01/07/2017

Wedding Planning 101

Wedding Planning Gold Bridesmaid Dress

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A few days ago I asked on Instagram if you all would be interested in seeing a post about wedding planning, and I got a lot of positive feedback. This post will be pretty long (sorry!), but I wanted to be very thorough! I will list all of my vendors at the bottom of this post for you all.

Ethan and I got engaged at the end of February 2016, and we were married on September 24th of that same year. Yes, I was the crazy person who planned a 200+ person wedding in 7 months…1,200 miles from where my wedding was being held!

Make a Budget

And stick to it! The first thing I did was sit down with my dad and price everything out. We decided what we absolutely wanted as part of the wedding, and I made suggestions as to where we could cut back. Being my dad, he of course wanted to throw me the most extravagant wedding possible. But did I need centerpieces that cost hundreds of dollars a piece only to get thrown away at the end of the night? The answer is no. Of course if its something really important to you, splurge if you can afford it! But just make sure you’re not spending money you don’t have.

Get The “Big Stuff” Out Of The Way

This stuff includes your venue, photographer, DJ, and a hair/makeup artist if you plan on hiring one. These all tend to book up to years in advance, so its better to reserve them as quickly as possible if you have a specific wedding date in mind.  I got engaged in Florida (where I currently live) but knew I wanted to get married in New York where I was raised, and where all my family still lives. I kid you not, 12 hours after my engagement I called my dad, hopped on a plane to NY, and got down to wedding planning.

  • Venue: If you can, try to book a venue that also handles the catering. It will make life so much easier for you! My venue handled all the catering, including the wedding cake. They also provided me with my centerpieces, recommendations for my DJ and Photographer, and also assigned a wedding planner to me. My wedding planner just happened to be the owner of the venue himself, and he provided me with the most stress free experience I could have asked for.
  • The DJ/BandMy advice for this would be to get referrals from friends and family members who have hosted events in the past. You want to make sure that whoever you hire to provide the music is going to have the personality it takes to get people out of their seats and dancing! There’s nothing worse than a dull DJ. I toyed back and forth between hiring a band or a DJ, but ultimately booked Bill Beale, a popular radio host for K104.
  • Photographer: Make sure that you do some research and decide how you want your pictures to look. Many photographers have very different styles and this will effect the way your pictures turn out. I knew I wanted mine to be very soft and romantic, so I was sure to hire a photographer who had a strong portfolio that matched my tastes. If its within your budget, hire two photographers or ask that the one you book use an assistant. It is impossible for for one person to be everywhere at all times, so more than one photographer will assure that no special moment is missed.
  • Hair and Makeup: Again, do your research! Many artists will post their work online and on social media. If you’re looking for a really dramatic look, it’s probably not best to book someone whose portfolio is filled with more subtle or natural looks. It was also worth it to me to book artists that will travel to you on your wedding day, versus you having to do a bunch of driving around.

Saying Yes To The Dress

Wedding dress shopping was definitely the highlight of my wedding planning experience! Once I had gotten the big (and boring) stuff out of the way, I was ready to start really having fun with the planning.

  • Don’t bring a huge crowd with you. Did I want to bring my bridesmaids and closest friends with me? Of course! But having that many people throw their own tastes and opinions at you will just get confusing. I brought my mom, my two grandmothers, and my sister. It was a really nice experience to share with the closest members of my family, and a memory that I will always cherish.
  • Go with your gut. The very first wedding dress I tried on ended up being the one I bought. But like any bride, I second guessed myself and thought that surely it could not be that easy. So I tried on about 15 more dresses, didn’t like any of them, and just ended up frustrated. It wasn’t until my sister reminded me about the first dress that we all loved that I put it back on and had my “say yes to the dress” moment.

With Decor – Less is More

Seriously! I’ve always wanted a white and gold wedding. I’m obsessed with those colors, and I think they make for a really timeless palate. I loved shopping on Etsy and other small boutiques for decor that would go along with my color scheme. What I found was that I could get some stand out pieces, like tablecloths, great centerpieces, and gorg bridesmaid dresses, and I didn’t really need a whole lot of other decor to tie everything together. I realized that most of the smaller decor items I thought would look cute, just ended up looking cluttered and I didn’t even use them.

Things May Not Go As Planned On You Big Day

And thats ok! Ya’ll, my ceremony was outdoors, and about 15 minutes into it I noticed my bridesmaids start shaking their bouquets around. They were trying to be subtle of course, but I still noticed. Then I heard my sister whisper the word “bees”. A SWARM of bees had caught scent of all the flowers and were all over my bridesmaids! It should have totally freaked me out, but it was all I could do to NOT laugh! The reality is there’s some things that will be out of your control, and thats ok! The most important thing I learned through this whole process was regardless of how my centerpieces looked, regardless of whether my place cards were the right color, and regardless of whether bees started dive bombing all my friends, I was still marrying the love of my life that day. And that’s all that should matter. Don’t let material things and the stress of planning take your focus off of what’s really important.

xo, Chris

Venue (I chose the Emperor Package)

  Photographer | DJ | Hair and Makeup | Tablecloths | Bridesmaid Dresses

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