Wondering how to plan your wedding in just six months? If so, you are probably experiencing a whirlwind of wonderful emotions in the last few weeks. The love of your life got down on one knee and proposed. It was magical. You said yes! And that gorgeous ring is on your finger. Now the fun begins!
It’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. It can be a very stressful time planning a massive event that needs to be perfect. Normally it takes 12-18 months to plan a wedding, but that’s not always the case. There’s so much to do and schedule that the whole process can be very difficult without the right tools and advice. But fear not…you can plan your wedding in six months and we’re about to tell you how, all while keeping your stress levels at a minimum.
The key to any great event is planning. It doesn’t matter the size, budget, or timeframe, what makes or breaks a wedding is proper planning, staying organized and being proactive within your schedule. Here at The Dream Wedding Checklist, we’re here to help you every step of the way.
Top 5 Priorities When You Begin to Plan Your Wedding
When you start planning your wedding there should be at least five main points you should immediately address:
- Setting the date
- Location venue
- Guest list
This can feel like a daunting process. Do you figure out your budget before you lock down the venue, or develop your guest list and then check venue sizes? What about the time of year? What areas do you want to save on and where is it important to splurge? There’s so much to consider!
The circumstances surrounding your special day can create a variety of overwhelming choices, but if you secure these crucial elements early on in your planning process, it will alleviate a lot of stress.
Because time is of the essence when you are planning a wedding with only a few months lead time, you will want to hit the ground running. A little bit of time in the beginning invested in learning about the wedding planning process can help you avoid missteps that will often cost precious amounts of both time and money. P.S. We created the Dream Wedding Checklist course to give you a shortcut route to learning the ins and outs of wedding planning. It’s designed to save you time and avoid the common mistakes couples can often make. Check out our sample chapters to get started on your planning!
1. Set a Budget
You have to figure out what you’re willing to spend, and factor in how much each of your families will be contributing. Knowing exactly how much you can spend on your wedding will usually determine every other facet of the day. This will certainly help you narrow down your venue choices.
2. Choose Your Venue
Your venue choice will be the first step to bringing all the details of your big day together. Keep in mind that wedding venues often book up 12-18 months in advance, so if your wedding date is only six months away, you may not have as many date options to choose from. One option is to look into alternate days at the venue of your choice. If there is a one-of-a-kind venue that you simply MUST have your wedding at, then maybe it’s worthwhile to explore days and times that they have available, including off-peak days like Fridays/Sundays and even weekdays. or Saturdays are by far the most popular wedding day so these dates book up first and often have a premium price tag. If however, you don’t have your heart set on a specific venue, you may want to be more flexible and find one that has availability during the month you’re looking to be married. Be absolutely sure that it’s the right place with the proper capacity and resources you’ll need for your celebration because deposits are generally required to hold a date and are rarely refundable.
3. The Date!
Choosing a date can go hand-in-hand with selecting your wedding venue. Start considering a range of dates or times of year you want to have your wedding. You can do this before you even start to look at venues. The importance of having a range of dates is if you have to have a specific day where your wedding absolutely needs to happen, you could be limiting your options. Venues could be booked and vendors may not be available on that day. So having a range is crucial. It’s okay to base it near or around a memorable date in your family’s history, but if you’re wanting to plan your wedding in a shortened time frame of under six months, it’s essential to be more flexible so that it will be easier to book the location and vendors that are available.
4. The Guest List
The first difference between a large wedding and a more intimate event is cost. The fastest way to get within your budget is to reduce your guest list. Consider who gets to choose the guest list. Are you splitting it 50/50 between the two families or, taking into consideration who is providing the funding when it comes to allocating invites. Make sure that this is clearly decided and communicated to ensure no hard feelings. We suggest making three lists. First the VIP’s. These are the people you would not want to get married unless they were in attendance. Then a list of all the people you “want” at your wedding but are not as critical as your VIP’s. Your third list are the guests you would like to invite but only if there is room. This will help you to begin to sort guests into order of importance.. At the same time don’t be afraid to cut your list down. Smaller weddings are becoming more popular and it’s best taking a hard look to make sure everyone on your list is a must-invite. Don’t feel guilty about cutting down your list a bit!
