Alright, you’ve soaked in the moment, posted your pictures/selfies, contacted your friends and family and now you’re really thinking “ok, now what?!”
There are a few things I’d do immediately if you haven’t already done them: 1) create a pinterest/start a wedding board on pinterest, 2) follow a ton of wedding/bride/dress designers on instagram, 3) figure out your budget, 4) talk about a wedding date, 5) create a rough list of guests and 6) decide if you want to hire a planner or if you’re plan your wedding yourself.
Fun stuff first… time to get inspired!! You might be the kind of person that has their whole wedding planned already. But, even if you have, I suggest doing the following to continue to generate ideas and inspiration! I was really open to ideas and enjoyed looking at pinterest/instagram all the way up until the day of our wedding and I actually still enjoy it even though our wedding is behind us!
1. Pinterest – A lot of my friends have pinterest but I know there are some people who haven’t caught the pinterest bug yet. If you haven’t, now is the time to make a pinterest. I got so many ideas and was inspired time and time again by things I saw on pinterest. Click here to see my wedding pinterest.
This was one of my favorite pinterest finds – I loved the idea of navy and pink and here was a great inspo collage I came across.
For a real life pinterest inspo to real life example here is the on the top and one of our actual centerpieces beneath it:
2. Instagram – In this day and age instgram makes it super easy to get ideas for everything when it comes to wedding planning. The wedding industry has a hugeeeeee presence on instagram. Everyone from wedding planners to dress designers and florists to venues have instagrams. Once you start following people you’ll find that they will tag other vendors and it’ll lead to you finding other accounts you’ll want to follow. For those of you who care about your follower to following ratio – forget about it and throw it out the window. Prepare to follow 20 new accounts at least.
*****HUGE heads up about this: Although I highly encourage following a ton of accounts to get design inspirations for your wedding please know that most of the weddings that get posted on these accounts are over the top – I’m talking easily $100,000 weddings. Those huge amazingly beautiful centerpieces you see are probably $150-$300 a piece – to give you an idea our centerpieces, shown above, were $65 each and they were not extravagant by any means. One of the biggest takeaways I want people to get from my blog is that everything is a lot more expensive than you think – don’t set your expectations so high and get discouraged because the wedding of your dreams is out of your budget. With that in mind, I loved and still love following these accounts to get inspired – from color schemes to dresses and personal touches, you might fall in love with something you never thought you would love. Just follow them knowing that they are likely more expensive than you think or want them to be.
Here are some of my faves:
General Wedding inspiration:
- Wedding Chicks – @weddingchicks
- Inside Weddings – @insideweddings
- Bridal Guide Magazine – @bridalguide
- The Bridal Theory – @thebridaltheory
- The Wedding Inspirations – @the_wedding_inspirations
- Loverly – @loverly
- Style Me Pretty – @stylemepretty
- Brides Magazine – @brides
- The Knot – @theknot
Dress designers/bridal salons:
- Galia LaHav (designer of my dress) – @galialahav
- Kinsley James Couture Bridal (where I bought my dress) – @kinsleyjamescouturebridal
- Berta Bridal – @bertabridal
- Lian Rokman – @lian_rokman
- Limor Rosen – @limorrosen
- Lindsay Lauren Events (our month-of coordinator) – @lindsaylaurenevents
- A Touch of Grace Events (sister company to Kinsley James Couture Bridal) – @atouchofgrace_events
- Details Jeannie – @detailsjeannie
- Engaged and Inspired – @engagedandinspired
- James Brian Studios (our photographer) – @jamesbrianstudios
- Matter Video (our videographer) – @mattervideo
- Sweet and Crafty (who did our signage) – @sweetandcrafty
- Bee Curious Designs (signage) – @beecuriousdesigns
- Renee Pawele (accessories) – @reneepawele
- Pleasanton Rentals – @pleasantonrentals
- How he asked (proposals) – @howheasked
Now for some of your first big decisions…
This is one of the least fun things to talk about unless you already know you have an endless budget (jealous!!). Weddings are so freaking expensive… I will dedicate a later post to splurges and savers – what to splurge on and where you can save. But, I believe the statistics show that an average wedding these days goes for about $30,000. If you think your parents are going to help out I would say to talk about it ASAP – it’s kinda awkward but you need to know your budget before you can really do anything else, before even setting a date (because if you have to pay for it yourself you’ll probably need more time to save!)
Speaking from experience here – my husband and I paid for most (about 85%) of our wedding ourselves – I’m extremely proud of that!! But we also could have done much better. We kinda skipped this step and didn’t set a budget. I mean we originally had a goal (as opposed to a strict budget) of $40k but I quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen (like I said, weddings are freaking expensive!!!!!!). So instead we kinda went piece by piece and evaluated each expense in insolation to decide whether it was worth it. But what happened was each expense didn’t seem too bad until we laid it all out on a spreadsheet and were like “holy crap, this is so expensive!” – I still laugh at myself because of this. Set a budget and stick to it. If your parents are paying for it, that’s awesome but you will still probably need a budget. If you are paying for your wedding or you want to spend some of your own money on it then think about how much each month you can save for it or how much of your savings you want to use and that can help you determine what you can realistically spend.
