While some couples choose to wait many months before getting married, some couples want to get married, like, yesterday. Planning a wedding in 3 months is entirely possible (4 percent of couples do it!)—if you’re able to stay organized and be flexible in your decision-making. Since time is of the essence, let’s get started with your wedding planning checklist. If you're wondering how to plan a wedding with such a short timeframe, here's a 3-month wedding planning timeline to help get things moving!
Get the basics out of the way.
- Figure out where you're getting married (just the general location/city, you're not choosing your venue just yet). Are you hosting a hometown or destination wedding? It may be a bit easier to plan a hometown wedding in such a short timeframe, but an intimate destination wedding may also be possible.
- Set your wedding date (If you're planning a wedding in 3 months or less, consider marrying on a day that’s not Saturday—you might have an easier time finding available vendors on an “off” day.)
- Set a budget. Use an online budget tool (like WeddingWire's) to keep track of your spending throughout the planning process.
- Decide on your guest list (When working with a 3-month wedding planning timeline, it’s a good idea to keep your guest list as small as possible—think minimony or micro wedding. This will make finding a venue and vendors much easier.).
Hire a planner.
There are lots of reasons why wedding planners rock, but if you’re working with an extremely quick timeline they’re a necessity. Their inside industry know-how will be vital in helping you speed through your planning process, book vendors, and get organized, stat.
Ask your wedding party.
A helpful and understanding wedding party is going to be even more vital with a short planning timeline—so choose wisely! Try to set expectations as best you can as early in the process as possible, so your maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen, bridesmen, groomsladies, flower girls, ring bearers, and other VIPs are on the same page.
Find a wedding venue.
When it comes to booking a wedding on short notice, we recommend finding a wedding venue that’s all-inclusive, meaning that catering and other services are handled in-house. Search WeddingWire to find venues that might be available, and don’t forget more nontraditional spaces like restaurants that have private rooms, parks, and community centers, too.
Create a vendor team.
With a shorter wedding planning timeline, you probably won’t have a lot of available vendors to choose from. Delegate some responsibilities to friends and family members to help you research and hire the following vendors:
- Photographer and videographer
- Music pros (ceremony musicians, band and/or DJ)
- Hair stylist and makeup artist
- Florist (try not to focus too much about sticking to a specific color scheme or décor style here—be as flexible as possible with your wedding vision and keep things simple)
- Caterer (if your venue doesn’t offer catering—you may want to research restaurants who can cater events, too)
- Event rentals
- Wedding cake baker
- Hotel room blocks for guests and your own wedding night accommodations
Shop for attire.
You can absolutely find gorgeous wedding attire with a shorter wedding planning timeline. If you’re looking for a wedding dress, check with wedding salons to see if they are having any sample sales, or research retailers that sell gowns off-the-rack (BHLDN, for example). If you’re set on having the traditional bridal salon experience, be aware that you may have to pay hefty rush fees to order a wedding gown the “usual” way (call salons before you make an appointment to see if they can accommodate your timeline at all). You may want to ask your 'maids to choose their own dresses, rather than going through the formal ordering process—though some stores may be able to rush bridesmaid dresses to fit your desired timing. As for suits, tuxes, and men’s attire, you have a bit more leeway with timing, but it’s best to shop sooner rather than later. And don't forget to factor attire and dress fittings into your wedding-planning timeline!
Set up registry.
If you don’t have time to get to a store and register, major retailers allow you to start your wedding registry online. You can always visit a store later on to see products in person.
Communicate with your guests.
This is perhaps the most important step when you're planning a wedding in 3 months. Make sure your guests are in the loop about your plans. Don’t worry about sending a save-the-date through snail mail—with such a short timeframe, you'll want to skip straight to the wedding invitations (see below). Create a wedding website, and send the link to your wedding guests. They’ll likely want to book travel and accommodations ASAP, so make sure you give them the heads-up on your plans.
Purchase wedding rings.
Wedding rings are an important symbol of your marriage, so be sure to leave enough time on your to-do list to purchase ones you truly love (and want to wear all the time!).
Plan your honeymoon.
We recommend taking some sort of honeymoon after your big day, and now it's time to make those travel arrangements. Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a huge weeks-long adventure if your schedule and budget doesn’t allow. Instead, plan a shorter “mini moon” that’s driving distance or a short flight away, and save the big trip for a few months (or year) down the road.
Decide if you'll have pre-wedding events.
Pre-wedding events, such as engagement parties, showers, bachelor and/or bachelorette parties, may or may not be feasible within such a short timeframe (though you could do them the weekend before your wedding, if it won't be too stressful). However, you can absolutely plan these events for after the big day, rather than beforehand. Think of them as celebrations of your newlywed status rather than pre-parties.
Figure out the rehearsal dinner plan.
Here’s the thing—you don’t have to have a huge rehearsal dinner. In fact, you don’t have to have one at all. You can just plan an intimate dinner with just your immediate families and wedding party, or forgo the whole thing. If you’d like to go for it, planning a rehearsal dinner is a good task to delegate to family members.
Secure that marriage license.
Make sure you and your partner understand your state’s marriage laws—how long before your wedding ceremony you’ll need to get it, if there are blood tests involved, how long it’s valid for, etc. Without a marriage license, you’re not actually married so…get on that.
Send out the wedding invitations.
No matter how short your wedding planning timeline is, you should still try to send out your invites about six weeks in advance to give your guests enough time to plan ahead. You may want to ask your guests to RSVP online through your wedding website to save time and postage.
Give a final head count.
About two weeks before your wedding, you should have all of your RSVPs in. Provide your venue and caterer with a final head count—and work on that seating chart if you’re having assigned seating at your reception.
Confirm with vendors.
A few weeks before your wedding, be sure to reach out to your wedding vendors to finalize all the last-minute details and be sure to provide all of your vendors with a wedding-day timeline to ensure things run smoothly.
Planning a wedding in 3 months will surely pay off once you say “I do” and are finally newlyweds—we promise! Enjoy your day and congratulations!