23 Aug How to Plan a Wedding in Six Months or Less

After you get engaged, you frequently have a year or more to plan the wedding of your dreams. But sometimes you don’t have the luxury of time or you just want to get married sooner rather than later.

We’ve already shared some ideas on planning an event in one month or less (yes, it can be done!) but typically, six months is an ideal amount of time for creating your perfect party. Planning your wedding can be stressful no matter your timeframe, so having some real world ideas on how to tackle the task will go a long way toward keeping everyone happy and as stress-free as possible.

The first step in planning your wedding is to decide on a budget, but then what?

Booking a Venue

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After you have nailed down your budget, you need to book a venue. Short-term booking can be very budget-friendly, and not just because you frequently get a deal. You stick to the things that you really need and want, cutting down on the excess. Be flexible on the date. Friday, Sunday and weekday weddings are not uncommon and often offer generous discounts. With less time to save for your big day, that extra money could come in handy.

Saturdays are not out of the question, though. Ask the venue about cancellations, or look for newer venues that may not have booked out a year in advance because they weren’t yet open. Finding a venue with an on-site caterer and experienced planning staff can be a huge stress reducer, too.

Menu Planning

A menu discussion should take place with your caterer as soon as possible. Best case scenario, it can be completed at the time you book the venue. To make life a little easier, go with a buffet dinner. If you want a served dinner, choose a combination entrée of two proteins with an accompanying starch and vegetable. That way everyone gets the same dinner, so you don’t have to worry about tallying who has the beef and who has the chicken. Don’t forget to ask the caterer about accommodating dietary restrictions.

Invitations

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If you are within a four- to six-month planning period, definitely send a save the date card. It is a perfect way to announce your engagement and let everyone know when the big day will be all at once. Get those out as soon as possible; then you can take a bit more time choosing your invitation.

Vendors

Need recommendations for music, photography, lighting, florists, hair and make-up and more? Save yourself some research time and start with your venue, which should have a list of preferred vendors that they work with regularly and are familiar with the venue. If you already have some in mind, start with your top choices first. Don’t assume your top choices are booked—cancellations happen and you’ll never know if you don’t try. But be sure to have a backup list ready, and remember to be flexible.

Say Yes to the Dress

Bride

If you don’t have a lot of time, finding your perfect wedding dress can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be! We asked the wedding dress experts at The Wedding Pavilion at Van Cleve to give us their tips for how to choose a dress for a wedding that’s just around the corner:

  • Make sure you are aware of which designers can fulfill a special order with a shorter time frame within your budget. Ask your wedding dress consultant to do the research for you to make sure you know all of your options.
  • Gowns that require more customization or beading/embroidery take the longest in production, so those styles are the least recommended.
  • Consider the possibility of rush fees, whether for the speedy production of your gown or for quicker alterations. Not every bride has to pay fees; it all depends on the delivery dates offered by the designers and where you choose to do your alterations.
  • After you’ve found your dress, decide on bridesmaid dresses as soon as possible! Bridesmaids can also face rush fees, and depending on where your girls are located, completing alterations in a short time frame can be really stressful.

Wedding party

Accommodations

Don’t forget to book a block of rooms for out-of-town guests and party-goers who want to stay the night close to the venue. Your venue will have a list of hotels in the area. Remember again to be flexible—you may have to block rooms at more than one hotel.

Check with the hotel regarding shuttle service, too. Many hotels provide this service complimentary or at a discounted rate, helping with any transportation costs.

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

You may be short on time, but you sure aren’t short on friends and family who can help you out—bridesmaids, mom, dad, siblings and more. You probably have a network of helping hands that you can reach out to for assistance. Provide your helping hands with detailed information about what you want and send them on their way. Have them confirm with you before making any definite decisions.

Bride and bridesmaids

Hire a Professional

Does all of this planning send you into a panic? Hire a professional to take some of the pressure off. Many event venues have staff on hand who can guide you effortlessly through the planning process and be available during the event to ensure every part of your party flows perfectly.

Ready to start planning? Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers today!

Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.

Ronna Dewey

Photo credits: top three photos, Bartlett Pair Photography; remaining photos (in order), Danielle Vennard PhotographyChel PhotographyMatthew Szoke Photography

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From inception to execution, Robert Ryan Catering & Design works with you to realize your vision for your event, and translate it into a successful affair.