Whether you’re newly engaged and eager to say “I do,” long-engaged and way behind on wedding planning, or somewhere in between, it’s possible to plan a wedding in 3 months or less. You probably won’t be planning a black-tie affair at the Plaza that quickly, but a beautiful fȇte for you and your loved ones is entirely doable in 12 weeks. Need help planning your wedding? Check out our list of Wedding Event Planners here.
Wedding planning can be overwhelming at the best of times, but when you’re doing it at short notice, you need to be organised and decisive to pull it off. Of course, many of you reading this post will be planning around ever-changing Covid-19 restrictions, which makes things all the more complicated. That said, planning a wedding in a matter of weeks is possible! You need to be willing to make quick decisions and some compromises!
Table of Contents
- 1 3 Months To Go: The Important Stuff First
- 1.1 Pick a preferred date.
- 1.2 Get your engagement pictures taken.
- 1.3 Decide on your wedding budget.
- 1.4 Get your team together.
- 1.5 Settle on your guest list
- 1.6 Hire a wedding planner or buy a wedding planner book
- 1.7 Find and book your venue.
- 1.8 Decide on your wedding theme and style.
- 1.9 Pick your wedding colours.
- 1.10 Find and hire all your vendors.
- 1.11 Shop for wedding attire
- 2 2 Months To Go: The Fun Stuff
- 2.1 Decide on your reception menu.
- 2.2 Set up your wedding registry.
- 2.3 Start communicating with your guests.
- 2.4 Schedule a trial for your hair and makeup
- 2.5 Have your cake tasting
- 2.6 Purchase wedding rings
- 2.7 Make sure your wedding party has ordered their attire.
- 2.8 Have your bridal shower
- 2.9 Start planning your honeymoon.
- 2.10 Make a plan for your rehearsal dinner.
- 2.11 Get your marriage license.
- 2.12 Send out your wedding invitations.
- 2.13 Meet with your photographer and determine which shots you want to be taken.
- 2.14 Make your wedding day plan/timeline.
- 3 1 Month To Go: The Last Minute Stuff
- 4 How to Plan a Wedding in 3 Months: Tips & Tricks
3 Months To Go: The Important Stuff First
Here are a few things to get out of the way right away. Remember that you might have to be flexible on a few things for this to work in 3-months. Most of the stuff you get done in the first month after getting engaged will be the essential things that need to be planned the farthest. These things need to be done in the first month.
Pick a preferred date.
It would help if you had a good idea of what date you would like to get married to. To get a suitable venue and the vendors you want, you may need to be flexible on the date. This will all depend on the time of year you plan on getting married and the availability.
Get your engagement pictures taken.
If you can afford to hire a photographer for your engagement pictures, we highly recommend it. The images will be a fun memory, and you’ll likely want to use them for your wedding invitations and wedding website. You could grab a friend with a smartphone and head to the park for some inexpensive pictures as well. It’s a happy time in your life, and you’ll want the images to look back on years down the road.
Decide on your wedding budget.
We all know that weddings are expensive and it’s easy to let costs get out of hand. Before you do anything else, make sure you sit down with your fiance and decide what the budget will be for your 3-month wedding. Be aware that getting some things on short notice might end up costing you more, so be sure to do your research well.
Get your team together.
Decide on who you want to help you plan this wedding. Even if you decide to hire a wedding planner, you still need your trusted few to help you decide. This could be your mom, your future husband’s mom, maid-of-honour,r bridesmaids, sisters, etc. Find your trusted bride-tribe and ask for their help.
Settle on your guest list
This needs to be done before looking at venues so that you know how much room you need. You may want to settle on a smaller guest list so that you have more options for media, but if you’re getting married during the offseason, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a good place that will fit everyone.
Hire a wedding planner or buy a wedding planner book
It’s not always in the budget to hire a full-fledged wedding planner, but you can’t afford to have a wedding planner book at the very least. This will help you keep all your plans in order and help you stay on track with everything that needs to be done. If you can afford a wedding planner, you need to interview them, read their online reviews and get their references and make sure that they can work with your short timeline.
