For those of you who don’t know me, Lane and I got engaged last May (2016) in California. The night he proposed I started planning my dream wedding….
…wait, who am I kidding?
I’ve been planning my dream wedding for a couple years now or since I discovered Pinterest. Which by the way – what did we ever do without Pinterest?! So lets back up…
The night he proposed I couldn’t help but talk everything wedding with Lane from colors to dates to bridal party, I was just so excited. It has been 9 months since we got engaged and we have 8 more months left until we wed.
For anyone who is planning their wedding or has just started it is an ENTIRE learning process and you will learn so much as you go. I will tell you all my advice and experiences, but every person and their plan is different so take as much or as little as you’d like. I promise you, you will either LOVE it or HATE it. There is no in-between. My mom and I have fallen in love with this whole process and have even thought about starting a career in wedding planning (and YES, I said my mom because duh! I’m a momma’s girl and she has to love it too and we all know guys could care less what color Charger we will use…).
Okay, so first things first…
- Pin, pin, pin, pin! Come up with a theme because half of your vendors will ask “what is your wedding theme?” Our theme is classy and elegant, and with those two little words “BAM!” they know what I want.
- Start a wedding planner – I promise you it will come in handy. Some days you will feel lost and need that to keep sane, and other days you will feel boujee and get sh** crossed off your to-do list. Either way, the planner is a must.
- Pick a budget and TRY to stick with it whether you are saving up and paying for it, parents are paying for it, or in-laws are paying for it. I will be completely honest with you, you will probably spend a little more than what your budget is. It is just reality, because you don’t really know what your getting into so you put what you *THINK* it is going to be before taxes, tips, etc. Just food for thought !!!
- For those of you whose man just knelt down on one knee and asked to spend the rest of their life with you.. ( CONGRATULATIONS AND I HOPE YOU LEARN A LOT FROM THIS!!! ) just remember this – March, April, October and November are considered “the wedding season” and if you want to find a venue during “the wedding season”, you need to make sure your date is flexible. We were lucky enough that the date we wanted was open, October 21, 2017 because we booked it 17 months ahead of time.
- Speaking of the venue, BEFORE looking at venues, you need to make a rough draft guest list. You may be wondering why do I need to make a list so soon in the game?! Most venues have a limit on how many guests you are allowed so it is a good idea to have a rough estimate before falling in love with a venue. We wanted a venue that would fit up to 200 people, so that’s why we went with Hammock Beach Resort amongst other reasons.
- Lane and I were clueless on what type of venue we wanted, we knew we would like to get married by the beach because we are both water babies, but we didn’t want it ON the beach. My advice to you is narrow down your favorite attributes on a couple venues and go “venue shopping!” and by that I mean, drive by and if you can go explore the venue (ours is a resort so we just walked right in like we owned the place!) before making a consultation so you don’t waste your time. Within the first 10 minutes you will know if you want it keep it on the list.
- For me, it was important to pick my wedding party early because I wanted them to be involved in as much as they wanted. I wanted their opinion when I went wedding dress shopping, bridesmaids shopping, picking out invitations, wedding decor. I literally text my MOH about every. single. little. thing. Sorry Mag 😉
- Just to let you guys know, I’m not going in any type of order – just typing as I think – it is v important that you DONT look at other dresses after you have found “THE ONE”, just don’t!!!!
- On the dress note, also don’t settle until you have found “THE ONE”, it is out there, there is one for everyone so just keep looking if you haven’t fallen in love.
- Before picking a vendor, check The Knot or Wedding Wire and read a couple of the reviews, especially if it is a random one. Fortunately, my photographer, videographer, makeup artist, and hair stylist are people I have known forever.
- GO TO BRIDAL EXPOS, even if you have a few vendors already, they are a lot of fun and you learn a lot. We found our DJ at the Bridal Expo in Jax and Carlton is literally the best. We had a consultation with him afterwards and he is the perfect match for Lane and I… (he also has 5 stars on The Knot, etc which I checked before consulting with him.)
- With 8 months left until our wedding, I am getting our Save-the-Dates ready which I will be sending out in March. You want to try to send those out 6-8 months before the wedding.
- Don’t feel obligated to invite everyone you know… this is a hard one for me to deal with, but at the end of the day it is about you, not them.
- DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. You may be SO SICK of the word wedding after a couple of months (or if you are making your man help with planning – he will be sick of the word even more LOL) but I promise you will feel less-stressed and relaxed if you plan months ahead of time. I have all of my BIG vendors booked already 8 months out, and I am picking up my dress this weekend. A couple little things we have to do is do a cake testing, pick out invitations, pick out our playlist for our DJ, finalize the guest list, etc.
- If you throw an engagement party, make sure everyone you invite are invited to the wedding.
- Last but not least, pick a MOH that will be there for you 24/7. I don’t know what I would do without my personal stylist aka MOH because she is literally 3rd in command after Lane and I. She keeps me sane and helps me when I have big decisions (like picking out the perfect Bachelorette weekend house ;-)).
I hope this helps a little! I plan on doing another blog post after the wedding when I learn even more. Like I said before, we are still 8 months out, so there is a lot of little things left to be done. I wanted to write this post mainly to help get everyone started in planning their wedding. It is a learning experience for all of us! If you ever have any questions or recommendations, let me know! I would love to try to help! 🙂
I hope you have a great rest of the week!