Expert Advice on How to Plan a Wedding in Just 6 Months with Emily Coyne | Southern Bride
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Emily Coyne wedding planner

Planning the perfect wedding in just six months might sound daunting, but with expert guidance from luxury wedding planner Emily Coyne of Emily Coyne Events, it’s entirely achievable. Whether you envision celebrating stateside or abroad the wedding planning process begins with discovering what inspires and excites you and continues with identifying a location that resonates with your unique story, preferences, and priorities. From an unforgettable guest experience to personalized design that is authentic to you, Emily’s approach ensures that every detail is intentionally curated to express the newly married couple. In an exclusive interview, Emily shares her invaluable insights on planning a wedding in six months swiftly and smoothly with Southern Bride.

Q: What are the key considerations when planning a wedding in a shorter time frame like six months?

A: You’re compressing a large amount of decisions into a shorter time frame than the typical 9 – 18 month engagement, so it’s important to be in the mindset of making decisions efficiently. Six months is plenty of time to plan a fabulous wedding. We’ve planned weddings in a third of this time. However, it’s not wise for the couple that knows they will agonize over every choice to try and plan in this time frame. Other key factors include not being able to see the venue during the season that you’ll get married, and likely skipping save the dates in favor of sending invitations earlier. 

Q: How can couples prioritize tasks effectively to ensure everything gets done on time? 

If you’re not working with a planner who can manage this for you, then consider purchasing a month by month plan from a reputable source. The Wedded Podcast has a good one, or you could hire a planner for a few hours to do a custom one based on your details. Following a checklist is key. Big picture items need to be tackled first. This includes securing the core vendors (venue, catering, photo, video, music, beauty, florist, paper goods). Concurrent with this, work on guest details (room block, website, guest list). Next, you’ll dive into the details with those core vendors (menu selection, design, invitations, etc). Try to incorporate things that can be done early into your daily life – such as listening to cocktail music genres on your commute one week. 

Q: What are some common challenges couples face when planning a wedding on a tight timeline, and how can they overcome them? 

The biggest challenges are not making decisions quickly so that you can move on to the next set of choices, and not doing things in the right order. The best way to overcome this is to start by hiring a planner. Focus on finding someone who is highly organized, a straight shooter who emphasizes transparency with their clients, and someone who has executed a large number of events (e.g. not someone who has planned less than 20 weddings in their career). 

Q: Can you share your top tips for selecting vendors efficiently within a short time frame?

Rely on advice from professionals – either your planner if you have one, or the preferred list from your venue. Don’t try to look at dozens of options. When you find one great vendor – someone professional, responsive, and easy to work with – ask them who their top recommendations are for other services. Booking vendors who provide timely and complete responses and clearly work to make your life easier is key on a short time frame. Additionally, don’t try to determine every detail with them early on. When booking a florist for instance, we find the right aesthetic fit in addition to someone who’s pricing aligns with the budget, but we don’t get extensive floral proposals before contracting. You want to lock in your teams quickly  so the date is secured, and then after that core creative team is built, go back and dive into design details, floor plans, and final guest counts. 

How To Plan A Wedding In month with emily coyne

Q: How can couples maintain their budget while planning a wedding in just six months?

The key is to start with a realistic budget that encompasses everything you may want or need. Don’t just try to come up with this budget yourself as you’re guaranteed to miss many items. Ask friends who have planned weddings, as well as vendors, to tell you what needs to be included. If you ask 10 different people you’ll find a decent amount of crossover but you’ll also discover new items. Alternatively, purchase a budget from a planner, or if you’re hiring a planner, they should be doing one for you. Be transparent with vendors what your budget for each category is. This enables them to help you stay on track. 

Q: What are some creative ways to personalize a wedding when time is limited? 

Six months is plenty of time to make a wedding feel personal! You’re still easily able to accomplish everything you would in a 12 month period, you’re simply making decisions at a less leisurely pace, and quite possibly skipping save the dates. Design the menu around your favorite date night restaurants, incorporate fun facts onto cocktail napkins, design an escort display that reflects a favorite hobby or shared interest, and write personal notes to guests in their welcome bags. These are just the tip of the iceberg for ways to ensure the wedding reflects you. 

Q: How far in advance should couples aim to secure their venue and date when planning a wedding in six months?

This will be your first major task after hiring a planner. Ideally, you’ll secure your venue within the first few weeks. During this time, you can focus on your guest list and attire as you won’t be able to start booking other vendors until you have a date and venue. 

Q: When is the ideal time to send save the dates and wedding invitations for a wedding planned in just six months? 

Skip save the dates aside from letting your immediate friends and family know about the date. Dive straight into securing your venue and core creative team in the first month. Part of this team will be your paper goods partner and you should begin the invitation design immediately. Mail your invitations 3-4 months in advance and request an rsvp 8-10 weeks in advance. 

Q: Can you provide tips for choosing and ordering a wedding dress on a shorter timeline?

Unless you’re having a custom gown made, focus on trunk shows or ready to wear designer styles. You’ll need to allow a minimum of a month for fittings, and we suggest scheduling thes well in advance since fittings frequently take a couple of months.

How To Plan A Wedding In Months With Emily Coyne hanging flowers
How To Plan A Wedding In months piano

Q: At what point should couples book a hotel room block for their guests when planning a wedding in six months?

 Within the first 1-2 months. You’ll be likely to get better rates the earlier you secure the block, and you want the block established prior to sending invitations (and prior to sending save the dates if you’re doing these, though we suggest skipping them for a 6 month engagement). Working with a wedding travel agency will make the room block process much simpler. We partner with Wedaways Travel for all of our blocks. 