Ask your closest friends and family to be a part of your wedding party. With a 3-month timeline, a helpful and understanding wedding party is indispensable. Just make sure you pick people who will be there to help you get everything done in short order. Your maid of honour should be well organised, and your bridesmaids should be ready to jump in and help at any time.
Find and book your venue.
To make your life easier and the process less stressful, try to find an all-inclusive venue. This means they provide all the tables, chairs, tableware, catering, etc. By finding an all-inclusive venue, you can save a lot of time not having to look for other vendors to take care of your reception details. Also, if you’re booking a venue during the peak wedding season, look for unique places that may have more availability and can serve you just as well.
Decide on your wedding theme and style.
With your venue chosen, you can decide on what wedding theme or style will look best in the space you have. You can do something that relates to the season or something that fits your personality.
Pick your wedding colours.
Now that you’ve found your venue and decided on a theme, you’ll have a better idea of what colours will work with the space you have. Choose your favourite colours that will best compliment your venue. You need to make this decision and stick with it to hamper the next few steps. This will be pivotal in deciding your bridesmaid dress colours, cake, flowers, and decorations.
Find and hire all your vendors.
Even if you have an all-inclusive venue, you’ll need to hire other vendors that most platforms do not staff. With a shorter timeline, it may be not easy to find exactly who you want, but you can recruit your family and wedding party to help you find the best people on short notice. Here is a list of vendors you may want or need to see:
- Ceremony musicians
- Hair and makeup stylists
- Cake baker
- Transportation for out of town guests and from the ceremony to the reception if they are being held in separate locations
Shop for wedding attire
It would help if you had to find the wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses, groom’s attire, and the groomsmen’s attire. This might be one of your more indecisive moments, but it’s essential when you’re trying to plan a quick wedding to make a decision and stick with it. For the wedding dress, visit local bridal shops and see if they have sample sales or clearance.
You can even order your bridesmaids dresses, mother of the bride dress, and flower girl dress online to make things quicker and easier. Men’s Wearhouse has a super easy online rental checkout for men’s suits or tuxes that makes finding and renting men’s attire so quick and easy!
That all probably felt like a lot to get accomplished, but the hard stuff is over. The rest should be pretty quick and easy; stick with it, you’re getting closer to the big day, and it’s going to be amazing!
2 Months To Go: The Fun Stuff
Now that the important stuff is taken care of, you can breathe easy for a little bit and set up things like your menu, registry, wedding website, honeymoon, invitations, etc. These things need to be done in the second month of your engagement.
You can go from very formal plated dinners to casual buffet-style to anywhere in between. Your reception menu should match your personality and theme. If you’re looking for budget-friendly options, you should go with buffet style and a breakfast/brunch theme. Many people don’t like the “breakfast for dinner” theme, so it’s entirely up to you, but it can be a money-saving to go that route.
Set up your wedding registry.
Thankfully, you no longer need to go into all your favourite stores to set up your wedding registry. You can sign up online and get all your registries up and running in just a couple of hours.
Start communicating with your guests.
At this close to the wedding, don’t worry about sending save the date cards through the mail; by the time guests get them, it’ll be time to send the actual invitations anyway. However, you can set up a wedding website to share the exciting news with all your friends and family and share your initial wedding plans. Guests who need to travel will want to book their travel and hotel accommodations as soon as possible. Make sure to include your blocked hotel rooms or nearby options for them.
Schedule a trial for your hair and makeup
You probably already have a favourite hairstylist (and she probably knows a great makeup artist). Schedule a trial to go in and figure out how you would like your hair, and makeup was done for the wedding. You can make this a fun activity by bringing your favourite girls with you and having their hair done too!
Have your cake tasting
If you haven’t already done this, it needs to be done now. You’re probably already researched good cake bakers in your area, and you should set up a few cake tasting appointments to find something that both you and your future husband like. Also, don’t count out home bakers who make wedding cakes. They often look just as impressive, taste wonderful, and are less expensive. Here is an excellent guide on picking cake flavours.
Purchase wedding rings
It can take 4-6 weeks for your wedding rings to be ready, depending on how extravagant they are and if you’re having something custom made. You’ll want to give yourself enough time to pick them out and order them so that they arrive in time for the wedding day. Here is a great guide that I put together for choosing the right wedding rings.
