A perfect wedding is a lot of work—which is why many couples take their sweet time getting it ready. According to The Knot, the average engagement lasts 14.5 months, during which time the couple is hard at work planning their nuptials. But of course, this 14-month timeline isn’t the only way to tie the knot.
Maybe your partner is about to be deployed in the military. Maybe you’re about to start grad school in a new city. Maybe you just don’t want to wait to become a married couple! Whatever your reason is, there’s always a couple or two out there who want to plan their wedding quickly —like, for example, in only three months.
Planning a wedding on a time crunch is tough, but it’s definitely not impossible. All you have to do is stay organized and keep your eye on the prize (that beautiful wedding and your happily ever after)! If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the quick planning process, use our timeline to keep you on track.
Three Months to Go
So, the love of your life got down on one knee and asked you to marry them. Congratulations! This is such exciting news—but if you want to walk down the aisle in three months, you’d better get moving! This phase of the planning process is mostly about research. Call as many vendors as you can and shop around to find the best choice for you. However, don’t shop too long; remember you’re on a time crunch. At this point in the process, you should:
- Call your city or county and learn everything you can about the legal requirements (obtaining your marriage license, any waiting periods, etc.)
- Pick a wedding date
- Make your guest list and send save-the-dates (in this tight timeline, an email is fine)
- Ask your friends to join your bridal party
- Start researching any DIY projects you want to do
- Book your major vendors (venue, officiant, caterer, photographer, band/DJ, florist, cake)
- Get your wedding-day outfit
Two Months to Go
With only two months left, you might be feeling like wedding planning has taken over your life. Admittedly, it probably has—there’s a lot to do in just a little time. But try not to let the planning process totally consume you! Plan weekly date nights with your partner where wedding talk is off limits, so you can stay connected with each other despite all the madness. And as for the planning? With two months left, you should:
- Decide on and book your honeymoon (make sure you have up-to-date passports and any vaccinations required to visit your destination)
- Send your wedding invitations (six weeks before the wedding date is the latest you should be sending them out)
- Plan your bachelor/bachelorette parties
- Hire a makeup and/or hairstylist (make sure to do a trial run first!)
- Buy wedding rings
One Month to Go
At this point, all the dust should be starting to settle, and you should be able to see the pieces of your wedding falling into place. The DIY projects are looking great, your dress is tailored to fit your perfectly, and it looks like you might actually pull this off (Congrats! I knew you could do it!) In the last month of wedding planning, you should:
- Make final alterations to your dress, suit, or other wedding-day outfits (for both you and your wedding party)
- Finalize all details with your vendors (including the plans for set-up and tear down)
- Book any beauty treatments, such as manicures or waxing
- Finalize the menu with a tasting through your caterer
- Finish up your DIY projects (you don’t want to leave those to the last minute)
- Finalize your guest list (call anyone who didn’t RSVP and confirm whether or not they’re coming)
- Buy thank you gifts for your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other loved ones.
The Week Before
It’s getting down to the wire now! This week shouldn’t really be about planning, per se; instead, you should be finalizing the plans you’ve already made and taking time to get mentally prepared! Spend time with your friends and family, get pampered at your favorite spa, do anything that will help you feel your best for your special day. During this week, you should:
- Finalize the day-of timeline with your wedding planner, your bridal party, and your partner
- Have a “dress rehearsal”—that is, practice getting into and moving around in your wedding dress
- If you’re renting suits, pick them up (make sure you have all the necessary accessories)
- Make sure you’re ready to make any final payments to vendors
- Have your bachelor and bachelorette parties (give yourself enough time to nurse that hangover before the big day!)
- Have your wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
- Pack for your honeymoon
- Pamper yourself and get excited—you’re getting married in a week!