Love is in the air if you got engaged over Christmas or Valentine’s Day, and it’s time to start planning a wedding. You are right on schedule to hire a wedding planner, pick the date and book the venues for your June wedding. I’m talking about June next year. Most brides plan on an engagement that lasts 18 months. Wait, what?! You and the most wonderful man in the world are thinking THIS year?

Then you’d better be prepared to think outside the box. You may have to sacrifice some traditions, but the creativity you put into high gear will make this wedding uniquely personal and meaningful. When you plan a wedding in three months or less, you have to think fast and act faster.

Flexibility on date and time can open up a wide variety of locations for the ceremony. If you are locked in to a weekend date to make traveling convenient for out-of-town guests, consider a non-traditional site such as a museum or photo studio. Consolidating ceremony and reception at a restaurant saves you time scouting locations. Picking a restaurant or hotel gives you the benefit of on-site catering for food and the all-important wedding cake. Plus, holding both events at one venue adds to convenience on your wedding day.

A major part of your planning should be getting the invitations out six to eight weeks before the wedding in time to give your guests an opportunity to respond. Your caterer would love to have a head count that is close to accurate. Mailing invitations three months ahead of time is optimum for a destination wedding. Figure on two weeks to hand address and stamp invitations and factor in printing time and you can see that you are right up on the invitation deadlines at this moment.

For more ideas about finding the right wedding dress, securing a wedding planner and coping with the million and one details of a quick wedding, go here.

If you’ve had a chance to take a deep breath, you may want to weigh the advantages of a longer engagement. Engagements are a great opportunity to see how Mr. Right performs under stress. The longer the engagement, the lower the stress but the better opportunity for detailed observation, right?

Run through this checklist, and you’ll see why 40 percent of brides-to-be conclude 13 to 18 months is just about enough time to get it all together. Just for fun, compare your engagement with others who are about to take the big step at this cute graphic on wedding planning statistics.

If you feel as though you are drowning amid all these choices and decisions, remember: we just want you to be happy. On this occasion above all others, do what makes you happy.