both the ceremony and reception (if you wish to have both).

Also note that some venues provide packages that include in-house vendors (such as a resident DJ, in-house catering, and more), which will help to streamline your wedding planning efforts.

4. Say Yes to The Dress (Or The Tux)

Can’t get married without looking the part, right? Depending on your desired dress code, you’re probably going to want to find the perfect wedding dress and/or tux earlier on in the planning timeline. Of course, with a tight deadline, couples are encouraged to select pieces that don’t require extensive alterations (or, if they do, find a tailor who specializes in expedited adjustments). Pro tip for brides: Be careful not to shop at stores where the dresses aren’t guaranteed in stock.

As for your wedding party, rather than deciding on a set dress/suit for each member, perhaps give your party a colour theme to adhere to. Once they’ve selected an appropriate outfit according to the provided theme, they can simply ask for your seal of approval –  no elaborate group shopping trips required.

5. Find (and Confirm) Vendors

Last-minute weddings may be small, but the vendor list can still be mighty. If you’re working with a number of different vendors (florists, catering, photographers etc.) make sure to come to meetings prepared with a clear idea of what you have imagined for the ceremony.

Prior to the wedding day itself, double-check and confirm arrangements with each vendor. Have you thought about transportation the day of? Music? Food? Beverages? Decorations? Table settings? Lighting? Mementos? Don’t forget about hair and make-up, too.

It’s also good practice to finalize vendor payments ahead of time, so you can enjoy your wedding day (and the post-wedding bliss) without any nagging concerns or invoices.

6. The Marriage License

Ready to make it officially, official? Prior to your wedding day, make sure you’ve researched the marriage license and are familiar with the requirements for your state or provincial marriage laws. And don’t worry, if you’re working with a venue or a wedding planner, they will help to guide you through this process.

7. Write Your Vows

Despite what popular rom-coms have taught us, vows don’t have to be left until the last minute. In fact, we encourage you to get a jump on this aspect of your wedding day. Why? Because, oftentimes, couples underestimate how long it actually takes to get your feelings out on paper, especially for a life event of this magnitude. So, don’t procrastinate. Take some time, write a few drafts, and perfect those vows ahead of time.