Hi everyone, it’s Alex. As promised, I am kicking off our new Wedding Bells series this month. Not too long ago I got engaged and I am currently in the throws of planning my own wedding. There have been ups, downs, and an endless list of lessons learned and I am excited to share it all with you as I prepare for my August nuptials. Today’s topic: What to do when you first get engaged. Enjoy!
Preparing for a wedding is like a full time job, even with a planner. While I’d love to say that it’s all cake tastings and clinking champagne glasses—in reality it’s a lot of planning, budgeting, along with a few headaches. That’s not to say it’s a terrible process (because it IS fun!), there are just a lot of details (maybe too many) to deal with and it’s important to keep your wits about you or else you could end up on MTV’s True Life: I Am Bridezilla. Nevertheless no planning process is perfect and there will always be mini catastrophes along the way…
Minor Headache Exhibit A: Tablecloths look lovely, however they will inevitably have ugly creases in them when you have a limited amount of time to set up…which is the case with most venues.
Minor Headache Exhibit B: You want to get married in a vineyard but they will not allow a full bar…and one of the groom’s only requirements is a full bar.
Minor Headache Exhibit C: You want to have an evening wedding and your dream venue has a ridiculously early curfew or 8pm sound restriction.
As you can imagine, there is a seemingly endless list of things to decide on and deal with—from linens to lighting to remembering to buy a pretty hanger for that inevitable ghostly hanging wedding gown photo (You know you’ve seen it on Pinterest). But before you so much as spend a dime on your big day (or pin too many images), I learned there is a list of things you must do before the actual wedding planning can commence… So what’s a girl to do when she finds herself sporting a newly acquired sparkler?
My 5 Must-Dos Before You Plan Your I-Dos
- Make sure your ring is insured. If not, get it insured—stat!
- Set a timeline. The second I got engaged everyone kept asking me if had I set a date yet… This question is inescapable so be sure to have an idea as to when you would like to tie the knot. I suggest picking your favorite season or time of year since you may have to be flexible in case your venue is booked on the exact date you were imagining.
- Get inspired! Decide on your style, ideal location, and overall aesthetic. Do you prefer modern, rustic, or uber traditional? I used sites like Pinterest to put together visuals of what I wanted my day to look like. (You can take a peek at my wedding board here.) My favorite websites to browse for inspiration are 100 Layer Cake, Style Me Pretty, Once Wed, and Ruffled. Just be forewarned that you can get sucked into these websites for hours on end. There are so many creative ideas out there! Even if you’re not planning a wedding, there are lots of cute décor ideas you can incorporate into your home or even your next birthday party.
- Set a budget. Figure out who is contributing to your wedding and how much they can give. This is crucial since it will affect every single decision thereafter. It may be a bit uncomfortable, but you have to get it out of the way as soon as you can so you can get to the fun part—planning!
- Draft a guest list. It may seem premature but you need to get a good idea of how many people you will be inviting. This number should be dictated by your budget, first and foremost, and it will affect a number of factors including your venue. It’s also helpful to know that most venues have restrictions on how many guests they can accommodate. For example, my venue only accommodates 200 people so I had to make sure our guest list did not exceed that limit.
Once you’ve checked the above off your list, you’re ready to get started on planning your big day!
As for me, I am getting married in August and am in the midst of planning my wedding with the help of an out-of-this-world-amazing planner, Ashley Bryant of Mein Schatz. From venue scouting to hair trials and everything in between, I’ll be sharing lessons learned, helpful resources, tips, timelines, and updates all along the way in this Wedding Bells series. Plus, if you have any questions, just ask! I’ll be looking forward to helping you solve all of your bridal woes and burning etiquette questions, too.
Whether you’re a bride-to-be, a bridesmaid, or a guest, I’ll do my best to ensure we’re wedding pros by the time I walk down the aisle in August.
In a couple weeks I’ll share my wedding planning timeline along with a few insider tips on major wedding myths that are completely false.
Are you married? Engaged? In a wedding? Attending a wedding? Tell me in the comments below along with your most pressing questions. Anything goes!