I’ll admit it: Nate and I weren’t intending to have a six-month engagement. I was expecting we’d have somewhere in the market of nine to 12 months to plan our wedding. You know, take it slow and use those first few months to determine exactly what shade of blue the accent color should be. The truth is that our top choice reception site only had one opening from now until forever, and it just so happened to be six months away. Are we crazy? Perhaps. Are we wishing we’d done it differently? Absolutely not.
I consider this marriage thing a “one time, lifetime” sort of deal, so I know I will only be a bride this once. The big day is going to mean a lot to me, Nate, and our families and friends, and I want to give an honest effort to every detail. But, I also know that attempting to spend 100 percent of my time on 100 percent of the details would wreak havoc on my sanity and our relationship for the entirety of our engagement.
Because this time should be one of joy, excitement, and enjoying the planning process together, we knew we had to prioritize. As a result, these are five things l learned about planning a wedding in six months or less.
- Forget save-the-dates. Because I love design, typography, and printed paper products, I’m a huge fan of save-the-dates. It’s actually one of the things I was really looking forward to working on. In a six-month timeframe though, it’s a little superfluous. By the time we would’ve sent them out, the real invitations would be arriving the next day. We decided to ditch the extra expense and energy and start working on the real invitations right away.
- Aim for great instead of perfect. This applies to every aspect of the planning. Being a perfectionist, I knew I could’ve (and would’ve) taken every minute of every day trying to find the perfect dress, perfect centerpiece arrangement, perfect cake decorator. Perfect takes longer than great, however, and the difference wasn’t significant enough for me. So, for every important purchase decision, I wrote down my must-have criteria before I started looking around. As soon as my criteria were met, I'd make the purchase and move on. For example, when I was ready to buy my shoes, I knew I wanted (a) closed toe; (b) something with the accent color; (c) about a 3-inch heel; and (d) it had to be less than $100. As soon as I found a shoe that matched all those criteria—boom!—I bought them and moved on.
- Limit the DIY projects. Pinterest makes this one haaard. There are so many crafty ideas and darn it they all look so easy! My budget begged me to do them, but my experience knew better. Opening the door to too many DIY projects would mean exponentially adding to my to-do list. I’d have to buy craft supplies, set aside time, clear space in the house, do a test run, secure the help of some friends, and then find space to store stuff away until the wedding. No way, dude. I’ve limited myself to only two or three DIYs that I have complete confidence in being able to do myself in a couple of evenings.
- Let vendors do their thing. I've come to trust that my vendors know what they’re doing. Most florists, photographers, DJs, caterers, etc. have been in the wedding business longer than I and don’t need (or want!) me to hold their hand. Of course, we had initial conversations about our expectations, ideas, and preferences, but now we are letting their creativity work for us. As I continue to utilize this practice, I've been impressed by how well my vendors have understood my vision and are able to give me something even better than I thought of myself.
- Be ultra organized. Because I'm naturally inclined toward detail, I’ve transitioned fairly well into the wedding-planning world. To achieve success in my six-month planning frenzy, I've learned that I need to have all my information at my fingertips all the time. This means keeping a very accessible calendar, creating email folders to quickly file every single piece of wedding-related communication, always tracking contact information and notes about all my vendors, and checking my to-do list daily to see what currently needs to be done, what’s on deck, and what’s in the hole. With so much happening in a short amount of time, I've come to realize that I need to have a handle on everything.
If you’re in a similar situation to mine, please share any advice you may have. I still have five months of planning to get through! Best of luck!