Right on Time

Right on Time | Split-second decisions, a little luck, and lot of focus helped one local couple pull off a dream wedding in a scant three months

We knew from the beginning we wanted a short engagement,” says Summerville native Whitney Carpenter, who married Bradley Hinson last October 24 at Trinity United Methodist Church. “While we both wanted a special wedding, the marriage was the most important thing to us, and we just felt that planning for a year would cause us to lose sight of that.”

Engaged on a Wednesday, by the following Monday the pair had all the major elements—church, reception location, caterer, day-of coordinator, photographer—booked. But don’t think it was a case of Muriel’s Wedding. “I was never the little girl who planned my wedding at a young age,” says Whitney. “My dreams were more about my prince.”

As for nailing down choices, the two admit they were pretty quick with their decisions—a little ironic considering they knew each other for nearly six years before dating and two more before they were engaged. Whitney says knowing her own mind helped when the time came, as did that first post-proposal weekend she spent studying wedding magazines. By “book-it Monday,” she knew she was craving a celebration with a vintage-inspired, organic feel and lots of romance.

Three months later, the pair’s nuptials went off without a snag. Surrounded by a little more than 100 friends and family, they say they definitely got what they wanted—a gorgeous day to celebrate their newly minted commitment to one another. Here’s Whitney’s advice for following suit in record time.

1. Start with a budget. Determine how much you can spend without going into the red.

2. Sort out what can be done yourself, but be practical, Whitney warns. Whitney made the invitations and programs with supplies from The Scratch Pad and Target. She and her bridesmaids created arrangements and bouquets with flowers from Busy B’s and Horst Wholesale Florist. And instead of favors, the couple put tiny boxes at every guest’s place; inside each was a note explaining that, in honor of the guest and in memory of their grandmothers, they had donated money to the National Alzheimer’s Association.

3. Choose a date and stick to it.

4. Make lists. Start with listing vendors and others whose services you need to book.

5. Call prospective vendors and ask for price quotes. If they are not in your budget, immediately take them off your list of potentials.

6. Narrow your list down to two or three vendors to meet in person. Hire those who make sense with your bottom line and your vision and who you’d enjoy having at your wedding.

7. Hire an event coordinator. “We booked the reception and catering through Charleston Place so they handled the setup and organizing of the S.C. Society Hall,” says Whitney.

8. Ask for—and take—suggestions and help from family and friends. “But make sure they are on board with you and your fiancé’s vision for the day,” says Whitney.

9. Don’t sweat the small stuff. “If some things aren’t done the week before your wedding, let them go,” says Whitney. “Your guests will never know what’s missing, and you won’t miss them.”