How 5 Brides Put Their Weddings Together in One Weekend

Planning Tips
wedding gazebo

Photo: Massimo and Gabriele of Studio Bonon Photography

Some brides slave for months and years to put together the perfect wedding. Others do it in the blink of an eye! Here, real brides share how they put their weddings together in just a few days.

"I put mine together in a few days. I found a stunning cream cocktail dress that fits like it was made for me marked down to $170 at Kate Spade online. Already had the perfect strappy shoes — silver $100 Jimmy Choos from the Off Fifth. A friend lives on 30 acres of a former plantation on the water here in Charleston with property that is littered with live oaks. So adios to the marketed formal plantation venues that want $4k and are booked into next year. The Immortal Lobster food truck made unbelievable fresh Maine Lobster rolls. And because I own a mobile bakery and cocktail bar my two custom-built vintage style caravans provided cocktails and desserts from mason jars...No arguments over napkin colors or seating. Just two people in love who dove right in." — Karen

"I arranged my wedding literally overnight. My fiancé and I were leaving from Baltimore the next morning to fly to the Virgin Islands. My parents, visiting from Iran, were coming with us and I decided to get married to surprise them. We overnighted the marriage license application and filed it with the court the following morning. That afternoon we picked up the license and headed to the beach. I contacted a wedding officiant on the Island who arranged for a photographer, flowers, bamboo arch and local Rastafarian to come cut coconuts for refreshments. My family was completely surprised and thrilled and everything went off without a hitch." — Delara

"Fred and I decided on Friday to get married. Fred's friend Joe was kind enough to offer us use of his lovely Chelsea loft. I went with a girlfriend to Sak's Fifth Avenue and fortunately I was a sample size so got a beautiful sample wedding dress off the rack for under $1,000. We got on separate phones and called all our friends and relatives and asked everyone we cared about to get to that loft on Sunday at 2 PM for our wedding. My girlfriend Mary recommended a playwright who was also a rabbi to do the ceremony, as well as a flutist and cellist. Fred and I ran around Manhattan buying champagne, cheese and crackers. (My parents contributed the cake and chocolate covered strawberries.) My cousin Stewart brought along a photographer as a wedding present. We bought our wedding rings and each wrote our own vows for the special day. It was too late to buy a traditional headpiece so my very creative and quick-thinking fiancé asked the florist who was making my bouquet if he could make something I could wear on my head! It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you're motivated." — Jan

"I was on a trip to Thailand working, and on a lunch break at Chewang Beach (on the island of Koh Samui) my then boyfriend proposed. I enthusiastically accepted, and he had the genius idea of getting married the next day. It was the most romantic place we'd ever been to, and we were travelling with my best friend, so tapped her to officiate, called our parents to tell them the good news, and went to some street vendors to get wedding clothes. My husband had a custom suit made in four hours, ready by midnight! We had a joint bachelor/bachelorette party that night at a beach bar, and the next morning headed to Chewang beach, exchanged vows, and spent the day paddle boarding and eating delicious Thai food. Our friends took photos with their iPhones and a GoPro, and all told I think our wedding was under $200. We then rode our bikes to the highest point in Thailand and hung out with elephants. Getting spontaneously married on a work trip was a 10 - something I highly recommend." — Madeline

"We did it the old-fashioned way — decided on Friday morning and that afternoon went to City Hall with our parents and two closest friends." — Sheila

See More: How to Stay Organized (and Sane!) During Wedding Planning

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

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