How to Plan a Wedding Reception in Seven Days

The Food Table

Last month, my wife created  a miracle. She planned and pulled-off a wedding reception in seven days.

Yes, you read that correctly — seven days from decision to wedding and reception.

Many things happened leading up to the decision, but the simple answer for the question “Why would you do that?” comes down to my daughter’s fiance (now husband) receiving orders to Germany following the completion of his training as an Army medic in March. Since she is a sophomore in college who intends to finish school before joining him permanently in Germany, the break between semesters was the best time for them.

The lessons from the family decision-making process reveal some great communication, conflict resolution, and leadership lessons; and those are stories for other posts on other days. For now, I’m focusing on what happened in the seven days starting December 16th and ending on December 22nd.

We chose to keep things fairly simple, and still it was amazing. There was a wedding dress for the bride, a bridesmaid’s dress for her sister, and a new dress for my wife. There were flowers for the bride, the bridesmaid, and the groom’s best person (his twin sister). There were church sanctuary and fellowship hall decorations. There was a cake. There were heavy hors d’oeuvres chosen to match the first meals as married couples for the new couple, my wife and I, my parents, and my grandparents. There were photographs. There was special music. The beautiful bride (yes, I’m biased) danced with both her husband and her father.

As one friend said, “If you didn’t know the story behind this wedding, you would think you had been planning it for months.”

It was amazing. It was beautiful. And despite the many opportunities to have conflicts and arguments caused by the stress and pressure of the short timeline, everyone came through the process with relationships intact.

At one point during the day of the wedding, another friend asked me how we managed to pull it all together so quickly. I replied: “Some people say this wedding came together in seven days, and it really took fourteen years.”  The comment that came to me spontaneously in response to my friend’s question gets to the learning point of this experience.

You see, we have lived in this rural, Indiana community since 1998. In that time, we have made great friends in churches, businesses, and community organizations throughout the county. We have no immediate family here. We do have great friends.

The wedding reception came together in seven days because of the depth of relationships built up over the course of those fourteen years.

Yes, my wife is great at organizing and delegating. And, her skill would not have mattered without the willing, discretionary effort of the people around her. No amount of ordering and coercing would have gotten the job done. Good will, common focus, and strong relationships did.

The lesson for leaders is this:

To accomplish great things in a short amount of time, invest in relationships before you need something done.

This post would not be complete without saying thank-you to our friends from all over Montgomery County. To us, it doesn’t seem like enough to just say thank-you, and we are so overwhelmed with your generosity, we don’t know what else to say. Thanks.

(If you’d like to see the wedding, there’s a video and pictures at

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