How Long Does it Take to Plan a Wedding?
There are no rules about how long it should take to plan a wedding. Though the average wedding planning timeline ranges between 13-16 months that may or may not feel quite right for you. You may be so damn ready to do the thing that you want to get hitched, like, tomorrow, or, perhaps you are a slow burn kinda couple and want to commit time to designing a well thought out celebration.
Whatever your situation, answering the questions below can help you to make the decision that’s best for you.
1. When Do You Want to Get Married?
When you vision your wedding, you can do it now by closing your eyes and imagining you are there, is there a certain month or season that feels right? If you picture a Fall wedding and the cooler months are fast approaching, then continue with the questions below to decide whether you will opt for a shorter timeline or wait until next year to host your celebration.
2. How Organised Are You?
If it turns out that your ideal wedding date is coming up in 3-6 months time and you the kind of people that like to roll up their sleeves get s*#t done, or your plans aren’t overly complex, then go for it. A shorter timeline can help you from getting carried away with the details.
If you are a little bit more disorganised, perhaps a bit of a procrastinator (hey, no judgements here), then give yourself a little bit more time so you don't end up panicking like a crazy person trying to get everything done at the last minute.
3. Does the Wedding Need to be Perfect?
Besides your level of organisation, it is helpful to consider the level of detail you plan on putting into your event, and your ability to be flexible with these details. Have a very particular vision for your wedding? Give yourself some more time.
4. What Else is Going on In Your Life?
Wedding planning takes time. If your job is crazy busy, you’re finishing your PHD dissertation, or in the middle of renovating your house, is that going to cut into the you have available for wedding planning? Be realistic about how much time you can actually dedicate between now and your ideal date.
One dear friend of mine is the Director of a summer camp. As her summer wedding date approached, in the middle of a busy camp session, she not only felt the pressure of trying to juggle last minute wedding-prep with work, but also some disappointment for not having more time before and after the wedding to enjoy with friends who had come from out of town.
5. How Long Will Your Guests Need to RSVP?
If you have international guests that will be traveling a long distance to get to the wedding (and you actually hope as many of them can attend as possible) then give them plenty of time to plan their trip. Not everyone has the funds or vacation time available to just jump on a plane to Hawaii next month. You don’t need to plan the entire wedding straight up, just book a date and a location well ahead of time, so that your guests can start saving up their airline miles.
If you have a local group of guests, then how likely is it that your friends are going to be available for a short notice wedding date? And, how important is it for all those people to be there?
Think about who your wedding VIPs are, who you really want to be there, and how much time you think they need to get organised so that they can RSVP “Heck yes!”.
6. How Much Money Do You Need to Save for Your Wedding?
Do you have all of the money you need to pay to for your wedding saved up already? If the answer is yes then you can throw your wedding tomorrow if you really want to.
But if you need a bit more time to save up, then push the wedding date out and give yourself plenty of time so you are not stressing about funds.
Going into debt for your wedding sucks big time, so what’s the rush?
7. How Good Does the DJ/Photographer/Caterer Need to Be?
The best wedding vendors in tend to book out at least a year in advance because they are in high demand. If you are not too fussed about who your photographer or DJ will be then it's just a matter of making sure that you can secure people to fill those roles at all, if you want them.
The same applies to your venue. Make sure you can secure a place to host the wedding before opting for the shorter timeline.
8. What’s the Perfect Wedding Planning Timeline for You?
One school teacher bride I worked with had too much time to commit to their wedding plans once her summer break rolled around. Being as organised as she was she ended up getting worked up over the little details, running through plans in their head over and over, and changing her mind every month. For her, it would have been better to have had less time, to save all of that list double… ok, triple checking.
If you like to change your mind about what you want, like, ALL. THE. TIME. then consider cutting down your wedding planning timeline to 6 - 9 months. This means you won’t put too much stress on your life for too long.
If you haven’t already, it can help to spend some time considering the purpose for your wedding. Knowing your purpose will help you to determine your wedding vision, and once you know that, you will have a better idea for how much lead time you will need.