Did you recently get engaged and come to find out quickly that many venues are already booked? The most popular dates get booked very early, typically 12 to 14 months in advance. Some couples may book dates even two or three years in advance, especially at very popular venues.
If you don't want to wait long, there are ways to get married sooner. In addition to elopements, it is possible to plan a small wedding within a relatively short amount of time. We specialize in small wedding services at our venue Creativo Loft, hosting gatherings from 2 to 74 people, and can often accommodate short notice weddings. Our all-inclusive Casual Weddings or Group Elopements are super popular for quick plans.
If you are not sure if a short engagement is right for you, it helps to determine if you are able to meet all or some of these criteria:
1. Be able to have a smaller wedding, less than 70 people ideally, for the greatest flexibility on short notice.
2. Have a good amount of finances readily available. This could be your own personal savings, access to reliable family contributions, or a healthy line of credit that you are not using currently. If you have $5000 - $15,000 right now, or available over the next 1 to 6 months, that will generally cover your expenses for a small wedding with 30 to 60 people in Chicago, depending on how elaborate or simple you are willing to keep your plans and services.
3. Be able to find out quickly from family and friends if they will be able to attend. It can help if most guests live in the area. However, in a big city like Chicago, guests that need to travel should not have much, if any, trouble booking hotels and flights on short notice for the majority of weekends throughout the year.
4. Be open minded with services and wedding ideas, and be willing to let some things go. A lot of elaborate ideas that you might see on Pinterest or wedding blogs can take months to prepare, and most likely have associated costs that are often much higher than you might expect. If you are having a tough time making a specific idea fit into your budget or short planning time table, then you'll need to be capable of nixing some ideas quickly and keep moving forward with other planning tasks. Most couples planning weddings will underestimate their wedding costs by as much as 40% on average. That can be tough when you are planning a year or more in advance. So, when you don't have as much time to save up funds it is essential to be smart with spending decisions. The upside of having a shorter engagement is that the inherent need to make quick decisions can actually help you to keep your costs under control. Be careful to not ruminate on ideas too long, or allow projects to grow too big and out of control for your budget and limited amount of planning time.
At Creativo Loft we often have 1 or 2 dates available each month for short notice bookings. May, June, September and October are the highest demand months, so they might be a little tricky with availability. But in general, we usually can accommodate a short notice booking with as little as 1 to 4 months notice. For June, September and October booking 6 to 12 months in advance is recommended for Saturdays. But, sometimes good luck can be on your side, so it doesn't hurt to ask about last minute availability even for those peak months.