The average couple is engaged for between 12 to 18 months. But, as soon as your partner pops the big question, friends and family members will already begin asking about wedding details.
Wedding planning can be overwhelming when you consider all of the details it entails. You need to figure out your preferred date and location, your guest list, and book all your vendors. But, you don't want to rush through your engagement worrying about every little decision when it comes to your wedding.
Instead, start with a general wedding planning guide to help you along the way. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about how long it takes to plan a wedding.
How Long Does It Take to Plan a Wedding?
In simple terms, the average time to plan a wedding is the same length as the average engagement — 12 to 18 months.
But, no two wedding planning timelines will look identical. Some couples choose to have an intimate wedding within a few weeks or months of their engagement. While others want an elaborate wedding that takes over a year to plan.
To figure out how long it takes to plan a wedding, you need to first think about the type of wedding you want. Sit down with your partner and discuss the most important aspects of your wedding.
If you are both interested in marrying at a specific location, such as an elegant ballroom, you'll want to see when that venue has an opening in their schedule. The same goes for if you want a specific photographer to capture your wedding details. Once you pick a date with your location or vendor, then you know exactly how long you have to plan your big day.
If you aren't set on a specific location or vendors, you have a little more freedom in scheduling and the planning can happen quicker. Decide what time of the year you want to get married. If you get engaged in December but want a spring wedding, you're either looking at a quickly planned wedding within four months or a more generous planning period of 16 months.
What Is the Minimum Time It Takes to Plan a Wedding?
Whatever the reason may be, many couples choose to marry each other as soon as possible once an engagement occurs.
If you are having a small wedding with just a handful of guests, you can plan it within a few weeks. All it takes is finding a venue, officiant, and any other preferred vendors who are available on the same day.
But, most people choose to invite a larger number of people to their wedding. It's proper etiquette to send out wedding invitations 6 to 8 weeks in advance if you don't have any international guests. But before you send out invitations, you'll need to have your location reserved, main vendors picked out, and a guest list.
If you're looking to plan a wedding quickly, it's best to plan for at least three months of planning. This gives you around one month to figure out the main wedding details before you send out your invitations.
Just because you are planning a wedding in a short amount of time, that doesn't mean you have to settle when it comes to wedding details. Instead, you'll have the same amount of things to plan for, all just squished into a short planning period.
When Should You Start Planning?
To eliminate rushing in the weeks leading up to your wedding, it's best to start planning as soon as you're engaged. This doesn't mean you need all the details figured out immediately. Instead, create a timeline for yourself based on your ideal wedding date.
If you have a one-year planning period, your timeline may look like this:
12 months prior - Decide on a budget, set the date, pick your wedding party, choose your venue, and start on the guest list
8 months prior - Book your officiant, hire a photographer/videographer, decide on a caterer, and start wedding dress shopping
6 months prior - Order your cake, hire a florist, and book your music entertainment
4 months prior - Send save the dates, plan your honeymoon, purchase wedding rings, and decide on groom attire
2 months prior - Book transportation and finalize vows
6 weeks prior - Confirm all vendor arrangements, send out invites, and finalize ceremony and reception details
2 weeks prior - Finalize seating chart based on RSVPs, give a final headcount to vendors
Depending on whether you have more or less time to schedule, you would rearrange these main items on your timeline.
Tips on Planning a Wedding Quickly
If you want to plan a wedding quickly, it's best to divide up the responsibilities.
Instead of trying to do everything on your timeline by yourself, don't forget to include your partner. Give them certain responsibilities to handle, such as booking the DJ or choosing a menu. As soon as you become engaged, you're now a team, and you should use this to your advantage in order to save time.
Also, don't forget that your parents are probably more than willing to help out as well. Your father may want to choose the officiant while your mother-in-law could come up with the guest list for the groom's side of the family.
Another way to quickly plan a wedding is to hire a wedding planner. They can handle most of the main details and make the process easy and quick.
What's the Hardest Part About Planning a Wedding?
The hardest part about planning a wedding is usually making sure all your preferred vendors are available on the same day and coordinating communication.
To avoid a lot of stress, make a list of your must-haves when it comes to wedding details. If you have your heart set on a certain venue, that should be your first priority when it comes to scheduling. All your other vendor choices would then depend on if they have the same availability as your venue.
Because of this, it's best to choose a venue that specializes in weddings and offers multiple services. If your venue also caters, then that's one less thing you have to worry about. Now, your communication for both the location and food services will all go through the same person, simplifying the planning process for you.
We Can Help You Plan a Wedding
After reading this article, it's easy to see that it can take some time to properly plan a wedding. Creating the wedding of your dreams is no easy task, but that's where we come in.
RedWater Events has eight different locations available for your wedding ceremony and reception. We can accommodate everything from large weddings for 400 guests to small, intimate weddings of 60 guests. Each wedding location offers additional services including audio/visual equipment, beverage and catering options, dance floors, and convenient parking.
Schedule a tour to learn more about all of the services we offer and start the wedding planning process.