Is planning your wedding in six months really doable? The answer is Absolutely!
Whatever your reasons are for getting married sooner, a wedding planned on an abbreviated timeline can be just as amazing as one that takes the traditional year to eighteen months.
We’ve seen our fair share of short engagements over the years, and all it requires to pull it off is organization, decisiveness, and a bit of flexibility on your end.
Whatever the reason, we’re here to help and support you every step of the way!!
We've put together a step-by-step guide on how to plan your wedding in six months.
Set a Date Range
Instead of being set on a specific date, be open to a date range. Having a wedding date range provides more flexibility and diminishes potential unavailability disappointments.
Be open to Thursdays and Sundays. You can have an epic celebration on a Thursday night. We’ve seen it done many times and a lot of couples appreciate having a whole weekend with their out-of-town guests!
Another thing to keep in mind: May through October, and especially September and October in Chicago, tends to be much busier for venues and vendors. It is considered the peak season. This means fewer vendor openings on a condensed timeline. If your schedule allows, January- April have a lot to offer. And an unexpected perk? Your vendors are rested and ready to work because many of them are coming out of their “slow” season. They’re feeling fresh and energized.
Get Your Money in Order
Before you do anything else, it’s important to nail down your budget. This helps you make all of the other decisions quickly.
Less planning time = condensed deposit schedules.
Knowing how much you have to spend and when you can spend it is going to be critical to getting vendors secured and paid.
Your guest count has a BIG impact on your overall number. So, consider having a “best case” and “ max case” guest list assembled that considers multiple funding/budgeting scenarios. It’s much easier to add to your guest list than to take away!
Hand in hand with getting your money in order and your guest list together is setting your wedding priorities. Knowing if you want great food + drinks, gorgeous decor, stunning dress, a killer suite, a lavish ceremony, stellar photography and/or anything in between will help you two accurately set budget numbers. This will often dictate your venue choice as well- as you need to know what your venue provides and how many you can accommodate. More on that below!
Find a Venue
The next step is finding a venue that fits your budget and has the right ambiance. You want to make sure that you choose a venue with enough space for all of your guests, but also consider accessibility and amenities as well. Do you want something intimate, unconventional, traditional, modern? Something with a “blank slate”? A location that provides loads of “extras” as part of your rental? A location that can do the planning for you?
Ask yourself these questions earlier rather than later, then set your tour schedule accordingly. And don’t be afraid to ask your venue questions about wedding planning in general! On a condensed timeline, you are going to want a venue who includes your coordinator. Including the coordination team will provide a huge savings, an intimate knowledge of what works in the space and what areas you can maximize savings across all vendors.
You also do not want a venue that takes or gives kickbacks for vendor referrals. Vendor relationships should be an equation of what is best for your event, not what is best for the venue. Not to toot our own horn but all of our venues The Haight, The Ashbury & Gather offer all of the above.
Get Planning the details
Create a timeline and list of tasks (we are happy to help you with this process) that you need to do. A good venue comes with a planning team that will help you with this every step of the way.
Set-up a wedding website! This will help you keep your guests informed and up-to-date on any changes.
Order your Save the Dates (and send them) ASAP - you may also want to consider a digital invitation (with an RSVP to the above wedding website)
Take a day or two off from work and jam-pack your appointments. We know this one can be tough and exhausting, but you’ll get A LOT more done during the week than a weekend when your possible vendors are likely working with couples during their wedding day.
Have Dedicated Planning Days on Your Calendar
We know many couples sneak in planning while working, which may seem like a good idea, but might actually make you feel MORE overwhelmed. By blocking out planning time, you can focus and get a lot done in one chunk. Knock out menu, knock out table top, knock out attire… check check check.
Speaking of, a dedicated wedding email address will help you keep your correspondence and contracts in order.
Yes, that feels like we’ve skipped a few steps, BUT, we’re firm believers that once you’ve started checking the boxes off of your to-do list, things start to get fun and you can build on that momentum. There is less decision fatigue when you’re planning in a shorter time frame, because you know you HAVE to get things done.
It’s like writing an essay for English class- when you know the deadline is tomorrow, you can’t put it off any longer. ;) Planning a wedding in 6 months or less gets you focused on making quicker decisions, and in turn, celebrating your union even faster!
If you’re ready to get planning, we’re here to help, regardless of how much time you have to do it. Give us a call (or contact us here), we’d love to chat through options and availability.