6 months to plan a wedding? Absolutely! Even though most traditional wedding timelines span a year or more, there’s no rule saying you can’t make your special day memorable with short notice. Whether you’re aiming for a destination wedding or a traditional celebration closer to home, our 6-month wedding guide can steer you seamlessly through this whirlwind time frame.
This post will run you through what you need to do in preparation for your big day.
6 Months Out
First things first. Set your wedding budget. Know how much you want to spend and who’s contributing. A detailed budget will guide your spending decisions.
Without a budget, costs can quickly spiral out of control. Knowing who’s contributing, the couple, parents, or a mix, helps set clear financial boundaries.
Choose a theme
Visualize the kind of wedding you both want. Whether it’s intimate or grand, this vision will influence every subsequent decision.
Choosing a wedding theme sets the tone for many of the subsequent decisions you’ll make, from décor to invitations to attire. Knowing your budget can help you determine how elaborate or simple your theme can be.
Draft Guest List
The guest count impacts many other decisions, such as the size of the venue, catering costs, and seating arrangements.
A rough number helps in getting accurate quotations from vendors. Prioritize invites based on family, close friends, and other acquaintances.
Wedding Date & Venue
Decide on your wedding date and book your wedding venue.
Given the time constraints, consider alternative dates, a Friday or Sunday. This might also open doors to venues otherwise booked on popular Saturdays.
Some venues are in high demand, especially during peak wedding seasons. Locking in a venue ensures you have the desired location and can set the theme and tone for your wedding.
Related reading – Questions to ask your wedding venue
Essential Wedding Vendors
Your wedding’s success heavily leans on the vendors. From capturing moments through photography to food and music, vendors bring your vision to life.
Start with those that get booked quickly to ensure you aren’t settling due to time constraints. Some vendors with longer lead times typically are photographers, florists, cakemakers, make-up artists, or specialized caterers.
Always check reviews and past work before making a booking.
Announce your engagement to close friends and family members. Use this time for your engagement shoot too. An engagement shoot provides photos that can be used for save-the-dates or the wedding website.
Set up a Wedding Website
A wedding website is the hub of your wedding details for your guests. From the story of how you met to accommodation details, it’s a one-stop-shop for guests.
Ensure it’s user-friendly, updated regularly, and reflects your theme and personality.
Wedding Dress & Attire
Begin the quest for the perfect dress or attire that aligns with your wedding theme. Some dresses require multiple fittings and adjustments, so an early start gives ample time for perfection.
Ready-to-wear dresses might be more suitable for a wedding with time constraints but still can take time for minor alterations and accessorizing.
5 Months Out
Finalize guest list, Save-the-dates, and invitations
Now it’s time to lock down those numbers to ensure appropriate planning.
Next, send out Save-the-dates. A Save the Date gives your wedding guests a heads up that you’ve set a wedding date, that they’re invited, and indicates the location, so they can begin planning annual leave and budgeting for attending.
Now is also the time to design your wedding invitations in line with your wedding theme.
Related reading – 5 Save the Date Mistakes
Decide on your wedding party
Choose your bridal party. This includes choosing bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ushers, and your wedding MC. Start the hunt now if they’re wearing specific attire, like bridesmaid dresses and suits.
Related reading –
Plan and book your honeymoon
Your honeymoon is the cherry on top, a relaxing retreat after months of planning. Early bookings can avail early bird discounts and ensure availability, especially if you’re eyeing popular destinations or specific resorts.
Book hotel blocks
Ensuring your guests have comfortable accommodations adds to their experience. Blocked rooms often come at a discount, and it guarantees space in a convenient location.
This step is especially helpful if your wedding location is a popular tourist destination or if there’s another event in town.
4 Months Out
Hire remaining vendors
By the time you’re several months out, you’ve likely secured the larger, more pivotal vendors like the venue, photographer, and caterer. However, there are still numerous other vendors integral to making your wedding day run smoothly.
- Specialty Vendors: These can range from photobooth rentals to lighting specialists or even those offering unique entertainment, like a magician or a live painter capturing the scene.
- Day-of Coordinator: Even if you’ve planned everything yourself or hired a wedding planner, a day-of coordinator can ensure everything runs seamlessly on the actual day.
- Sound and Music: Perhaps you have the band or DJ booked, but do you need to hire someone for the sound system, especially for the ceremony?
- Transportation: Consider how you, your future spouse, and the bridal party will get to and from each wedding location. If you have many out-of-town guests or the venue has limited parking, consider hiring a shuttle service. This ensures guests don’t have to worry about navigation or parking, and it can also be a safer option if alcohol is served at the reception.
Purchase Wedding Bands
If you opt for customized bands or intricate designs, they can take weeks or even months to complete. Also, consider engravings or any unique materials you want to be incorporated, as these add to the lead time.
Related reading – Wedding Band Engravings Ideas
Start Making or Buying Wedding Favors
DIY Favors: Handmade gifts add a personal touch and often resonate with guests. These could be small craft items, homemade jams, or even seed packets for guests to plant and remember your day as they grow.
When opting for DIY, start early to avoid any last-minute rush and ensure you make a few extras for unexpected guests or mishaps.
Store-Bought Favors: If you’re looking for something sophisticated or specific, buying favors might be a better option. This could range from small trinkets and scented candles to even personalized items with the couple’s name and wedding date.
Ensure you order well in advance, especially if customizations are involved, and always order a few extras.
