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Common wisdom dictates you must have at least a year to plan your wedding, but a beautiful wedding can be planned in five months or less. With a shorter planning period, less is more, the less elaborate and complicated you can make your wedding, the easier and less stressful planning will be. With five months, you should book all vendors immediately, starting with your ceremony and reception venues.
Ceremony and Reception Venues
When your wedding is five months away, you may need to think outside the box to get the ceremony and reception venues of your choice. If you're planning a wedding at a friend's house, or at your church with a reception hall attached, it may not be a problem. Weddings in more popular venues book fast and typically need to be reserved a year in advance.
To get a more popular wedding site on a short time limit, plan your wedding for an off-season month such as November or January. Another alternative is to have your wedding at a less popular time such as a Saturday morning or a Thursday night.
Guest List and Invitations
Smaller guest lists are easier to handle with shorter notice. Invitations aren't a problem for a five month planning period. There is still plenty of time to order your invitations and send them out six weeks in advance, as is normal.
Consider buying your dress off the rack and avoiding the hassle of alterations altogether. Pass out color swatches to your bridesmaids and allow them to select their own dresses. The less you micromanage attire, the easier it is to plan a wedding in a shorter period of time.
If you've picked an off-season month, or off-time of the week, catering will be easier to manage. Avoid all holiday months when caterers are busy not only with weddings but with holiday parties. When possible, choose a reception venue that has catering packages included. This will save you stress as well as some money. It's also much easier when the food is made on site as opposed to many catering companies that have to make and then transport and set up the food.
Since most bands and DJs do a lot more than just weddings, depending on your area of the country and the time of year, you may or may not be able to secure a band or DJ for a wedding planned on a five month timetable. Consider creating your own music on CDs and getting a family member or friend to be in charge of playing the music.
Keep flowers simple. Since good florists book up fast, the less work for the florist, the more likely they'll be able to fit you in. Avoid having your wedding near major flower-giving holidays such as Valentine's Day or Mother's Day. Give your florist a color scheme and a budget rather than a particular flower list. He or she will be able to more easily accommodate you if they don't have to track down out-of-season flowers.
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