Prepare yourself mentally
Get into the right frame of mind. Be prepared to compromise. Enter into the planning of your wedding with an open mind and flexibility. You may have it all planned out in your mind, but not keeping your ideas flexible will leave you frustrated and disappointed. Be ready to alter your ideas of what your dream wedding is. Do not try to over plan or be too controlling. Take everything with a grain of salt and a sense of humour.
Decide on a budget and stick to it
This is the first step in planning any wedding, but even more important when planning on a short-time line. You need to look at what funds you have to spend and be able to live and pay your bills. Buy a wedding planner book or make your own. Make sure it has a calendar and pockets to store brochures and clippings. This helps you organise your ideas and helps you store contact information all in one place.
Start planning as soon as you decide on a date
If you take care of everything in the beginning, you have more time to enjoy your engagement and more time to focus on the small, minor details (eg the font colour of your invitations).
Consider a casual theme wedding
Have a great party instead of a formal affair. Be creative and try to plan something full of fun. Remember at the end of the day you are still married, think out of the box and you will save your sanity and have a more memorable wedding than your friends who planned twice as long and spent ten times as much.
Research reception areas to see what is available in your budget
Determine if a reception location is available where you are having the ceremony. This will make things much easier to plan and more affordable. You will not have to arrange transportation for the wedding party and this will be one less thing to book and put a deposit on.
Contact an officiant to conduct the ceremony
Certain religions or churches require couples to attend pre-wedding counselling. If you want a religious officiant, your officiant will likely want to meet with you and your partner before the wedding to discuss vows, how they usually conduct ceremonies and other details.
You may need to be flexible with your time if you must have your preferred officiant. If they are not available you can ask if an associate pastor is available or if they can recommend someone else.
Pick out the bridesmaids dresses
Like wedding dresses, these can take several months to come in if you order them and may require your bridesmaids have them altered. Bridesmaids may not be as attentive to your time line, so try to pick out dresses that are figure forgiving or have laces instead of zippers. They will save alteration expenses and the minor details will not be a major problem if they do not use a good tailor/seamstress.
Meet with a few different photographers
Most photographers are busy and have limited schedules. But if you start early, your date is more likely to be available. Remember that an experienced professional wedding photographer would produce quality images, whatever the weather or regardless of any unforeseen circumstances.
Work with your partner to make a guest list
Determine how many people you can entertain with the budget and space you have available. Start getting their addresses together.
Meet with florist
If you find one that is reputable and available you should book them. Hopefully, you will have looked through bridal books and floral design sites to get ideas on how you would like your flowers to look.
Not all flowers are available year round.
You may discover you are paying almost double for a flower that is out of season and difficult to come by, but could be replaced with a similar flower with more availability.
Contact local caterers and discuss food options for your reception
Discuss various menus and costs. Also discuss whether you will offer alcohol and how it will be served.
Find a band or DJ
If you are booking a band or a DJ you should start checking around and see who is good for the venue. On a short-time schedule, a DJ may be more affordable and more flexible. Ask around and see who is recommended. Meet and discuss the play list, if you are planning something small, do not worry about entertaining everyone with a dance reception.
Have your groomsmen pick up their suits several days before the wedding.
Thursday morning is usually the earliest for a Saturday wedding. They should try their suits, shoes, etc on immediately.
If there was a problem with size or a measurement, the store can still use a day or two to sort it out and possibly have another size shipped in.
You should be well on your way to a great and memorable wedding that will be a pleasure for you, your future spouse and your guests. Keep in mind that small, sweet and intimate is always better than big, impersonal and lavish.