By Real Bride, Madi McCall
My fiancé and I have been engaged since February of last year. If you would have asked me in the beginning if I planned on having a year and a half engagement, I would have called you crazy. It’s been a long few months and we are both ready to tie the knot! However, being engaged for so long has allowed me to really work out the kinks of planning a wedding and realize, whether I wanted to or not, what I should and shouldn’t have done. I wanted to share some tips with any recently engaged gals for planning a wedding, but most importantly enjoying your engagement! I know first-hand how stressful it can be to take on such a huge event and these are a few things I wish I would have figured out in the beginning.
I know this might seem like an obvious one but you would be surprised how many newly engaged brides jump into planning right away, including myself! For the OCD bride, this might be a tough one. I was making phone calls and booking vendors the week after my fiancé proposed. I’m sure this isn’t always a bad thing, but there is a reason they say take some time before starting in on the planning. In my experience, my judgment was definitely clouded from all the excitement of just being proposed to which caused me to miss out on little details when booking a venue and vendors. Take a week or two to stare at your new diamond (we all know we do it) and spend this time celebrating with your new soon-to-be hubby. You won’t regret it and all the planning will still be there when you come back from your daydream.
2. Make Sure Your Wants/Needs for the Big Day are Heard
Weddings involve a lot more people than just you and your fiancé, that’s an unavoidable fact. There’s your mom, his mom, possibly a stepmom or stepdad; the list could go on and on. With lots of people comes lots of opinions, but you need to make sure the things you and your fiancé find most important for the big day are being heard. I know a ton of brides who look back on their wedding day and wish they would have gone with their gut instead of listening to what someone else thought was best. Opinions are great, and sometimes even helpful, but make sure you are both staying true to yourselves. The day you get married should be a day that represents both of you PERFECTLY, in every way. Don’t be afraid to voice what you do and don’t want.
3. Figure Out Where YOU Want to Spend Your Money
There are a ton of wedding websites and articles stating how much of a percentage you should spend on each thing for your wedding. Personally, I found these to be very unhelpful and actually just more confusing. There is no correct way to spend your budget. If the most important thing to you is flowers, then spend more of your money on flowers. If a really fancy venue in a prime location is what you desire, then work your budget around that and go from there. Everyone is different. For me, photography and videography were my main focus. They were the first vendor I booked, and from there I worked with the rest of the budget I had left. As long as you find a way to make your budget work (don’t go overboard and start overspending) it doesn’t matter how that budget is split. No one is going to know that your cake was provided by a family friend or your shoes were hand me downs. You do you. Figure out what you care about most and go from there.
4. When Booking a Venue and Vendors, Go with Your Gut
Our wedding happens to be a destination wedding, which means that I had to do a lot of my connecting with vendors over phone calls, emails, and Instagram searches. I had three florists alone either come off very flaky or ghost me altogether. The fact of the matter is, if you have the slightest feeling that a certain vendor won’t work out, DON’T BOOK THEM. It doesn’t matter if they have the top reviews, everyone has their best fit and sometimes that fit isn’t who it was for someone else. Try your best to schedule a meeting in person with them if you can and if you can’t, make sure you have a list of specific questions to ask them over the phone or email. I promise you will be feeling slightly overwhelmed when booking vendors so you will forget things. You are the only person who knows the vision you have for your wedding, so finding someone who is willing and able to make that come to life is what’s important, not going with the most popular venue or vendor.
5. Remember That You’re Getting Married!!
At the end of the day, the flowers, the food, the decorations, they don’t matter. I know its cliché to say, but it’s true that at the end of the day the only thing that matters is that you’re marrying your best friend. The sooner you realize the little details don’t matter, the better you’ll be able to relish in your engagement and soon your wedding day. The planning should be just as fun as the main event when weddings are concerned. You only get to do this once, so don’t spend all your time focusing on things that won’t matter to you in the end. Drink all the champagne, laugh with your girlfriends on your bachelorette trip, enjoy some time with family and date your fiancé as much as you can while he’s still your boyfriend! Your wedding day will be perfect and I can say, bride to bride, that you will be too.
Bride | Madi McCall
Photographer | Jenna Wagner Photography