NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Wedding couples sometimes love a challenge, hate logistics or hear the shotgun cocking in the distance, but short-timers with a month to prepare can still have a great wedding.
Couples with three months or less until their ceremony spend little more than 11 hours a week planning the event, according to TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com's Real Weddings survey. But they'll have to do much more if they're hoping to squeeze all that planning into a month or less. Also, while retailers including Bed, Bath & Beyond, Macy's and Williams-Sonoma make a month seem like a lifetime by letting couples register online and tinker with their wish lists 24/7, elements such as venues, dresses, flowers and photographers aren't nearly as flexible.
That doesn't mean it's impossible, just tricky.
"I have a cousin who's doing her whole wedding in San Diego in a month," says Donne Kerestic, chief executive of 1-800Registry. "We were able to get half of her vendors done in a week."
It also takes a bit of luck. Sharon Naylor, author of 35 wedding advice books including Your Wedding, Your Way, says other couples' cancellations can help late-game wedding planners get not only their venue, but possibly a discount as well. A wedding planner, meanwhile, may cost couples upward of $1,600, according to the Real Weddings survey, but Naylor notes that they can turn events around in as little as two weeks and can break down a couple's to-do list "like a human spreadsheet."
"It can be done if you immediately adopt the attitude of 'We're going to see what comes to us,'" Naylor says. "'We're not going to jam our expectations into reality and expect it to work.'"
While wedding experts advise against planning a wedding in a month unless absolutely necessary, they acknowledge that there are shortcuts that can not only help a couple pull it off, but do it more frugally and with less stress than their more well prepared counterparts. Here are five suggestions that will go a long way toward making a wedding happen on a short timetable:
According to Kerestic, 80% of Americans have their weddings on Saturday nights, and anyone hoping for the same with only a month's worth of planning should keep in mind that most couples book their venue an average of nine months in advance, according to the Real Weddings survey. Amy Eisinger, editor of WeddingChannel.com, says picking a less favorable night or even moving that Saturday ceremony up a few hours can save cash and heartache.
"Planning a wedding during an off time of the week is definitely going to save you a little bit of money and give you a wider choice for venue options," Eisinger says. "If you look into booking a venue on a Wednesday night, a friday night or a Saturday afternoon, it's really going to help you."
That's not the only area in which short-timers will have to compromise. Photographers tend to book up just as quickly as venues. Many are booked a solid seven to 12 months before the ceremony, considering they work an average of 77 events a year, or 1.5 a week, according to wedding market research group The Wedding Report.
"For a photographer, if you're looking to book on a Saturday night, you may not get the first photographer you pick," Eisinger says. "Consider talking to three or four different photographers at once to find the one who's right for you."
A custom wedding dress is also out of the picture, considering the the design process can be tedious, the dress will usually be made overseas and it can be nine months until your dress arrives for its first fitting. This, however, is the kind of environment in which stores such as David's Bridal thrive.
"In a month, you're probably going to have to buy your dress off the rack," Naylor says. "Wedding dresses take weeks to come in, and you want to give yourself time for alterations, which are important because the dress is your feel-good element."