Q: How can couples efficiently figure out their guest list within a shorter time frame?

Communicate openly about it with your families. If necessary, schedule a family meeting to hash it out. Also, set clear parameters from the beginning and stick to them – such as “no plus ones unless living together” etc. 

Q: What advice do you have for establishing the wedding party when planning a wedding in just six months?

First, the decision to have a wedding party or not is completely up to you, and it’s certainly not something you should have if you don’t want to. If you do want a wedding party, ask them prior to the invitations being mailed. It will make them feel honored and they should be “in the know” prior to other guests. Even numbers are a thing of the past and couples now are focused on choosing the people that matter most to them, regardless of if that means 3 on one side and 5 on the other. 

Q: How should couples go about hiring the rest of their vendors in a timely manner?

The key is not overwhelming yourself with options. Trust other professionals that you already love and meet only with the top 1-3 that they suggest for each category. As you review, make a decision and then move on. Remember, relationships in the wedding industry go a long way. Good people work with other good people, and the ones that go above and beyond rise to the top quickly, so your venue or wedding planner will easily be able to steer you towards the people that will work the hardest for you. 

Emily Coyne Wedding Planner bride
How To Plan A Wedding In Month With Emily Coyne handing lanterns

Q: When is the appropriate time to get wedding bands when planning a wedding with a shorter timeline?

This can be done at any point that’s convenient for you, although we suggest beginning this search at least a couple of months prior to the wedding. If you want engraving, allow a few weeks for this process. 

Q: Can you suggest strategies for fitting in menu and cake tastings when time is limited?

The ideal approach is to schedule one full day, or two half days back to back, particularly if you’re traveling for a destination wedding. Have you design meeting in the morning, and finalize everything tabletop and floral, then move to your menu tasting around noon. Finish this with a cake tasting. It’s a full day, but fun, and everything is fresh in your mind as you’re making decisions. Don’t leave those meetings without finalizing all decisions, or at least 95% of them. You’re never going to remember the food as well as you do there at the end of the tasting. It’s the perfect time to secure those choices as well as anything you didn’t taste, such as bar package, late night snacks, etc. 

Q: What’s your recommendation for planning the honeymoon when the wedding is just six months away? 

Work with a travel agency or honeymoon planner such as Wedaways. You’ll be making so many decisions for the wedding, and relying on the guidance of a professional will take a huge amount of time and work off your plate. Alternatively, divide and conquer with your fiancé. If one of you is more focused on the wedding, the other should do the bulk of the honeymoon planning. 

Q: When should couples order their marriage license for a wedding planned in six months?

A marriage license can only be obtained within 90 days of the wedding. When during this time frame you choose to get the license is completely up to you, so do it when it’s convenient for your schedule. This might be well in advance or it may be the week of the wedding. In general though, we suggest doing things early whenever possible as you won’t want a huge task list to pile up up the week of the wedding. In fact, it’s best to plan the wedding as though the date is two  weeks prior to when it actually is. This will allow you truly relax and pamper yourself in those last two weeks. 

Q: At what point should brides schedule a hair and makeup trial in preparation for the wedding?

This can be done closer to the wedding – sometime in the final month is perfectly fine. If you’re someone who feels quite confident in your beauty team and doesn’t need to experiment with lots of looks, it’s also acceptable to schedule the trial a day or two prior to the wedding, particularly if you won’t have time to travel in for a trial earlier. 

How To Plan A wedding in month with emily coyne ceremony

Q: When is the best time to finalize the seating chart when planning a wedding in a shorter time frame?

We always suggest requesting RSVP’s 8 weeks prior to the wedding. This allows time for chasing those who didn’t respond, and then a couple of weeks to do the seating chart before paper goods should be printed. There is no reason to push this closer to the wedding and this timing will allow you to feel calm and in control. The only consideration is that you’ll need to select your paper goods partner in the first 1-2 months and approve your invitations for printing by the end of month 2 so that they can be mailed at the end of month 3. 

Q: Are there certain elements of wedding planning that should take precedence over others when time is of the essence?

Absolutely. For example booking the core vendor team and locking in your date on their calendars should be handled prior to design. A simple rule is that any vendor who can only do one wedding per day should be booked as far in advance as possible to allow you the greatest chance of getting your top pick. This includes photo, video, beauty team, etc. A bakery can handle several cakes on the same day so this can be booked slightly later.  

Q: How can couples effectively communicate their vision to vendors when there’s less time for back-and-forth?

If possible, hire a planner who can do this for you! It’s an investment not only in your wedding day, and in maximizing the value of everything you plan, but also an investment in your mental state and can help make or break your ability to enjoy the process. Additionally, be transparent with your vendors. Tell them up front what your budget is and what you’re hoping to achieve. The faster all parties can lay everything on the table, the more productive communication will be. It’s also very helpful to build a timeline for the day, and design board (even a 1-2 page one) early on and share these to expedite conversations and eliminate back and forth. 

Q: What advice do you have for couples who may feel overwhelmed by the time constraints of planning a wedding in six months?

Trust your instincts and rely on those around you. A six month time frame is plenty of time to plan an incredibly detailed, thoughtful event. Focus on your priority areas and be okay letting other details be handled by someone else, or removed entirely. The most important thing is to cherish that you’re getting married, and allow yourself to enjoy the process of getting there. 


Expert Advice Emily Coyne headshot

Defined by style and impeccable attention to detail, Emily Coyne Events is a luxury wedding planning firm producing highly customized destination events worldwide.


Photography credit: Twah Dougherty Photography, Brian Leahy Photography

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