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Short Engagements Require Simple Plans
By Laura Martin
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Couples planning a short engagement should focus on simple weddings.
Sudden changes in jobs or living arrangements may prompt couples to get married within three months or less. Planning an elaborate wedding in such a short time can be difficult and expensive, but simpler weddings can be elegant and low-cost.
Nancy Freeman, Harrison County home economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service and an experienced wedding director, suggested that couples begin by making a list of what they need to do first.
"First pick two or three potential calendar dates for the wedding," Freeman said. "Then, find a minister or judge and a location.
"Many wedding sites are usually booked months in advance, so be flexible. Keep in mind that if a couple picks a date during the peak months of May, June or July, then they may find it difficult to book the location they want."
A relative's home or outdoors are also popular and inexpensive wedding locations.
Couples should pick invitations that can be ordered and shipped within a short period of time. It can be hard to make personalized invitations in time for the wedding.
Next, choose the wedding party and attire. Keeping the number of wedding party participants down to two or three can eliminate problems in finding matching dresses or suits, Freeman said. To limit travel problems, couples should choose people who live close by.
The wedding party's attire should look similar, but does not have to be identical. Men can wear black suits, white shirts and complimenting ties. Women can choose dresses that they might wear at other times during the year, but follow a common color or style.
Barbara Johnson, a Forrest County Extension home economist, said renting dresses and tuxedos can save time and money. Artificial floral arrangements and other plants are also available for rent in many areas.
"There is an advantage in renting what you need so that everybody will match," Johnson said. "If all the attire is rented from the same place, they may offer a lower price."
Johnson said minimal decorations are another way to save time and money for a wedding.
"People do not decorate weddings as heavily as they used to. Simple decorations such as candles and some netting can add an elegant look to any room," she said.
"Prospective couples with a supportive network of friends and family can plan and prepare for a beautiful wedding even when they don't have as much time as they would like," Johnson said.
Keep food served during the reception simple. Serve basic sandwiches, fruit or other finger foods that can be prepared at home.
Local bakeries often can make a wedding cake to fit a tight schedule. Most bakeries can do a basic sheet cake with two or three tiers with only a few days notice.
Contact: Nancy Freeman, (228) 865-4227