DIY Decor: DIY decor can be rewarding and economical for couples looking to add a personal touch or work within a budget. This might include hand-painted signs, crafted centerpieces, or homemade table runners.
Like with favors, starting early gives you plenty of time for trial and error and ensures you have everything ready before the big day.
Store-Bought or Rental Decor: Renting or purchasing ready-made decor can save time and often provides a polished look. Items like lighting fixtures, drapes, table settings, and larger decorative pieces might be easier and more practical to rent or purchase.
Before buying, consider storage and what you’ll do with the items post-wedding. Ensure you understand the return or pick-up process for rentals to avoid any post-wedding hassles.
Set a Date for the Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties
While the wedding is formal, the bachelor and bachelorette parties allow the bride and groom to let their hair down. Given everyone’s busy schedules, it’s essential to lock in a date well in advance.
Dress fittings are crucial to ensure the perfect fit for your wedding attire. However, it’s not just about the dress. The shoes and lingerie can alter the dress’s fit and look.
Buying them in advance ensures the dress is adjusted considering the complete ensemble. This also provides a clearer image of the final look, helping make any required tweaks.
Choose Readings for the Wedding Ceremony
Personalized readings can add a unique and intimate touch to your wedding ceremony. Whether it’s a poem, a religious scripture, or an excerpt from a favorite book, the reading should resonate with your relationship.
Start discussing and selecting readings early, allowing time to approach the readers and giving them time to prepare.
Draw Up a List of Must-Have Songs (and a Don’t Play List!)
Music sets the tone for your wedding, from the romantic first dance to the lively party numbers. Talk with your partner to curate a list of songs that have sentimental value or are your favorites.
Equally essential is a ‘don’t play’ list to avoid songs that might be inappropriate or bring back unwanted memories. This ensures the mood remains upbeat and in sync with your wedding vibes.
3 Months Out
Send out Wedding Invitations
Send your invitations out in time so your guests can RSVP. For a destination wedding, send them 12 weeks before the wedding day. For a local wedding, 8 weeks ahead of time is enough.
Menu Tasting & Catering Decisions
Food is a significant part of the reception. Ensure the menu caters to dietary restrictions and tastes delicious. Your wedding cake is both a centerpiece and a dessert. Tastings ensure it’s as delicious as it looks.
Confirm Flowers and Table Arrangements with the Florist
Your chosen flowers play a significant role in setting the wedding’s ambiance. Work closely with the florist to confirm arrangements, ensuring they resonate with the wedding theme.
Order corsages and bouttonnieres. These tiny floral details are essential for several key wedding attendees. Ordering them ensures the bridal party, close family members, and the MC are recognized and distinguished.
Buy Gifts for the Wedding Party
It’s a lovely gesture to show appreciation to those playing significant roles in the wedding. Select thoughtful gifts, considering individual preferences.
Arrange Wedding Party Prep Locations
The spaces where both parties prep aren’t just logistical locations but sanctuaries of anticipation and emotion.
These should be comfortable, well-lit, and spacious enough for those poignant moments of reflection, laughter, and last-minute touch-ups.
Begin Writing Your Vows
If you are personalizing your vows, start crafting these now. They form one of the most intimate moments of the ceremony.
Related reading – 50 + Funny Wedding Vows – Ideas and Tips
2 Months Out
Organize Your Marriage Licence
This piece of paper is the legal acknowledgment of your union. Research thoroughly, understanding the nuances and requirements specific to your jurisdiction. Ensure all documentation of the marriage license is timely and accurate so there’s no administrative hiccup.
Start Chasing RSVPs
This is a delicate balance between logistics and maintaining good relationships. Gently remind guests to send their RSVPs, giving you clarity for finalizing details.
Read more on how to deal with guests who haven’t RSVPd.
Design a layout considering relationships and dynamics among guests. For help on how to do this read our Seating Plans – Who Sits Where At A Wedding Reception? post.
Bridal shower and bachelorette parties
Related reading – The Ultimate List of Naughty Bachelorette Party Games
Hair and Makeup Trial
Test out your desired bridal look to make any necessary adjustments before the day.
Finalize Playlist & Entertainment
Now is a great time to confirm the tunes for key moments and dancing for the wedding ceremony, cocktail hour and reception.
1 month out
Finalize your wedding vows if you are writing your own. Practice reading them out to yourself in front of a mirror to hear and see how it flows.
Wedding Day Timeline
Draft a clear sequence of events of the wedding timeline, ensuring a smooth flow. Share this with vendors for coordination.
Even though weddings rarely have the perfect time (something always runs over), having a base outline is helpful so everyone has something to work around.
Make sure your dress and suit fit perfectly. This is the last chance for any tweaks. Ensure the bridesmaid dresses fit perfectly and complement the bridal gown.
Meet with Celebrant/Officiant
Discuss the ceremony’s flow and ensure all necessary formalities are understood and adhered to.
Final Details & Seating Chart
Confirm final details with your vendors. With most RSVPs in, work on your seating chart and have your escort cards printed.
Pack for your honeymoon, double-check small details, and ensure you’ve touched base with all wedding party members.
Enjoy the Moment
Take a moment to appreciate your hard work. You’ve planned a wedding in just six months! As one of the most important days of your life draws closer, remember to savor every moment.
Remember, while planning a wedding in such a short timeline can be challenging, love and commitment make the day special. So, focus on what matters most and enjoy your journey to the altar!