How long do you need to plan a wedding? Can you even plan a wedding in 6 months or less? Absolutely!
The amount of work you need to do to plan a wedding will generally correlate with how elaborate you want it to be – but regardless of how much you need to plan, we’ve created the perfect 6-month timeline so you can pull off the wedding of your dreams in half a year
Read on for details and download our printable checklist to keep on hand!
On average, couples spend between 8 to 12 months planning their wedding, but there are also those who elope with no plans at all! If you’re looking for a small, boutique wedding and want a shorter engagement, that’s no problem at all. Follow the steps below to plan the perfect wedding in only six months.
First, pick your wedding date while keeping these seasonal tips in mind.
How to Plan a Wedding that's 6 Months Away:
Determine your budget.
Make your guest list.
Shop venues & pick one.
Take engagement photos.
The first thing you should do when planning a wedding in 6 months, is set your budget. And with your budget, comes your guest list. The easiest way to reduce the cost of your overall wedding day is to reduce the number of guests you’re inviting! A smaller guest list can exponentially cut the costs of things like the venue, equipment rentals, catering, stationery and favors.
Once you have an idea of your total number of invitees, start to shop for a venue that accommodates that number of people. Finding a venue six months out from your wedding may be a little tricky, so you may want to consider getting married on a Friday or Sunday. You can also consider some out-of-the-box options like AirBnbs or restaurants.
When planning a wedding in six months there are a few things that may not make the cut, and one we’d recommend skipping is engagement photo Save the Dates. Since most photographers will take between 3-6 weeks to edit and return photos after your session, it can be difficult to get them out in time. Instead, opt for a design from a stationer or a website like Minted, and make sure your friends and family have plenty of time to get your wedding day on their calendar.
5 Months Away:
Pick and hire a caterer / bartender.
Hire a photographer.
Find the perfect wedding dress.
Send out your Save The Dates.
With 5 months left until your wedding day, you should prioritize vendors that book up the fastest and furthest in advance. In our experience, this is usually photographers and caterers. Once you have your venue booked and your wedding date set you should make these two vendors your main focus. If you have your eye on someone specific, reach out as soon as possible! This is another reason why we recommend that couples working on a short deadline opt to get married on a day other than Saturday - vendors are far more likely to have availability.
The five-month mark is also when you should start shopping for a wedding dress. Since dresses are often shipped from overseas and require multiple alterations appointments, it’s important to shop as early as you can. If you’re working on a really tight deadline some shops can offer rush shipping, but you should expect some extra fees. Or if you’re looking to leave the store with a dress in hand, you can inquire about sample sales happening in your area.
4 Months Away:
Hire an officiant.
Ask your wedding party.
Find your DJ/Band
Hire Hair & Make-Up Artist
Hire a Florist
Design and order your wedding cake.
At the 4-month mark, you’ll want to finish hiring all of the vendors you need for your wedding day. This can include your officiant, DJ, coordinator, makeup, florist, and anyone else you might want. Once you have your vendors handled you can sigh a big breath of relief – this is by far the trickiest part of wedding planning.
This is also the time when you’ll want to make sure that you reach out to anyone you want involved in your wedding party! Reach out to your friends and family that you’d like to participate, whether you ask them in person or gift them with a proposal box. For those who say yes, you’ll want to decide what you’d like them to wear, and give them plenty of time to order and get alterations.
3 Months Away:
Order wedding invitations.
Set up a catering and cake tasting.
The last three months of wedding planning may seem stressful, but lots of the activities are actually super fun! During this time you’ll want to schedule tastings for both catering and cake. This is a great date-night activity with your partner trying some different food and deciding what to include on your menu for your wedding!
This is also the time to design and order your wedding invitations. Whether you choose an online service like Minted or go with a small business stationer, you’ll want to give enough time for the invitations to be printed, shipped to you, and then mailed out to your guests.
2 Months Away:
Mail out your invitations.
Shop for and purchase your wedding bands.
Order your ceremony decorations.
Host your hair & makeup trial.
Order a tux for the groom.
If you’ve been following our timeline, you should have your invitations in-hand by month two. Now is the time to send them out! Make sure you include an RSVP date of one month before your wedding. This should give you just the right amount of time to track down any missed responses before providing your venue and caterer with your final numbers two weeks before your wedding.
At this time you’ll also want to order any items that are still slightly time-consuming, like wedding bands, decorations, the groom’s tux, and any other final attire pieces. Shoes in particular are especially important since you’ll need these on-hand for your dress fittings to get the right length.
Finally, you should aim to have your hair and makeup trial around the two month mark. This allows your makeup artist to get an understanding of what your skin is like during this season, and gives you time to make any changes you might want before your big day.
1 Month Away:
Follow up on any missed RSVPs.
Give your final headcount to catering and the venue.
Create your seating chart.
Have your final dress and tux fittings.
Get your marriage license.
This final 30 days before your wedding will pass in the blink of an eye, so it’s important to check off the final items on your to-do list! You’ll want to know exactly when your final headcount is due to your caterer and make sure you follow up on any missing RSVPs before that date. And once you have your final guest count, it’s time to make a seating chart!
You’ll also want to have your final fittings for both you and your partner during the last month so that everything fits perfectly. And make sure you pick up your tux and dress from the tailors at least a week before your wedding!
Two weeks before your wedding is also when final payments are generally due. Make sure you’re keeping track of all the vendors who will need payments so you have everything taken care of on-time.
Finally, and most importantly, make sure you check off all of the legal necessities like picking up your marriage license. Most states have specific requirements for how long you have to wait after applying to actually get married, as well as how long the license is good for, so make sure that you’re getting it in the right time frame.
How to Plan a Wedding in 6 Months Takeaway
Planning a wedding can already be a long, grueling process, but it doesn’t have to be! It’s absolutely possible to plan a gorgeous wedding in 6 months, especially if you are solid decision-makers. We hope this timeline is helpful for any couples looking to get married in less than a year so you can approach wedding planning with confidence!
Some venues specialize in shorter term wedding turnarounds, like Olde House. Reserve your dates today to have the wedding of your dreams in no time! Book now
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