How to plan the perfect wedding

Beginning Wedding Planning

My groom and I have been discussing getting married since we first started dating. That was five years ago. Remember five years ago? What were you doing? I bet you looked a lot younger then. So much has happened to us and to the world since since 2008.

When we were first dating, we talked about it, let it roll around in our heads, happily purred about this dream to each other, but now it’s finally happening. This thing that’s been five years in the making is happening.

With that in mind, it can put a lot of pressure on any happy couple. Especially when a dear friend says this little thing to you as mine did in when I said that I’d like to be engaged for more than a year so I can enjoy this special time in my life: as soon as you get engaged, people are going to be counting down. It’s rude to keep them waiting and wondering when it will happen.

Phew. That is a heavy weight to carry.

So, being able to consider my groom’s and my style and desires for the wedding with the extra time that our secret engagement has allowed, we’ve been able to discuss colors, venues and the wedding party in a very relaxed manner. We don’t have to give any final answers yet. Of course, since my groom is in the military and only reachable via snail-mail, there’s a lot of time I’m spending narrowing down colors and venues before presenting him with options and asking for input.

Candles line the aisle at this outdoor wedding

Photo via Style Me Pretty

When you get engaged, there are a few things you need to consider before really getting started. The first, as anyone will tell you, is the budget. It’s the least glamorous aspect of the planning process because it pulls you down from your dreamy cloud of tulle and fondant, and brings you back down to earth with the real people who are involved in your wedding. Hey there, parents, planners and vendors – even officiants!

Candlelit walkway at this barn wedding

Photo via The Knot

Next, you need to think about where you want to get married. Do you have a family home or a church that you grew up in that might not be where you currently live? Do you and your groom have a special place like a favorite park, a college or military chapel, a favorite vacation spot? And then, are you an outdoors or indoors kind of girl? Church, synagogue, or temple – or barn, country club, or museum?

Military wedding at the Annapolis Navy Academy

Photo by Natalie Franke, via Style Me Pretty

Finally, what’s your style? Where you have your wedding and reception should reflect the two of you, so if your guy is not into sailing, maybe you should move your party from the yacht club. The venue will not only determine the number of people to invite, but it will also set guests’ expectations – and their outfits.

Locking down these three things opens the doors to the fun, creative part of planning your wedding. Once you know where it will be, how much you have to work with, and what you want it to look like, you can begin exploring your options.

Ask your locales’ support team if they recommend any vendors. Ask the vendors you love if they have any recommendations on this particular venue. Scour the internet for previous weddings that were in your location or previous events your vendors supported.

Begin pulling together what you like – including photos you’d love to imitate – to figure out what will make your wedding perfect. When it’s time to narrow it down, and you have an understanding of what you like (after seeing thousands of pictures of dresses and bouquets), you can go back through your collection and pull your favorites.

I recommend showing these to your vendors so you can collaborate on your bouquet, cake and even wedding gown, and you won’t have any surprises that will leave a sour taste in your mouth. The more you and your vendors know about your style, the happier you will be on your big day.

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