How to Plan a Wedding in 5 Months or Less

2:30:00 PM

It's not unusual for engagements to last 2+ years.  In previous generations, however, a 6 month engagement was considered to be long. Ultimately, you have to decide what timing is right for you.  When my fiancé and I got engaged in February, we knew we wanted a summer wedding.  We had about 4.5 months to plan for our July 1st wedding.  

We immediately compiled detailed timeline of everything that needed to happen.  I am a total "list girl."  We utilized many different websites, books, and advice from family and friends to compile the one of the most detailed, comprehensive wedding checklists for a 4-5 month timeline.  It was a lot of work so I'm happy to pass it along to any brides who may find it useful.

My biggest piece of advice regarding any wedding checklist to not stress out over every detail.  Stick with your initial decisions. Don't mull over every option to the point of exhaustion.  It can (and will) suck the fun out of the process. Above all, remember what matters.  You're marrying the love your life.  You're becoming one.  No matter what colors the peonies are this is going to be the best day of your life and the start of an amazing adventure.  Appreciate every moment!  You won't get them back. 


5 Months Before
☐ Reserve your venue(s) and set your wedding date and time.  *Tip* Consider a Friday or Sunday wedding for additional availability AND many vendors will give you additional discounts since they consider these days to be "non-peak" or "off-season."
☐ Decide what type of wedding you want (i.e. how formal or informal, number of guests, if children will be included)
☐ Gather full names and addresses of all guests
☐ Set dates and times for premarital counseling
☐ Set your budget
☐ Decide on color scheme
☐ Get your dress (once you find the one you like, don't be afraid to commit)
☐ Choose bridesmaids, groomsmen and ushers
☐ Choose and order bridesmaid dresses 
☐ Choose men's attire and reserve tuxedos
☐ Meet and contract with a florist
☐ Book your hair appointment at the salon
☐ Sign up for dance lessons
☐ Meet and contract with a photographer/videographer
☐ Book a musician and/or DJ
☐ Order your wedding cake or decide your dessert plan
☐ Make arrangements with a sound technician
☐ Schedule the tasting with a caterer
☐ Book your officiant
☐ Create "Save the Dates" 
☐ Buy invitations and thank you cards
☐ Book your honeymoon or decide when/where it will be
☐ Research engagement photographers

4 Months Before
☐ Send your "Save the Dates" (16 weeks before wedding if it is a destination or over a holiday weekend)
☐ Confirm catering
☐ Book engagement photo session
☐ Order flowers
☐ Order decorations and favors
☐ Finalize guest list
☐ Plan rehearsal dinner and its guest list
☐ Rent any additional equipment needed
☐ Set up your wedding website (check out ours HERE) and register for gifts
☐ Select music for the ceremony
☐ Order wedding rings
☐ Reserve the wedding night bridal suite

3 Months Before
☐ Buy gifts for attendants and parents
☐ Finalize any hotel blocks reserved for out of town guests
☐ Select greeter, guest book attendants, readers, and any additional helpers
☐ Apply for marriage license (or look at the required timing for this in your state)
☐ Arrange transportation for your wedding day
☐ Consider getting your teeth whitened
☐ Make a list of the people giving toasts or speaking at the reception
☐ Schedule the rehearsal time

1-2 Months Before (it seems like a lot, but it's over 2 months)
☐ Give list of important shots to your photographer
☐ Meet with your officiant to discuss the order of the ceremony
☐ Meet with your hair stylist and/or makeup artist
☐ Choose the specific ceremony readings you want to use
☐ Buy your guest book, cake knife, and Mr. & Mrs. champagne glasses if you'd like
☐ Finalize accessories, shoes, and lingerie
☐ Have your final dress fitting no earlier than 1 month before wedding
☐ Have your hair and makeup trial on your final fitting day and consider doing a bridal portrait that day
☐ Have groomsmen measured and fitted for their tuxes
☐ Meet with the DJ to finalize the music and names of the wedding party and family if they are MC-ing; Choose an MC if your DJ isn't going to do this
☐ Give your coordinator or family member acting as a "coordinator" a copy of vendor contracts
☐ Make your wedding programs
☐ Complete any DIY projects for decorations or favors
☐ Have Bachelor/Bachelorette parties
☐ Confirm the parking situation at the venue(s)
☐ Finalize the rehearsal dinner plans
☐ Plan seating arrangements
☐ Keep current with thank you's for early gifts
☐ Make sure the wedding party has their attire
☐ Decide on reception order of events (toasts, cake cut, dancing, introductions, dinner, etc.)
☐ Have a final meeting with the officiant to discuss specifics
☐ Confirm the date/arrival/delivery times with officiant, cake, photographer/videographer, florist, musicians, DJ, etc.)
☐ Write place cards
☐ Send your final headcount to vendors and the caterer (depending on their deadline)
☐ Start packing together the things you'll want for the day of.... keep a pile going so it's not a last minute scramble
☐ Submit your name change to the Social Security Administration, any bills, utilities, credit cards, accounts, drivers license, passport, etc. 
☐ Wear your wedding shoes at home to break them in 
☐ Arrange your health, car, renters, and life insurance for after the wedding
☐ Compose a "day-of" timeline for your wedding day

1 Week Before
☐ Organize tip and payment envelopes for the officiant vendors
☐ Reconfirm arrival times with vendors
☐ Delegate small wedding-day tasks (i.e. someone to bustle your dress, someone to be in charge of gifts, someone to be the point person for each vendor)
☐ Send a timeline to the bridal party (include all contact info for everyone)
  Create and finalize "responsibility" cards for all family members, wedding party, and volunteers (it basically is a card for each person helping clearly defining what they're helping with, at what times, where they need to be, important phone numbers they may need, etc.... it might seem borderline bridezilla, but clear communication = no stress.)
☐ Pick up your dress
☐ Organize things to take to the hotel

1 Day Before 
☐ Steam and/or iron all attire
☐ Clean your engagement ring
☐ Check into hotel and drop everything off if you are able to do so
☐ Give rings to the best man
☐ Get a manicure and pedicure
☐ Do an activity with the out of town guests
☐ Give readers a printed out copy of the readings
☐ Pay the officiant, the sound tech/coordinator/etc.
☐ Give your marriage license to the pastor
☐ Enjoy the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
☐ Give gifts to attendants

Have fun!!!


Love,
Dylan

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