5. Create Your Style
Once your budget has been firmly determined, start thinking about the style and theme of your wedding. A black-tie formal event in a classic ballroom or a destination wedding? Maybe a garden party, something eco-friendly or holiday-themed depending on the season. Define what you want your wedding to look like and you’re on your way to choose pros that fit your style.
The Importance of a Checklist
When you go to the supermarket to pick up a huge list of groceries that you need do you just have everything memorized? Of course not. You make a list! Without a list, you’re definitely going to forget a few items. The same thing goes for your wedding.
This is about to be one of the most important days of your life. Why leave anything to chance? Having a checklist by your side can save you the sleepless nights of trying to keep everything memorized in your head. It gets it down on paper instead and acts as the ultimate guide, prompting you every step of the way.
Having a list will relieve the pressure of trying to remember the 100 different things that are on your mind right now. This rings especially true as your special day approaches. Your goal is to have everything covered and completed so you can focus on nothing but enjoying your wedding day worry-free.
Use your checklist to add important date reminders into your digital calendar. Appointments for fittings, meetings with vendors along with action reminders for ordering and mailing out invitations, ordering your cake and placing your announcements in local media can all be added to your calendar using your checklist. Do this at the start of planning and you’ll literally have reminders every day keeping you up-to-date on planning.
You’ll also want to use your checklist as an easy way to review the status of everything on a regular basis. Staying organized and having a solid checklist will help you make sure you have the wedding you’ve been dreaming about for so long.
Now let’s go through all of the important factors of planning a wedding with only six months before your special day. We’ve covered the critical points above and the importance of making a checklist, but here’s a simple definitive guide for the timeline of tasks leading up to your wedding day.
Wedding Planning Timeline: 6 Months to the Big Day
6 Months Before Your Wedding
The budget: Two critical factors must be determined early on. How much is all of this going to cost, and where are the funds coming from, and from whom?
The date & the ceremony and reception venue: This important decision sets the stage for basically everything else you need to do. So, select your venue and book your date.
Style and Theme: Once you have a budget & venue in place, you can now have a clearer picture of how you want your wedding to look and feel. This is the fun part. Nautical? Tropical? Celestial? You're only limited by your budget and imagination.
The Wedding Party: Groomsmen, your bridesmaids, the ring bearer, and the flower girls are all decisions that must be made. Consider their wardrobe as well.
The Guest List: Figure out how many guests you want to invite to your special day. The must-haves and any additional friends and relatives you want there to share in your joy.
A Professional Planner: This could be an important decision considering you’ve got a six-month window. A good planner can get it done for you. If you don’t want or have the budget for a full planner experience, consider a “day of” planner who can help you finalize everything in the last month and be there on the day of your wedding to take care of all of the little details so you can relax and be totally in the moment.
A Website: There’s no time to waste so get your wedding website up ASAP to make sure people know the wedding date and can avoid making conflicting plans.
Wedding Dress: Browse online, create a Pinterest board of your favorite styles. Browse bridal magazines and shops to get an idea of what may look good on you and the theme and style you’re seeking.
The Caterer: Are you thinking of the traditional sit-down formal dinner, a buffet, or serving stations? Meet with a catering service to determine what’s right for you and also create a menu that meets all dietary choices. First look into your venue to see if they offer on-site catering or have preferred vendors.
The Photographer and Videographer: Not just for the wedding but you may want a photographer for the engagement party and any other events leading up to your special day. It’s important that your photographer get a feeling as to who you both are as a couple. This will translate to more meaningful and personal photos for your wedding album.
The Officiant: Sometimes this factor is overlooked. Consider a best friend, cousin, or sibling to get the necessary certification for this title if you aren’t choosing a traditional religious ceremony. Save the Date: This can be done with a mailing or utilizing an online service. (Save on paper!) It doesn’t really matter which option you choose, but it’s important to get these notices out pronto!
5 Months Before Your Wedding
The Registries: Pick a place that has things you both like and a variety of choices. It’s also important to have several different price points to fit every guest’s budget.
