Extreme Weddings: 3 Weeks to Plan
Written by Callie
Welcome to the first in a series about extreme weddings! Whether that’s small or giant budgets, little time to plan, or in a different country than the one you live in! Today we're talking with Lindsey who planned a whole wedding in just about 3 weeks!
So for a little back story, I met Lindsey in college, she was Rachael’s (remember her, the one that had her wedding in Peru?) roommate and she’s a heck of a good time! After college she got married and moved to Dallas so now we’re back in the same area and frequently meet up for coffee blogging dates (though we each have to drive 45 minutes to meet in the middle it’s totally worth it to spend some time with her)! I think the best way to go about this blog series is to read it in an interview format. So let’s get started!
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My husband, Carlo, and I are 20-something, vibrant (read: loud, obnoxious, etc. but very friendly!), engineers living in the DFW area.
Intro to the husband.
Carlo, and I were introduced by a mutual friend in our engineering program. We both ended up taking the same power electrics course, and Carlo managed to convince a friend of mine in the class to choose another lab partner so he and I could work together all semester! I happily accepted his eagerness to finish our lab reports and his provisions of top notch study material (I made all As that semester; thanks, babe.)
What’s the Engagement Story?
Carlo planned for many months how he wanted to propose in a thoughtful and big style (he is extremely creative!). Once he landed in Houston [he was living in Arizona and Lindsey was in Houston, doing that LDR thing], he got right to work constructing four giant projector screens to set up in his parents large, beautiful backyard to display video journals he recorded over the course of our four year relationship.
A lighted path guided me to each of the four screens and he appeared once the final video faded to black. He got down on one knee and presented me with a gorgeous custom ring he designed with a local Tucson jeweler. Once I said yes, through the many tears, our family and Carlo's best friend (and 'woman of honor' at our wedding) appeared and we celebrated for the rest of the evening.
Did I mention he set all this up in a single day?? True to his Latino roots he is a huge romantic at heart.
What made your wedding different from a “traditional” wedding?
Our event was a little unique in that we were able to pull of a beautiful wedding hosted in a trendy downtown area of Houston with a mere 2.5 months of planning [most of which was done in only 3 weeks], because I am a giant procrastinator! Honestly, I wanted a courthouse or destination wedding up until that point. Carlo and I were also living, and working, in two different states for the 2.5 years prior, so he helped me plan the wedding at a distance.
The best piece of wedding planning advice came from one of my dear friends and former coworker who got married the year prior:
“As much as is in your power, you can making wedding planning as easy or as difficult as you want (and you have much more power than you may think in this regard if you manage your expectations!).”
If you want to increase your chance of being able to breeze through the wedding planning process, look for an all-inclusive venue and the leave the details as much as possible to the professionals hired and trusted to do their work. Prioritize what is most truly important, make your decisions and don’t look back.
How long did you spend wedding planning?
I planned the bulk of the wedding in 3 weeks. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, I had to spent the next few weeks working through unrelated issues, and then spent the remaining time before the wedding finalizing details.
I attribute this success to our experience in planning and project execution as engineers in very dynamic, fast paced organizations.
Other factors which attributed to the ease with which we planned the wedding:
A clear and aligned vision on what Carlo and I wanted for a wedding
Supportive parents and friends
Keeping our wedding party to only my brother and Carlo’s best friend; we only had to worry about ourselves through the process and the day of
Selecting vendors we trusted to do as much as the legwork as possible to reduce the amount of decisions we had to worry about, and a flexible budget which allowed us to perhaps spend a little more to avoid having to DIY more of the wedding
Because everyone wants to know but no one wants to ask, how much did you spend on your wedding?
Overall, I estimate we spent a somewhere between $16-17k.
[and because Lindsey is an engineer and does the most here is a rough breakdown she provided]
Venue (incl. set-up/tear down, decor, table settings, food & drinks, DJ, flowers, bouquets and boutonnieres, and probably a few other services I can’t remember!): $9k
Cake (gifted to us by family): $500
Make-up & hair (incl. trial): $250
Valet for guests: $400
Invitations: FREE! Call it cheap, but we did not send out actual invitations
Man of Honor/Best woman attire: $350
Any wedding day regrets?
We are fortunate to say we truly have no major regrets. But, a few thoughts -
Because our ceremony started at 7 PM, we chose to only rent the venue for 5 hours. A number of guests were still having fun hanging out at the venue at midnight and I wish we had rented the space for the extra hour. I walked to my favorite bar in midtown in my wedding dress with a few of our guests and had a fun time dancing for a little while longer!
We were out so late with friends and left early the next day for our honeymoon, the hotel room we booked downtown was not worth the expense!
We did not think through how long the photographers would be in attendance from start to finish. Unfortunately they were not booked long enough to capture the final 1.5 hours of the night where everyone was dancing and hanging out with friends after the formalities were finished.
Got advice for anyone who might be thinking about planning a wedding similar to yours?
There are so many ways to have incorporate special elements into the wedding that cost nothing or very little. Personalizing vows, making a thoughtful speech or toast to family and friends, finding ways to make loved ones feel special can really let your love and affection toward your future spouse, family and friends shine through.
Consider the ceremony seriously and make it yours! I feel like in a way ceremonies are often left as last on the list of things to do and end up less personal than they could be.
Wedding planning can be a very stressful process but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to learn about how each of you manage stress and perhaps illuminate weakness that you can work on in the future.
Lindsey and Carlo had about 65 friends and family attend their wedding in downtown Houston. Her favorite part of the day was their ceremony which I found to be super sweet (because in my experience the ceremony is often forgotten about). Her church pastor was their officiant and he was able to give a very personalized message about the two as a couple and their shared faith. Lindsey and Carlo also wrote their own vows which always makes for a memorable ceremony.