Wedding Planning Timeline a 6-Month Checklist
Planning a wedding in 6 months is not easy, but certainly doable with our checklist & interactive tool
We know you'd rather have a year to plan your wedding. Heck, we bet you wish you had a 24-month-long wedding planning timeline. But, that's not the hand you've been dealt. You have 6 months to get this wedding over the line, and right now, that may seem like a tall order. Choosing a wedding venue, sending out invitations, deciding on decor, picking wedding vendors — how can that all be done in half a year!? Well, we're here to tell you it can.
The 6-month-long road to your wedding day will be challenging, and you will have to make decisions fairly quickly. But putting together a wedding within this short space of time is totally doable. And can actually create a better result than a longer wedding timeline.
When couples have limited time, they tend to make quicker, more instinctive choices. They don't have time to ponder over every decision because they have to move onto the next. Making for an event that feels more authentic than one put together over a longer period. Many also find the process quite exciting, dealing with a fresh planning conundrum each day. Rapidly ticking off items from the to-do list. Always moving onto the next thrilling step.
Is it realistic to plan a wedding in 6 months?
If you're committed, and able to put time aside pretty much every day over a 6-month period, you can certainly plan a wedding within 6 months.
Weddings planned over 12 months+ typically feel like a marathon, whereas yours will be more of a sprint. But if you're well-prepared, start planning right away, and use an interactive wedding timeline tool such as ours. You'll be jogging over that finish line without breaking a sweat.
Wedding Planning Assistant offers an entire suite of free tools to help you put together your big day. From budget calculators and seating chart makers, to wedding websites and guest list organizers. These, and our other free wedding planning tools, offer just what you need when working towards a close wedding date. As our apps will not only streamline every planning task, but they'll also help you stay organized, at a time when you simply have to be.
The Tools You Need to Plan a Wedding in 6 Months
A solid wedding planning checklist should be your priority when working with a 6-month timeline. As you must know week by week, what should be ticked off when. Otherwise, important events might slip by you, get forgotten, and then suddenly hold up your entire wedding planning timeline.
Due to the short timeframe, your guests will also need to be notified of your wedding date as soon as possible. As they'll need to make travel and accommodation arrangements fairly quickly. Sending out a traditional wedding invitation can still be done, but you should also keep guests up to date by using a wedding website. You may also not have time to wait for posted RSVPs, so an online response page is also advised.
As the wedding draws near, it's essential to map out the wedding day itself. Having a solid hour by hour, play by play wedding day itinerary will ensure everything runs smoothly, and nothing is forgotten. Putting this together, well ahead of the big day, will also help you visualize the celebration itself, and in turn make the planning process easier to get your head around.
Your 6-Month Wedding Planning Timeline
To help you get from engagement to wedding ceremony in 6 months, we've put together a planning guide for you. Covering everything you'll need to book, consider and schedule ahead of the big day.
- 6 Months Before the Wedding
- 5 Months Before the Wedding
- 4 Months Before the Wedding
- 2-3 Months Before the Wedding
- 1 Month Before the Wedding
- 1 Week Before the Wedding
- The Day Before the Wedding
Whether you have a 12-month wedding planning timeline, or a 6-month timeline, budget should be the first thing you decide upon. Without a thoughtfully put together wedding budget, it's all too easy to overstretch yourselves early in the planning process, and end up choosing things purely based on cost further down the line. A lack of financial planning may also lead to desperately borrowing (more) money from loved ones, or worse, racking up a hefty credit card bill.
Do your research, and use a wedding budget template to put together a comprehensive checklist of all your expenses. That way, nothing gets forgotten.
Pick a Wedding Venue
Choosing wedding venues within a short timespan will mean you'll need to remain flexible. However, don't lose sight of your vision for the day. Put together a shortlist of venues that suit the style of celebration you desire, and have the capacity to host the number of wedding guests you would like to invite.
When contacting venues for the first time, ask about their availability before requesting any other details. If you have your heart set on a particular place, you may have to be flexible on the actual day you tie the knot. Knowing that a Saturday wedding may not be possible, but a weekday celebration could be an option.
Try to book venue tours as soon as you get the chance, and go armed with preprepared questions for their team. You will have to decide on the space within a short space of time, so getting the required information fast is crucial.
Hire Critical Wedding Vendors
If you would like a wedding planner to put together your event, then they should be your top-priority vendor booking once you've found a venue. As they'll help you map out all the other checklist tasks.
Planner or not, there are many other vendors you should book within the first month of wedding planning. Professionals who will shape your wedding theme, and actually make the day itself possible.
At Wedding Planning Assistant, we have a dedicated vendor database that'll help you put together the dream wedding planning team. But you should also reach out to married friends and family to get their personal recommendations. No matter where you find a vendor, be sure to carefully read their reviews and look through as many real weddings as possible.
