How to Plan Your Wedding Quickly If You Have a Short Engagement

When it comes to wedding planning, the majority of us are quite accustomed to an average of a year-long planning process. This has become the standard for many couples, and there are a number of benefits to setting that timeline, including booking vendors, sending out invitations, and more.

However, the short engagement trend has been popping up in recent years, and we’ve witnessed couples planning for 6- and even 3- month-long (!) engagements for non-elopement style weddings. If you’re the type of person looking for a non-fussy, low-maintenance, and quick alternative to the wedding planning strife, this may be the route for you!

Your Wedding Planning Timeline

While the length is completely up to you and your future spouse, how long you choose to be engaged can affect a few things when it comes to planning, like how quickly the turnaround should be for things that the average year-long engaged couple has a little more time to do. Keith Phillips of Classic Photographers says, “The first and most important thing you need to do when planning in a short time frame is choosing a venue and a date. Once that is done you can start to book all of your other vendors.”

If you’re planning a destination wedding (double whammy!), Megan Velez of Destination Weddings advises, “When it comes to destination weddings and short engagements, getting the word out as quickly as possible is crucial. Guests need time to prepare for a wedding abroad, whether it be to take time off work or save a little extra cash in order to make the trip. As soon as you have the date and venue secured, send out e-Save-the-Dates to get the word out faster. Make sure to set up your wedding website ASAP so your guests can find all the important information as soon as they receive the save the date or the invitation.”

Leanne Kennedy, an in-house wedding planner at Chalet View Lodge, says that the planning process is essentially the same, just expedited. “You’ll save a lot of time finding rentals and coordinating deliveries if the venue provides rentals, set-up, and break-down for you. You’ll also save time if they have in-house catering and wedding planning services.”

Must-Know Planning Shortcuts

A whirlwind engagement leaves little room for error, but there are plenty of shortcuts you can take to eliminate any long-winded processes that most couples are usually pursuing. Kristen Gosselin of KG Events & Design recommends, “Online invites and RSVPs — snail mail is not your friend when you are in a time crunch!”

Need to save a sizable chunk of time? Joan Wyndrum of Blooms by the Box says to DIY your flowers! “When DIY-ing your own wedding flowers, you can gather a team together to help speed the process of arranging along. You can recruit your parents and future in-laws as well as your wedding party to help out.”

Jamie Chang of Passport to Joy wants you to know that you shouldn’t have to shoulder everything. “First and foremost, hire a planner! We're able to save couples tons of time because we know the industry, how things work and have wonderful vendors to share. Not to mention that we'll be doing the bulk of the work for you, so that cuts down the time (and stress) dramatically.”

According to Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services, it’s wise to listen to your venue’s recommendations if you’re looking to step away from Google as much as possible. “Many couples don’t stick to the list of preferred creative partners that is given to them by the venue and they spend hours doing their own research. Trusting that list will save a lot of time and potentially a lot of headache as all of those creative partners are experienced at that location and already approved to work there.”

Think about a task that most couples find daunting, and one that most would say makes them drag their feet the most. Answer: the seating chart. Emily Sullivan of Emily Sullivan Events says seated dinners are time-consuming for this reason. “Awesome cocktail/buffet parties allow for a break in the number of tables, centerpieces, dinnerware, paper for seating cards, etc. It's also very time consuming to do the seating arrangement, and most of the time there are changes and adjustments right up until the wedding day.”

The Benefits of a Short Engagement

When we talk about the benefits, we mean more than just saying “I do” much quicker (although that’s a major plus!). Shannon Tarrant of says, “The guest list won't have to be adjusted because you met new friends during the engagement, and many vendors offer specials or discounted rates when booking in a short period of time because you are filling holes in their calendar.”

Heather Rouffe from Atlas Event Rental notes that short engagement couples generally have the easygoing mindset as-is. “Couples with a shorter timeline have less time to linger on their decisions so they tend to get down to business sooner and lock things in much quicker. This saves time and stress and keeps the process focused.”

Leah Weinberg, owner of Color Pop Events removes any misconception that you can’t have everything you want when planning a wedding with a shorter engagement. “I have planned two weddings from scratch on super short in two months and another in three months, and it was fantastic. Both couples snagged amazing venues (both on a Saturday, I might add) and fabulous vendor teams. I say all that to illustrate to couples that a wedding can be planned from start to finish in a really short time, it can be relatively painless, and you don't have to drag on a process that doesn't have to be so long in the first place. I should also add that I planned my own wedding in seven months, so I don't just talk the talk when it comes to this topic!”

When it comes to your big day, you’re in charge of planning regardless of how long (or short) your engagement is. Make every decision count, take shortcuts where needed, and enjoy yourself! 


Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.