4. Wedding date
A few things go into determining your wedding date. One thing I want to mention at the outset is to remember that there are usually only 4 Saturdays in each month – this is important! That means that there are only 12ish available wedding dates in the ever-so-popular summer months of June, July and August which is why venues get booked so far in advance!
- Budget – Your budget will affect your wedding date. This is not a time for you to max out your credit cards and get into to financial trouble because you just want to get married quickly. Perhaps a good way to go about it is this: Let’s say your budget is $50,000 and you know that you’re receiving $10,000 from your parents and can set aside $2,000 a month. After subtracting the help from your parents you are left with $40,000; divide that by the $2,000/month and that gives you 20 months or 1 year and 8 months. That seems like a long time but again you don’t want to go into debt over your wedding. Although it is one of the most important days of your life you don’t want to spend your first year of being newlyweds in debt or scraping by to pay for your wedding. I know people who are having 2 year long engagements and that’s totally fine!! I promise the time will pass quicker than you think.
- Special dates – If you have a special date in mind – your first kiss, your first date, etc. perhaps this will turn out to be a good wedding date! My husband and I got married on our 10 and a half year anniversary. As soon as we saw that that date was a Saturday, we knew that’s when we wanted to married! Just be aware of holiday weekends – not saying you can’t have your wedding on a holiday weekend but it might affect the venue cost and availability of guests.
- Flexibility – I would not just pick one date and be set on it. Have a few you are willing to go with because venues book fast! I value the venue over the date, you don’t want to be so set on a date that you miss out on a venue.
- Weekend, Friday or Sundays – FIRST SAVER TIP: Venues usually if not always give discounts if you don’t get married on a Saturday. You could save thousands on a venue fee if you choose any other day except Saturday. Keep in mind that you might inconvenience your guests if you choose a weekday but it can also work. An evening wedding during the week or on a Sunday would be undesirable because people probably wouldn’t let loose as much (or maybe that’s a good thing, lol). But a Friday night could work – people would just probably have to leave work a little early but they could still dance the night away and have a great time. A Sunday morning wedding could also work – just serve brunch instead of dinner, everyone loves brunch!! Anyways, the takeaway here is that if you are open to a non-Saturday wedding, look into it because it could actually save you money.
- Check with friends and family – if you are planning to get married quickly, meaning anywhere within the next year or even next year and a half, check with your closest friends and family to see if they have any big trips planned. The last thing you would want is to set a wedding date only to find out one of your best friends is going to be on a Euro trip!
5. Guest list
Although it seems weird to be doing this so early, this is absolutely crucial. The important part here is not really who is coming but how many people you want to invite and this is really to prepare for your venue search and also plays a role in how you’re going to allocate your budget (the more people you invite, the more food and drinks you’ll need, the less money you’ll have to spend on other things). You can do a few lists if you want… one that is just the MUST HAVES and one that is MUST HAVES + WOULD LIKE TO HAVE and then an EVERYONE list. I will be elaborating on the guest list more later but this is more of a rough draft to gauge what size wedding you will likely have. Having a good idea of the guest count is important because some venues have a limit. You do not want to fall in love with a venue that cannot accommodate everyone you want to have. On the flip side, you don’t want to pick a venue that is meant for 500 people when you’re only going to have 75. What I would suggest is that you make one list, your fiancé make his/her list, and then you combine! Again think about your must haves, would like to have, and “everyone” categories. So sit down, grab a piece of paper, a glass of wine (or Tito’s cocktail) and build your guest list.
6. Wedding planner or plan it yourself?
You’re about to embark on your wedding planning journey so you should figure out if this is something you’re going to do yourself or if you need/want some help. I will write a separate post about how to choose your wedding planner/coordinator but for now you should just decide if you want to hire someone to help you. You should decide early on for a few reasons: 1) they are not cheap, so this will take a chunk of your budget and 2) if you’re going to pay someone to help you plan, you don’t want to waste time doing any of it yourself – get your money’s worth! Keep in mind that although wedding planners are expensive, it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of deal. Plenty of wedding planners offer partial design/planning and a la carte services. For example, you might just need a month-of-coordinator (which is what we had) who helps ensure that all of your vendors are contacted and confirmed in the month leading up to your wedding, helps with your rehearsal, and coordinates the entire day of your wedding from start to finish. Maybe you’ve partially planned the wedding yourself and only need help with certain aspects of it – you can hire someone for just those parts, etc. You get the idea. What’s important now is to decide whether you want or need help at all, what your time commitments are, etc.
My advice would be to for sure hire at least a day-of coordinator. They will plan out the day of your wedding minute by minute to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that everyone is where they are supposed to be at all times. As I just mentioned, we had a month-of-coordinator and she was absolutely amazing – our day went so smoothly thanks to her. It was just so nice to have someone to bounce ideas of off, to finalize everything for us, and to direct us on the day of. I highly, highly recommend her – her name is Lindsay Noonan and here is her website.
Alright, I think that’s enough info for this post – happy planning!! Next post I think I’ll go back in time and talk about a girl’s best friend – DIAMONDDDDSSSSSS!