Planning a Wedding in 3 Months? Here’s What You Need to Know
21 Sep 2021 •8 min read
Whether you're newly engaged and eager to say "I do," long-engaged and way behind on wedding planning, or somewhere in between, it's totally possible to plan a wedding in 3 months or less. You probably won't be planning a black-tie affair at the Plaza that quickly, but a beautiful fȇte for you and your loved ones is entirely doable in 12 weeks.
Time is of the essence, Loverlies, so let’s make sure you’re ready to go. Here's how to plan a wedding in 3 months or less…
90-Day Wedding Planning Timeline
3 Months To Go
- Sign up for Loverly! Okay, we admit we’re a little biased here, but signing up for Loverly is a great way to make staying on track a breeze no matter what your planning timeline is.
- Pick a date. This must be your first step as it will affect every following event and to-do. Have a few days in mind as you may need to shift things around based on venue availability.
- Set a budget. This will help guide you as you begin planning some of your larger expenses, primarily the venue.
- Consider hiring a wedding planner. They plan weddings for a living, so chances are this will make your wedding planning timeline a lot less stressful.
- Decide on your wedding style. Have you taken the Loverly style quiz yet? Well, now is the perfect time to start envisioning the overall vibe for your wedding day.
- Outline a guest list. Consider your budget, your potential guest’s availability, and your potential venue. Keeping it smaller may be a smart move with less time to plan.
- Book the venue. You can’t have a wedding without a location! In terms of a wedding planning timeline this will be a crucial step, whether you’re going for a backyard party or a fancy venue. Again, flexibility is key because with less planning space you may have fewer options.
- Start researching vendors. Again flexibility is key here as certain vendors may be booked up, but you’ll definitely be able to find what you need and get creative when you can’t.
- Look into stationary. If sending paper invites is crucial for you, start planning on that early. If not, consider a stylish email invite!
- Send out a save the date. Whether you’re going digital or sticking to snail mail, it’s critical that you let your guests know to keep your wedding in mind for the next three months!
- Select and coordinate with your wedding party. These friends, family, and loved ones will be your closest confidants in this period (except for maybe your wedding planner), so get them up to speed ASAP.
- Research the legalities. Start looking into the marriage laws for wherever your ceremony is being held so you’re prepared once it comes time for the marriage license.
- Start shopping around for wedding wear. If you’re in the market for a gown, keep in mind that bridal salons tend to book up far in advance and most custom gowns take at least six months to prepare.
- Order your wedding cake. Bakers need time! So plan ahead for this key ingredient to your special day.
- Consider honeymoon options. Start dreaming about where you foresee ringing in your nuptials.
2 Months To Go
- Send the invitations. Start raking in those RSVPs!
- Book your honeymoon. Flights are best purchased about a month and a half to two months in advance, so now’s your time.
- Consider additional wedding events and start planning. Bachelor or bachelorette parties? Rehearsal dinners? Engagement party? What do you have time for in your wedding plans?
- Decide upon hair and makeup options. Whether you’re going to DIY or not start making this plan now.
- Make your wedding website. Consider lining this up with your invitations so you have a website to point your guests to right away.
- Lock in your vendors. Confirm the final dates, plans, and options (music choices, menu, etc.)
- Register for gifts. The most fun part! Now that the invitations are out the shopping can begin.
1 Month To Go
- Get the marriage license. Be mindful of your state or countries laws here, not all marriage licenses are created equal.
- Make sure your wedding party is ready to go. The big day draws nearer! Is your support squad ready?
- Have your bachelor or bachelorette! Woohoo!
- Start prepping honeymoon activities and logistics. Make sure you have those reservations lined up so you can maximize the fun.
- Write your speeches, pick your readings, and write your wedding vows. Have these on hand early so you can edit as you go.
- Plan wedding favors. If you’re going for these, get started soon and have them ready in advance for your wedding day. Planning wedding favors can be fun, so hop to it!
- Confirm RSVPs. You want to have the final count before confirming and paying your vendors.
- Confirm all day-of deals. Make sure you’re aligned with your vendors and wedding party
- Confirm vendor details and finalize all wedding payments for your vendors. At this point the main day-of aspects should be all set.
2 Weeks To Go
- Finalize your seating charts. Or for a more casual affair just let people be!
- Confirm all honeymoon travel. A double check never hurt anybody. You’re a couple phone calls away from extra peace of mind.
