9/26 How To Plan a Great and Cheap Wedding on the Fly

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Jane B. Writes DisclaimerPlanner CoverMaybe someone is about to be deployed, or perhaps it’s slightly less dramatic, like the fall semester is about to begin. There are many reasons why couples choose to get hitched on the fly, and in most cases, money is a factor — or lack thereof anyway. Fortunately, there are ways to pull off a great broke-ass wedding on short notice, as the following guide will show:

Internet Invites

Not only do traditional printed wedding invitations ordinarily cost a pretty penny, they take lots of time to print, prepare, mail, receive and be responded to. Skip all this by opting for an e-invitation system. Use Facebook and old-fashioned snail mail to spread the word.  But you can still keep e-invites looking sharp and in tune with the rest of your wedding day. Use a color calculator to match complementary hues for font, background, and so forth. Feel free to bring graphics into the mix, but don’t overdo it — a little goes a long way on a tablet screen.

Short Notice Treats

Of course, we always want the white cake to take center stage, but extra treats for guests and members of the wedding party to nosh on in the meantime are always a good idea. Alas, wedding-appropriate tasty treats are not always easy to whip up on the fly in a non-industrial setting. In which case, finding an affordable and delicious french bakery nearby willing to take on big orders in a short amount of time is the smart option. The pastries, gourmet cakes and cookies will keep everyone happily fed before the main event a.k.a the wedding cake.

Big Batch Eats

What about the main course — the hot, savory dinner options? This is where the home kitchen(s) can play an important role on short notice. If two families can work in sync, one can take on a pasta dish and the side vegetable, while the other can handle preparing chicken and potatoes. Solicit younger cousins for table setting and serving duties. If timing allows it, have one “test kitchen” day to make sure the seasonings and flavors are optimum. To reduce the pressure to ensure it’s hot and ready (not that you don’t want to aim for that) see if these dishes remain tasty at lukewarm temps.


With a few days notice, a bridesmaid can take on the duty of preparing the wedding DJ for its debut — music streaming such as Pandora or Spotify. Have the designated DJ prepper create a wedding station specifically, plus a few more funky options for pop music favorites to play. Ask around to find a family member with a decent speaker set. Once again, solicit the help of a younger cousin — a trusted one — to manage the music streaming into the night.

Ad Hoc Photographer

Okay — last time we pull the cousin card — promise. These days, just about everyone has a decent camera built into their mobile device. Find a cousin (and by the way “cousin” can be anyone willing to lend a helping hand and has the time to do it — a friend, a niece, a brother-in-law, whoever) with a phone released within the last two years. Provide them with a crash course on photography basics. If you’re not sure, then get a crash course on photography yourself — the online advice available for free is enough to encourage decent photos of the wedding. They may not look like those of your friend’s more upscale wedding, but when you’re working on a tight budget and short time, is that your priority? Laid back, shot from-the-hip pictures of the wedding, albeit with a little guidance, will prove to be as great of mementos, as professional alternatives.

Short Notice Venues for Ceremony and Reception

At last, where to decide the wedding ought to be held. With money tight and time short, the options are going to be limited. However, there are some two-in-one possibilities, which, given their availability to short notice brides and grooms, are both cost effective and easy to secure on the fly. Park gazebos and the surrounding acre or so of ground are often available within a week of making a call. Other ways to achieve a relatively quick outdoor wedding and reception include a family member’s yard (ideal if they’re cooking too) or even a rooftop wedding — though the latter is admittedly not a commonly available space even among a large group of family and friends. Short notice may mean winter time, and therefore a need to be indoors. In this case, you may find traditional venues are available and affordable due to it being the wedding “off season.”

For whatever reason, marriages sometimes happen on short notice. As long as the love is there, who cares? To make the wedding work with minimal time to plan and minimal money to spend, take the aforementioned steps. It’s a great way to get a start on love and happiness — on short notice.


Christen Moynihan is the Editorial Manager/ Accounts Goddess/ Unicorn Wrangler for The Broke-Ass Bride. Lover of swimming, tattoos, elephants, bourbon and Champagne. Culinary crusader, adventure advocate, kitty cuddler. Nomad, extroverted-introvert and geek fo lyfe. High-fives are her currency. Affiliate links, like the ones in this post, help make her real money so she can keep rocking life, broke-ass style. Play along on Twitter (BrokeAssChris10), Pinterest (brokeasschris10) and Instagram (brokeasschris10). If you're curious about the world of affiliate marketing, check her out at Bourbon & Sparkle