It’s not a situation our couples find themselves in, thanks to the wonderful workings of the amazing wedding planners we work with. But it’s fun to live in the hypothetical at times. If Nathan and I were to get married all over again and had 30 days to plan a wedding, what would we do?
Now, to make this interesting, we’re going to set some restraints on how this will work. For starters, we’re going to say we have a limited budget – can’t exceed $10,000 – and because we’re rather busy photographing weddings ourselves here in Texas, we have to stay in the DFW area. Ok, let’s dive in!
30 Days to Plan a Wedding
Gosh – 30 days. What a baffling idea! And yet, it could be fun. You see, most wedding vendors require being booked out at least 6 months in advance. It doesn’t matter if it is a wedding venue, wedding planner, photographer…they’re usually all booked up within that time! Still – there are a few things that make this possible.
Wedding or Elope?
The biggest difference between an elopement and a wedding is the number of people who are able to attend. Considering that many of the guests we would normally invite are incredibly busy people, have jobs, and are unable to just “take off” for a wedding that is in 30 days, we would likely opt for an elopement. Why?
Simple – all that is needed for a couple to elope is a marriage license, a witness, a licensed officiant, and two people making a marriage agreement. Immediately that cuts out on the logistics problems for who all will be there. Next, we need to choose where to get married.
Pick a Special Location
There are a plethora of beautiful wedding venues in Dallas! But, with Dallas being one of the top destinations for couples to get married in the United States, we would have to be realistic – we likely would not have a local venue to get married at.
However, there are some beautiful trails here in Dallas that would do well for a place to get married at – we’re not the “back yard wedding” type of couple. In fact, our real wedding was at Hidden Waters (now the Springs in Waxahachie).
With its 18 ceremony locations available, it’s safe to say that The Dallas Arboretum might be a safe bet to get married at though.
Get the Officiant
With the location picked, the next thing we need is someone who is a licensed officiant. What I love about this is that literally, anyone can get their license – and do it online!
Since we would be eloping and making this something special, I wouldn’t worry 100% about having someone who is a perfect officiant. I’d rather just have someone who loves us and wants to see us thrive in our marriage to be there and lead it.
Book the Photographer
You’d think we would do this first, right? Well, I would agree, except that you have to remember – we only have 30 days to do this! There are a few things at play here…
One, we’re going to have limited availability because the best-of-the-best photographers are going to be booked up. (If only we could book ourselves for this!)
Still – it’s never wise to assume one’s availability. We’ve experienced it before and we’ve missed being at some amazing weddings just because the couple assumed we wouldn’t have been available when we would have totally been there!
Knowing what we know, we would expect at least half of our budget to go to our photographer. Our own packages start over $4,000, so it would make sense to expect to pay at least that.
Our criteria for a wedding photographer would be someone who:
- Doesn’t just take photos, but creates an experience
- Invests into our relationship
- Buys into our vision for a super-fast elopement
Just to name a few things. The great thing about the photographer being present is that our photographer would count even as our witness! That’s a two-in-one combo right there my friend.
Book an Amazing Weekend Honeymoon!
Assuming we spent around $4,000 for our photographer, $200 for our marriage license, and around $1,500 – $2,000 for a quick ceremony location, we’re left with approximately $4,000.
That’s enough to go out and have a wonderful and beautiful honeymoon – and because we couldn’t live life without him – we’re going to pretend that Beckham was here for all of it. So we’re just going to have to find something fun for him to do too ❤️
This isn’t flashy, but it has what matters to us – each other, and photos we would cherish. At the end of the day, this is where our hearts are for our couples too. We love a big wedding, but we just want everything to be a reflection of you.
Engaged? Then let’s talk – and let’s dream up your wedding together.