How to Plan a Wedding in 5 Months

If you don't already know, my husband Jon and I planned our wedding in just 5 months! We dated only 4.5 months before getting engaged as well. (Don't worry, I'd tell you we were crazy too.) You can read about how we met and our story here on our original wedding website. 

We're by no means wedding planners, but somehow managed to pull off the wedding of our (my) dreams in only 5 months. Looking back, these are the major steps we took along the way to plan it so quickly, and our favorite things about our special day.

1. Set a Budget

We started by taking a serious look at our bank accounts, and started getting together with our family to determine exactly how much help they'd be able to give us financially so we could plan our budget accordingly. We ended up paying for nearly all of it ourselves, but these things are good to know from the get-go! Don't make any assumptions.

2. Choose a Venue & Set a Date

Next, we searched tirelessly for a venue. Our engagement began with us thinking we'd get married almost a year later, but after a number of venues telling me they were all booked up for the following spring, I began to ask every place I called, "What is your earliest availability?!?" I assumed everyone would tell me well over a year from now, but then I stumbled across places that had availability as early as 4 or 5 months! This shifted our whole mindset. Even though it would mean getting married in the middle of my hardest semester yet, we were just so excited to be married that soon! So we booked the venue, then set a date.

Don't let "perfect date" stop you from finding the perfect venue.

Refined from  N & J Mood Board

Refined from N & J Mood Board

3. Create a mood board. (Pinterest time!!)

I began by sifting through the clutter of my "wedding inspiration" board to nail down a look that would match the vibe of the venue and my dream wedding: lush, elegant, and detail oriented.

Creating a refined mood board was the key to planning the entire wedding in such a short amount of time time.

I designed our final mood board in InDesign to show a cohesive and refined view of it all. (In my opinion) your final mood board should contain: a refined color palette, typography style, flowers/table-settings, wardrobe, and photography style. Each photo and color should work together with the others to show the overall feeling of the day. All the while I was keeping in mind what the venue looked and felt like as well.

Having this mood board to come back to made planning every single detail SO MUCH easier. I knew the exact look and feel I wanted, meaning it was easier to cut through the clutter and make better, quicker decisions.

4. Select your vendors & make some trades.

One of my favorite things about our wedding was working with as many vendors as we could that shared our faith in the Lord. And I think God planned it just so.

Our dream florist happened to be in the midst of a re-brand and re-decorating of their church, and worked out a generous trade with us for a number of custom sized and printed Naomi Paper Co. pieces.
A friend I had met at a couple of Bible studies worked her magic on my hair.
A member of our church was just starting up her own gluten free bakery and was in need of some branding materials, so we worked out a trade.
Our sweet photographer Emily who has the biggest heart for the Lord was also in need of some re-branding.
My maid of honor is the most talented metal smith and designed me custom gold wedding earrings and was able to help me create my own cake topper too!

God worked it all out just so. Working with people that shared our faith the whole time, cheering us on, meant the world.

Who do you have on your team ready to help you, make a trade with you, and cheer you on? Being a graphic designer made that easy in some ways, but we all have a skill or a talent that can help someone else. These are great things to think about, and you never know what you can work out with someone if you never at least ask!

5. Get organized.

Our photographer and everyone involved in the wedding loved how organized we were, which made it easier again to build great relationships with all of our vendors.

I designed the sheets below in InDesign to help us out. The first sheet is a very specific shot list for our photographer. This one was for all of the photos we wanted getting ready, at the ceremony/reception, and with each member of our bridal party. We made a similar shot list for our family photos as well.


Again, I used my Pinterest board and mood board to help me develop my list. For example, I loved looking at men's tie/suit/boutonniere combos and wanted a shot like that as well.

Specified shot on our shot list: "closeup of Jon's bow tie/boutonniere"

Specified shot on our shot list: "closeup of Jon's bow tie/boutonniere"

I payed attention to what photos were my absolute favorites on Pinterest, and tried to describe them the best I could on the shot list. Don't assume your photographer will always naturally catch them!

Equally important was the itinerary I created in InDesign outlining the date, time, location, and details of each and every event relating to the wedding. I got this idea from my friend Rebecca who has shot a number of weddings herself. From our bachelor/bachelorette parties on Thursday to our final cleanup on Monday; each day had a detailed itinerary and was sent to everyone involved on each day.


Not to sound like a total Type A (because I'm really not) but it was absolutely the most organized day of my life, which I think helped make it the best day of my life. Just a theory.


Favorite things we did on our wedding day:

1. Write our own vows

When we first met with our Pastor for our pre-marriage counseling, we had no intention of writing our own vows. That felt like a lot of pressure and I was afraid I just wouldn't be able to find the words to say. But then we attended our first wedding together a month before our own, and were inspired by the beautiful vows of Carolyn (To the Weft Textiles) and her husband Drew. We both looked at each other and knew we had to write our own too. I read through some of the vows on for inspiration. My top love language is "words of affirmation," so hearing Jon's words to me are something I'll hold onto forever.


 2. First look

I'm actually a really good public speaker, but I have the worst case of nerves each and every time without fail. I just hate the idea of every single person having their eyes on me. It's safe to say that the moments leading up to walking down the aisle were some of the most difficult moments the whole day, which made me SO glad that we had done a first look beforehand.
It was a time to just bask in the view of each other in our wedding day bliss without distraction. Plus there's just no one else that can put my nerves at ease throughout the day as well as him. It also meant that we got to hang out and celebrate with our favorite people in our bridal party and our closest family for even longer since we weren't constricted to only the reception time which feels so fast. 

3. Breakfast for Dinner & Gluten Free Dessert


Leslie Knope said it best.
Our favorite restaurants are cute brunch spots and/or dingy diners that offer breakfast all day. Breakfast for dinner was not only so uniquely us, but also cheaper than dinner food! It was different, surprised our guests, saved us money, and everyone loved it.

For dessert, we went with gluten free donuts and cinnamon rolls that were AMAZING. We're not gluten free ourselves, and really only knew about 3 people attending our wedding that were.

We just genuinely wanted to make every single person feel welcome and able to enjoy our wedding to the fullest.

Countless friends and family that we had no idea were gluten free came up to us to thank us for letting them enjoy the food just as much as everyone else (and not feel singled out with a secondary, lesser dessert just for gluten free people). Many didn't remember the last time they got to enjoy the dessert at a wedding at all!

Look out for our next blog post about the wedding with all the nitty gritty design details.


Venue: The Seeboth
Photography: Emily Valentine Green Bay Photo
Flowers: Sweven Floral
Invitation Letterpress Printing: Bay View Printing Company
Dessert: Devour Gluten Free Bakery (contact me for details)
Dress: Bliss Bridal
Hair:  Hannah Crawley
Earrings: Custom by Chelsea Nanfelt
Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie
Bridesmaid Robes: Etsy
Breakfast for Dinner Caterer: Armon's Catering

Naomi DableComment