“No, seriously…what do I do?” This was a question I asked myself once the excitement of being newly engaged really settled in. *Disclaimer 1: I am not “newly” engaged…we got engaged this past Spring and are getting married this fall. While to some this may seem like a “long” engagement, I like to think we are following one of my tips below and enjoying the moment.
This season of our life has been incredible. But, we now have a wedding to plan! *Disclaimer 2: I am no wedding planning expert here, I am a real life girl, with a real life budget and I’m excited to share this journey with you all as well as give any insights I can into making the wedding planning process as easy as possible.
Here is my advice for those…”now what?” moments as a fellow “bride to be.” I would love to hear how you got started planning your wedding!
Enjoy the moment
Seriously, enjoy it. After we got engaged, I called family and told my closest of close friends. My brand new fiance and I went to celebrate over some drinks and pretzel bites (is there any other way to celebrate?). I swear we were both physically glowing. I felt like people were looking at me and could tell “man, she just got engaged!” This was such a fun and special night, and although social media and blogging are ways to share a bit of our lives with one another, I wanted this moment to be mine for as long as possible. I also wanted to be sure I told everyone who I needed to hear the news from my mouth first, before I released it onto the tiny squares of Instagram.
If you can, take the day or night and just enjoy it. Focus on your significant other, spend some quality time together, celebrate, cheers, dance, cheers again!
Talk two things: Time & Budget
Once you’ve celebrated and enjoyed this moment together, you need to talk two important things: time and budget.
Time – decide how long of an engagement you want, and what time of year you’d like to get married. These might be discussions you’ve had prior to being engaged, but now it’s time to come to a decision together.
Budget – you need to have an idea of what you’re paying for and who is paying for it. Money talk isn’t always fun, but this is the first of many financial related decisions you’ll have to make together. We sat down and used the www.theknot.com and recommendations from friends to draw up a rough idea of a budget. When we started looking at venues, this benchmark was a good reference for to quickly decide if a venue was in or out of the amount we were willing to spend. There are tons of great resources out there to help you determine how to split up a wedding budget. Some favorites I’ve stumbled upon are linked below:
1. A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration / 2. A Practical Wedding Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Wedding You Want with the Budget You’ve Got (without Losing Your Mind in the Process) / 3. The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide: Hundreds of Tips and Tricks for Hitting Your Budget
Research and Visit
You have two important things decided (time and budget) now time to research and visit venues. Something important to remember during this process, it’s your day. If there are things important to you in a venue as a couple, do not settle. Also, keep your heart focused on the bigger picture. Yes, this is going to be the most important day of your life as a couple. But, this is just the beginning of your life together. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the wedding madness, but do not lose sight of why you’re doing this in the first place.
Gather inspiration, set timelines, get organized
Gathering inspiration is the fun part! Time to find your favorite pins from you secret wedding Pinterest board (yes, you know what I’m talking about), flip through those magazines your girlfriends are gifting you, and start envisioning the details of your day. If you have an idea of a theme or colors you’d like to go with, keep this in mind while visiting venues. Some themes or colors may come together better in certain venues. For example, a country themed wedding might look out of place in a ballroom venue.
Next, set your timeline and get organized. Once we found our venue, setting a timeline was much easier. We were able to plan out how much we both need to be saving each month, to-do’s to cross off, as well as when we need to tackle important things like, get engagement photos, go dress shopping, decide on a DJ. I suggest getting a wedding planner agenda, and a notebook to designate for all things wedding. This way, you can keep your notes, any handouts, and appointments all in one place.
My sweet friends gifted me with this adorable Bloom Daily Planner, Wedding Planner and Organizer and it’s been amazing so far!
There are 18 monthly calendar views where you can fill in the dates. This has been helpful for me to get a bird’s eye view at our month and keep our appointments and tasks on track. There’s also helpful timelines, and budgeting tools.
If you are a bride-to-be and find yourself scratching your head wondering where to start, I hope this post has helped you! There are so many little details that will go into this day, but I keep reminding myself that the bigger picture is the marriage itself. When things get stressful, I just think of the reason why we are doing this, and suddenly, deciding between gold and rose gold doesn’t seem like that big of a deal ;).
If you have wedding planning tips, or anything that has helped you during this time, I’d love to hear! Please comment below with advice for your fellow brides. Congrats!
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