Wedding Planning Timeline in 5 months or Less

If you are thinking of planning your wedding in Essex or Suffolk and you have around 5 months or less, then there will be some quick decisions that you will need to make as soon as possible. You’ll need to prioritise fast and not get too caught up in the beginning with all the intricate details. Make things work within your schedule now, and you will be all the better for it later on!  

I know what it’s like to plan your wedding in a short space of time. I planned my overseas wedding in less than 8 months. I was busy working long hours and yet wanting to have a social life too, alongside planning my wedding. As a wedding planner I created a quick timeline so that I could keep on top of the tasks I needed to complete and by when. I have included this express wedding planning checklist below, to give you an idea of some of the things you should be thinking about when planning your own wedding in a short space of time.

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4 – 5 months before

  • Decide your wedding budget (use an excel spreadsheet to keep your budget on track)

  • Decide your wedding date and time

  • Decide on your initial guest list

  • Have a think about the style and vibe of your wedding

  • Think about those “must have” items that you really would like

  • Interview and book a wedding planner if needed

  • Research and book your venue (ceremony/ and or reception location)

  • Book your registrar, priest, celebrant and make sure you check all timelines with them (especially marriage license requirements)

  • Book your photographer

  • Book a videographer

  • Sort out your caterer (especially if you are having a marquee wedding)

  • Book your florist

  • Book a band or DJ

  • Choose your bridal party

  • Choose your wedding dress and decide bridesmaids dresses

  • Order attire for the ring bearer and flower girls if having

  • Compile final guest list (consider emailing save the date cards)

  • If having a marquee as your venue, decide whether you need any other key suppliers on board such as lighting company, furniture hire, linens, crockery, cutlery, power, toilets etc.

  • Book any other suppliers such as a prop hire, gin bar, pizza van etc

  • Reserve a block booking of accommodation for guests that may need it

  • Get your engagement ring insured

  • Think about your engagement photos

  • Order invitations and any other stationary

3 months before

  • Set up a gift registry

  • Book your rehearsal dinner space if you are having this (especially if at a different venue to the wedding reception) and order invites

  • Choose your cake maker

  • Book your honeymoon

  • Choose a musician for your ceremony if different from your reception band   

  • Book transport

  • Shop for wedding rings

  • Plan the ceremony with the celebrant/ decide readings

  • Book your hair and make up artist

  • Order any other accessories for yourself

  • Finalise your décor and styling elements

  • Go to dress fittings

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2 months before

  • Send out your invitations

  • Mail out rehearsal dinner invites if having

  • Choose your menu and try to get a tasting

  • Buy your wedding party gifts

  • Sit with your florist and work out the finer details

  • Sort out your play list

  • Have a first fitting if not already done so

  • Decide any table gifts or favours

  • Have final meetings with your musician/DJ

  • Sort out your ceremony vows

1 month before

  • Buy veil, shoes and other accessories

  • Confirm accommodation for guests staying over

  • Schedule hair and makeup trial appointments

  • Finalise the ceremony readings

  • Finalise the stationary for the wedding day

  • Plan the activities that will happen the night before the wedding

  • Buy gifts for the bridal party

  • Sort out a day of schedule

1 - 2 weeks before

  • Chase up non responses

  • Arrange your seating plan

  • Sort out final numbers and give this to the caterer, venue, cake maker, reception etc

  • Sort out final payments, delivery details, locations times etc

  • Confirm day of schedule and then distribute to all

  • Have a final dress fitting

  • Write the speeches

  • Confirm final transportation arrangements


It’s a good idea to get a little notebook together and start checking those all-important tasks off your list.

Planning a wedding is a big task, and probably one of the most important tasks you are likely to carry out. If like I was, you are juggling many things at the moment with a busy job, and the thought of all of this is a bit daunting, why not hire a wedding planner to help manage all of these elements for you.

Don’t forget I offer a free consultation at the beginning to find out more about you and to discover how we can make those wedding planning dreams a reality! See my wedding services page for more information.

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