Here is a photo of my fiance and I the day we got engaged in sunny Florida!
Being engaged is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life and for me it has been. I have loved every minute of being engaged and sharing this wonderful experience with the people I care the most about. Today I am going to share with you some tips I have learned while planning my wedding!
1 // Take your time
I can't stress how nice it has been to have such a long engagement. Timothy and I got engaged in July of last year and will be getting married November of this year. That leaves us with a 16 month engagement. It has been wonderful! Taking our time really reduced the stress level and we have gotten the chance to really take some time with some of our big vendor decisions and have gotten to enjoy multiple parties so far without feeling overwhelmed, we had our Engagement Party in December and just recently had a Stock the Bar Engagement party. Never heard of a Stock the Bar Party? Well check out my brief description here and check out all the party details here. (Don't worry! We weren't stocking our bar for the wedding - we were stock the bar at our house!)
You only get to plan your wedding once, so don't let this magical time be a stressful time!
2 // Accept that you can't please everyone
This has been something tough for me, but I think I finally have it wrapped around my mind that this is mine and Timothy's day and not everyone is going to love the food, not everyone is going to love the flower arrangements on their table and not everyone is going to love the venue. But we do love all those things and that is what matters. I have had to learn to trust my vision of the day and not let anyone else's negative opinion make me change my mind. I have had to keep some stuff from some people because I know they will have something negative to say, so I will just let them be surprised on November 21, 2015.
3 // Ask your bridal party early / choose wisely
I can't stress to you how glad I am that this was one of the first things I did after being engaged! The Bridal Party is there to help you and the sooner you ask the sooner you have friends to help. My bridal party has been wonderful so far and have had very little drama, so I am thankful for that. Also, choosing your bridesmaids can be a very hard decision if you are a social butterfly and consider everyone your best friend. I have 9 bridesmaids. Yep 9. But it has been a great group of girls and I couldn't imagine planning this wedding without them. Timothy also has 9 groomsmen, they are a little more difficult to handle but we love each and every one of them. Choosing a bridal party is like setting the mood for your wedding - they need to be fun but also reliable. We have some drinkers in our bridal party but thankfully they all know how to handle themselves. You also don't want drama, that is the last thing you, as the bride, needs. More stress on top of the stress you are already having.
4 // Take one thing at a time
When I first got engaged, I was just so excited I started emailing any and every vendor I could find. Bad decision. I was flooded with emails and prices and I had only been engaged for a week. We had no idea the date we wanted, we had no idea the type of wedding we wanted and most importantly we had no idea what our budget was. After I immediately got stressed out, I decided to take one thing at a time. I had worked as an intern for a Wedding Planner while in college so I called her up and booked her! She then took me through the steps and we booked the venue, then the food, then the flowers, then the cake, then the linens and then went onto the smaller things. Focusing on one vendor at a time made it so much easier and made the process so much simpler. Tracy wouldn't let me move onto the next big vendor until I had the previous vendor booked. I loved the way we did it because it kept me keeping up with my budget and not getting overwhelmed. We have all the big vendors picked out now it is just time for the little things :)
5 // Hire a wedding planner
A wedding planner isn't for everyone, but I knew I was going to need one. The main reason I wanted a wedding planner was because I knew how amazing Tracy was at her job and I had seen her keep a bride and family completely calm when their tent caught on fire. The second reason I decided to hire a wedding planner is because I didn't have the wedding planner most brides have, their mom. My mom passed away almost a year ago and she had been saving and planning this wedding before Timothy popped the question. But hiring a wedding planner was the best decision I could have ever made because she has helped me so much and has given me some amazing suggestions about vendors and has really helped me keep everything moving right along. If any of you are in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area and are looking for a wedding planner - call Tracy!
6 // Guest List
This is what I am in the middle of right now. And it is pure torture. Our venue holds 185 guests, if everyone has a seat. We will be right at the 185. Scary. I know. But when both you and your fiance have a big family and one of your grandfathers is one of the best lawyers in North Carolina, the numbers can add up very quickly. I have learned some tips when putting together the guest list...
-Not everyone gets a date and that is fine. I have a lot of friends that are in and out of relationships with different people, so there comes a point when I have to just say no date for you. But most of those friends will also know almost everyone else at the wedding..so there is my reasoning why some/most of my friends will not be getting a plus one. And I am already having trouble with the guest count with people I actually know, I don't need to add some random guy my best friend met at the bar last weekend.
-Some people will say no. You will get some declines and you will (or at least I am thinking I will) have a little party in your head because that is one step closer to your actual number allowed at your venue. Sorry I am being totally honest - you wish everyone you knew could come but that isn't the case. Also, I learned that 20% of the guests you invite will decline. I hope this doesn't bite me in the butt because I am totally going off that being true right now. Right now I have 224 people being invited to our wedding, if 20% say they can't come that will leave us with 180 people at our wedding. 5 LESS THAN THE ALLOWANCE.
7 // Excel / Google Docs
I have a running list of all the things I need, all the guests address, each gift I have received, etc. It has been a life savior!
8 // Social Media
Social Media the crap out of your planning! I have loved getting to blog all about this wedding experience and instagramming all the photos. Also, come up with a good #hashtag for people to use at parties and your wedding. Ours is #TheChaseIsOver112115 becuause my last name is Chase. Having your friends use the #hashtag at your showers is great, so you can see all the pictures from those parties as well!
9 // Use the internet, but use it wisely
Pinterest can be great, but it can also be a mind blogging tool to use. I was all over Pinterest at the beginning, now I am trying to stay away from it as much as possible when it comes to the actual wedding because it messes up my entire vision. Of course I use it at some points but I try to limit myself to look at pictures that are based on my vision. Also, I signed up for the The Knot to help me keep track of certain things.
10 // Have fun
This is supposed to be one of the best moments of your life so enjoy this time with your fiance and watch how your love grows!
Don't miss a thing ~ Follow along!