New This Month

A Professional Planner Tells All: How Much Time Does It Really Take to Plan a Wedding?

Add up the number of hours and you'll be shocked.

Contributing Writer
wedding ceremony site
Photography by: Carrie Patterson

At the best of times, planning your wedding can feel like no big deal, but at the worst of times, it can feel like a full-time job. Why? Because it kind of is. If you sat down and tracked every single hour you and your future husband or wife spent organizing the details of your big day, you'd probably be surprised by the findings. How many hours do most couples really devote to planning their ceremonies and receptions? Here, one wedding planner lays it all out, plus offers tips for cutting that number down.

 

Related: Your Ultimate Wedding-Planning Timeline

 

Time Spent Planning

Based on a typical engagement length of 10 to 18 months, wedding planner Amy Nichols says that couples who are not working with a planner will spend between 200 to 300 hours planning their wedding. That's the equivalent of eight to twelve full days. This number will vary from couple to couple, and it really depends on your venue, its location, and the type of wedding you're hoping to plan. Another factor? How much time you're willing to put in. Some couples care a great deal about every small detail, but weighing various options for each element requires more time and energy.

 

Time Savings

Nichols estimates that hiring a wedding planner can reduce the total number of hours a couple will spend planning by at least half. "Wedding planners have vetted vendor referrals and can get answers very quickly in terms of venue availability, vendor availability, and pricing, as they work with venues and vendors on a regular basis," Nichols says. By having great relationships already in place, planners are able to make recommendations quickly and they know how best to manage their time and their clients' time.

 

The Biggest Secrets to Wedding-Planning Time Management

Being organized and staying on topic as much as possible will save you hours of planning time. Making decisions and sticking to them is another big key to success, saving you from hours and hours spent second-guessing your instincts. Lastly, learn how and when to delegate, and who you can rely on to get things done quickly. Nichols says when planning starts, "the amount of decisions to make can seem incredibly overwhelming, but truthfully you don't need to make every wedding decision as soon as you get engaged." She recommends getting the big decisions out of the way early on, including location, date, budget, and overall size. From there, you can determine your priorities and work out who will work on each aspect of the planning.