The world is still reeling from the announcement of George Clooney's engagement — not only because the notorious bachelor finally decided to tie the knot, but also because he and fiancé Amal Alamuddin are only leaving themselves a few months to plan for a September wedding. For a mega superstar like Clooney, this is easy to do: He's rich and has access to the best planners, vendors, and venues in the world.
It's possible for any soon-to-be-wed couple to get hitched in under six months — no matter their budget. We tapped the expert advice of the bridal industry's most sought-after players to dish on how to successfully carry out a wedding with mere months to spare.
"Public parks are a great place for a whirlwind ceremony because you never have to worry about their availability, just make sure to get the proper permits," says wedding planner and wedding dress designer David Tutera. Another option is to ask someone in your inner-circle to host the last-minute bash. "Ask a friend with a gorgeous lawn or an aunt with a large enough abode to accommodate your friends and family," wedding guru and author Colin Cowie suggests. "Don't skimp on the niceties that will show your appreciation, such as hiring a cleaning crew post-wedding and sending your hosts a quality gift to thank them for their hospitality."
Surprisingly, a short timeframe is not a hindrance when seeking your perfect dress. Tutera says it's possible to get a custom-made gown in under three months, but it comes with a big price tag. A more affordable option: Check out a designer sample sale or ready-to-wear bridal shops — you'll be able to take the dress home that day.
See More: The 10 Biggest Wedding Etiquette Don'ts
The Save-the-Dates and Invites:
With so little time leading up to your wedding, Chelsea Clinton's nuptial planner, Bryan Rafanelli, loves the idea of digital save-the-dates as they are "customizable, modern, efficient, and there are so many opportunities to bring out the couple's personalities." When it comes to the actual invites, Tutera encourages the bride and groom to still aim for classic, snail-mail invites. "Online design services offer customizable and unique options that can be ready to go in a matter of days," he notes.
Everyone wants a delicious and picture-perfect cake, so couples on a time constraint should look for local bakers. "They should be prepared to pay a deposit right away to secure their spot on that baker's calendar," Sydney Perry of bakery Sydney's Sweets says. Also, instead of opting for a traditional three-tiered cake, you can serve more accessible sweets like donuts, French macarons, or cake pops.
After all that whirlwind wedding planning, you'll definitely be in desperate need of some R&R. Managing Editor of travel site Jetsetter, Leigh Crandall, advises setting your sights on the Caribbean: "Destinations like Puerto Rico, Turks & Caicos, St. Thomas, and St. Lucia have a wide variety of hotel accommodations and plenty of inventory, even if you're booking close to your departure date." Also, don't forget about all of the islands closer to the continental U.S.: Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and Block Island are just a ferry ride away for East Coasters, while Bald Head Island off of North Carolina, and Kiawah Island off the coast of South Carolina also have honeymoon-worthy beaches.