Here's a list of the wedding vendors you should be hiring first:
- Wedding planner
- Florist Rentals
- Wedding photographer and/or videographer
- DJ and/or wedding band
- Hair stylist and beauty
- Wedding cake
Finalize Your Guest List
As mentioned, guests need to know the details of your wedding as soon as possible. Once you've secured a venue, and got your date, decide on precisely who you'd like to invite.
Send Out Save-the-Dates
If you're mailing out physical save-the-dates, make the design and sending of them a critical task. Digital wedding invitations can be put together and sent a lot quicker, but don't give their production any less importance, as guests will need time to make arrangements.
Set up a Wedding Website
A wedding website is always useful, no matter how many months out from your wedding you are. Beautiful looking and simple to use websites are so easy to create using online builders such as ours, and once designed, they offer guests a free resource that can be updated whenever necessary.
As soon as you have the wedding registry sorted, know the schedule of the day, have arranged local accommodation, or anything relevant to guests — put that up on your wedding website. The more informed your guests are, the more likely they'll be there when you need them (probably...).
Choose your Wedding Rings
Standard, off-the-shelf wedding bands can be bought and customized relatively quickly, but that doesn't mean you should leave the choosing of them to the last minute. After all, you'll be wearing your wedding ring for the rest of your life, so it's worth being thoughtful about the one you select.5 Months Before the Wedding
Order Wedding Invitations
Depending on how bespoke your wedding invitations are, the designing and printing of them can take time. You should also allow time for a proof of your wedding invitation to be produced. An important part of the process, as the last thing anyone wants is a glaring mistake on their invites.
Be sure to agree a delivery schedule with your stationer, and factor in the time it'll take to address the envelopes, whether you're looking after them yourselves or not.
Organize the Wedding Menu
Our favorite part of the wedding checklist, menu tasting! The food that guests eat on the day of the wedding will play a large part in their overall enjoyment of the wedding weekend. It's a key part of the event, and one you should plan carefully with your caterer.
If you haven't secured some coverage for your big day already, now's the time. We know nothing will happen to ruin your dream wedding, but if it does, you should have some protection to fall back on. Find a wedding insurance plan that covers all likely eventualities, and be sure to read the terms carefully. There's zero point in spending money on insurance, only to find it doesn't cover the one thing that's most likely to mess up your wedding plans.
Order Wedding Attire
A wedding dress can take up to six months to be delivered, depending on the level of customization you require. A gown ordered from one of the major bridal brands will typically take between 2-3 months to be delivered. But you also need to factor in time for alterations, which, depending on the season, will take at least a month.
Suits for wedding party members usually do not take quite as long, especially if they're being rented, which is the standard. However, it's good to know that all wedding outfits have been organized way ahead of schedule, as that'll free up your mind to move ahead with future checklist and timeline tasks. Now's also the time to plan and potentially purchase bridesmaid dresses too.4 Months Before the Wedding
Organize the Ceremony
The ceremony is what the big day is all about, right? And the planning of it should be done with the upmost care. Decide together on the little wedding details that'll make your ceremony feel unique, and go over plans with your officiant.
Once you've agreed the finer details, and worked out an order for the ceremony, set those ideas in stone, and create a ceremony program. A nicely laid out guide to the event that matches your wedding decor, and provides guests with the information they need.
Now is also a good time to think about the music you want played during proceedings, especially if certain songs play a pivotal part in the readings, or moments during the ceremony.
Shop for Wedding Decor
If you're taking a DIY approach to wedding decoration, it's good to start picking things up, or making them, fairly early in the wedding planning process. No couple and their assembled wedding team wants to be frantically finishing wedding stationery hours before the reception, or not knowing on their wedding morning if everything will be ready on time.
Give yourself peace of mind, and source your unique wedding details before they're needed.
Alongside smaller decor items, you should also secure linens, tables, chairs, and anything else that may need to be rented from an outside company. Especially if there are items within your wedding vision that are not standard rental pieces, or styles.
2-3 Months Before the Wedding
Attend Pre-Wedding Parties
One of our favorite wedding planning tasks is the one we don't have to plan! Bachelorettes, bachelor parties, hen parties, stag parties, bridal showers — whatever you call them, they are all a great excuse to let loose while event planning.
Make sure these events are scheduled far enough in advance that any bruises, or minor injuries have time to heal before the big day (you think we're joking, we're not). As nobody wants bachelor party bruises showing up in the wedding day photography.
Have Your Hair & Makeup Trial
A wise wedding planner will schedule their wedding hair and makeup trial for the same day as their engagement shoot. That way they get a professional look put together for their photos, and they get to try out styles and shapes before the big day.
Beauty trials should be scheduled at least three months before the wedding, to allow time to perfect your look, or potentially find another professional to create it.
Post Wedding Invitations
Timing is everything when it comes to invitations, especially for a destination wedding. We would suggest posting wedding invitations out roughly eight weeks before the event, and give guests an RSVP deadline of about three weeks before the big day. That should provide loved ones with enough time to organize themselves, and confirm their attendance.
