Will and I got engaged on April 2. That means we are now eleven weeks into planning our wedding and (WHOA!) it has been a roller coaster ride! I thought I’d share an update on the planning progress I have made so far and share my top five most helpful tips for brides-to-be who are also planning a wedding.
So far, I have gotten a handful of things locked down. We have a venue for the ceremony and reception. Our venue, the Goodstone Inn, also includes catering so this was sort of a three-in-one decision. This also means we are locked in to get married on April 28, 2018 (eeek! :-)). We have also secured a photographer – Jof Panlaqui, aka Joffoto – and we are super excited to be working with him.
This past weekend I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, and we found a perfect dress! I’m quite excited about it because my dress will incorporate lace from my grandmother’s wedding dress, which was also on my mom’s dress and I’ll get to wear the veil my late grandomother made for my mom. I was named after my grandmother, so it means a lot to me to have her be a part of my wedding day.
In addition to these big things, we have drafted our guest list, chosen our wedding party, made some decisions on the timing/agenda for our big day and have come close to solidifying our band. Outstanding items for us to figure out include a florist, cake/dessert, our send off, specialized signs, our officiant, stationery, our hashtag and the list goes on and on!!
- Prioritize! Before you book or buy anything, think about what’s most important to you. A lot of timelines will advise you to book things in a certain order but remember – timelines are guidelines! If something is “the most important thing” for you, then book it first and let that be the foundation for your other plans.
- Pick a theme that’s true to you and your fiancé. You’re planning a BIG day that revolves around the two of you. Avoid creating a false personality for your wedding by thinking about both of your styles at the very beginning and pinpointing an authentic theme. This will help with so many decisions along the way. You may like many different styles, decor and ambiances, but if you’re indecisive think about think about which element matches your identity best. Ideally guests will come to the wedding and think, “Oh! This is so them!”
- Brainstorm! Whether it’s Pinterest or bridal magazines, dive into a resource that will get you thinking creatively. Save anything you like for plans that you still need to solidify. There are great websites too that can help you think about fun personal touches you can add to your wedding. Southern Weddings, which a friend recommended to me (thanks Emily!), has amazing profiles of real weddings. There are tons of great resources out there though, so check them out, find out what you like and maintain a way of organizing your creative brainstorming sessions so that you can easily find the information later on.
- Take a break! I try to have a couple days each week when I “forget” about the wedding planning. This helps prevent burnout and maintains the element of fun. There’s no right or wrong cadence for breaks, but it’s important to have some time away from the wedding plans throughout the process. Some people want to wait on the wedding planning and have a break for a few weeks once they get engaged, while others (like me) want to dive right in, get a few things solidified and then take a break. Think about what’s most realistic for you and have your fiancé hold you accountable (he/she will probably enjoy distracting you from it!!).
- Expect to feel overwhelmed. At some point (if not several times) you’ll get overwhelmed and that is 100% normal. There’s a learning curve with wedding planning and SO many different things to figure out. Just work through the overwhelming feelings and remember why you’re planning in the first place. This is an exciting time, so have fun and enjoy the crazy ride that is wedding planning!
So, these are the tips I’d share with anyone who recently got engaged or has recently started planning their wedding. Have you planned a wedding? Or have you been part of the planning process with a close friend or family member? I’d love to hear about your personal experiences and if you have additional tips.