For The Newly Engaged

It seems as though proposal season just wrapped up! SO many people around me are newly engaged or are in the middle of wedding planning like me! It truly is such an exciting time of life! It seems like just after the initial excitement & shock factor settles, people already start asking you questions about where & when you’re getting married, who will be in your wedding, who your photographer will be, what kind of dress you’re thinking of, etc. As thrilling as it is to be engaged, simply starting to plan your wedding can be a little overwhelming. Today, I’m sharing the best advice I’ve been given + the lessons I’ve learned on beginning phases of wedding planning.

1. Pick the most important parts of your wedding to you & budget around THOSE. 

      It can feel overwhelming trying to choose  the best venue, best  photographer, best food — best everything. But,  life gets a lot more simple when you pick the 2-3 things that are the most important to you and budget / comprise around those. For example, the aspect of utmost importance to me was having all the people I wanted there. I care more about being able to have everyone that I want at our wedding than anything else. So because of that, I choose a cheaper catering option so that we could afford to have more people. The second most important aspect to me was having the photographer I wanted. The pictures we will have from our wedding day will be something we will have & look back on for the rest of our lives, so I wanted a great photographer. I didn’t care all too much about venue (other than wanting to be outdoors under trees) or about my dress. So if that meant we had to maybe spend a little less on those things to be able to to afford having all the people there and the photographer I wanted — by all means, lets do it!

2.  Be flexible on the rest.    

          When it comes to the rest of the aspects that maybe aren’t as important as your top 2 or 3, try to be flexible. This goes hand-in-hand with my first point of not stressing yourself out to have the best of everything. For example, I got REALLY freaked out when it came to pulling the trigger on a dress. Initially it wasn’t something I cared too much about, but when it came down to deciding, I swear I could’ve gave myself an ulcer! And for what? Yes, its our wedding day, the best day of our life. But it’s also… one day. 12(ish) hours. You could search forever and find hundreds of dresses you like and stress yourself out over picking the best one – but no matter what dress you pick, or how much you spend, the end result will be the same at the end of your wedding day: you’ll be married. Ultimately, try to be flexible, but decisive when the time comes to pull the trigger. Don’t over-complicate it by thinking about what else may be out there, or what everyone else is doing. Pick something that you love, and commit to it. Kinda like picking someone to marry 😉

3.  Keep a long term perspective

        Your wedding is ONE day – one very important day – but one day. This meaning behind this day holds so much more significance than any of the small details. This is the day you are bonded with your husband forever! How incredible is that? It’s easy to get wrapped up in the little things (currently doing that myself, TBH!) – what time the flowers will be dropped off, what kind of exit are you going to have, cake vs. cupcakes, etc… but in the grand scheme of things, none of that matters once the day is over. I think I’ve been told by almost every Christian woman to remember to not just prepare myself to be a bride, but a wife. Because after the wedding, the real adventure begins – marriage! I am trying to remind myself to focus on becoming a wife, and praying for God to mold me into what that looks like mentally, emotionally, & spiritually.

4.   Stay true to what you want! (if it’s rational)

        100% honesty here – this is where I need to take my own advice! I am usually pretty opinionated, but for some reason, with wedding planning, I have such a hard time sticking to the ideas I have in my head. I start seeing what other people have done, hearing what other people think, other bride’s suggestions, and suddenly I feel totally confused on what I want. When it comes to these situations, I’ve learned to be open to suggestions; listen to advice, research alternatives, and keep an open mind about doing things differently. Sometimes people suggest what worked for them and it is WAY more practical / affordable / easier / etc. than what I had in mind. So yes, take advice! But when it comes down to making a decision in the end, make sure it’s something you love, even if everyone else may have a different opinion. You know what they say…this is your wedding!

