How to plan a wedding in 30 days

Updated: Jan 2

So you want to plan your wedding in 30 days? Here is just the breakdown you need to give you all of the essentials for your big day.

My first question to you is, "Why? Why do YOU want to plan your BIG wedding in only 30 days?" Take some time to think about this answer because it will be the foundation for this process. People will question you and try to get you to change your mind. Simply hear them out, nod your head in agreement, and revert back to The Why.

I decided not to have a traditional wedding because I knew I wanted to live overseas before I turned 30 and I compared the cost of the wedding to the cost of living overseas for a year without a job...and the latter was more appealing. Now, the decision was easy to make, but I will be honest with you, we had some contention to our decision. In the end, we both were in agreement and our decision has made our relationship deeper.

Now that we have The Why, we can begin the process!



Choose the date.

You and you fiance' should choose a date that fits your schedule and the time of year you prefer. Now, just because you choose to plan your wedding in 30 days does not mean you need to have your wedding in 30 days. If budget is one of the reasons and you have a location in mind, choose a time of the year that is during the travel offseason.

Choose the guests.

Who do you really want there? Who do you see being in your life in 10 years? Who will support you on this day with no stress? You are setting up a solid foundation with your new spouse and you want the vibes to begin as such.

We each invited two people and kept it to those whom we had the strongest relationships with. Keeping the guest size small also eliminates a bridal party (because who really like a bridesmaid dress) since everyone there will be special to you.

I am not going to lie, not inviting the parentals did (and still has) brought some contention into our marriage. Alas, the situation has deepened our trust in each, so I would not change a thing about our decision.

Create a circle of trust.

Wedding planning is stressful enough (which is why I planned mine in 30 days) and you will need people in your corner who will be helpful instead of hinder the process. Everyone has that friend who is pretty much the party planner in their group, bring them in to bounce ideas off of (and no Libra's here, I know all too well we Libras can't make a decision). Time is of the essence and it will go quickly.

Remember, people will try to get you to change your mind. It is ok. Those people you don't want at your wedding because they will cause undue stress and judgment and, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" If someone says something along the lines of, "Yes girl, this is so you!", "This is a great idea!", or "This sounds crazy but I am here for it!", you should add them in your circle of trust.


Choose your aesthetic/vibe.

What colors speak to you? You definitely want to create and maintain a Pinterest board that sets the tone for your event. Set up subcategories so that all of your ideas stay on one page, and make sure to update the captions with your own comments and ideas. Categories should include: aesthetics, locations, wedding outfit, food, gifts, poses, activities.

After you choose your vibe, tell your guests the color scheme so they can dress accordingly.

Choose the location

Here is where you can have a little fun with the planning. Since your wedding isn't planned the traditional way, you can really choose to have the wedding anywhere! You can choose a space that is meaningful to you and your spouse or you can choose a location that is going to save you coins.

Have a backup location on hand. We were going to have the ceremony at our favorite park in Arlington, VA just behind our apartment, but it rained on our "Married Day", so we moved the location to our apartment roof deck. In the end, my focus was on the experience, opposed to the venue.

Choose your dress.

Since you have about two weeks to get your dress shipped/made, altered, and pressed, you are going to want to choose a two-piece ensemble with a loose silhouette and focus on undergarments that enhance your natural shape.

I found the more bohemian style dresses were not as structured and fit the smallest part of my waist like a glove. Because I have a short torso, I opted to get the top tailored a bit and it was completed in a day. I chose a two piece dress for this exact reason...fitting. Taking in a wedding dress is costly and takes time, as opposed to fixing a top or taking in the waist (which is a quick fix).

Once you choose your dress, pick your shoes and accessories accordingly.

DAY 3 Hire your vendors.

Since I refused to call my event a "wedding", I kept that same energy when I spoke with vendors. I was hiring them for a special event, and that is all they needed to know! I wasn't having a traditional wedding, so why get charged traditional wedding prices.

Hire your favorite Insta Hair and Makeup artists. One of the downsides of planning a wedding in 30 days is you may not get your top vendors since most events are planned months in advance. Reach out to them anyways, since events cancel all the time, but if they are booked, ask if they can recommend anyone. For example, I would ask my barber who he would go to if he needed a haircut himself. Also order any hair and lash extensions you will be using to enhance your natural beauty.

Hire or ordain your officiant. Check with your state laws to see who can marry you and your fiance'. You can get a friend or family member to officiate the ceremony or you might need to hire a pastor/officiant. You should also order your wedding band so you have time to get it resized, if needed.

Choose your wedding cake. Wedding cakes are pretty pricey, so you can think outside the box and use your favorite sweet item in lieu of a traditional wedding cake.

