How to Plan a Wedding in 6 Months

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If you or your fiancé do not wish to have a long engagement, don't worry, there are ways to plan a wedding in 6 months or less. It will take a lot of organization and attention to detail, as well as some amount of compromise, but it can be done. Just be prepared to be flexible and start ahead of time so you are not rushed at the last minute.

6 Months and Counting

  • Get a planner. An actual person who plans weddings or a day planner will work fine. Doing the work yourself without a hired wedding planner might save money, but it will also add to the stress of doing everything in just 6 months. If you do hire a wedding planner, most of these instructions will just require a final okay from the happy couple!

  • Pick a date. Although this is the most important day of your life, be flexible. Some venues might have the week before or the week after available, but nothing open on the day you have chosen, so be prepared to bend for the sake of planning.

  • Find and book a venue for the wedding and reception. Some churches prefer a 9 month waiting period, but others will bend their rules. Another option is having the ceremony at the same location as the reception. This should be done immediately after you choose the wedding day.

  • Ask if the reception venue provides flowers or caters the food and wedding cake. If they do, begin to make your selections. Flowers should be based on the season of the wedding day. If they do not provide these services, find out if they work with preferred vendors for any of those items.

  • Attend a bridal show, if possible. There are samples from caterers, bakers, photographers, make up artists, dress stores, tuxedo shops and much more. It will help narrow down decisions and you can possibly book some vendors.

  • Buy a dress. While you are at it, purchase the shoes, veil, jewelry or any hair pieces a the same time. Do this soon after becoming engaged and finding a reception venue because most special order dresses take 6 weeks to 3 months for you to get back and most will require some sort of alterations. Ask about a preferred seamstress at the dress shop.

  • Choose the friends or family members you would like to be attendants for your special day. Generally, they will offer any amount of help if asked, so don't forget to delegate throughout the planning process. 6 months will begin to sail by!

Working With Vendors

  • Contact a caterer and go over wants and dislikes. Hire them when you find one you like. You will need to decide on the menu about three to four months before you get married so start looking once you decide on the venue.

  • Find a cake design that you like. Hire a baker when you find one you like. Many bakeries will have portfolios to view. This also needs to be done about three to four months before you get married.

  • Choose a florist. Meet with and discuss likes and dislikes for bouquets and centerpieces. You will need to make final floral decisions about 3 months before you get married so hire them once a venue is chosen.

  • Decide on a DJ or a band. Make reservations for your wedding day. You should do this as soon as possible after choosing the wedding day. Many DJ's get booked up very quickly!

  • Choose a photographer and book them for your wedding day during the first month of planning. Ask to see some of their work as well to get an idea of who you are hiring. Decide if you want to hire a videographer to record your wedding as well.

  • Find a hairdresser and a makeup artist. Make an appointment for your wedding day. You will need to practice your look with your tiara and veil a month or two before the actual wedding.

Getting Dressed for the Event

  • Decide on bridesmaids and flower girl dresses. Their dresses can take several weeks to be delivered as well so do this shortly after purchasing the bridal gown.

  • Shop for the groom and his attendants. This includes his tux and his ring. This should be done with four to five months of planning left.

  • Purchase any gifts for the attendants and for those that helped in any way. You will need to find time to shop with about 2 months to spare in planning.

  • Contact the seamstress to make any alterations needed to your dress and your bridesmaid's dresses once they are delivered.

You're in the Home Stretch

  • Hire a reliable travel agent to make reservations for a wonderful honeymoon! Your reservations should be complete with four months of planning left!

  • Create an invitation. Ask parents for relatives names and addresses. Do this on an ongoing basis after the reception venue is confirmed. You will need to have a final invite list before you order your invitations.

  • Order invitations. Don't forget to add in directions or maps. Printing usually takes three weeks, and they will need to be sent eight weeks ahead of time, so make sure they are ordered with four months of planning left.

  • Block hotel rooms for out of town guests. Most hotels will offer special rates for wedding parties. Do this when ordering the invitations. You will be able to have an idea of how many rooms you will need.

  • Make reservations for the rehearsal dinner or any luncheons you might be hosting. Try doing this with about three months to spare, if not sooner.

  • Get the necessary blood tests and marriage license for your state. Most licenses will only be valid for one month so this should be done with three to four weeks of planning left.

  • Tie up any other loose ends still lingering with about one month to spare. The majority of the real planning is out of the way, but minor decisions might need to be made.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keeping a checklist of things that need to be done is a good way to keep organized.
  • Expect an outcome of 85 percent of your invited guests.
  • A lot of shopping and planning can be done over the phone and online through vendor's websites. This can help to reduce your travel time to and from places.
  • Keep a budget so you know who to pay and when to pay them.
  • Send the invitations six to eight weeks before the wedding to give plenty of time to RSVP.
  • Don't forget to delegate when you feel overwhelmed. Most people just need to be asked and are happy to help!
  • Relax! If something does not go as planned, no one but you has to know.

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