Wedding and engagement season seems to be in full swing this time of year. I’m seeing engagements pop up on all forms of social media feeds and I absolutely LOVE it! I love seeing people commit their lives and hearts to each other, and if we’re being honest, I really love love.
Of course as soon as I see those “we’re engaged!” posts I comment/call/text and wish them a huge congratulations, and I’ve had a surprising number of people ask for any advice I have for planning. I figured this would be a great place to jot down all of my thoughts and hopefully provide a little insight for the ladies who are starting out on their wedding planning journey.
ADVICE FOR THE NEWLY ENGAGED:
- Start with your budget. Before you look at venues or dresses or even Pinterest, you need to figure out your finances. This means determining who will be contributing, how much, and therefore who has a say in the wedding decisions. It’s definitely a tricky conversation to have, but it will save you SO much stress and disappointment down the road. I had a ton of money saved up for just the wedding so my parents stepped in to be my contingency plan/give me things like my dress (thanks mom and dad!), and I’m SO glad I had them! I’ll go in to budgeting in a later post, there’s so much to talk about!
- Plan REALLY early. Once you have an idea of how much you’ll be willing to spend on your key vendors, you need to book them as soon as you can. I booked my vendors in order of importance to me to make sure I could get them in time, and booked everyone asap because we chose a holiday weekend. Once you have your key vendors set you’ll feel a huge weight off your shoulders. Advice: DO NOT WAIT TO BOOK PEOPLE. You’ll be stressed enough with the little details in the last couple months of planning that you don’t need to add ‘find florist’ to that list.
- Back away from Pinterest. Sure, I had a secret Pinterest board where I would hoard my ideas while I was waiting to be engaged, but as soon as I was actually engaged I pretty much hated all of those ideas (and deleted the board). It’s so important to sit down with your fiancé and create a day filled with meaningful details to your relationship, not just copying a bunch of stuff you saw on Pinterest. About two weeks after I was engaged I already had my photographer, venue, caterer, and coordinator booked (yes, I am that girl) and I went on a full-on Pinterst detox. I planned my wedding based on traditions that meant something to me, and only used Pinterest later on as a way to bring those traditions to life. Ex: we cut our wedding cake with our family’s civil war sword!
- Invest in a planner (or notebook). The week I got engaged I bought the Southern Weddings Wedding Planner, and y’all it was an absolute game changer. It’s filled with advice, helpful planning sheets, and fun ideas. I used the calendar sheets constantly to write down when I made appointments and the gift tracker pages were an organizer’s dream. I also stashed all of my notes from vendor meetings in the binder so I could remember what they said and not be the bride always emailing them.
- Have fun! Okay this probably sounds lame but I had to do it! Wedding planning is SO very stressful (spending large amounts of money is fun up until a certain point…) so make sure to take a deep breath and just enjoy the season. David and I attended pre-marriage counseling with our minister and it was so much fun getting to know him on a deeper level, and made me so much more excited for marriage!
ADVICE FOR THE NOT-YET ENGAGED:
You may be wondering why I chose to include this little section. The season on not-so-patiently waiting for David to pop the question was the most frustrating time of our relationship (for me, not him) and I think it’s equally important to address because no one seems to ever talk about it!
- Have the talk. If you haven’t already talked with the man in your life then you really need to leave my blog right now and go communicate. Being completely transparent about goals, timelines, and feelings is so so SO important. Your goal here isn’t to get a date when he will propose by, your goal is to make sure he knows where you’re at, but more importantly you know where he’s at. What if he wants to make sure he’s financially secure before becoming the head of a household? Or what if he wants to wait for a meaningful opportunity? Or what if, gasp, he just isn’t ready? You need to be on the same page or you’ll be creating issues from nothing.
- Chill-the-heck-out. So you’ve had the talk, he’s told you he isn’t ready, and you still get all worked up before every date that ‘this could be it!!!!!’… stop. I know this is so much easier said than done, but I’m here to tell you that guys are pretty uncomplicated. If he says he isn’t ready, acts like he isn’t ready, then he probably isn’t ready. I can’t tell you how many great dates I left feeling a little disappointed simply because he didn’t propose. Which lead to feelings of disappointment directed towards our relationship when really I wasn’t disappointed at all. So don’t sabotage your own relationship! Take a deep breath (or two, or twenty) and chill.
- Take your own (small) action. So if you’re in the same boat that I was where he said he 100% wanted to marry me but he wasn’t ready yet, I found one thing helped me actually do the chilling out I suggested above. I created a savings account solely for our wedding. Every couple of weeks I deposited money and it felt great to be doing something that would be helpful when we finally did get engaged, and it made me feel like I was making positive progress! Bonus: I started saving early enough that I had almost all of our wedding budget saved when we got engaged!
- Love your season. Trust me when I say that as soon as you’re engaged you’ll have a new part time job called wedding planning. Love this season of fewer expenses and fewer things to worry about. You’ve found ‘the one’ – don’t let a made-up timeline or expectations from society get in the way of loving him and your time together!
So that’s my long-winded speech! Now I would absolutely LOVE to hear advice from y’all!
What’s your advice for the newly or not-yet engaged?