Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Baker And Beyond Series: Getting Started

Planning For Wedding Planning

I don't know about you, but marriage has been one of the things I've daydreamed about since I was a little girl. Who would it be? When would it happen? I had the questions, but of course, the answers were a mystery.

I was shocked when we got engaged (see our story here) and I still am! It doesn't seem real, but it is. No two stories are the same. I've heard many horror stories about weddings and wedding planning but my unique dealings with the wedding world have been kind (knock on wood). I want to share my story with you.

Brainstorming & Preparation (read 'Get ya mind right')

DISCLAIMER: Weddings require you to make a lot of decisions!! If you're not a great decision maker before getting engaged, prepare to turn into one! Now, that's out of the way!

No two weddings are the same. Everyone's planning process will look different and that's okay! My Matron of Honor bought the knot's Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer as an engagement gift for me but you can also find this information online. It's extremely helpful to use a resource when creating your timeline. There are so many details to decide you're bound to leave something out without guidance. Learn and understand what decisions will need to be made, then create a timeline for yourself. I created my timeline using the knot's organizer. Know that your timeline won't be concrete. It'll be more of a guide, so don't stress over it. Use it as something to help keep you on track.

My goal for wedding planning is to have as little stress as possible. This is one event, a huge event, but just a lifetime full of happenings. I've become very centered over the past few months and I don't want anything to take that away from me. The thing I'm most excited about is marrying the love of my life. The wedding will come and go but I want a celebration; just want to have one big party with my family and friends! Minor details will not make or break that for me. Luckily for us, we knocked most of the important details out of the way early. So, what were the first 2 major decisions we made?

1. Picking a location: Which city will we get married in?

This is important for us because we live in DC but both of us are from eastern North Carolina. Most of our family still lives in NC and relatively in the same area. Considering everyone we want at our wedding, this was one of the first decisions we had to make. Family and friends never rarely visit us because of distance, so we made the choice that would be most convenient for our guests; Greenville. I truly wanted a destination wedding with a reception at home; but, for the same reasons, this wouldn't have been an ideal situation for our guests.

With more and more people moving away from home, picking a city for wedding location has become an important choice couples are faced with more and more. Do you want your wedding to be more convenient for you or for your guests? If you're able to pick a place that's convenient for both, great! If you're unable to do that, think about who may not attend if your location isn't ideal. Can you get married without them? Make a decision that works for you, your loved ones, and your fiancé's loved ones. There may have to be some compromise or accommodations made, but this is part of the planning process! Be prepared!

2. Picking a date: When do we want to get married?

We were engaged right before Christmas. If you don't already have a date in mind, most couples give themselves about a year to plan. To be honest, I wanted to get everything done in less than a year. I was shooting for a November date. We didn't finalize a date until Valentine's Day. That would've given us only 9 months to prepare! That wasn't enough time. It was also important for us to have a wedding date that didn't conflict with other events. With those things in mind, any date in 2016 would've been pushing it.

Some couples try to pick a date that's meaningful, like an anniversary. All of our anniversaries are in December! That still wouldn't have given us much time. I wanted a date that would be easy for us to remember later in life. The next dates I picked were 1-7-17 or 3-4-17. My fiancé opted for March 4th. At the time, I was thought, "Man! That's so far away!" Now that we're here, the time flew by quicker than I could have imagined. Picking an even later date has crossed my mind once but not for the reason you're thinking.

January 7th would have been a cool anniversary date because it's aesthetically pleasing. Come on! 1-7-17...look at that; super easy to remember! March 4th was the next date that kind of fit the theme. 3+4=7, throw that 1 in front of the 7, and you got it! When I was coming up with "cute" dates, weather never crossed my mind. It'll still be winter on March 4. I want to take pictures outside and it'll be freezing! I started doubting our March date for a quick second but it didn't last long. We made the decision, it was set (by the time doubts arose), so I threw that doubt straight out.

When picking a date, consider all things that could impact your wedding date. Consider anniversaries, weather, holidays, and any other possible conflicts. We have many friends getting married, and we're in a few of those weddings ourselves! We factored that into picking a date as well. Being in weddings, whether as the bride & groom or as a member of the wedding party, costs money. Consider this when making your decision.

Nothing else is going on in March. There are no holidays, none of our friends are getting married then, and there are no huge sporting events to distract our guests. Everyone should be able to focus their attention on us and our special day and that makes me happy.

These first two decisions were major. They fed into the next couple of decisions we needed to make so picking a city and date got the ball rolling.

What were the first decisions you made after getting engaged?

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