1 Week To Go
- Plan post-wedding activities (brunch, dinner, etc). You already have a lot on your plate, but a little extra thank you brunch with your wedding party never hurt anyone.
- Finalize vendor timelines. Discuss and outline delivery, set-up and breakdown with site manager and vendors.
- Pack for your honeymoon. Now is not the time for last minute packing, folks!
- Rehearse ceremony at the venue. Even if you aren’t doing a rehearsal dinner, you want to have the wedding party positions and order down the aisle figured out and practiced.
- Pick up or prep your wedding wear. Whether you’re picking up a rental tux or getting your gown out for a steam, now’s the time to make sure it’s all ready to go.
- Give your marriage license to the officiant. Just to make sure they have it ready to go!
- Select emergency contact. Always important, especially on a day with as many moving parts as a wedding day!
- Preserve your wedding dress, jumpsuit, gown, or suit. Or return it if it was a rental! Just make sure it's safe and sound.
- Send out thank-you notes. Both for gifts and their attendance, it’s customary to give a little nod to your beloved friends and family.
- Return any rentals. Whether that’s a suit, chairs, or other venue equipment—just get this out of the way!
- Change your name (if you want!). If you or your partner or planning on changing their name, start collecting all the necessary paperwork and begin working through the process.
- Go on your honeymoon! Time to relax after all that wedding planning you’ve been doing.
Finally, enjoy married life. Let happily ever after, begin!
How to Plan a Wedding in 3 Months: Tips & Tricks
Let’s get real, any wedding planning timeline is tough but a 90-day timeline is a particularly tall order and while completely possible, it may not be the ornate affair that every bride dreams of. That said, there are a few simple tips and tricks that will make your 90-day wedding an unequivocal success!
Think Outside the (Vendor) Box
You probably won't be able to book your city's top vendors so close to your wedding date, but that doesn't mean you can't put together a totally gorgeous celebration.
Here are some ways to get creative with your wedding planning:
- Find out if your favorite restaurant caters and serves the foods you love most buffet-style.
- If you're having a small, at-home wedding, you could go really DIY and ask your friends and family members to each contribute a potluck dish.
- Instead of having an open bar, buy beer and wine in bulk from a vineyard or brewery and hire a bartending student to serve for the night.
- Skip the band or wedding DJ and put your favorite playlists on an mp3 player—just be sure you mix it up and include songs all of your guests will enjoy.
- Call local florists and see if they can put together some simple arrangements using in-season flowers. If they don't have to order anything out of the ordinary, they just might be able to help you.
- Get a standard cake from a bakery (i.e. not a custom order) and add a unique cake topper (Etsy has a great selection!) Or you could pick up a sheet cake from the grocery store and call it a day, because you know deep down everyone loves that grocery store frosting.
Prioritize Your Guests
If you're still 3 months out, you still have a chance to send paper invites if that’s a priority for you. You'll need to send your invitations ASAP and you may want to give your guests the option of RSVPing to you via email. Expect to have to chase down some of your invitees for a response; you'll need to give your venue and vendors a final headcount at least a couple of weeks before your nuptials.
Sending Paperless Post invites is also an option if you're down to the wire—they're sent instantly via email and you can choose from some gorgeous designs, so you don't have to sacrifice style for efficiency.
Find an Officiant Early On
There are many people who can legally marry you: a member of the clergy, a justice of the peace, a judge, or even an ordained friend. You'll need someone to stand up there on the big day and perform your wedding ceremony, so start making some calls and get yourself an officiant. Depending on the marriage laws in your state, you may have enough time to get a friend or loved one ordained through the Universal Life Church in time to pronounce you married.
Be Flexible With Your Wedding Attire
If you're open to a non-traditional bridal look, purchase a white bridesmaid dress. (Bonus: we guarantee you'll save tons of money!) You can also check out vintage shops, upscale consignment stores, and scour the racks at department stores—you'll be surprised at what you find once you start looking. Anyone wearing a suit should be able to find a suit off the rack—and don't forget, vintage shops are your friends!
You could also throw traditionally entirely out of the water and skip the fancy dress altogether, you can wear whatever you want to your own wedding, so follow your heart!
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Crafty
Get your friends together for a night of cocktails and crafting—those centerpieces and place cards aren't going to make themselves! We know you've been pinning DIY wedding projects for months anyway, so pull out your favorite how-tos and get cracking. If you're short on time, pick a few that will give you the most bang for your buck, and don't worry about the rest.
Planning a wedding in three months is no easy feat, but this checklist should keep you in check!