Where to start?
I got engaged while on vacation in Mexico to my live in boyfriend and had no ideas on how to get started. I am not a planner type of person and don’t get me started on my non existent savings account. I hear that planning a wedding can be one of the most daunting tasks around, so can you image doing it alone? Despite having all these gorgeous themes in my mind, I never quite realized how much work it would take to bring it all together, and I’m only at the very beginning! Today, is only the beginning of my 1 year countdown. If you don’t mind, I’m going to talk to you about my planning process to date; the challenges I’ve faced, my bride-to-be tips I can offer and the things I have learned along the way.
SET YOURSELF A BUDGET
First I want you to understand what kind of a budget keeper I am. As a millenial and a single mom, who spends her ‘free time’ getting her oxytocin kick from online retail therapy (thanks sponsored ads), I can’t afford my huge dream wedding. My
boyfriend fiancé (put that on the never ending list of things to change) wants to have all his friends in the wedding party, with all his extended family to see the vows and gulp, an open bar.
Budgets are likely to be a little bit of a soft spot for many couples, it definitely has been for us. He’s the responsible one with a career straight out of college and has been saving up for the big day since we started dating 4 years ago. Of course, we had to come to an agreement but identifying a budget definitely gave us a realistic starting point.
Once you set yourself a budget, you can then start to narrow the number of guests you can host and how much out of the budget you want to spend on the main elements such as the catering, location, entertainment, photography and so on. I have been using a fun app called WeddingWire – it counts down until your big day. My favorite part of the app is how it’s like a mini event planner breaking down your budget so you can see visually how much of each expense you are spending on. I’m sure this will be super helpful for me when I see how much I wanted to spend compared to the final receipt.
Tip from bride-to-be: Always OVER budget. I’m the worst when it comes to spending, I spend on things and round the price down in my head to make me feel better on how much I’ve spent. Don’t follow my destructive path, because big costs will creep up on you when you least expect, so you definitely need to have more than you think is necessary. And let’s be honest, those small splurge items add up.
Try to be ORGANIZED
Ok now I know what was just said about how I am not the best at organization, but hear me out. You must have a way to keep it all together or hire someone who can. The checklist on WeddingWire is perfect for me – not only does it pretty much list everything you need but it gives you a time bracket for when these things should be completed. I have not been able to get past the idea stage and love to make notes on the app when it pops into my head. This app has been so useful when I was making my guest list, looking for a wedding dress, and venue – it allowed me to quickly paste in websites that I came across whilst browsing online and then refer back to them in the future when I couldn’t remember which site I had been on.
DO SOME GROUND RESEARCH
Lastly, I would say get out of the house and get researching! Before I got engaged I remember thinking how I couldn’t wait to visit as many wedding fairs as possible and get in all my research. What I didn’t know was COVID-19 would shut everything down. I have managed to get a few dresses tried on at David’s Bridal, which was a fantastic day with my sister, and gave me so many ideas for my dream dress. I’ll be honest, I actually found my dream dress on the first real day of wedding dress shopping. Even though I fell in love with it, I said to myself that I wanted to make sure I had covered all grounds before I made a final decision, and let me tell you, I have seen and tried on so many styles that they are all starting to look the same.
This may only be the beginning of my engagement journey but I am excited to share it with you from every dress, flower, and venue detail. Make sure you subscribe below to follow us down the aisle.
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Photos by: mariakdphoto