How Quickly Can You Actually Plan a Wedding?

Because a two-year-long engagement sounds like forever.

rae rob wedding couple holding hands
Photo: Joel Serrato

Planning a wedding is a tall task, particularly for couples with large families and lots of opinions floating around. While some couples prefer to take their time with the process, allowing anywhere from ten months to two years to plan, many would rather make their relationship official as soon as they can. Just look at Amy Schumer and Chris Fischer, who tied the knot so quickly after getting engaged that they had to invite guests via text message. Maybe you don't want to take things that far, but the idea of tying the knot soon sounds great. Or, if you were forced to postpone your large wedding due to the coronavirus pandemic, you might be wondering if it's possible to organize an intimate gathering on your original wedding date (which might be just weeks away).

All this begs the question: How long do you really need to plan a wedding, whatever the circumstances may be? Consider this your personal guide.

The Bare Minimum Time to Plan a Wedding

As invitations are meant to be sent out six to eight weeks prior to a wedding, you'll want to give yourselves at least two or three months to plan. That's only a few weeks to confirm vendors and a venue before your invites go in the mail, so you'll have to be really on top of it with decision making and keep yourself very organized. But if you're not inviting guests—or are inviting a small enough group that you share the details personally—you can toss this timeline out the window.

Flexibility Is Key

Because many in-demand vendors and venues are booked a year or more in advance, it may be tough to get the team you want when you want it. The key here is to be flexible. Maybe a Sunday wedding will open up more options for you, or you may find you have to spend more time researching pros to get the best person for the gig.

Last-Minute Weddings Make Negotiating Easier

Since many vendors and venues don't usually book an open date after around the five-month mark, you have some negotiating power on your hands. Don't be afraid to ask for a deal after an initial quote comes in, as suppliers tend to be more flexible with last-minute bookings.

Budget Wisely When Planning in a Short Period of Time

As you're keen to pull everything together quickly, you'll have to be financially prepared to spend your budget in a faster than usual manner. Rather than being able to spread payments out over the course of a year, you'll need to pay your final balances sooner than most couples do.

Hotels and Transportation

Depending on the time of year your wedding will take place, booking hotels and transportation can bring unexpected difficulty for a last-minute wedding. We highly recommend getting these locked in as soon as your venue is finalized.

Divide and Conquer

Planning a wedding in a short amount of time is too hard to do solo, so be sure you're reaching out to friends and family for help when and where you can. It may be that you assign your mom to call all the photographers on your list to find out availability, while your best friend books hotel blocks for your group.

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