A wedding checklist clipboard with a pen on a white background, adorned with a bouquet of white roses and baby’s breath, and a pair of silver wedding rings.

Recently engaged and just can’t wait to get married?! Or…literally can’t wait to get married due to a move, fiancé in the military, or other reasons? 

Depending on the amount of planning you have to do, a 12-month engagement can feel short—but 12 weeks? Some might say it’s impossible, but we’re here to tell you it’s not!

To plan a wedding with a short timeline will take a lot of diligence, patience and help from those around you, but it’s not impossible. 

If you’re on a short wedding timeline, keep reading for a checklist of what you should have done and when.

10-12 Weeks Out

Talk to your fiancé about what you both really want versus what everyone else thinks you should have; make sure your day is about what you two want, cut out things you don’t and only keep your essentials. Use this time to create your budget, and create a spreadsheet or download a budgeting app to make sure you stay on track.

Two women, one in a teal blazer and the other in a white jacket, are about to enter a restaurant, with one woman opening the door to reveal elegantly set tables inside.

Find your venue

Make sure you stay open-minded and receptive to finding other options than your top choice—some venues are booked out months or even years in advance, and you may need to look for another one with such short notice. 

Tip: try booking your wedding on a day other than a Saturday. A venue’s “off days” are typically less busy and you may even get a better rate for your ceremony!

Arrange the legalities

Make sure you know what you’re going to have to do to make your marriage legal, especially if you are getting married out of state or in another country  

8-10 Weeks Out

Choose your wedding party

Make sure they know well in advance about any attire they will need to purchase, events they will need to attend and an estimated amount they will be spending on these things so they are aware and not caught off guard.
A person holding a pink envelope. the focus is on their hands, which show off a white manicure and a delicate ring. they are wearing a white blouse and denim jeans.

Make your guest list and send invitations

First, you need to decide if you want a small or large ceremony. A small guest list is more manageable on a shorter timeframe, but whichever you decide, you need to make sure to give them ample time to make travel and lodging accommodations. Also, the sooner you have your guest list confirmed, the sooner you can get final numbers to your venue and caterer.

Find your outfit

Whether you go for a designer gown, something from a vintage store, or something off the rack, you will need time to find your outfit and, more than likely, have it altered. Make sure you leave ample time for these alterations so you aren’t scrambling close to your wedding day.

6-8 Weeks Out

A photographer captures an image of a bride and groom on a bustling street bathed in sunlight.

Book your vendors

Your officiant, caterer, photographer, florist, DJ or band, and your stylist all need to be booked well in advance to ensure you have them reserved and that they can do everything you are hoping for

A person in a white shirt is cutting into a multi-tiered wedding cake decorated with white frosting, small pearls, and green orchids on an ornate stand.

Book your rehearsal dinner

Make sure the restaurant you want can accommodate a large party, and give anyone who wants to give a speech plenty of time to write it.

3-6 Weeks Out

A person tries on a ring from a selection in a white box held by a jeweler in an elegant store, emphasizing a special customer service experience.

Buy rings if you haven’t yet!

They don’t have to be expensive, just something special for you and your fiancé. Make sure you have these or have them ordered so they make it in time.

Order or make wedding favors for guests

If you choose to DIY your favors, make sure you have plenty of time to get all of your supplies and make your favors. Enlist your partner, wedding party or family to help you put them together if it is too stressful to do on your own. 

1-2 Weeks Before

Confirm day-of plans with your wedding party and family

Team up with your partner, a parent, a bridesmaid, etc. to confirm different aspects of your day, such as arrival times and number of guests, with your vendors.

Confirm your final guest list for your venue and caterer

Also, use this time to arrange your seating chart so your guests don’t worry about where to sit and can enjoy your reception! 

A pair of brown leather men's shoes, a black leather belt, a wristwatch, a small floral boutonniere, and a ring box on a wooden surface.

Lay out and pack all of your wedding day items in the days before your wedding

Don’t forget your rings, marriage license and all of the things you are afraid of forgetting! 

Last but not least, and most importantly, take a deep breath! Relax! Have fun! You’re about to get married, so you should appreciate the time you have with your soon-to-be husband or wife, and enjoy your big day! 

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