This is a first of my series & steps on planning your wedding! So here we go…
So, it happened, huh? The question you have been dreaming about hearing for so long…spent your days and nights imagining how it might go down and what the love of your life might say! Then one day.. BAM it happens…Will you marry me – Veux-tu m’épouser?, Quieres casarte conmigo? …whatever your language may be..It is truly one of the most exciting four words you will ever hear in your lifetime no matter how it happened! Here you are…engaged! You now wonder…where do I go from here! Well, don’t fret, I have a few tips for you and an idea of where to go to make it feel easier, organized and stress free!
Step 1…dream a little dream..
The first thing I honestly did when I got engaged and mind you this was 2004, was go straight to the newsstand and bought myself a big old pile of bridal mags! I know these days there are so many online resources, blogs & planning sites out there for your enjoyment and hey, I am one of them so trust me I get it. I like to promote myself as a great outlet for brides, but there really is something to just actually going old school right off the bat..and having physical magazines to get cozy with and pour over, grab a cup of coffee or tea on the sofa, get in your sweats and flip through and get dreaming! Keep an eye out for dress styles you like, ring settings (if you haven’t chosen one yet), decor that makes you go “wow, I love that”! and venues you are loving. Then..bookmark them (yes with a real live physical bookmark!) or tear them out and start a scrapbook with sections. Another thing I always loved was the ‘real wedding’ sections…make sure note what other brides have done style-wise and brides you can relate to and see what inspires you! My main tip for the dream phase is to just gather your thoughts, ideas and styles you like, but to not run out and make any decisions yet. It is so fun to dream, feel relaxed and enjoy this special moment you are about to embark on. Who knows, maybe you prefer to elope to an amazing tropical island to bask in the sun just with your honey and enjoy the special big day the two of you and make it a wedding/honeymoon all in one! The world is your oyster and only yours as a couple…so don’t let other’s opinions of what you “should or shouldn’t” do…deter you! Do what feels right to you!
Step 2…Let’s pick a date!
So, what does your gut tell you? Do you imagine a lovely spring or summer outdoor wedding with gorgeous blooming flowers, or the ocean.. or the smell of pine trees in the mountains in the warm evening Summer air? Or, does an amazing cozy, candlelit snowy winter wedding…complete with horse drawn carriage and a big roaring fireplace at the reception get you excited? So hard to choose! You will need to decide which season you feel fit for your wedding and once you decide that…you can plan the date! Keep in mind the climate, convenience for your guests and costs of travel for everyone. If you are inviting many out-of-town guests or planning a destination wedding, you will need to give them lots of notice and send out save-the-date cards as soon as you know and such notice let’s people book their flights early!
Step 3..Set the budget!
When your eyes are bigger than your wallet and you are looking at $7,000 dresses, but you know you really can only afford $1,000 or less…as hard as it is, you know deep down it’s time to get down and dirty with the budget.You need to be planning a wedding you both can truly afford with no worries. Once you decide on a budget, it will help you narrow down locations (venues) and to see what is available! Decide how much you can spend and how you want to spend it! Don’t worry..there are tons of cool choices at any and all budgets! You just must be creative! Also think about DIY for things like veils and headpieces, that’s what I did! Lots of great ideas and tutorials online and it’s a lot of fun as well!
Step 3…Location Location..
This was such a fun part of planning our wedding. I just loved visiting all the venues, looking and dreaming what it would be like to have our wedding there! I think firstly, you must determine what type of theme you have in mind. What feels right to you and is “very you” as a couple? For us, I have always loved anything vintage and my husband had a dream of a beach wedding in the Caribbean. What we ended up settling on…was a vintage “floribbian” vintage cuban type theme (you’re like “what is that”?!) I promise to post pics of our wedding..with a touch of seaside elegance thrown in, ;-). The whole thing felt us as a couple, touches of vintage, love of the ocean, the music…you name it! Point being..think of where you might be headed theme-wise or decor and let that help determine what type of venue you might book!
Step 4…Guest List
First thing to ask yourself with this next step is what size wedding do you envision. Do you want an intimate affair with immediate family? Or a huge blowout with everyone you know? We decided on a smaller wedding, mainly with our budget in mind because we were paying for most of it ourselves and also…we felt we wanted just family and a few very close friends. I think our guest list was around 50 people with about 45 showing up. If it all works with the budget then plan a size to best suit the two of you without feeling too overwhelming. I know many people I talk to have huge extended families and they end up having these huge, crazy, amazing weddings which can be so fun!! We both have very small families and so went with that and had a lovely intimate affair. Again, do what feels best for you as a couple and don’t let parents pressure you with adding more to the list. Remember you need to feel happy, safe and comfortable with the number. In closing for step 4, have your guest list nailed down, you will need to go through it with a fine toothed comb and really decide if you have to invite EVERYONE on the list …especially if it’s really crazy huge. Make a note of things like…maybe you have not talked to a guest in over a year, or if they are your parents friends and not yours specifially..do you really need to have them there? Really think about these things and most likely you will have to start weeding out some of your list to fit your budget and happiness.