Make sure your wedding party has ordered their attire.
You’re bound to have a few people that drag their feet, and the last thing you need is the stress of someone not having their dress or suit in time. You won’t have to worry about this if you’re footing the bill for their attire, but most likely, you’re having them pay for their own. Give your guys and gals a little nudge to make sure they get their order in ASAP!
Have your bridal shower
You’ll want to make sure that your registries are complete a few weeks in advance of your bridal shower so that guests know what to get for you. Your maid of honour and bridesmaids will likely plan this for you; you just need to show up and show your appreciation.
Start planning your honeymoon.
Depending on your budget, you can take an extended honeymoon or a simple weekend getaway. Either way, you should take some honeymoon so that you can privately celebrate your new union as a married couple. Start making plans and booking reservations for flights, hotel stays, etc.
Make a plan for your rehearsal dinner.
Having a rehearsal dinner is a great way to thank your wedding party and family for all their help with planning the wedding. You can have a small intimate rehearsal dinner or a large get together for your closest people. The rehearsal dinner is where you usually give gifts to the wedding party for their participation, so you also need to purchase these. The task of planning the spread might be one that you’ll want to delegate to someone else while you focus on other details.
Get your marriage license.
Every state and county is different, so you’ll want to check ahead of time to see what you need to do to get your marriage license. You also need to see if there is a waiting period before you can submit it, etc. There are different fees and requirements in each county.
Send out your wedding invitations.
Your invitations need to be sent about 6-weeks in advance of your wedding day – this applies whether you have a 12-month engagement or 3-month engagement. Guests need enough time to plan, check their schedule, make travel arrangements, etc. You should also include either RSVP response cards with your invitations or a link to your wedding website where they can RSVP online. This will save time and postage by having an online option.
Meet with your photographer and determine which shots you want to be taken.
Your photographer has a lot of ideas, but you probably have a few of your own too. Have a meeting and plan when pictures will be taken and what pictures they will take. This will make picture time quicker and less complicated on the day of. Ask to view samples of their work and show you your wedding photography Pinterest board (we all know you have one) so she knows what you’re looking for. Looking for the Top Wedding Planner in Melbourne? Look no further and check out our ultimate list of Wedding Planners here.
Make your wedding day plan/timeline.
The best thing you can do to make things go smoothly is to write out your wedding day timeline. This should include everything you’ll be doing on the day of, including:
- what time you’re meeting for breakfast
- who is helping and what time decorations are being put up
- when hair and makeup is being done
- who is in charge of getting everything to the ceremony venue
- who needs to be where to get ready
- what time pictures are being taken
- when the first look will take place
- what will happen between the ceremony and reception
- who is taking care of transportation
- What is the order of events at the reception
- what time is the final send-off
Make a copy of your finalised timeline and give a copy to your wedding planner and wedding party so that everyone knows what to expect and can plan accordingly.
You are so close to the big day! Everything should be ready to go at this point, and you need to tie up a few loose strings and make sure everything is going according to plan.
1 Month To Go: The Last Minute Stuff
We’re getting so close, and most of the hard work should be done. All you need to do now is make sure that everything is on course. These things need to be done in the third month of your engagement.
Write your wedding vows.
If you’re planning to wordsmith your vows, now is a great time to work on them since most of the stressful plans are done. Take a few minutes to research ideas online and write out a list of things you love about your future spouse. Put into words your feelings and affections for him/her. You can choose to write your vows together as a couple or write them separately. If you decide to write them separately, you’ll want to have your officiant read them ahead of time to make sure they flow well together and come out being similar in length. They can offer suggestions to the content of the vows as well.
Get a final headcount and make a seating chart.
You’ll need to let your venue and caterer know what your final headcount is about two weeks before the wedding. It would help if you had all your RSVPs in by this time. If not, hunt down anyone who hasn’t RSVP’d and ask them to let you know as soon as possible so that you can make final arrangements. If they don’t reply, assume they’re not coming and move on. If you’re planning on having assigned seating, you can now start working on the seating chart for your reception (since you should know everyone coming).
