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A 6-Month Wedding Planning Timeline

A bride with a veil and holding a bouquet.

So you have six months to plan a wedding. You may be in a slight panic because, surely, someone has mentioned that you need at least a year to organize it all. That’s not completely true. You can plan a wedding even at the last minute—it all comes down to flexibility.

Whether you’re in a rush to get to the altar or simply procrastinated, there’s no reason to worry. People have planned gorgeous weddings in much shorter periods. Unless you have your heart set on a specific venue for a specific date, with only that one florist and the best photographer in town, putting together a wedding in six months (or less!) is totally possible. Here’s a rough breakdown of a recommended planning schedule when you have six months to plan a wedding.

Six Months

  • Set a wedding date
  • Decide on a venue
  • Send out save-the-date cards
  • Have an engagement party (optional)

First things first—you need to decide on a venue, which may be determined by your planned wedding day or vice versa. While you don’t need to figure out a guest list quite yet, it can be helpful to guesstimate how many people you think may come, as that can affect what type of venue you choose.

Once you have the date and venue booked, feel free to have an engagement party if you want to. If you know who you plan to invite, you can also send out save-the-date cards (or an email) to give everyone a heads up. However, if you don’t yet know who will be at your wedding, avoid sending out a pre-invite, as the person may assume they’ll be invited to the wedding itself.

Five Months

A woman wedding dress shopping.

  • Look at vendors
  • Start shopping for a dress
  • … And your groom’s attire
  • Order wedding bands
  • Decide on guest list

Now that you have a rough timeline, start shopping around for any services and suppliers you may need. This may include the florist, photographer, transportation, stationary, catering service, hair and makeup, and entertainment. Book them as soon as possible if you find one that you love. If no one’s in a rush, you can make your final decisions next month.

You should also start shopping for a dress as soon as possible. Depending on the designer, some can take nearly a year to prepare. However, if you’re not getting a made-to-order dress, you can take your time looking around. Just know that the fitting and tailoring process can take months for some dresses. Likewise, don’t forget the groom’s attire.

If you’re ordering a custom-made wedding ring, it’s also important to arrange that as soon as possible. If not, you can wait up to two months before the wedding. In addition, consider looking at ring insurance for both your engagement and/or wedding ring.

Four Months

  • Book the florist, photographer, and other suppliers
  • Choose your bridal party
  • Order bridesmaid/groomsmen attire
  • Purchase wedding dress accessories
  • Set up wedding registry

Now’s the time to finalize your suppliers and guest list if you haven’t already, and choose your bridal party. Invitations should be going out soon! As soon as you have the bridesmaids or groomsmen on board, make sure to decide upon and order their attire as soon as possible.

If you haven’t purchased any accessories for your wedding day, such as a veil, shoes, lingerie… etc., this is also a good time to take care of that. Start setting up your wedding registry now as well—if you plan on having one. (You may want to include the registry details in the invitations.)

Three Months

A save the date and wedding invitiation in black and white.

  • Book rehearsal venue
  • Send out official invitations
  • Start planning your honeymoon
  • Go for a cake tasting, wine tasting…etc.
  • Decide on menu

If you’re planning a rehearsal dinner, this should be the latest you should book it—that is, if you haven’t already. Because it doesn’t have to be at the same venue as the wedding, it is much easier to find a location.

Finally, now that you know the place, date, and who you hope to come, you can send out the invitations. Feel free to do this as early as possible, especially if you’re having a massive wedding. Make sure to ask about any dietary restrictions on the RSVP card, as that will be important next.

Although some of the fanciest cake makers insist on a year-in-advance booking, most will work with you much closer to the date. So, this is the time to go on a cake tasting, wine tasting, catering tasting, etc. It’s a good idea to take care of all food and drinks as soon as possible, but keep in mind that you’ll have to wait for your guests to respond about their dietary restrictions before you make your final menu decision.

Three months before the wedding is also the ideal time to plan and secure any post-nuptial travel plans. Flights and hotels are always cheaper if booked at least a couple months in advance.

Two Months

  • Take care of legal matters (e.g. marriage licence)
  • Plan bachelor/bachelorette party
  • Go for a hair/makeup trial
  • Order wedding favors
  • Decide on a song list
  • Write your vows

Don’t forget about logistical matters, such as getting your marriage license or visa (if you’re getting married abroad). You shouldn’t delay this any longer.

Once all business is settled, start planning your bachelor/bachelorette party. Try not to schedule it the week before your wedding, as you’ll have enough to deal with and you don’t want a hangover.

If you’re planning on hiring a hair stylist or makeup artist, meet with them for a trial (and bring your bridesmaids along if you wish). If nothing else, there’s nothing more relaxing than a day at the salon.

By now, you should have received quite a few RSVPs, so you can order the appropriate number of wedding favors, drinks, and maybe even decide on a menu.

Other things to take care of this month will be your processional music and post-reception song list. If you’re planning on writing your vows, you should start now to avoid the woes of writing block.

One Month

A gold frame with little cards attached for a seating chart.

  • Organize a seating chart
  • Finalize all other details
  • Go for a final dress fitting
  • Start breaking in your shoes
  • Book all beauty appointments
  • Have your bachelor/bachelorette party

One month to go. Anyone who hasn’t RSVP-ed yet should be contacted. After all, you need to organize your seating chart and confirm all the information with the caterers. Now is also the time to finalize any necessary details with vendors to make sure everything will be perfect on the day.

Depending on when you ordered your dress or suit, you might want to go to a final fitting, in case there are any last-minute adjustments. Even small ones can take a month to get done, so don’t wait too long. In the meantime, start breaking in your wedding shoes. Try wearing them around the house with thick socks, and maybe wearing them for a short walk outside. You’ll be thankful for this later.

All beauty appointments should be booked one month in advance, just in case. Any hair color touch-ups should be done a week before (you never know if you’ll need a redo). Waxing should also be done about a week in advance. Book your manicure and pedicure the day before the wedding, and of course, don’t forget the hair and makeup on the day of.

After all business is taken care of, go out and enjoy your bachelor or bachelorette party!

One Week

A woman getting a facial at a spa before her wedding.

  • Confirm all vendors
  • Don’t miss any beauty appointments
  • Pack for your honeymoon
  • Make a to-do checklist for day before and day of

Call up the venue, florist, photographer, and whomever else you have hired and confirm the date and time. Do this a week in advance, just in case there are any surprises.

Don’t forget to start packing for your honeymoon and do this at least a week before. You don’t want to forget anything.

Things may get hectic as the big day comes, so make a to-do list for the rest of the week—most importantly, the day before and day of. Make sure your bridesmaids, groomsmen, or anyone helping you out are aware of what to expect, in case you get overwhelmed.

The Day Before

  • Get your nails done
  • Organize everything for the wedding day
  • Have a rehearsal
  • Go to bed early — you’re getting married tomorrow!

Less than 24 hours to go! Although there will be last-minute things to attend to, today should feel like a pre-celebration. If you’re getting your nails done today, use the time to chill and unwind.

Then, run through the rehearsal and enjoy the dinner to follow. Whatever you do, don’t stay up too late or drink too much. You’ll need your beauty sleep for tomorrow!

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