Shower Hosts: Get a guest list out to your bridal shower host, so they can coordinate that event and the goodies you’ll receive at the party!
The Rings: One of the most crucial elements of your wedding! Give yourself some extra time for these in case you want some engraving performed on each band.
The DJ and or Band: If you can afford John Legend, good for you. But you have to figure this out. Will there be live musicians playing during the actual ceremony? What about a soundtrack of some kind as you walk down the aisle? Who will play all of your favorite songs at the reception? These are all decisions you’ll need to make sooner than later. Book now and move on. The right music is a huge factor that adds to any beautiful event.
Reception Menu: Work with your caterer to ensure you have all the choices that will work for the majority of your guests. Chicken or beef? Fish? What about a few special options for your vegetarian or vegan guests?
4 Months Before Your Wedding
The Cake: Once you’ve secured the baker to create this masterpiece, it’s important to let them know the flavors, how many guests will be in attendance, and the time and location of the reception. Schedule your tasting appointment as soon as you finalize your bakery of choice.
Wedding Favors: Select some fun items to give your guests upon their arrival at the reception. There are a variety of things you can do, but keep in mind you may want something that sort of represents the both of you. Consider the circumstances of the location you chose. (Hand sanitizer was big during the pandemic!) Maybe something that has a “His and Hers” vibe to them. Things that speak to your personality.
Hotel Room Options: Reserve accommodations for some of your guests who traveled from out of town. Maybe a block of rooms in a nearby hotel. You could put this info on your website and update it to reflect any discounts or rates for groups.
The Honeymoon: Plan where you and your betrothed will run off to after the wedding. Discuss locations and spots you’d like to spend the relaxing fun-filled days after your perfect day! The Caribbean? Mountain getaway? Trekking through the jungles of South America? Whatever you choose it’ll be fun because of who you’re with
3 Months Before Your Wedding
Bridal Shower: This is always a fun activity. Take lots of pictures and please don’t forget to write everyone who attended a little thank you note. This is also a great time to make your guest list for your bachelorette party and all necessary reservations
Formal Invitations: It’s critical to get these in the mail around 6 to 8 weeks before the actual wedding. However, if you’ve decided to have a destination wedding, shoot for 10 to 12 weeks out from the event.
The Rehearsal Dinner: Sometimes this is handled by another person in your wedding party. But a location and space must be reserved. Even if it’s being arranged by a parent or sibling, offer to help out with any aspect of this event. You may also want to provide input on dietary choices or even tablecloth color schemes.
The Flowers: Roses or Tulips? Your best bet here is to speak with a florist that can handle the order and has a good reputation. You may have specific varieties in mind but it may be best if you go with flowers that are in season. This improves freshness and availability.
2 Months To Your Wedding
Ground Transportation: This is a task you may want to delegate to your fiancé or loved one that is helping if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. Have them reach out to a few limousine companies, get pricing, and report back to you.
Reception Playlist: Talk to your fiancé about the must-haves on the playlist. Meet somewhere in the middle on these decisions. What will be the song playing for your first dance as a married couple? Also, think about the song you want to play when you dance with your Dad. Save time for making a “Play” and “Do Not Play” list .
Bridal Gown Fitting: Make an appointment and have this performed not once, but twice. You never know. Also, make sure you bring the shoes you’re going to be wearing on your wedding day to get that hemline length just right.
Hair and Makeup: Book a hairstylist and someone to do your makeup on your special day. You may want them to do a trial run before the actual event just to ensure your look is perfect.
Wedding Programs: Create the order of events for the ceremony. You’ll need these programs for the guests in attendance. If you and your future spouse are writing your own vows, this would be a great time to start working on those as well.
The Media Announcement: Give yourself at least six weeks to give notice and publish the information regarding your upcoming union.
1 Month Before Your Wedding
Marriage License: Many couples prefer to get the legal part of marriage out of the way in the month leading up to their ceremony. It normally takes 24 to 48 hours to process this paperwork. You can check on the specifics you’ll need by visiting your state or county’s government website.
