Category: Planning & Etiquette
Most people take a while to fall in love, get engaged and plan a wedding (read up on some detailed “most people statistics” here). Houston-based Kelley and Matt Kramer took their time on the front end – meeting in the fall of 2010, launching their dating relationship mid-2012 and getting engaged in November 2013. But their next step was a quick one: In a wedding planning blitz, the twosome moved from fiancé status to Mr. and Mrs. in just seven weeks, saying their “I do”s in the Bastrop/Smithville area.
There was no need for a long engagement. That’s because the pair, who met through a Dallas-based Christian youth ministry organization called Teen Mania, had taken their sweet time getting to know each other, figuring out whether they were well suited and ultimately preparing themselves for marriage. While they originally considered a November engagement and March wedding, they moved up the wedding date by two months to January so Kelley’s sister-best friend-maid of honor, Shelby, could attend before leaving on a yearlong mission trip to Africa.
“It was going to cost $3,000 to fly Shelby back for a spring wedding,” Kelley says. “I was set on having her there – even if it meant having a dinky wedding and using a third of our budget to fly her back. There was no way my maid-of-honor would be Skyping in.”
Ultimately, Kelley and Matt opted to sprint toward an early January date, choosing to maximize attendance by minimizing planning time. “Making sure the right people were there was far more important to me than having more time to plan,” Kelley says.
Being a self-described indecisive person, the now-wife of Matt looks back on the time crunch as beneficial – saying it prevented her from overanalyzing or drowning in details of the big-day possibilities she’d been pinning on Pinterest. Instead, she and Matt made many of their decisions in just one day.
Kelley and Matt’s ability to make their wedding happen in seven weeks proves it’s possible to keep the space between “yes” and “I do” short and sweet. Below are Kelley’s suggestions for other brides seeking a swift and stress-free wedding planning process.
Heed Deadlines, Be Decisive and Tackle Tasks Together
“As soon as we set the date, the deadlines were already upon us. It was stressful at times, but it wasn’t unbearable – and it was quite enjoyable because we did it together. My mindset was: ‘I have a timeline, so I have to do this.’ Matt was my biggest help. He was winging it, but he was there and very clear. His decisiveness really helped me move forward.”
Embrace Words of Wisdom
“Given we’d known each other for a long time, my mom anticipated a quick engagement and offered some words of wisdom. ‘Kelley,’ she said, ‘My wedding was great, but I didn’t sweat the small stuff.’ I took my mom’s advice to heart and didn’t sweat the small stuff. We made decisions we needed to and designated several friends and family to oversee key logistics, which ultimately made it possible to enjoy our wedding weekend and the wedding itself.”
Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing
“Our goal was to get married, not to have a wedding. Sure, we wanted it to be our wedding – and I really loved our wedding. But the wedding wasn’t our goal; we were focused on our marriage. Overall, the hope for our wedding day was for people to see us at our best and to see how much we care about each other, as well as our family and friends.”
Choose a Venue That’s a Natural Beauty
“Because of our planning window I didn’t have time to DIY anything. My priority was creating a stress-free day for everyone involved – that was far more important to me than all of the details. We looked at three wedding venues in one day, and I knew Red Ridge was the right one for us. It was all-inclusive and would work well for the both ceremony and the reception. It wasn’t busy and had a rustic elegance, which reflected who we are as a couple. Plus, it didn’t need a lot of decorations or frilly things to make it beautiful.”
Save Where You Can
“Opting for a Sunday wedding made for significant savings on the venue and left room for us to cover the costs of setup and cleanup. We also didn’t get complicated with catering. We placed orders with HEB and Sam’s Club, having good but simple food – keeping the focus on our commitment and enjoying the moment with everyone who came to celebrate with us.”
Splurge Where It Counts
“Beyond investing in the fairly turnkey venue, we splurged on photography because I knew that at the end of the day all I was going to have was the pictures – I knew the pictures would be the thing I would be most grateful for. I also knew our photographer Tessa would capture the details of the day and see the wedding in ways I couldn’t, and I was confident she would be able to capture all the memorable moments.”
Do Hire a Videographer
“Because of finances, we didn’t hire a videographer. I wish we had. But honestly, that’s my only regret on an otherwise perfect day.”
Kelley and Matt’s Budget Breakdown:
Total Spend: $10,800, including the cake, wedding night at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa and a honeymoon in Mexico’s Riviera Maya
Wedding Venue & Décor: $2,500
Cakes & Catering: $800
Her Dress, His Tux and Accessories: $1,225
Her Beauty & Makeup: $145
Guest Count: 130
Photography courtesy of Tessa J.