Finalize Gifts & Wedding Favors
The favors you give to guests should represent your wedding style, while the gifts you select for closer loved ones should feel more personal. Whether that means personal to them, or personal to your relationship, is up to you.
It can take time to pull together all the elements within a good wedding favor bag, so don't delay in selecting items and stationery for them.
Finalize the Legal Paperwork
While coming up with wedding ideas, and attending dress fittings, it's easy to forget what the day you're preparing for is all about! Wherever you're tying the knot, there will be some form of paperwork necessary for you to officially marry. These documents can take time to prepare, and occasionally there will be wait times involved.
Touch base with your wedding planner, or officiant about the timings of said legal paperwork, and make sure to clearly mark when you need to have things completed by on some form of printable timeline — if that helps you remember.1 Month Before the Wedding
Organize Seating Chart
By this stage, you should hopefully have all of your RSVPs back. There will, of course, be guests that send theirs at the eleventh hour, but you'll just have to deal with them when they arrive.
As you're working within a 6 month wedding checklist timeline, it's best to use as many time-saving tools as possible. Such as our wedding seating chart maker, a really useful free tool that'll help you arrange guests quickly and easily. Without the need for expert wedding help, or piles of crossed out paper plans.
Wedding Planning Assistant also provides a hub for RSVPs, ideal for keeping track of attendance.
Arrange Final Wedding Day Outfit Fitting
Wedding attire always involves multiple fittings, and typically the last of these will be scheduled in the weeks leading up to the big day. Getting the perfect fit is key to feeling fabulous on your wedding day. Therefore, it's important to maintain a good relationship with your alterations' person, and always be open with them about how you feel in your dress or outfit. While also remaining honest, and realistic about any wedding diets you're currently on.1 Week Before the Wedding
Confirm Guest List with Vendors & Caterer
There are a handful of vendors who'll need to know the exact numbers expected at your wedding. Catering being the principal one. Provide them with a detailed guest list, as well as your seating chart. The more information they have, the more likely they're going to be able to provide a smooth running service on the day.
Check Details & Confirm Vendors
As we get closer to the wedding day, it's a good idea to confirm final details with each of your vendors, and ensure they have the information required. The shot list with your photographer, song list with the DJ and timings with the planner are also key conversations that have to be had.
Put together a contact sheet with all the names and phone numbers of wedding party members that vendors may require during the day, and in an emergency. That way, there's less chance of them bothering you with issues or dilemmas when you're busy trying to enjoy the wedding of your dreams!The Day Before the Wedding
Organize Rehearsal of Ceremony & Host Rehearsal Dinner
Even a simple wedding ceremony demands a rehearsal, just to ensure every player knows their role on the day. A run through with your officiant and wedding party should help things run smoother, and give everyone more confidence.
The rehearsal dinner is often a much-loved affair as it offers the chance for close family and friends to catch-up within a more intimate, less formal scenario. This event will still involve some element of planning, either by yourselves, or parents, just to ensure the perfect place is available for you.
It's wise to start planning your wedding rehearsal dinner roughly a month out from the big day, unless you're planning something more elaborate than a simple dinner reservation. If that's the case, then begin booking the dinner more than six weeks before your wedding.
Prepare Tips for Vendors
Couples rarely want to be giving out gratuities on their big day, or giving members of their wedding party the responsibility of working out each tip. Which is why it's a good idea to divide up all the tips for each vendor ahead of time, and place them inside individually marked envelopes.
Once you've prepared all the envelopes, assign the most trustworthy member of your wedding party the task of handing them out on the day. Think ahead, and the giving out of tips will be one less thing you'll need to worry about on your wedding night!
Create a Wedding Day Timeline
Every wedding day should have a timeline prepared in advance, and it should be shared with every critical member of your team, as it really helps to know where and when events will be happening throughout the day.
Use a Wedding Itinerary Template such as ours, and you'll find the schedule of your day comes together effortlessly, and quickly. No need for constantly crossing out notes on pieces of paper, or starting again. With our tool, you can easily update the schedule whenever you wish, and instantly share it with whomever you need to.
In conclusion, if you're ready to start planning your dream wedding, our 6 month checklist for planning wedding is an invaluable resource. This comprehensive and printable timeline breaks down the planning process into manageable tasks, ensuring you stay on track every step of the way. With this wedding planning checklist timeline in hand, you can approach your special day with confidence and excitement, knowing that every detail has been thoughtfully considered and organized. Happy planning!
Explore other topics related to wedding timeline
The online Wedding Planning Assistant provides a wide range of professional tools, including a detailed wedding timeline, meticulously designed to aid you in the coordination and organization of your special celebration.
We offer an international wedding planner service, open to all. Soon we hope to make our software available in all languages, so far, we have created versions for these languages: