How to Plan a Wedding in Six Months or Less

Can you plan a wedding in six months? Absolutely! Whatever your reasons for getting married sooner, a wedding planned on an abbreviated timeline can be just as amazing as one that takes the traditional year to eighteen months. I’ve seen my fair share of short engagements in my years as an Irish wedding planner, and all it requires to pull it off are organisation, decisiveness, and a bit of flexibility. But where do you start? And how can you avoid the pitfalls? Read on for my top tips on how to plan a wedding in six months – or even less!

First things first. There’s no time to waste! But before you do anything else, it’s important to nail down your budget. This will help you make all the other decisions quickly. It’s also a good idea to create a list of priorities between the two of you. That way, even if you have to compromise on some of the smaller details, you’ll have the big things lined up.

Check venue availability before you choose your date. Many wedding venues in Ireland book up a year or more in advance. However, you can still find a great venue at shorter notice. You may need to be flexible about the day or time or ask about any cancellations. Another idea is to look at non-traditional spaces, especially if you’re planning a smaller wedding. Once you find a great venue with an available date, book it!

Line up the rest of your vendors asap. It isn’t just venues that get booked up well in advance. As soon as you have a date locked in, get in touch with photographers, florists, videographers, and entertainment. You probably won’t always secure your first-choice vendors, but always ask for their recommendations if they’re not available. You may find an emerging talent.

How to Plan a Wedding in Six Months or Less

Take care of the legalities. One mistake couples who plan a wedding in six months or less often make is to leave the paperwork later than they should. This is especially true for a destination wedding in Ireland. Your marriage licence application must be lodged at least three months before the wedding date and there is quite a bit of documentation to gather first. The earlier you start, the better.

Be decisive. With a shorter timeline, it’s essential that you’re prepared to make decisions quickly. Work out your wedding vision and stick with it. Limit your options where possible and don’t change direction once you’ve made a decision. While it can feel scary, you’ll actually be surprised by how much easier the process is when you don’t second-guess yourself.

Get organised. It’s important that you stay on top of everything, especially your emails. Vendors who are working with a short turnaround time will need a prompt response to their questions. Make sure you have comprehensive to do lists and that you keep all your ‘wedmin’ documentation in one place.

Get some help. All this decision-making and email-answering can make it feel like planning your wedding is a full-time job. But you don’t have to do it alone! Hiring a wedding planner in Ireland is always a good idea but even more so when you’re working with a shorter timeline. Your planner will help you manage all the logistics, keep track of moving parts, and apply their expertise and experience to ensure it’s all smooth sailing.

fashionable city bride

Buy a dress off the rack. You may have heard that custom-made wedding dresses should be ordered at least six months in advance. But that doesn’t mean you won’t look spectacular going down the aisle! There are several options, including paying a rush fee or buying your dress at a sample sale or off-the-rack from a bridal salon. And then, of course, there are lots of online options, including some fabulous designers on Etsy. Whichever route you take, be sure to factor in alteration time.

Choose ready-to-wear for the bridal party. Bridesmaid dresses can be ordered and delivered on a shorter timeline than a wedding dress, but your best option may still be to choose something ready-to-wear or let your girls pick their own dress in a specified colour or palette. The same goes for the gents – buy ready-to-wear or let them wear their own suits in a specified colour.

How to Plan a Wedding in Six Months or Less

Give your guests as much notice as possible. It’s important to give your guests the most time you can to book travel, accommodation and time off work for a destination wedding. Even if you’re getting married close to home, you’ll want to get your wedding in their diary! Send out save the dates as soon as you select your venue. If you have less than six months, skip straight ahead to the invitations. These should go out at least eight weeks before the big day.

And there you have it – everything you need to plan a wedding in six months or less!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O’Dwyer, Story of Eve

How to Hire an Irish Wedding Planner in 6 Steps

Wedding planning can be demanding at the best of times, but destination weddings require an extra layer of coordination. That’s why I always recommend that couples hire an Irish wedding planner. While every business has a slightly different offering, planners generally help with everything from creative design and styling to sourcing and managing suppliers, both before and on the big day. However big or small the item on your to do list, we’re there to help and it makes the whole process so much smoother and less stressful. But how do you actually hire an Irish wedding planner? Where do you start? What research do you need to do first? How can you be sure you’re making the right decision?

To help you, I’ve broken down the process of how to hire an Irish wedding planner into six easy steps.

STEP 1: Do your research

Start by researching Irish wedding planners, both online and through your network of contacts. Ask for recommendations from family and friends, look at your favourite wedding blogs, and search online (including social media – you can often get a good sense of someone’s personality from their social media feeds!) Start making a list of planners whose work resonates with you. Look for recent examples of their work and check their websites to see which services they do (and don’t) offer. For destination weddings in Ireland or Europe, it’s important that your planner has experience in and knowledge of the area. It’s also a good idea to look for information on any awards or accolades they may have won, as well as their membership of relevant professional associations. Overall, this should give you a picture not only of each planner’s style and approach, but also of their levels of experience and professionalism.

STEP 2: Reach out

The above research process should help you narrow down your picks to two or three favourites. Now is the time to reach out by phone or email. If you already have a wedding date, the first question to ask is whether they have availability on that date. If they do, you’ll also want to clarify the types of services they offer as well as their price range. If both of these fit into your needs and budget, make an appointment to meet. In-person meetings are of course ideal, but for destination weddings, a virtual meeting via video call also works well.

Irish Wedding Planner Tara Fay

STEP 3: Your first meeting

It’s a good idea to prepare for your meeting so that you can get the most out of it. Think about the kind of wedding you would like to have. Save pictures on your phone or to a Pinterest board. Discuss the kind of look and feel you want with your partner. And, of course, know your budget. At your meeting, you will be able to ask your planner questions, so write down the most important ones in case you forget. You’ll also be able to get a sense of whether you ‘click’. You’ll be working closely with your planner for some time to come, so it’s important that you feel comfortable with them. It’s also essential that you feel like they are listening to you and what you want.

One important note. While it’s important to ask questions at this first interview, don’t ask your potential planner to give you a list of recommendations or contacts. You wouldn’t expect them to give their expertise away for free, after all. Once contracts have been signed, they will share this information.

STEP 4: Call their references

This is a step many couples don’t both with, but that can be a mistake. Always ask a wedding planner for references and follow up with a call or email. Ask questions like how closely the planner stuck to their given budget, how well they listened to their clients’ ideas, what tasks they performed, whether they were a pleasure to work with, and how they handled any issues.

Irish Wedding Planner Tara Fay

STEP 5: Weigh up your options

By now you will probably have a good idea of who you would like to work with. But if you’re having trouble deciding, consider the following elements when weighing up your options.

  • Their portfolio and references
  • Their quotation and proposal (if relevant)
  • Their response times to correspondence
  • Their contract
  • Whether you connect with them as a person

STEP 6: Seal the deal

Once you’ve made a decision, it’s time to move forward. Don’t wait! Good planners get booked up well ahead of time and you don’t want to be disappointed. Call immediately to let them know you would like to book their services. You’ll then be asked to sign a contract and pay a deposit.

And that’s it! You’ve hired your Irish wedding planner!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O’Dwyer, Story of Eve