Confirm details and plan with your vendors
It’s a good idea to reach out to your vendors with a couple of weeks to make sure that everything is going according to plan. Ensure that you both understand the day of events and how everything will run on your wedding day. When is the cake arriving? When are the flowers coming? What time is your photographer going to show up to start taking pictures? How late can you be at the venue? Etc.
Go in for your final wedding dress fitting.
Depending on how you handle stress, it’s not uncommon for brides to gain or lose weight in the months and weeks leading up to the wedding. It would help if you planned on having a final dress fitting a week or two leading up to the big day to make any last-minute adjustments.
Party on at your bachelorette party.
A few days before your wedding, you should plan a party with all your girls. This doesn’t have to be limited to your bridesmaids. If you have other girlfriends who were not asked to be at your wedding party, this would be an excellent opportunity to include them in something to help ease any hurt feelings.
Your wedding day is here! All the quick decisions and rushed planning probably just about put you over the edge, but as you’re walking down the aisle to the man of your dreams, it’ll all be worth it!
How to Plan a Wedding in 3 Months: Tips & Tricks
Let’s get real; any wedding planning timeline is challenging. Still, a 90-day timeline is a particularly tall order, and while entirely possible, it may not be the elaborate affair that every bride dreams of. That said, there are a few simple tips and tricks that will make your 90-day wedding an unequivocal success!
Think Outside the (Vendor) Box
You probably won’t be able to book your city’s top vendors so close to your wedding date, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put together a gorgeous celebration.
Here are some ways to get creative with your wedding planning:
- Find out if your favourite restaurant caters and serves the foods you love most buffet-style.
- If you’re having a small, at-home wedding, you could go DIY and ask your friends and family members to each contribute a potluck dish.
- Instead of having an open bar, buy beer and wine in bulk from a vineyard or brewery and hire a bartending student to serve for the night.
- Skip the band or wedding DJ and put your favourite playlists on an mp3 player—be sure you mix it up and include songs all of your guests will enjoy.
- Call local florists and see if they can put together some simple arrangements using in-season flowers. If they don’t have to order anything out of the ordinary, they might be able to help you.
- Get a standard cake from a bakery (i.e. not a custom order) and add a unique cake topper (Etsy has a great selection!) Or you could pick up a sheet cake from the grocery store and call it a day because you know deep down everyone loves that grocery store frosting.
Prioritise Your Guests
If you’re still three months out, you still have a chance to send paper invites if that’s a priority for you. You’ll need to send your invitations ASAP, and you may want to give your guests the option of RSVPing to you via email. Expect to have to chase down some of your invitees for a response; you’ll need to give your venue and vendors a final headcount at least a couple of weeks before your nuptials.
Sending paperless invites is also an option if you’re down to the wire—they’re sent instantly via email, and you can choose from some gorgeous designs, so you don’t have to sacrifice style for efficiency.
Find an Officiant Early On
Many people can legally marry you: a clergy member, a justice of the peace, a judge, or even an ordained friend. You’ll need someone to stand up there on the big day and perform your wedding ceremony, so start making some calls and get yourself an officiant.
Be Flexible With Your Wedding Attire
If you’re open to a non-traditional bridal look, purchase a white bridesmaid dress. (Bonus: we guarantee you’ll save tons of money!) You can also check out vintage shops, upscale consignment stores and scour the racks at department stores—you’ll be surprised at what you find once you start looking. Anyone wearing a suit should be able to find a claim off the rack—and don’t forget, vintage shops are your friends!
You could also throw traditionally entirely out of the water and skip the fancy dress altogether; you can wear whatever you want to your wedding, so follow your heart!
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Crafty.
Get your friends together for a night of cocktails and crafting—those centrepieces and place cards aren’t going to make themselves! We know you’ve been pinning DIY wedding projects for months anyway, so pull out your favourite how-tos and get cracking. Check out our ultimate list of Wedding Planners in Melbourne to help you organise a stress-free wedding. If you’re short on time, pick a few that will give you the most bang for your buck, and don’t worry about the rest.