As many of you may know, I’m engaged! And if you didn’t know, where have you been?? Lupo and I are actually celebrating a year of engagement TODAY. Crazy right? Well I’ve received plenty of questions about the wedding planning process and I like to consider myself a little bit experienced now so a I’ve compiled a few thoughts on navigating the early stages of wedding planning.
1. So first off, congrats!! This is so special. Take a deep breath because you’re in for quite a ride. So my first and probably most important tip is —Take your time. And I repeat, take YOUR time. There seems to be this unrealistic idea of wedding planning on the media and Pinterest so don’t let that get your carried away. Really enjoy your time being engaged and with your soon-to-be hubby. Because once the planning starts, the time will fly by. It can be super thrilling to want to start planning right away but you have all the time in the world. (Or at least a month or two won’t hurt you). Don’t compare yourself to others timing because trust me when I say, a year is not enough time. At least for us anyway. Especially if you have plans in moving in together, having children, etc. So together, figure out when you anticipate the wedding to be. I definitely don’t think that you have to be engaged for exactly a year. Unless you’ve already talked about it in detail before the engagement then props to you! That’s amazing. Lupo and I got engaged in late Summer of 2018 and wanted a Spring wedding but we knew that 2019 was too soon so we went for 2020 and we’ve already been engaged for a year now which FLEW by and am so thankful to have had some time to just really do some research on the type of wedding we wanted and weigh out all my options while building our relationship and preparing for our future together.
2. Use social media to your advantage. Join FB groups such as something new, something old. On here, hundreds of brides to be, now wives, and vendors chat about all things wedding. Here you’ll find all kinds of vendors, venues and advice to pretty much anything wedding related. Spend some time on Pinterest, mapping out what kind of wedding you’d like. BUT be really realistic about the expectations. Don’t become to set on making some of those photos come to life because truth is, those photos are probably staged or are way out of your budget. (or maybe they’re not and you have money to blow, then do you boo boo.)) But use this time to really lock in the style of wedding you both would like and the things you don’t like so you can have a clearer vision before you begin doing vendor research.
3. Once you’ve let things sink in it’s time to discuss your budget. AH, money talk. I know. It’s not always the most fun to talk about but your budget is first & forth most. This will really help you begin the wedding process with more clarity and realistic expectations about the type of wedding to plan. During this time you should also figure out a saving plan if you plan to pay for the wedding yourself and review the savings you may already have. If you’re anything like Lupo and I, who plan to pay for the majority of our wedding ourselves then you’ll want to set up a strict budgeting plan. We used excel templates and budgeting apps such as Qapital to really help us reach our goals. From this, we decided how much we were going to put aside every month and so far, it’s been pretty successful.
4. If your family members haven’t thrown you an engagement party by now, check into your budget and see if this is something you want to spend money on. We had ours at a little restaurant with about 70 people 3 months after our engagement. We debated on waiting until Spring but we were just eager to celebrate our love with our closest family and friends. But ultimately the timing is up to you. You also don’t NEED an engagement party so don’t feel obligated to have one. Maybe just go out for dinner or BBQ with both of your immediate families to celebrate.
5. Decide if you want a wedding planner. If you’re anything like me, you get obsessively consumed in planning. I couldn’t take on fully planning my own wedding because then I’d be planning it 24/7. So I decided to hire a wedding planner to help me and relieve some stress and give me a second opinion. We have a full wedding planner who helped from even before choosing our venue. However, you have many options on the type of wedding planner you’d like. There’s full planning, like we have that will help you entirely along the way. Partial planning typically helps you with the rest of the vendors after you have the venue. Month of planner will usually help you with tying up lose ends and making sure everything runs smoothly the day of. Then the day of coordinator is there for you the day of to run the show. A lot of venues require this nowadays. Whatever you decide will depend on how much you’re willing to take on, the help you have, and how elaborate your wedding will be but I highly encourage to to get one. The last thing you want is being stressed about minor details on your big day so hiring someone to be that person of contact is key.
6. I’d suggest downloading a friendly wedding app to start searching your vendor options in your area and contacting them. Some of the popular apps are Wedding Wire, Zola or The Knot. This made my life easy in terms of finding venue options in Santa Barbara. Unless you have your dream venue set, Make a spreadsheet of your favorite venues. Begin listing the pros and cons to help you narrow them. I wouldn’t suggest seeing 35+ venues like I did. Unless you’re into that. I would say a solid 10 would be good. One thing I will say is though, is to listen to your gut. If you spend too much time way out the options, you will never make a decision so once you feel comfortable, make a decision and stick to it. I am learning to work on this.
7. And lastly, remember that this day is about you and your fiancé only. Do what makes the two of you happiest. It’s okay to get people’s opinion but I’ve learned the hard way that the more opinions I ask for, the more people will chime in and the more form you’ll be about making decisions. Set a timeline that works for both you and your fiancé and set aside times during your week to wedding plan. Otherwise, it can begin to feel overwhelming for the 2 of you. Wedding planning will put both of you to the test so really stick to your budget, vision and take both of your opinions into consideration.
I hope you found this helpful! Did I miss anything? Is there any tips you would give a new bride to be? What other wedding topics would you ant me to cover next? Let me know in the comments below.