Customize your own event checklist with due dates, personal reminders, and timelines for all your wedding to do’s.
The biggest difference between planning a wedding in 12-18 months and planning one in six months is choice: couples who start early are more likely to land their first-choice venues, photographers, and vendors. However, depending on the style of wedding you want to have, you may very well end up with exactly the celebration you've always wanted. If you're flexible and on top of things, you'll have no trouble at all planning a wedding in six months. Here's how to do it: 

Getting started...

  • You're going to have to nail down your budget right away. Your budget will determine how flexible you can be with your venue and vendor choices, and will help guide your planning process. Once you have a good sense of your budget, decide on the theme or style of your wedding. That aesthetic will act as your homing device during wedding planning -- if you start to feel stressed or pressured to make snap decisions, slow down and remember the wedding look you're trying to achieve.
  • If you're starting to plan at the six-month mark, you'll also need to shop for a dress sooner rather than later if you're going the traditional wedding dress route.
  • Most bridal salons need upwards of eight to nine months to order and fit a gown, but you may be able to rush order your dress for a fee. Consider having a gown custom made or buying something off the rack or from a trunk show if the salon options just aren't working for you. 
  • Know that you're going to have a lot of moving targets...  Your wedding date/time, venue, and photographer decisions are all co-dependent.
  • Start making some calls to venues you'd like to book and see when they're available. Remember to be flexible -- consider marrying on a Friday or Sunday instead of a Saturday, or choose a non-traditional reception style, like a picnic lunch or brunch, and have your wedding ceremony during the day.
  • Find a date, time, and venue that works for your budget, and then start nailing down your wedding vendors. Once you have a date, time and venue, you're well on your way to wedding-planning success...  
  • You'll need to lock in your officiant and send out your save-the-dates soon after you've booked a venue. 
  • Now is also the time to start booking your vendors and professionals, and securing any necessary wedding rentals.
  • Meet caterers and test menus, taste cakes and hire a baker, book a DJ and/or band, find a great florist, buy your wedding rings, register for gifts, order bridesmaid dresses and formalwear, and finalize your stationery suite.
  • Know that you might not land your first-choice vendors, but you'll end up with a beautiful wedding no matter what. The important thing is to just keep an open mind. 

In the last couple of months before your wedding...  

  • At this point, you should have secured nearly all of the vendors and rentals you'll need on the big day, so take stock of your wedding planning thus far and identify any gaps.
  • Two months before your wedding, send out your invitations. Keep track of RSVPs and hunt down any MIA guests in the last three weeks before the big day. If you're planning to go on a honeymoon immediately after your wedding, now is the time to book your travel. If the prices or season just aren't right, consider postponing your honeymoon for a couple of months until you're in a better position to travel. 
  • The month before your wedding...  This is the time to nail down all the last-minute details.
  • Make sure you have all of your accessories -- jewelry, veil, shoes, cufflinks, etc. -- chosen, deliver the final guest head count to your caterer and venue, book your hairstylist and makeup artist and go for trials, print your escort cards and programs, finish any lingering DIY projects, get your marriage license, book day-of transportation to and from the wedding, work out a shot list with your photographer, and finalize your wedding ceremony.
  • Get all your ducks in a row and get ready for the big day! After your whirlwind planning experience, it's time to celebrate: Enjoy your wedding day and spend time with those you love most. Congratulations, you did it!  
Stephanie Hallett
About The Author
Stephanie is a lifestyle journalist based in Philadelphia.
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