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. That said, planning a wedding in a matter of weeks is possible. You just need to be willing to make quick decisions and some compromises! To help you get to grips quickly, we've put together an essential crash course in how to plan a wedding in three months, along with a wedding planning timeline that accounts for a 12 week lead-in to your big day, but you could adapt this checklist for use for a shorter timeline too.
Three-Month Wedding Planning Timeline
Our classic wedding planning timeline looks at a year-long planning period, and while the same general checklist applies, we've shrunk it to work with a three-month wedding planning timeline. Lots of the tasks on the list are linked to more information and advice on each topic, and remember that you don't need to do everything on this list - tailor it to you, your other half, and the kind of day you're having!
3 Months Before Your Wedding
- Arrange the legalities - this one is essential to do first!
- Make a guestlist
- Decide on a date
- Book your venue
- Text/email a save the date to your guests and gather guests' addresses
- Book a celebrant - (we recommend some great celebrants here!)
- Hire a planner or stylist (if required)
- Book a caterer
- Book a photographer and videographer
- Book a band and/or DJ
- Book a florist
- Go dress/suit shopping - many bridal boutiques consider anything less than six months a rush order. Scroll down to tip #5 for more info on this!
- Ask your wedding party (if you're having one) and start arranging their outfits
- Get in touch with hire, decor, or lighting companies
- Order your wedding cake
- Research stationery
- Book wedding accommodation
2 Months Before Your Wedding
- Book your honeymoon (check your passports and arrange vaccinations if required)
- Send your wedding invitations and gather RSVPs
- Plan your ceremony
- Book your ceremony musicians
- Choose a date for your hen or stag parties (a joint one is a good idea if you're tight for time)
- Arrange a hair and makeup trial and make bookings
- Book wedding transport
- Buy wedding rings
1 Month Before Your Wedding
- Finalise your outfit; lingerie, shoes, accessories
- Make final alterations
- Finalise your wedding party outfits
- Confirm details on flowers and decor
- Make a plan for setting up and taking down your wedding
- Make an on-the-day timeline
- Book any last minute beauty; nails, waxing, tan, haircut, etc
- Have a menu tasting and finalise the menu
- Organise gifts for family, wedding party or any helpers
- Complete any DIY or craft projects
- Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet responded
Two Weeks Before Your Wedding
- Book restaurant for the night before/lunch the day after
- Call all wedding suppliers to confirm arrangements
- Confirm numbers with your venue and caterer
- Make the table plan
- Supply venue or planner with any supplier requests or updates
- Finalise ceremony booklets and on-the-day stationery
The Week of Your Wedding
- Confirm on-the-day timeline for the couple, wedding party and suppliers
- Give venue coordinator, planner or wedding party your timeline and contact info for all suppliers
- Do last-minute pampering and beauty prep
- Do full wedding dress rehearsal from underwear to veil
- Collect suits; check you have all the ties/socks/cufflinks
- Pack an overnight bag for the reception
- Pack for the honeymoon - we have a handy list here!
- Make any last-minute confirmations/changes with suppliers
- Make bank transfers or organise cash for any final balances or tips to be paid on the day
The Day Before Your Wedding
- Drop off place cards, table cards, menus, favours, table plan, and décor to reception coordinator
- Provide all wedding professionals with an emergency phone number to call on the day of the wedding
- Ensure the cake is on track to be delivered to reception venue - have someone else look after this one!
- Iron out any ceremony details
- Chill out and have a nice dinner
- Get a good night’s rest!
Advice for Planning a Wedding in Three Months
Planning any wedding is about being organised, establishing your priorities early, working together and booking reliable vendors - but we do have a few tips to make planning a wedding in a short timeframe as stress-free as possible.
1. Get the Legalities Done First
Other jurisdictions will differ, but in Ireland, you need to apply for a marriage licence three months in advance. That means you can't have a wedding (in the legal sense) any sooner than that. Make sure you get the legalities organised as soon as possible - apply for your license and you can edit the finer details later. Get more information on legal weddings and civil ceremonies in Ireland here.
2. Make Quick, But Considered Decisions
As with wedding planning over a longer period of time, you should do your research and really consider the choices you make and suppliers you book. That said though, planning a wedding in three months requires you to get through those initial bookings quickly, not to mull too much between two similar options, and once you have made a decision, move on to the next task on the list and don't look back!
3. Keep It Simple
If you have a wedding planner and an ample budget, you can pull off incredible things in three months. But if you're doing it yourself, or keeping to a tight budget, try to keep your plans as simple as possible. The easiest wedding planning option is an all-inclusive package with a hotel or wedding venue, the more you customise your day or the more frills you add, the more time, expense and organisation is involved.
4. Enlist Some Help
If you're planning a wedding in a short space of time, take all the help you can get! Hire professionals like stylists and stationers who will look after the kind of details you might spend weeks faffing over. Lean on friends and family who offer to help, call on the talents of your extended circle, and delegate any tasks you're happy not to oversee yourself.
5. Be Realistic
There are some wedding planning truths that are unavoidable. Many designer wedding dresses have a six-month lead time, the best photographers can be booked two years in advance, and if you want custom-made signage from an Etsy seller on the other side of the world, you're going to have to spring for the rush order and the expensive shipping. If you're making appointments for bridal boutiques, let them know your wedding date when you ring so they know your timeline. Look to bridal boutiques that offer off-the-rack dresses, shop vintage or high street, and check out sample sales for dresses with a quick turnaround. Cast a wide net for suppliers and ask about cancellations and you might get really lucky with who is available on your date. Check out local designers and makers for gorgeous custom accessories and décor you won't have to wait weeks for.
6. Have Fun and Get Some Downtime
Planning a wedding in a matter of weeks is all-encompassing. If you have a year to plan, there are often whole months in the middle when there's nothing on your wedding to-do list. But there's something great about having less time too - you don't have to wait as long to marry your other half, you have less opinions coming your way, less time to stress, and you probably save a little on the non-essentials, too. Try to enjoy the planning, because it'll be over before you know it! Indulge in all things pre-wedding. Just because you're not planning for long, doesn't mean you can't pop the bubbly on a whim and go for several rounds of cake tasting!
Need to book great suppliers, like, yesterday? Check out our dedicated wedding supplier directory!