I’m often asked by couples what the ideal time frame is to plan a wedding. My answer is always a question, “How long do you want to be engaged for?”
Understanding and agreeing on how long you want to be engaged for puts more focus on your relationship than on the scale of the wedding you’re dreaming to have. Here’s my blog post that talks more about this.
One couple who decided on their wedding planning timeframe primarily based on how long they wanted to be engaged for was Patrick and Laura.
They planned their wedding in barely three months.
Patrick and Laura met through a common friend. They were put in touch in a chat group. And as the virtual conversations progressed, the common friend decided to drop out of the chat group leaving Patrick and Laura all to themselves to talk. Their friendship grew and soon realised that they liked each other. So they decided to date exclusively in spite of being continents apart.
They had planned to see each other in their home cities to learn more about each other’s friends and families.
From the very start, they were upfront to each other about their intention - to find a spouse. So it did not take long for them to decide, through their dating relationship of eight months, that they would like to marry each other.
They got engaged in November 2018 in Los Angeles. A few days after, Laura had to fly back to Singapore where she was working. They were very much aware that they had to close the distance gap between them when they get married. Holding different citizenships, one of them obviously needs to relocate to the other person’s city. They decided that Laura will be the one moving to America once they’re wed. This process involves applying for a spousal visa for her that they can only initiate once they’re married.
Convinced that getting set up for marriage is more important than the type of wedding they wanted to have, they decided to keep their engagement to at most four months.
During the first few weeks of engagement, they focused on setting up their foundations. They prayed and fasted together while also asking for prayers from their church community. They also started researching the legal requirements for Laura’s visa application, and the legal marriage rites that are available to them. And they also quickly reached out to the church for pre-marriage counselling.
I asked them about their experience in planning their wedding that Michael, my husband, and I had the honour to attend and emcee. Here’s part 1 of what they’ve shared:
1. How did you decide on your wedding venue?
Laura: We agreed on our aesthetic vision and our budget before making the search. We wanted it semi-outdoor, with natural light, with high ceiling, with a tropical green garden, and fit for 40 guests. Then we did a Google search using these descriptions. Lewin Terrace here in Singapore showed up as the top result. I visited their space, then showed videos and photos to Patrick as he was overseas. We instantly fell in love with it! We didn’t look for anything else since it matched our vision plus it qualified for our budget.
2. How did you find your other major vendors?
Laura: What’s great about Lewin Terrace is that they have strong partnerships with other wedding vendors. Part of the venue rental package are the florals, decors, and catering. Then they recommended a photographer too. This made the search easy for us because they had most of what we needed.
*Tip from The Asian Mrs. Blanding: I agree that a packaged deal that includes most of the wedding services usually ends up cheaper than finding them individually yourself. Reason is that the key vendor (in this case, the venue) has already negotiated for a long-term partnership price with these different vendors, bringing down the price that gets passed down to you. It’s a great option for couples who have a tight planning timeline!
3. You were physically apart when you were planning your wedding. And you had a short timeline - just three months! What were the steps you took to pull it all off?
The couple shared:
Pursuing pre-marriage counselling
This was a non-negotiable for us. We’ve learned from our married friends how important preparing for marriage is. So even with our distance, we sought for a way to go through counselling. Laura’s church pastor and wife from the Every Nation Church Singapore were very accommodating to our request to counsel us over Skype! It was the best investment of our time.
We had to communicate daily, even several times a day through calls and messaging to update each other of our progress. Communication also assured us of our availability for each other.
We established our “guiding principles” first for the wedding (something we learned from The Asian Mrs. Blanding!). This allowed us to make decisions on the details faster. We also had to stay away from Pinterest or Instagram after we’ve made up our decisions. We didn’t want to be swayed to changing our mind with the hundred other options out there.
Organised file sharing
We used Google Docs a lot. This is so much better than sharing attached files. We always have the latest version of our updates with Google Docs on Drive.
Use of available online tools
For setting up our foundations, we read up on The Asian Mrs. Blanding’s posts and downloaded her tools. One that we used a lot was her 7-Day Devotional that helped us through our prayer time. We also used a lot of the planning tools from the Knot.
For free graphic design tasks, we used Canva.com.
Regular prayer time
We prayed at the start and prayed all throughout our engagement. We asked our friends to pray for us too.
4. How did you and Patrick split the tasks?
We split the tasks based on our strengths and capacities. Since Laura was the one in Singapore where we were going to have our wedding, she attended the meetups with the vendors. Patrick took care of the administrative part, accounting, sourcing of wedding rings, planning the solemnisation requirements, and organising our honeymoon.
On part 2 of this blog post, I share about how Patrick & Laura managed their budget, the challenges they faced, and their tips for couples planning a wedding like theirs.