How To Plan a Perfect Wedding in Less than a Year!
Your friends, family members and online sources will give you a recommendation of planning your wedding 12-18 months before-hand. Now if you were hoping for a shorter engagement remain calm, it can be done. Many brides have struggled over the last year to know whether to plan or how to plan during the COVID pandemic. Now that restrictions have eased, there are lots of brides wanting to *finally* plan their big day. So we put together our best tips for planning a wedding on a shorter timeline.
6 or More Months Before
Date Flexibility: These are essential since they basically dictate the entire wedding and how your planning will go. Being flexible with your date will definitely add smoother sailing for you and your partner. Popular dates (any long weekend and Saturdays) are booked up pretty quick! Your best option is to figure out which dates you absolutely CAN'T do. If you begin your process insisting on a must-have date, you're more than likely bound to hit road blocks during your planning journey.
Guests: Sit down with your fiancé and make a list of must-have guests for your special day, and go over with your parents any other guests they would like to add. You will gain a lot more options if you can get your guest list down to around 125 guests. Most venues just aren't able to accommodate more, and those that can book up pretty quickly. Even more options will open up if you go less than 100. Struggling with your guest list? Read our blog on creating your guest list here.
Planners are great, especially when you have a shorter timeline. They have all the connections to other vendors and have the expertise to make sure you check everything off your list! Even if you have a lot of the work done or decided on which vendors and venues work best for you, your planner can still be there to let some of the pressure off and keep things moving!.
A lot of traditional wedding venues book a year or more in advance, don't get frustrated you can still find an amazing venue on a short timeline. Like we discussed, consider alternative dates like a Friday or Sunday, which may get you that ballroom or country club you have been scoping out. Another option is to look into non-traditional spaces, like an art gallery or even a backyard wedding! Since COVID, many venues have started offering pop-up weddings. Google pop up weddings and see what you can find!
Like venues... a lot of wedding vendors get booked up in advance, so you will definitely want to get yours lined up fast. Don't feel like you need to interview and meet every several of the same type of vendor before choosing, you have a bit of a tighter timeline and want to keep the wheels in motion! So get in touch with photographers, videographers, florists, bands or dj's, and cake bakers right away. A great tip here is to ask your friends and family who have been married before who they loved using for their wedding day!
Custom- made wedding gowns or gowns that need to be ordered in a different size should be ordered 6 months or more in advance. One option if you don't have as much time is to order your gown with a rush on it. Another great option is the option of buying off the rack, the dress is instantly yours the day of and you can get to alterations as soon as possible and begin your magical process of planning your big day! Schedule fittings right away to begin the alterations process.
4 Months Before
Your Bride Tribe:
If you have decided to have some company join you by your side on your big day, you want to get them on board early! Bridesmaid dresses can be purchased and delivered on a shorter timeline than a wedding dress, however they still take a while so be sure to get your girls together and get shopping! Just like your bridal gown.. you can often pay a rush fee for your maids and have them in sooner.
Save the Dates & Wedding Invites: As soon as you have chosen your venue, start getting those save the dates sent out. You do have the option of getting digital save-the-dates due to your time crunch. If you don't feel like being super tech savvy or your family members want something for their albums, you can find print companies with a quicker turn around time or make them yourself. For your wedding invites, you should get working on those and getting the designs finalized early on so you can have them ordered up still giving you plenty of time to mail them out.
You have the essential ones booked and ready to go, however there are other vendors that need to be put into consideration. Now would be the time to hire a hair and makeup stylist if you are needing it, rental companies, and transportation for you and your guests.
Not the wedding entertainment.. the jewelry you will be giving to each other on your special day. If you're getting married in six months or a year, this is the latest you should be shopping for your wedding bands. Like your engagement ring, many are made to order which means it can take 45 or up to 90 days for your wedding band to be made and shipped. Your best option is to shop at the store where your partner purchased your engagement ring, particularly if you are interested in a matching set, or you can make a day of it and shop at a few different jewelry stores to find the right one.
3 Months Before
With a little time left before your big day, it's time for the fun to start! Tasting your menu items and cake, also doing a test run with your hair and makeup stylists! who doesn't love that? This will give you lots of time to make any changes to the services, like adjusting the menu or changing your hairstyle.
The Real After Party:
After your crazy work schedule, attending appointments, getting photos taken, thank-you cards.. etc, you will be ready for some serious R&R after your big day! With honeymoon planning sometimes flight prices can make your jaw drop a tad. You can try looking at flights within the U.S. (places like Maggie Valley or Asheville in North Carolina) where you can find beautiful waterfalls and charming rustic restaurants. Try searching for an Airbnb, these places usually have more availability to book.
By now you have already designed and ordered your invitations, so now it's the right time to get them in the mail. For a destination wedding, you will definitly want to send those out twelve weeks before your wedding date. For a celebration close to friends and family, you can send them out eight to twelve weeks before, that should be a perfect timeline.
2 Months Before
Now it's time for the pre parties .. your bridal shower and bachelor/bachelorette parties. There shouldn't be too much planning on your end when it comes to these events taking place, however you do want to make note that they are scheduled a month or two before your wedding.
The Grand Finale: (1 month)
Here is when the final details come into play, there is a long list of things you will need to take care of in those final weeks. Be sure to confirm timing and orders with all of your vendors. Finalize your seating chart and have those escort cards printed and ready to go. Make an outline of the timeline for your big day, and last but most important don't forget to grab your marriage license. Also, during this last month, plan a date with your fiancé to just hang out. No wedding talk allowed. This is a stressful time for both of you and it's easy to get overwhelmed with everything that is going on.
If we can help in anyway with alterations for your gown or your mom or girls gowns, let us know. You can book a fitting online here or text us at 480.605.4768.