You got engaged over the holidays and want a summer wedding. In terms of planning, the ideal engagement length is a year, but you can pull off a fabulous wedding in only 6 months. Here’s a 6 month wedding planning timeline.
6 months before
- Budget. Determine a budget and see who will contribute (and how much). Make a list of the must-have items (live band, a particular photographer…) – it’s possible you’ll have to allocate some extra funds towards those things.
- Venue. Most venues book a year in advance, but it’s still possible to find a great venue on a short timeline. Look into non-traditional venues – art gallery, restaurant or your parents’ backyard. Also, consider alternative dates (Friday or Sunday).
- Main vendors. Get the vendors booked fast, since many of them get booked one year in advance. Get in touch with band, DJ, photographer, videographer, florist and baker.
- Dress. Wedding gown should be purchased 6 months in advance. It can be ordered in a shorter time frame – but you will have to pay a rush fee. More affordable options are: salon sample sales, ready-to-wear bridal shops and rental websites. Schedule dress fittings closer to the wedding date – to be sure the dress fits like a glove.
- Hotel room blocks. Book a room block if you have a lot of guests that will come from out of town. See if you can get a discount rate.
- Engagement photo shoot. As soon as you book the photographer, schedule the engagement photo shoot, so you can use the engagement pictures on save the date cards or wedding website.
5 months before
- Guest list. You need to figure out how many people you want at your wedding, so you could choose a venue and prioritize the budget. Make a list with your husband-to-be, then talk to your parents about guests they want to add.
- Wedding planner. When planning your wedding (especially in a short time frame), there are a lot of details you have to address – and that can be a bit overwhelming. If the budget allows you, hire a wedding planner. Wedding planner will help you with a venue selection, budget tracking and logistic.
- Wedding party. Bridesmaids’ dresses can be ordered on a shorter timeline than a wedding gown, but they still take a while. Ask the bridesmaids to choose their own dresses (in a particular color palette) or consider ready-to-wear alternatives. Place the order for the groomsmen’s tuxedos as soon as you can – or also ask them to wear their own suit in a specific color.
- Wedding website. Your wedding website should be included on the save the date cards, so it should be up an running before you send them. Beside the cute photos and your love story, be sure to include maps, venue details, dress code and registry info.
- Save the dates. Send the ‘Save the date’ cards as soon as you have the venue selected. You can send digital send the dates (you have enough time for the custom-made invitations, but not for the custom-made save the date cards). Be sure to have a registry and the wedding website before you send the save the dates.
4 months before
- Additional vendors. Book hair stylists, make-up stylists, transportation for you and your guests, rental companies.
- Wedding bands. Many wedding bands are made-to-order (it can take 45-90 days for the wedding band to be made and delivered), so this is the latest you should shop for them. Start the shopping at the jewelry store where your husband-to-be purchased the engagement ring – especially if you want the matching set.
3 months before
- Cake and menu tasting. If you are nervous about tasting, bring your consultant or wedding planner. They have attended a dozen of tastings – so they’ll pay attention to the details. Tasting is very important, especially if you have chosen to customize dessert, cocktails, etc.
- Honeymoon. Check websites like Airbnb, as these places usually need less time to book than many resorts or hotels. Decide on travel arrangements and trip activities.
- Invitations. It’s time to get the invitations in the mail. For a destination wedding, send invitations 12 weeks before the wedding day. If it’s a local wedding, send invitations 8 weeks before.
2 months before
- Party. Now’s the time for the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Make sure these parties are scheduled 1-2 months before the wedding – you don’t want to be distracted by the last-minute stress.
- Marriage licence. Google the requirements and laws for your state. If you’re having a destination wedding (international or domestic), check the paperwork requirements as well. Then visit the county clerk and get the marriage license.
- Hair and make-up trial. Research before you come to your stylist. Search social media. Look at old photos of yourself. Bring pictures and be very specific about what you want (and what you don’t want).
1 month before
- Pack the bags for the honeymoon. Confirm travel arrangements. If you’re leaving the country, don’t forget to pack your passport.
- Confirm details. Confirm orders and timing with vendors. Make a wedding day timeline – so all of the vendors are on the same page.
- Seating chart. Finalize the seating chart – consider the venue’s floor plan, will there be a head table and who will be sitting there. Print the place/escort cards.
What are your thoughts on this 6 month wedding planning timeline?
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