RSVPs: Review who’s responded and who hasn’t yet. Follow up with anyone you haven’t heard from yet. You’ll want to use this head count to inform your vendors on how many people will be attending.
Vendor List: Reach out to your vendors and confirm your agreement. Make sure they’ve all been paid and go over any last minute changes with them.
The Reception Bar: Check in with your caterer in regard to the amount of alcohol to be served. They will know how much you’ll need for the number of guests in attendance.
Reception Seating: This may seem trivial, but putting the right people together is important. If you’d like, this can be a good time to create small menu cards.
Bridesmaid Gifts: Hopefully they’ve been by your side through this exciting process. A thoughtful gift that they will receive at the wedding should be purchased now. Remember to select the right gifts bags and put everything together so it’s ready to go on the bid day.
Bachelorette/Bachelor Party: Go out with your squad and rock out! You deserve it and so do they. You’re almost to your special day!
2 Weeks Before Your Wedding
Haircut and Color: Schedule your cut and color so that your style has a fresh look. But it’s a good idea to get this done two weeks before your wedding in case you have to make any necessary adjustments.
Bridal Emergency Kit: It’s important to be prepared for any small thing that could possibly go wrong on your wedding day. Maybe a needle and thread, little snacks, tweezers, a nail file, and aspirin are some things to include.
To-Do List: Use your checklist to create a little list of all the things that need to happen the week of your wedding. Share it with anyone involved in the process and save yourself some headaches.
The Dress: Go pick it up. Your gorgeous dress should be hemmed, perfectly fitted, and pressed. See if your tailor can provide you with a permanent plastic bag so that you can hang, protect and keep it clean before your wedding.
The Love Note: Don’t forget to take some time to write a special note to your soul mate to be read in private on your wedding day just before the ceremony. This will be a special moment that you’ll want captured by your photographer. Don’t stress if you can’t think of what to say. You have some time to get it right.
1 Week Before Your Wedding
Photo Review: Communicate with your photographer a list of photos that absolutely must happen. Those special moments can’t be missed and you’ll want them in your album forever.
Reconfirm Headcount: Provide a list of everyone in attendance to your vendors before the wedding. Different vendors will have different cut off dates by which they will need a final head count. Make sure you set reminders for yourself so you don’t forget these important cut off dates.
Gratuities: Calculate all the tips you want to provide to your vendors. Place checks or cash into envelopes with their names on them. Have a trusted family member or your wedding planner distribute them after services are provided.
Pack: If you’ll be staying overnight don’t forget to have your wedding night and next day clothes packed. Also pack for your honeymoon if it will immediately follow your wedding day.
Spa Day: You’ve worked hard to get to this point. Splurge on a relaxing day for yourself. Decompress and do some personal reflection time to savor every moment leading up to your big day
The Day Before Your Wedding
Getting Ready Clothes: You will probably be photographed more than Beyoncé on your wedding day. Have a robe handy and maybe a button-down shirt or a zip-up dress you can slip in and out of. Don’t wear anything you have to pull over your head on your special day. You’ll run the risk of messing up your hairstyle.
The Day-Of Bag: Pack it with a few necessary items like tissues, band-aids, deodorant, spare earrings, hair accessories, minty gum, and a list of your vendor’s contact info. Maybe some comfortable footwear you can slip into during the reception to get out of those heels.
Cell Phone: Hand it over to your Maid of Honor. Let her screen and field any calls from anyone. You know somebody will get lost on the way to the reception! If anybody else or any of your vendors need something, have her or your mom handle it. You’ve done all the work. This is your time now! Hopefully, the hours leading up to your special day will be calm and serene. By following this timeline your wedding should be a flawless, unforgettable event!
Want the expertise of an experienced wedding planner in the comfort of your home? Sign up for the Dream Wedding Checklist course and let renowned wedding planner and venue owner Giselle be your guide. Through easy-to-use video courses, Giselle will give you the insider information that’s crucial to effective planning. As a bonus the Dream Wedding Checklist comes with downloadable at-a-glance guides and a printable checklist for every step of the process. Your planning isn’t complete until you sign up for the Dream Wedding Checklist.