According to our National Wedding Survey, the average couple take 18 months to plan their big day. If you are anything but average then you may want to forgo the long months of planning and get married within six months of getting engaged.
You might have a specific reason for wanting to get married in a certain time frame or maybe you just don’t fancy months and months of planning ahead of you! Whatever your reason, don’t panic.
With some careful planning, six months will be plenty of time to arrange your special day. Here’s how to do it:
Your Six Month Wedding Planning Timeline
If you are planning a wedding in six months then compromising is the key to making your day a success – with a shorter planning timeline you may find limited availability for wedding dates and supplier availability but you will be able to find something to suit your style.
Six Months to Go
With six months to plan your wedding we’re afraid to say that this initial planning stage is going to be very busy. But we promise that by doing the groundwork now, you will have the bulk of your big wedding planning tasks complete in no time.
1. Book Your Wedding Venue and Your Ceremony
Image: Cripps Barn
You can’t really do anything else until you have the date and location of your wedding, so the very first thing you need to do is find a wedding venue.
Allocate a block of time to go and visit your favourite few venues – it’s probably also worth checking their availability for your preferred wedding dates before you go and visit and be prepared to compromise – it’s unlikely larger wedding venues would have a Saturday free in August! But Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays may offer more availability (and will come with a lower price tag – bonus!).
READ MORE: Wedding Venues with Late Availability
2. Send Your Wedding Invitations
Once you have your wedding venue and ceremony booked, sending out your invitations is the next thing to do – giving your guests the maximum amount of notice that you can. With six months to plan your wedding we say forget the save the dates and head straight for the invitations.
3. Book Your Caterers
Image: Circa Events
Your venue may include catering but if it doesn’t then aim to book your caterers within a month of choosing your wedding venue.
4. Choose Your Wedding Dress
With six months to go before your wedding day you may find that won’t be enough lead time for many dress designers. When you visit a bridal shop, make sure they are aware of your shorter timeframe and they can guide you towards designers that have shorter lead times for getting your wedding dress. High street wedding dresses and sample dresses will also be perfect options for you.
5. Book Your Wedding Photographer
Wedding photographers can get booked up quickly so aim to contact a few that you like with your chosen wedding date. If you have picked a more unusual wedding date rather than a traditional summer Saturday then you are likely to have much more choice with your shorter timeframe.
Five Months to Go
With five months to go it will be time to book all the other services that you need for the big day.
6. Book the Rest of Your Suppliers
With five months until the big day, make sure you get all those services you need booked. So this includes your florist, decor hire, cake maker, hair and makeup, the band or DJ and your master of ceremonies. Again when you contact these suppliers make sure you specify your wedding date so you know straight away if they have availability for you.
Four Months to Go
With four months to go you are getting down to the finer details (and you can relax slightly as all the big stuff is taken care of!).
7. Arrange the Outfits for Your Bridal Party
You have four months to go so now is the time to arrange suit hire for the groom and the groomsmen. You can also choose the dresses for your bridesmaids – we suggest planning one main shopping trip with all your best girls so you can get your bridesmaid dress shopping done as quickly and painlessly as possible!
8. Plan Your Hen and Stag Parties
Luckily this is a task you can easily delegate to your best man and maid of honour. With only a few months notice you may find it difficult to organise a full weekend away and have everyone be able to make it, but a night out not too far from home should mean most people can attend.
Three Months to Go
With three months to go it’s getting close! Take a look at the little extras that will help make your wedding more personal.
9. Find Your Wedding Shoes and Bridal Jewellery
You’ve got your wedding dress but now it’s time to find the little things that will complete your wedding look. Start looking for bridal shoes and wedding jewellery that will suit your wedding style.
10. Buy Additional Reception Decor
If you plan on hiring any wedding items then you have probably taken care of this already, but now you have the big things booked you can look at the little details that will make your wedding extra special and personal to you. Shop for things like table decorations, wedding garlands and fun photo props.
11. Choose the Rings
Give yourself plenty of time to order your wedding rings – particularly if you are having something bespoke created.
Two Months to Go
With two months it’s time to chase up RSVPs and think about planning the timeline of the day.
12. Book Your Honeymoon
Whether it’s a minimoon straight after the big day or a more extravagant celebration later in the year, think about booking your honeymoon – you might even be able to get a last minute deal!
13. Create the Table Plan
Once you have chased up all those remaining RSVPs you can start to build your table plan – if you are ordering from a specific stationery maker then make sure you leave plenty of time.
One Month to Go
With one month to go you are pretty much done! Now it’s just time to do all the final adjustments and details for the big day.
14. Buy Gifts for the Wedding Party
With just a few weeks to go until the wedding it’s a nice idea to buy some thank you gifts for your bridal party to show your appreciation for all their support over the past few months.
15. Get Speech Writing
If you are giving speeches then save yourself a lot of stress by writing them early. With a month to go to the wedding it’s a good time to put pen to paper and start drafting your special words.
16. Have Any Final Outfit Adjustments
Try on your bridal outfit one last time and make sure any final adjustments are completed.
Then it’s time to relax! With one month to go until the wedding try and find a little bit of wedding-free time to switch off and recharge. You just did in six months what most people do in a year and a half.
Looking for an even shorter timeframe? See how you can plan a wedding in three months.