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Planning a wedding can be one of the most exciting yet stressful experiences. Every bride wants her wedding day to run smoothly, and even though most weddings are planned over the course of one or two years, it's more than possible to plan the perfect wedding in just six months. If you're a bride looking to tie the knot in just half a year's time, take the following tips into consideration.
Book the Essentials First
Once you and your partner decide on the date of your big day, start by selecting a budget. Whether you're getting support from family or paying for the wedding on your own, it's important to have a financial plan for funding the wedding.
In order to decide on an appropriate budget, begin by considering how much you're willing to dedicate to big-ticket items, including:
After settling on a budget, select and book the venues for the ceremony and reception as soon as possible and make sure to plan around your budget. Make sure to ask venues what is included in their packages. Does your venue have chairs? What about an arch for the ceremony?
Once the location is decided, sit down with your partner and create a guest list. If most of your guests will be traveling several hours or more to the ceremony location, make sure to get the invitations sent out as soon as possible.
After the venue and guest list are settled, work on booking vendors for catering, music, photography, and flowers. Once you've booked most of your vendors, half the hard work is out of the way, and you're well on your way to planning a wedding in six months!
Try your best to start this process with a willingness to be flexible. For example, consider getting married on a weekday. Even popular venues will often have weekday availability six months out, and your wedding will be just as beautiful on a Thursday as on a Friday or Sunday.
Planning a wedding in six months means many vendors will be booked up. Don't get discouraged! Use online resources like WeddingWire and The Knot to find great companies with availability for your big day. Instead of contacting vendors with hundreds of five-star reviews, reach out to new companies with a few great reviews.
If you're anxious about hiring newer companies, ask for references. Online reviews can be helpful, but there's nothing more reassuring than contacting a former customer who can alleviate any fears you have about the vendor's quality of service. These newer vendors are also likely to have lower prices. In fact, some might offer discounted services for booking late in order to fill up their schedule. This is especially true for services like photography, music, and beauty.
Just because you're planning a wedding in six months doesn't mean you can't get creative. If professional flowers aren't in your budget, or you can't find a vendor you like, consider doing all or even some of the flowers yourself. Companies that ship flowers for DIY arrangements will often have availability for short-notice orders. Get some of your friends together the day before the wedding and throw a flower arranging party. You'll save money and make incredible memories with a DIY wedding.
If you haven't already, now is the time to begin delegating tasks to willing friends and family. Even though you should have most of your vendors booked as soon as possible, depending on your needs, you might have a few more contracts to sign toward the end of the planning process.
In addition to throwing a bridal shower and bachelorette party, the maid of honor is often expected to help the bride with some of the planning tasks. Don't be afraid to ask your MOH to help you set up appointments or find a great photobooth.
Bridesmaids are often happy to help as well. Ask a bridesmaid to pick out and arrange the wedding favors, or see if your friend's father might be able to make that antiqued wood board for guests to sign. Often enough, one of your friends or family members is crafty enough to take on some of the decor.
Finding the perfect wedding dress can be daunting, let alone finding a dress on a tight deadline. While the majority of vendors won't penalize brides for last-minute bookings, many wedding dress designers will charge extra for dresses ordered less than eight months from the wedding day.
If rush fees aren't in your budget, consider buying your wedding dress online, at a consignment shop, or off the rack. Many wedding boutiques have annual or semi-annual sales where sample dresses are sold at large discounts as is. Websites like Once Wed have thousands of pre-loved gowns available for purchase as well.
If you're looking for a couture dress, most designer dresses cannot be ordered with a timeframe of six months. However, many popular online bridal shops like BHLDN sell both affordable and couture gowns that are available to ship immediately. Some brides have even found beautiful gowns at retailers like Amazon.
Rush fees might also be a concern for bridesmaids dresses at traditional boutiques. Consider allowing your friends to find their own dresses in a similar color palette. This will take the decision off of your plate and allow for many more dress options. If you're set on having matching dresses, online retailers like Lulu's or department stores like Nordstrom sell formal dresses that can be used for bridesmaids dresses.
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
It's easy to get caught up in the details when planning a wedding. Should you choose the rose gold or the yellow gold votives? Although these details might seem important at the moment, most guests won't remember the color of the votives or the material of the table runner.
Keep in mind that guests are likely to remember the general feeling of the wedding, the smiles on you and your partner's faces, and, of course, the party! Focus on finding a good venue, tasty food, and great music. Your guests will thank you for a beautiful, fun-filled night.
Tie Up Loose Ends
By a month out from the wedding, you should have received the majority of your RSVPs. If you find you're too busy working on details for the big day, try to delegate the management of the RSVP list to a friend.
The most important thing to do in the month before the wedding is to confirm details with vendors. Make sure your caterer and florist have the correct order and know where to show up on the day of. Communicate with your photographer if you want special photos (beyond the ordinary) with family or members of the bridal party.
Finally, schedule one more dress fitting about two weeks out from the big day. Make sure to bring your shoes and any accessories to the fitting in order to finalize your look. This is also a good time to assemble a day-of kit complete with tissues, fashion tape, band-aids, and extra lipstick.
The Big Day
Now it's time to celebrate all of your hard work! After six months of planning, the big day will fly by in the blink of an eye. Set aside a few moments during the day to take it all in and have a minute of quiet time with your new spouse.
If you are planning a wedding in six months or less, stay creative and keep an eye on the finish line. The moment you walk down the aisle, it will all be worth the work.