The day I got engaged is still one of the best movements of my entire life. Surrounded by family and friends, my fiancé and I felt a deep sense of love knowing we would soon be gathered again for an even bigger celebration – holy vows, cake and dance floor included.
I always heard planning a wedding was so much fun, but also incredibly stressful. Lord knows I am the stress QUEEN and try to alleviate it as best I can – and so began my “plan-a-wedding-in-two-month” sprint.
Not only was I planning a wedding from hundreds of miles away, I also initially wanted to get married in less than a year. Fast forward to 2018, and I am beyond thankful we held off in order to truly enjoy our 1.5 year engagement.
Whether you’re totally pressed for time or simply like to be unbelievably efficient, here’s how I went about planning (almost) our entire wedding in roughly two months.
Immediately after getting engaged – enlist help: You cannot do it all, girl, and nor should you! Thank goodness I have an amazing mom who was all aboard the crazy wedding planning train from the get go. However, it doesn’t have to be your mom who is your wing-woman, it can be anyone you trust enough to dedicate time and energy in helping you research, talk to vendors and give you pep talks when you’re about to pull your hair out :) I also want to give a shout out to my future mother-in-law for being an absolute gem during this process, too!
Shortly after getting engaged – ask for recommendations: The second step in any successful wedding planning sprint is to post on social media asking for recommendations. I’d say at least 60-70 percent of my vendors were solely based on recommendations from either social media or friends who recently got married. Learn from others triumphs and mistakes so you don’t have to!
Within the first week of getting engaged – set the date: Check your calendar, your families’ calendar and any engaged friends’ calendar, too. You want to make sure the date not only works for you, but also those you might invite or include in the wedding party. I highly suggest doing this within the first week of getting engaged.
Within the first month – book the venue and church: Awesome wedding venues book up well over a year out, so if you want a roughly one-year engagement, the venue and church must be booked within the first month or two of getting engaged (IF you are particular about the venue). We viewed a ton of venues online, read reviews, watched wedding videos featuring each venue and quickly comprised a top 3-5 list. Truthfully, we only visited two in person and immediately knew which one we liked best. Within the same day of booking the venue you should book your church, if you are getting married in a church. Same rules apply for churches– the most beautiful ones typically book well over a year in advance, so this is no time to drag your feet, ladies :)
Within the first month – pick wedding theme: You don’t have to know what flowers you’ll order or what the centerpieces will be exactly, but having a general theme of what your wedding will look like is essential before making other big decisions (like bridal party attire, decorations, etc.). I even created a vision board in month 3 of my engagement to help explain to vendors the “theme,” including the colors I had in mind, bridesmaid dress/groomsmen tux ideas and even macrons – it helped tremendously!
Within the first month – ask your bridal party to be in the wedding: I wanted to give my bridal party enough time to budget and plan to be in our wedding, so my fiancé and I asked them to be part of our big day within a month of getting engaged. I know a lot of other brides might wait a few months to do this, and I do think that’s okay, so this tip is totally up to your personal preference. I bought personalized wine labels and rose gold bracelets from Etsy, which were a huge hit among the ladies! My fiancé made labels for the whiskey bottles he bought and called it a day – guys typically don’t care about aesthetics as much :)
Within the first month – book your hair and makeup artist: This was something I didn’t even consider until a recommendation on Facebook led me to a local hair and makeup artist’s website. I didn’t realize how quickly good hair and makeup artists booked up! If you have someone particular in mind, I highly recommend doing this sooner rather than later.
Within the second month – book the DJ/band: I used Faceboook and word of mouth recommendations to start my DJ/band search. After getting quotes from a few bands, I quickly knew we couldn’t truly afford a jazz band to perform at our wedding, and went the DJ route. I interviewed a few DJs before making my selection, but looking back, I am beyond thankful we decided on a DJ instead. Not only will he be our emcee for the evening, we also know we aren’t getting covers of our favorite songs – we’re getting the actual songs played. And as cool as a band looks, often times they never sound quite as good as the real deal (DJs are also MUCH cheaper than a 4-6 person band!)
Within the second month – book the photographer/videographer: Again, word of mouth and personal connections help when finding a high-quality photographer/videographer team. If your wedding is between May-October, you want to book the photographer ASAP because they really do fill up their schedules fast! This especially applies to those who get engaged between November-January, which is a prime time for guys to pop the question. Pro-tip: book your engagement photo session around this time too!
Within the second month – compile a wedding guest list: This list will likely grow and shrink multiple times over the course of your engagement, but it’s good to get a solid guest list compiled within the first month or two so you can tell vendors approximately how many people will be attending. It’s also good if you have a short engagement and need to get your save-the-dates sent out!
Within the second month – book the caterer: Our venue comes with a caterer, so this step actually occurred within the first month of getting engaged, but some venues allow you to bring your own food and booze (which is AWESOME), so you’ll need to book your preferred food service pretty quickly if you have someone in mind.
After completing steps 1 through 11, you can then move on to things like researching florists, getting your dress, reserving blocks of hotels and more. I just know getting the bigger ticket items checked off my list helped manage my stress levels, and I hope this timeline does the same for you!