Step 5..Start planning..enter..Computer world..
So as I said earlier, I do love me a pile of wedding mags, but the other truth is…there are just so many online planning and ideas options for you right there at your fingertips and you should most definitely take advantage! Step one in this category is.. if you are not on Pinterest yet, then go on and sign up now!.. www.pinterest.com , then start a Pinterest wedding board (don’t worry if you are worried about friends and family who are on Pinterest seeing your plans, don’t fret because you can set up a “secret” pin board.) Basically, you can search on Pinterest for ideas you want to see photos/pins of…and then re-pin them to your board, so it is basically a virtual scrapbook of sorts! I have to warn you, it is SO addictive so be careful! ha! It really is so much fun though and helps you and your wedding take shape in the form of your inspirations and ideas you love! Check out my pinterest page to get an idea of a few of my pins www.pinterest.com/froufroulebleu. I would then suggest you get on all the wedding blogs and subscribe to each and every one that you fancy! You will then receive updates via email when there are new posts and can get right on your laptop, ipad or PC and read all about it! Blogs are so amazing, which is obviously why I started writing one..and really just an amazing outlet for brides and has everything a magazine can offer! I feel bad saying that because I SO appreciate actual magazine editorial and it’s so sad that it’s such a dying breed these days, but such as life. I do recommend checking out all the blogs that fit what type of wedding you are planning…so for instance you are probably here with me reading this because you are planning a vintage inspired wedding, so check out the vintage blogs! :-). So glad you found me! Bottom-line..get searching online and it’s amazing how much will be useful to you for everything wedding related! Inspiration galore!!
Step 5 …onto the really fun stuff…the dress!!
Ok obviously this is my favorite part! I think once you have nailed down a few of the key points to your wedding, it’s fair to say that you are ready to start dress shopping! Definitely start looking approx 12-14 months before wedding… really the earlier the better. Most gowns take anywhere from four to six months to order from the designer (sometimes longer!), and then you have to have alterations on top of that, so it’s best to start shopping early, and try on a TON of dresses so that when you make up your mind, you’ll know for sure. Go to many stores and try them all on! Try on every style out there, even if you think you’ll hate it. You just never know until you have it on your body…what it can do for you. Also, remember that wedding dress shopping is a very different experience than regular dress shopping. Gowns are constructed better, and therefore look better on you. Which brings me back to my point….many styles you think you might hate ..will possibly look really good on you, so don’t discount it, try it first! One last word of advice..don’t bring too many people with you dress shopping. Bring one, maybe two, trusted friends or family members that will be honest with you, or go alone when you’re first trying on dresses. Nothing’s worse than a fellow shopper who tells you that you look good in everything, or having about 10 different opinions. I actually preferred to shop alone and actually got my dress online and had it altered locally once I received it. Really it’s to each their own. Best of luck with the best and most fun part and give yourself plenty of time!
Step 5…hire a planner or designer if you can and your budget allows..
Not every budget will allow for a planner, but if you decide on a venue that has no planning included (i.e.; meal plans, onsite catering and banquet team) and is a real bare bones location..then you may need the entrusted help of a planner! We used a planner for a few of the aspects of our wedding…which was held at a very bare bones yacht club which I don’t think ever had a wedding held there, really old school and dated, but right on the SF Bay and a view of the city! Our planner was great and such a help to us at the time because we were planning our wedding to be held in California.. from abroad in England where we lived at the time. She did a lot of the design aspects and fit it all within our budget and worked with us so amazingly well from afar! She had a gorgeous draped fancy looking tent on the deck with pink colored lighting and set up a cool “cigar lounge” area with couches etc. and it was so much fun (remember we had the vintage beachy cuban theme). Anyhow, she also helped us with a few other aspects like ceremony, favors and music and had a staff there who managed everyone the day of wedding. We only had partial planning and I did most of it myself, so this brought the cost way down. You want to relax on your big day and to know that it’s all taken care of …is an amazing load off your back trust me!
So.. .in closing, I think that covers the immediate steps you should follow once engaged! Of course theres are a zillion other things to plan and I will be covering more of these steps in further posts soon! Stay tuned for my next planning post!
Any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!
Kirstin @ Froufrou Le Bleu