5.   Ask for help

        LADIES. UTILIZE. YOUR. ‘MAIDS! I have talked to so many bride-to-be’s and they are always talking about how much they have to do, make, pick up, etc. & how overwhelmed they are. While this is totally valid, I think a lot of that stress can be alleviated by asking for help from your girls!  I cannot tell you how many times I ask my sister for advice on things. I call her probably every other day with a question on wedding planning. “When should I order this? What size should this be? Where can I get those?” Not only ask for help when it comes to questions, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty.  When the time comes that I start feeling overwhelmed with things to do, I will for sure be leaning on my sister + Carley + all my other bridesmaids for help getting tings done. That is what your bridesmaids are here for! Don’t be afraid to ask them to help you make a decision, help you pick something up, come with you to meet a caterer, etc. These are your closest girls, they will likely be ready to help in any way they can 🙂

6. Wait to Ask Your Bridal Party

If you are having anything over a 6 month engagement, I would encourage you & your fiancé to wait to ask your friends to be in your bridal party. Not that this is a bad thing, but EVERYONE is so excited for you & involved in your life when you are very first engaged. You feel more celebrated & loved by friends than ever before! But this can also make you feel really bad for not putting some of those people in your bridal party. I mean, it’s hard enough to pick some of your closest friends already. How do you make the decision? By years of friendship? Closeness? How often you see one another? It really can get so sticky. Mix in the factor of every friend you have being so excited for you, & this decision all of a sudden gets even MORE difficult, if that was possible! I stressed over it and I have watched other people do the same. My advice would be to wait a few months (or so) until the chaos has settled & see who you are still close with, & which people make you / your friendship a consistent priority in their life. 🙂 So much can change in the time that you’re engaged. There is no harm in waiting to ask your bridal party.. after all, if they are your closest friends, they shouldn’t be going anywhere soon 😉

7. LISTS = LIFE!

      This is by far my #1 piece of advice! Throughout my entire engagement, I have been asked a TON if I am overwhelmed / stressed / ready to have a nervous breakdown over how much there is to get done for the wedding. In the beginning, I would always say, “not yet, but I’m sure I will be as the day gets closer!” but now I’m just a little more than a month away, and to be honest, I still feel really good! Don’t get me wrong, there is constantly something that needs to be done/ordered/followed up on, but I don’t feel totally overwhelmed and stressed out of my mind like everyone keeps saying I will! I truly believe that is because I have LIVED by my planner during this season (& asked for  help whenever I’ve needed it). I make lists every month to keep myself on track with wedding planning. Call it OCD, but they have kept me totally sane and on time with all my tasks. Here’s what I do:

At the beginning of the month: make a list of things that need to get done before the end of that month. Split up your tasks and assign them to a week of the month.

At the beginning of each week:  Assign your tasks for that week to a day/days to be completed.

For example, in May, I need to:

  • Pick songs for the ceremony & reception for the DJ
  • Pick out jewelry
  • Order a guestbook
  • Confirm details with florist
  • Order glowsticks for our send off /exit
  • Order programs
  • Finish seating chart
  • Make schedule for day of
  • Write out photos I want for my photographer
  • Meet with my day-of coordinator & discuss layout

What I do next is take 3 tasks and set a goal to complete them by the end of the first week of May.  At the beginning of that week, I pick a specific day  that week to sit down and accomplish those things.

So last week, I chose a day to do the things I had on my list.  Thursday was my day, and I picked songs for my ceremony, picked out wedding jewelry,  & ordered a guestbook!

My goals this week are to confirm details with my florist, order glow sticks, wedding programs & finish the seating chart.

I can’t tell you how much this habit has helped me stay on track! Though I feel like I am constantly adding to my to-do list, so long as I check it and really stay dedicated to getting things done, I stay busy, but not overwhelmed.

These are the best tips I’ve been given + the biggest lessons I’ve learned for the beginning phases of  wedding planning! I hope these help keep you as stress free as possible during this special season of life!

Did I miss anything!? Share your tips in the “Leave a Reply” section below 🙂

Happy Planning!!

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