How Long Do Weddings Take To Plan?

woman scheduling her week with a planner

Anyone can imagine how tedious planning for a big event can be. I, in particular, know the hard work that goes into setting up an important event like a wedding, especially if it’s last minute. But how long do weddings take to plan?

Weddings typically take 12-18 months to plan. You can plan a wedding as little time as a day, a week or take several years to plan one. Numerous factors go into the amount of time it takes to plan, depending on the exact wedding details and number of people attending. 

This article will discuss how long weddings take to plan, ways that you can save some time, and how different weddings can vary significantly in the amount of time they take to schedule.

If you’re looking to plan a wedding FAST, check out my article on last minute wedding planning.

The Average Time It Takes To Plan a Wedding 

For years, the average time it took people to plan a wedding was typically 12 months, with some couples taking a few months more or less. 

The expected scheduling time has recently changed, with so many people forced to alter their plans and postpone their weddings in the last few years. The increased demand has inflated the average time it takes to plan a wedding from previous years, but it still took many couples around 12-18 months on average. 

Some things that affect the length of time to plan a wedding include the following:

  • You may need to pick your venue well in advance. Booking your favorite location is one of the first things you’ll need to do. They can often be fully booked well ahead of time. (Here’s an article on how early is too early to look at a venue.) If you are tied to one particular venue, which is pretty popular, booking a year or more in advance may be necessary. 
  • It’s good to give your wedding party time to prepare. If you are hosting a traditional ceremony with a formal wedding party, you need to give people enough time to free their schedules. This is also why some experts recommend you plan a year or more before the wedding. 
  • You can book catering a long time before the event. If you want the most popular catering company to host your event, they might need to be booked well ahead of time. It’s important to schedule your food service right after you book your venue so the caterer may make necessary arrangements for transportation and staffing.

If you’re just getting started planning your wedding, check out this post on the first ten steps you should take.

flower confetti cones with "adam and sara" written on them

Do Weddings Need To Take 12 Months To Plan?

According to some experts, planning a wedding takes the average couple up to 300 hours to plan their wedding. That’s a lot of hours! But it doesn’t mean you need to invest that much time if you don’t want to. 

Some of the “must-do” wedding activities that experts recommend are a little dated and not always necessary. You can definitely plan a wedding in less than 12 months. It depends on what you want your celebration to be like. 

I, for example, planned my own wedding in about six months. And I still found myself with plenty of weeks where I didn’t do any wedding planning “work” at all. So while the time it takes to plan can become a part time job if you’re spending many hours researching vendors or DIYing decorations. It can also take much less time if you are an efficient decision maker or you hire a professional planner to help.

How to save time planning a wedding

You can do a few things to save time planning your wedding. These include: 

  • Don’t stress the small details. More and more couples are going away from traditional wedding customs and making it a more personalized and modern event. You can save a lot of time and money by going less formal and focusing on what matters–what makes you and your fiancé happy and comfortable. 
  • Keep your wedding smaller. I created Loud Bride to show how when you plan your wedding, you don’t need to feel like you have to please everyone. If you believe that your guest list should consist only of the people closest to you, then you can eliminate some of the stress of planning by keeping it smaller. This is harder to do if you have big families or your parents want you to invite their friends.
  • Ask for help. When planning a wedding, you shouldn’t be shy to ask friends and family for help. I have some very talented friends, and I bet you do too! Ask them if they’ll lend a hand to decorate. Or even help set up appointments with vendors and save yourself some stress and time. Delegating tasks can shave off weeks or more of your time.

What if I Don’t Want To Wait 12 Months To Get Married?

Some of us fall in love and want to get married much quicker than the average time it takes couples. That’s totally fine! Some people (like me, cough, cough) get married within six months after getting engaged, planning it without breaking a sweat! 

Many weddings take less time to plan than the average. And in some states, you can have your wedding only hours after getting engaged! 

If you don’t want to wait 12 months to call your partner your spouse, just speed up the process and plan your wedding sooner. You must avoid being picky and go with a great venue that has plenty of available dates, and find a caterer that can accommodate you on your preferred wedding date.

After all, the important part is that you are happy on your wedding day, regardless of how long–or short–it takes to prepare.

we are getting married card on top of a pile of books

How Long Should My Wedding Take To Plan?

Every couple is different and has unique preferences and styles that can determine how long their wedding takes to plan. Your wedding should take the time you want to invest in planning.

One person may want to book a dream hotel venue. And ride in on horseback with food catered from a Michelin-starred restaurant with custom plates decorated by Vera Wang. Someone else might want to get married on a mountain top. Surrounded by a small group of their best friends with a bottle of red wine and a sandwich. Either option is great but will take a different amount of time to plan.

Your wedding should be one of the most incredible days of your life. And your partner’s too! So talk to your significant other and decide what you want for your wedding. Once you do this, you’ll better understand how long your wedding should take. 

Many people look back and feel happy about their big day. And they forget how much time it took them to plan the wedding. Don’t burn yourself out planning every small detail by yourself. Just figure out what works best for you and your partner, and get all the help you can get.

woman holding a sign that says "They did it! Let's party!"

Final Thoughts 

When figuring out how much time your wedding will take to plan, you need to discuss what exactly you and your partner want. Some things that you’ll need to figure out to determine the amount of planning time include:

  • The size of your wedding
  • Popularity of the venue
  • Required scheduling of catering company
  • Hotel availability for destination weddings

Your wedding may take an average of 12 months. But it could vary significantly from that timeframe. Analyze numerous details, and you’ll better understand your wedding planning timeframe!

Ready to get started planning?

You can check out my free budget guide if you sign up for my newsletter. It automatically calculates what you should spend where based on your budget and guest count and helps you stay on track. It’s like the fairy godmother of numbers.


Jaime is the owner of Loud Bride and Coast Designs LLC. She got married in 2017 in Geneseo, NY and designed her own wedding invitations and programs for the occasion. Now, she designs bespoke wedding stationery and affordable templates for other couples. She lives in New York city with her husband and two children.

Recent Posts

Cookie Consent Banner by Real Cookie Banner