How to Plan a Wedding in 6 Months or Less

When Jim and I got engaged it was Christmas Eve. I was beyond excited, and couldn’t wait to start planning. I am a planner at heart, and love researching and planning. This was right up my alley! Of course I had a vision of what type of wedding I wanted. Because I was teaching full time, I knew I wanted to get married in the summer so I wouldn’t have to take any time off of work. Since I was 31 when I got engaged, I didn’t want a long engagement, but knew that we might have to wait until the following summer if all the venues were already booked. Much to my delight, there were a few openings at the church we wanted, and at a few great venues. Everything came together much easier than I thought.  Here are my tips for planning a wedding in 6 months or less!

Look at Venues First

If you don’t have a venue, there is no point in looking at vendors, dresses, etc. The day after Christmas I started searching for hotels (we wanted a hotel so it would be easy for our guests to just stay there instead of staying elsewhere and having to worry about transportation). I started emailing the wedding planners at the hotels and also contacted two churches we were interested in. I explained that we were looking at this summer, and asked if there was availability, and also asked for prices. I wanted to know the prices ahead of time, as some venues want you to come in so you’ll fall in love with the location before knowing the prices. We had a somewhat set budget and I knew that some venues were out of our price range right off the bat. That same day, two hotels were open to giving us a tour and talking about having our wedding there. They had openings that summer, which surprised and delighted me!

Use Your Venue’s Preferred Vendor List

After we had booked our venue and secured the church, we moved on to the other important things- flowers, DJ, and photographer. Our venue, The Westin, supplied us with a list of preferred vendors. I found this to be really helpful because there are millions of photographers, DJs, and florists available in the Chicagoland area. Having this list helped me to research and narrow it down easier. I figured I would start with these, and I’m glad I did. I looked up their ratings on The Knot, and Yelp and looked at their websites. I emailed a few of them that I liked the best, and set appointments.

Interview Two of Each Type of Vendor

After I interviewed them, I scheduled meetings with two of each type of vendor- two DJs, two photographers, and two florists. I figured if I didn’t like them, we could move on to more interviews, but this way we could see a few to start out. With the DJs, we liked the first one so much we booked them immediately. Easy peasy! With the photographers, we really disliked the first one, and then really like the second one. With the florist, I loved the first one we went to, and also liked the second one, so we went with the second because a friend used her for her own wedding, and everything turned out beautifully. If you are in a time crunch, I suggest starting with two of each vendor. Some brides visit five or more of each type of vendor, but the nice thing about not having much time is that you don’t have much time to over-analyze. If you trust your reception location’s vendor list and you research ahead of time, choosing these should be a fairly easy process.

Get Your Dress ASAP!

Many bridal gowns need to be ordered well ahead of time to allow for shipping and alterations. If you are 6 months out, go get your dress immediately! This also goes for bridesmaid dresses. Many bridesmaid dresses also need a long lead time, and most girls need alterations. I went with my cousins to pick out the bridesmaid dresses within a month of booking our wedding, and was lucky enough to travel to NYC in January and get my dress at Kleinfeld’s. Many of the dresses were not an option because of the small amount of time, but there were still plenty of beautiful dresses available.

Relax and Have Fun!

If you choose to plan your wedding in a short time frame, try to enjoy every minute of the planning process. It will fly by! Once you have your dress, venue and vendors, the rest falls into place very easily. Soon you will be sipping champagne on your honeymoon with your husband! The wedding is just one day, and it truly does fly by, so try to enjoy the planning and the day as much as you possibly can!