How to Plan a Wedding for Over 100 Guests in 40 Days

wedding short engagement

Yes, you read that ^ right. We planned our wedding in 40 days and it wasn’t a small wedding. No, I was not pregnant. I was, however, apparently nuts. Jk. Looking back there’s a few things I regret; but I also know it was totally doable and I think YOU should consider it too. Serious.

why you should have a short engagement.

First of all, post wedding blues and boredom did NOT exist for me. I didn’t spend 12+ months obsessing over one day and when the day was over I wasn’t heartbroken. It happens to people. Google it. I enjoyed the wedding, the mini honeymoon, and then our marriage.

Secondly, I knew that Caleb was more important than any day. I wanted a wonderful marriage, not just a wonderful wedding. Lucky me. I got both.

Lastly, planning a wedding is STRESSFUL. So many details, so many decisions, back & forth, this or that. Nope not me. I knew I only had 40 days to make a decision, so I picked my favorite and moved on. No regrets. No second thoughts. No changing my mind. No making someone revise their plan. Trust me everyone was happy about that.

Bonus! I didn’t have to wait! Duh. This was the best part.

how we actually planned a large wedding in 40 days.

The venue was the biggest issue and also the reason we had to plan our wedding in 40 days. I found it online, fell in love, asked Caleb if he wanted to get married (read more of that convo here!), chose one of 2 dates left. Either Halloween or March 7. I didn’t want Halloween or wait a year+ so 40 days of planning it was.

Abulae is a wedding venue complete with photographers, caterers, wedding cake decorators, videographers, wedding planners, DJs etc. The complete package. This was a big time saver. I knew what I wanted, they made it happen.

wedding venue alulae
Gorgeous, right?

Before solidifying our venue, I knew I didn’t want to get married without our photographer. As a dear friend and family photographer, I knew if she wasn’t there it wouldn’t be right. So I text her immediately and THANKFULLY it was not wedding season quite yet in MN so she was available! Whew, planning could commence.

The next detail was the dress, my dress! From being a bridesmaid many many times, I knew this could take a while especially with potential alterations. So the very next afternoon (after telling our parents of course!), wedding dress shopping we went. Just like any bride I found one fell in love, but wasn’t quite convinced. I sat on the decision for a few days as this was one decision I genuinely cared about. After thinking about it for every waking moment that week, I decided that was the dress and I’ve never regretted that.

wedding dress bride
I still wear this #dontjudge

Stationary was up next. We believe in etiquette and getting invites out with enough time for others to plan and make accommodations. The week deciding on my dress was also spent working with hotels, creating a website so guests could get the information immediately, and making our own invites. Yes. DIY was the way to go. There was zero timeline and extra budget for working with a company, sending proofs, and expediting shipping. So at night after kids went to bed, Caleb and I would stay up late designing, printing, and addressing envelopes.

We, in fact, designed and created ALL of our own stationary. Right down to the place cards & mad libs found at the table.

Bridesmaid dresses and flowers were up after that. This is the BIGGEST tip I have if you’re trying to plan a fast wedding: delegate delegate delegate. Yep it was hard with a Type A personality to accept this, but it was also the only reason everything came together so quickly.

My sisters and best friend chose their bridesmaid dresses together. I approved color and that was all I really had for say. Did it bother me? Honestly no. I wasn’t wearing them. They respected color choices and each dress was versatile so each bridesmaid looked individual and comfortable, too.

For the flowers, my mother in law and her family helped out on this. This was always something I was prepared for, this was not about the timeline although it did help! They design and create wedding arrangements, so it was clear they would be delegated in that department. Again, I knew I wanted white roses and greenery. The bridesmaids would have bouquets and a flower ball for the flower girl. Green mums were in season and added to the arrangements, as well. Little questions and decisions were made along the way, but with experts at hand it was just a text here or a call there.

With a small wedding party, I still wanted to include our other friends and family so we asked my best friend to marry us. We needed to actually get her approved as a minister and a script of what to say. That was a few wonderful meetings over coffee! Heck any reason to meet for a coffee is a good one! But for our wedding? Even better!

My mother was in charge of working with the venue and catering planning. While I worked, she made calls, got all the options and ideas, then would contact me with a short conversation so Caleb and I could decide what we wanted. This was where the majority of our planning was spent.

(Caleb was FULLY present in all decisions just so you know!)

Some things were just left out to be honest. We did not have party favors, no one complained (at least to us!). The table decorations were simple. We wanted our guests up mingling, partying, and celebrating, not sitting down the whole time. We did not have huge showers or pre parties. They were still lovely, fun, and we were very blessed! We did not have save the date cards (um yea, we called it an invite!) or engagement photos (try newlywed photos!!).

Here’s my best set of tips to make a large wedding happen in a short time line:

  • Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.
  • Pick the things that are really important to you and do that yourself (Ours were – my wedding dress, food choices, the wedding cake design, the overall color scheme and theme, and the stationary).
  • Make a timeline immediately and stick to it. There is no: “I’ll decide this later” or “we can hold off a while”. Nope, plan it and stick with it.
  • Choose a planner & organization system. When there are so many things going on at once, it’s nice to know exactly where all the information is located.
  • Amazon Prime will be your bestie (assuming it’s not already). You’d be surprised. There is a lot of high quality things that can ship in 2 days!
  • Relax and have fun! Remember you’re getting married after all! Through all the chaos of planning, have fun! We danced to our wedding song at night as much as we could! Double duty: fun AND practice!

There you have it, how we planned our large wedding in 40 days. There were a few hiccups along the way, there always is, but at the end of the 40 days we were married and happy and the day was perfect! Isn’t that the goal anyway?


So, are we crazy? Would you do it? If you’re not married, I challenge you to have a short engagment it really was oh so worth it! Would you go back and change things?


psst… it’s our anniversary this week! Bring on all the wedding posts!

double psst… none of this is sponsored, just sharing our wonderful details ♥


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