How Long Does It Take to Plan a Wedding?

Planning a wedding is supposed to be a time of excitement, but it can also be a time of stress if not planned properly. No one warns you about the feelings of overwhelm, the various elements that need to come together in harmony, and all the people who need to be contacted. So how long…

Planning a wedding is supposed to be a time of excitement, but it can also be a time of stress if not planned properly. No one warns you about the feelings of overwhelm, the various elements that need to come together in harmony, and all the people who need to be contacted. So how long does it take to plan a wedding? It depends on how tight of a deadline you can handle.

Creating a Wedding Planning Timeline

Average Time to Plan a Wedding

The average time to plan a wedding varies greatly. A healthy timeline varies from person to person, and it’s important to know your own limitations. Otherwise, a time that is supposed to be filled with exuberance and excitement can become a time of stress and conflict.

According to a study by Minted, the average wedding takes 528 hours to plan, or a full 22 days. How you allocate these hours are entirely up to you. Consider some personal factors, like how many hours you’re working, whether you’re receiving any help with planning, and other commitments you may have on your agenda.

While most wedding planners advise taking about a year to plan a wedding, it is entirely possible to plan a wedding on short notice that is put together just a few months in advance.

Short-Notice Wedding Planning

Planning a wedding in 4 months may require more flexibility and accepting that you will not always get your first choice. Booking is often done well in advance, and your favorite entertainer or venue may already be taken. However, there will still be options available that will create a mesmerizing wedding experience.

Planning a wedding in 6 months will be a challenge, but nothing crazy. The shorter your wedding planning timeline is, the more you need to be on top of things and book companies as soon as possible. With focus and determination, you and your partner will be able to tie all the strings together in time for you to tie the knot.

Planning a Small Wedding

Not everyone desires a grandiose wedding party. Planning a small wedding tends to be a quicker and simpler process. Not only does a backyard wedding or one with a local venue eliminate the issue of being waitlisted, but it also provides a more intimate experience that allows for the focus on small details.

A small wedding typically consists of 30 to 50 guests, with invitations being extended only to close friends and family. A good length of time for planning a small wedding is six months to a year. This allows you to incorporate personal details that reflect your relationship and incorporate time with those who mean the most to you.

Planning a Destination Wedding

There is far more involvement in planning a destination wedding than one at your standard, local venue. Many details need to be worked out, including who will take care of pets or plants while you are gone, plane tickets, hotel booking, how you’ll be arriving at the venue, and, if applicable, acquiring passports and international phone plans.

The average time to plan a destination wedding is a year and a half. Destination weddings are a beautiful way to celebrate your love in a paradise that is meaningful to you and your partner. However, be aware that it may come with some sacrifices. Not everyone will be able to attend your wedding or can afford to make the trip.

Hiring a Wedding Planner

Hiring a wedding planner can take some of the duties of the wedding planning checklist off your hands and make the process go smoothly. Having the extra help is a tremendous relief and can speed up the planning if you can afford it.

A wedding planner can make calls to caterers, florists, and entertainment companies while you are tied up at work and unable to make those arrangements. They’ll be there during your big day to hold everything together while you can relax and focus on the things that matter.


Steps for Planning a Wedding

Wedding Plan Checklist

Creating a wedding plan checklist is a great way to ensure that no details of wedding arrangements slip your mind. The checklist should implement every stage of the process, from booking a venue to final details of the wedding day. Here are some examples of ways you can create a checklist and subtasks within items:

Dress Shopping

  • Establishing a budget and trying on dresses
  • Ordering dress
  • Taking the dress to the tailor
  • Picking up the dress from the tailor

Picking out the Cake

  • Deciding on a bakery
  • Choosing a color scheme for cake
  • Deciding on a flavor
  • Picking a cake topper

Hiring a Makeup/Hair Stylist

  • Creating an inspiration board of hairstyles
  • Deciding on a final hairstyle and makeup look
  • Researching reviews of stylists
  • Booking

Designing Invitations

  • Deciding on fonts and colors
  • Writing the copy of the cards
  • Incorporating photos or other design elements
  • Finding a print shop
  • Sending invitations
  • Tracking RSVPs

Organizing the Seating Chart

  • Establishing a guest list
  • Separating guests into groups
  • Arranging tables around the floor plan

When to Book a Wedding Venue

Minted’s study found wedding venues to be the most important element of planning a wedding, with 46% agreeing it was of the highest priority. The atmosphere of your wedding venue will set the ambiance of the entire reception and party.

Wedding venues that are in high demand sometimes are taken a year or more in advance, and brides-to-be are placed on a waitlist. It’s advisable to make booking a wedding venue the first step in your wedding planning to-do list.

The timeline for planning a wedding marks nine months to a year as an ideal time for advanced booking. If that doesn’t fit into your timeline, make venue booking your number-one priority and get it settled as soon as you can.

RedWater event venues are a beautiful place to celebrate your love. Our locations have audio/visual equipment perfect for a slideshow of the lovely couple’s journey, beautiful views, convenient parking, and dance floors for guests to enjoy themselves.

When to Book a Florist for a Wedding

Waiting until a few months before the wedding to book a florist can be a mistake that will cause you to miss out on your top choices, especially if your big day is during peak wedding season (May to October). Finding a florist to create bouquets and centerpieces is an important aspect of creating a beautiful and memorable ceremony.

It’s best to start researching florists at least 10 months from the wedding date and sign a contract at 8–9 months from the wedding date if your planning timeline is a year long. If your planning process is just a few months, it’s best to do it as soon as possible. If you’re having difficulty finding a florist, talk to friends or inquire in wedding planning Facebook groups for recommendations.

When to Book Catering

Arranging catering is a step of wedding planning that is vital for making sure all guests are happy. Dietary restrictions of family members may need to be considered and accommodated. If a venue offers in-house catering, it is often cheaper and easier to book catering with your venue. RedWater offers delicious in-house catering expertly prepared for wedding guests. We even have vegetarian menu options and offer drink services.

If you book catering separately from your wedding venue booking, it is best to start the process 6 to 10 months before your wedding. If you plan on having an open bar, it may take up more resources and be a bit more advanced.

When to Book Entertainment

For live entertainment, book about 6 months in advance. Many smaller entertainers not only have to work around their personal lives, but also around the obligations of a day job. They appreciate early booking so they can plan to count on your event as a source of revenue and not fill the date of your wedding day with plans.

Hiring a wedding DJ should be done 8 or more months in advance, as they typically do this for a living every weekend and have their schedule booked up several months ahead. Of course, there is the option of using a venue’s stereo system and designating a loved one to play DJ after creating a list of songs yourself. Our wedding locations have a audio/visual system that is the perfect setup for playing music.

When to Send Wedding Invitations

To ensure that your cherished guests can make it to your wedding, it’s best to send out wedding invitations 2 to 5 months before the big day. For destination weddings, it is recommended that invitations are sent 4 to 6 months in advance. There are factors that may impact how early people need notice, such as:

  • The need to arrange childcare
  • Prior engagements
  • Travel fees and hotels
  • Finding wedding gifts
  • Getting time off work (if needed)

Let Us Host Your Magical Day

Book your wedding with RedWater venues and allow us to host your magical day. Our in-house catering makes planning simple, and we have a variety of gorgeous locations that will dazzle guests. Our Caledonia and Downtown Holland locations have elegant chandeliers for a classy wedding reception, and the A-frame design of our North Holland venue is perfect for creating a wedding backdrop.

Ready to Book?

Reach out for more information on any of our venues!