Splurge on your photographer/videographer. Photos and videos are the MOST IMPORTANT part of the whole process and the one thing worth splurging me! Everything could go so perfectly, but if you aren't able to capture it, then did it really happen?

I had a photographer that I wanted to use and was devastated when he told me he doesn't shoot weddings, so I reached out to my network to find a videographer who could take stills as pictures. I found a guy who was pretty inexpensive and his work fit the vibe I was going for. We had some bumps along the way with communication, but I was on a deadline and had to move forward. Our Married Day came and he took the video. A few weeks later, I received the photos, with no video. and a large majority of the pictures were not worthy of being seen (which is why you will see the same 10 photos from this day). I chose this photographer because I was in a time crunch and did not find the value in a good photographer. Trust me, I have learned my lesson.

Sidenote: trust you gut throughout this whole process, it will save you a headache and some coins.


Chronicle the journey.

Create wedding IG and connect it to your Facebook since you won't have time to send invite or Save the Date's (which is also a money saver). Even though your other friends and family cannot attend the event, you can ease some contention by allowing them to be apart of the process. Remember to take pictures of EVERYTHING.

Choose your guest accommodations.

If people are traveling, have the best flight information and the closest hotel/airbnb for them to stay available so they can schedule your event in their work and personal life calendar. If everyone lives where the event is being held, just make sure they know the date and time.


Make a reservation.

Have your reception at your favorite restaurant. I was planning on hiring a private chef but got bogged down on choosing a menu. We ended up booking a table at Busboys and Poets, which was the first place we ate dinner together in DC. Going to a restaurant allowed everyone to choose their own items and took away the stress of hosting a tasting.

Choose your goodies.

Choose the canapes and drinks for the event and the Glam Suite. I made a stocked charcuterie table the night before and had tons of wine for the guests. I wanted the girls to have a Glam Suite where we all got our hair and makeup done while the boys went across the street to Johnathan's favorite bar to watch college football.

I also began sourcing my thank you gifts for the guests. I chose items that were some of my favorite things and a sentimental for each guest. We also created a coffee table book with our favorite pictures from the wedding and sent them to our friends and family.


Schedule your beauty services.

Book your hair removal (I prefer sugar hair removal or wax), facial, teeth whitening, etc. appointments for the following week incase you have a reaction and need time to heal. Book you mani-pedi for 2 days before the big day.


Get your beauty rest.

Take a day off and regroup. Make sure your Pinterest is poppin and you have been documenting the process.



Apply for the wedding license.

Head to the courthouse with all of the appropriate documents and get legally married! If you are lucky enough to live in a city with a historic courthouse like St. Louis or San Francisco, take advantage of the decor and try to grab some cute photos.


Grab his suit.

Hit the store and grab a suit for the groom. Let him add his personality into the outfit, then make sure the suit is tailored to his body. A suit purchase is better than a tuxedo rental, that way you both own your complete wedding outfits.

DAY 10

Create a playlist.

Compile important songs from your relationship as well as songs you want included on your wedding and share the playlist with your friends ad family. This way you can always go back and reminisce about the beginning of your relationship as well as add songs from your love story.

DAY 11 - 30

Review and update.

Since most of the work was done the first 1o days, the next three weeks can be spent doing the following:

  • Check in with your guests.

  • Edit down your Pinterest.

  • Continue to post on IG and fill your playlist.

  • Make sure your dress and suit fit perfect.

  • Confirm the vendors and reception reservation.

  • Pick up your food, sweets, and drinks for the glam suite.

In the End

When you plan your wedding in 30 days, there are many things that go by the wayside.

Pre-wedding events

I didn't even try to have a Bridal Shower or Engagement Party since most of my friends lived in Texas (and I lived in DC).


We didn't do flowers for our wedding (no bouquet, no boutonniere, nada!) If you need flowers, keep it seasonal and keep it green, as plants are less expensive than flowers, and check out Trader Joe's or Costco. Silk flowers can be just as expensive as real flowers so gather as many coupons from Michaels and Hobby Lobby as you can and go to town (they usually have 50% off days and so many more deals).


This is where it gets interesting. Typically registries are for larger weddings, so having a registry for a small group may be odd. Some people may not give to the registry since they were not invited, but to be honest, all the money we saved not feeding and entertaining 100+guests allowed us to purchase all of the wedding gifts we needed.


I wanted our lives to be centered around travel and we use our anniversary as an excuse to travel. We went on our honeymoon for our first wedding anniversary, lived in Qatar for our second, and live in Antigua for our third. Where should we go on our fourth?

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