Disclosure: Our planning process is unique to us. These are my suggestions and what you do with them is entirely up to you. Everyones’ story and journey is unique. This blog is written for anyone who might be in a similar situation in need of some guidance.
A little background on how Bobby and I got engaged: After being together for 5 years, in December of 2019 Bobby proposed at one of our favorite parks by our home in Phoenix. He then surprised me by taking me to a resort in Scottsdale where we had one of our best and funnest weekends together. I had ideas he would propose at some point that winter, but I was definitely surprised when it happened.
I will admit that I had expectations. I had expectations for when we would get engaged, where we would be in our relationship and financially, and even my reaction to the proposal. The problem with expectations is that we are filled with disappointment when things don’t turn out the way we expected. It is completely natural to have expectations and sometimes we can’t control those expectations. What we can control is how we react to our expectations not playing out as we thought. Here is the thing, we cannot control when our partner will propose or how he or she will do it and we cannot control the seasons of life that may bring about relationship or financial troubles. Here are some things that helped me learn to let go and let the universe (and Bobby) do it’s thing:
- Talk to your partner. Let him/her know exactly how you feel. Communication is key. Talk about where you both feel comfortable being financially when you get engaged and make sure you are on the same page about what marriage will look like.
- Trust your partner. If you know your partner is the one, chances are they know you and your style. Trust that they will pick out the perfect ring for you!
- Remember that your partner has plans of their own– Your partner will have their own idea on how/when/where they want to propose. Trust that he/she will make it special!
Something I realized about the engagement is that no matter what I had been expecting, nothing could have topped the actual experience. Any ring that I had saved on Pinterest or any expectations for when and how he would propose, would not have been as good as what he had planned for me. So if you are hoping to get engaged to your significant other, keep that in mind! They know you and they love you! Trust that your significant other will know exactly when and how to do it perfectly!
After we got engaged, I was so excited to get planning. Within a few weeks of our engagement we had a venue and most all of our vendors booked. We are planning from out of state (also keep in mind we booked prior to the pandemic) so we had to book when we were in New England (where our venue is located) over Christmas (about 2 weeks after our engagement). So our venue had to be toured and booked quickly.
Here are my top tips for the early stages of wedding planning (where I am currently at!):
- Figure out your budget!
- Get a notebook/planner for all things wedding planning related. In this notebook you will keep track of ALL spending. Everything from bridesmaids proposals to invitations to honeymoon… EVERYTHING.
- Figure out your style (beach, lake, rustic, house of worship, vineyard/winery, farm/barn etc.)
- Once you narrow down your style, pick where you want your venue. Keep in mind travel for your guests and what time of year. (i.e If your family lives in the Northeast and you are planning a wedding in Sedona, AZ in February, your guests will have to travel and you’ll have to take into account any snow delays that are probable)
- Create an account on the Knot. This website is an amazing and trusted resource for searching venues based on your style and they have an amazing checklist that is a great tool!
- Choose venues to tour! This was so fun for us! We chose 4 venues to look at and we spent 2 days touring them.
- Once your venue is booked and your wedding weekend is set, it is time to book your vendors!
- Begin by booking your major vendors: Photographer, Band/DJ, caterer (if the venue doesn’t have a caterer on site), Floral, Hair/Makeup. These vendors book quickly (especially if your wedding is on a prime weekend).
- Then start creating your vision boards, dress shopping, bridesmaids proposals and all the fun stuff!!
Here are my top tips for getting through wedding planning:
- Stress Less– Wedding planning should be a fun experience. Of course a lot of factors play into wedding planning that can make it stressful, but remember that you are marrying the love of your life and that is what matters!
- Enjoy your engagement! I need to remind myself of this often because I tend to get caught up in the wedding planning and beyond the wedding.
- Make time for self care! Make a plan for some self care weekly (bubble bath, nature walk, face mask, mani/pedi, facial etc.)
- Communicate with your partner– Make sure your wedding is what you both want! Let your partner have a say in the wedding planning process too!
- Be open! Especially because things are so unknown with Covid- 19! Be open to different venues, locations, guest count and dates.
- Connect with your vendors! This was really important for me. I chose my vendors based on style, price and how well I connected with them. I reached out to quite a few vendors. Things I looked for were: if they were quick to reply, responsive to my questions/emails, and were informative. Your photographer will be with you all day on your wedding day, make sure you get along with them and feel comfortable when you first meet them! If they aren’t responsive to your emails when you are trying to book them, then they may not be responsive when it gets close to the wedding or on your wedding day.
- If your photographer offers engagement pictures, get them done!! Because we live out of state, planning our engagement pictures was tough. We almost decided to forgo our engagement pictures, but we are so glad we chose otherwise! Your engagement pictures are not only great memorabilia, but they are a great way to see how well you connect with your photographer. This is great to get to know their picture taking style and it is great for them to get to know you as a couple. Also, if you and your partner are not used to professional pictures, it is great practice for the day of! You’ll have a chance to figure out what poses are awkward for you both and which ones worked best!
- Create back up plans (if necessary). I put this one in due to the current circumstances of the pandemic. Create back up plans for your wedding, bridal shower, bachelorette party, and honeymoon. Also communicate your back up plans to anyone involved in planning process and always take into consideration the health and safety of everyone involved.
i.e. bachelorette party: Plan 1- Beach party in Florida, Plan 2- Lake house (drivable for friends), Plan 3- Backyard party, Plan 4- zoom or post wedding bachelorette party
Because of Covid- 19, things may not be how you thought they might be. Your engagement and wedding planning process may be different than expected. This year has been wild and it can be tough on relationships. We have spent more time together than ever! We have also spent more time at home than we ever have before. While it has been great to see each other more, it has also bee hard on us as a couple. Here are some things we have found as a couple that are helping us through this crazy time:
- Communication– Communicate any frustrations you have whether your partner is on their phone more than ever, you’re starting to notice habits that they have that you never noticed, you need a little extra help cooking or cleaning etc. Your partner is not a mind reader, so kindly and gently communicate your frustrations!
- Check in with each other. We recently decided as a couple to check in once a month and talk things out. Our plan is to spend a few minutes (20-30 minutes) talking about how we are doing and if there is any changes that need to be made. Life is always changing so sometimes things in our relationship change too.
- Remember that this time is wild and that everyone handles things differently. Be easy on each other. If your partner has bad days, be there for them and allow them the support that they need. Especially if your wedding plans are changing, you may need to offer support to each other in whichever ways you/they need it.
- Plan date nights. This is something that I recently brought up to my fiancé. This has been a long year of not doing any of our usual activities. We love to go to the movies, bowling, and we love going out to eat. Surprise each other with at home date nights. This can be as simple as setting up a game night, at home paint night or finding a fun recipe to create together. When we are spending more time at home and more time with each other, we tend to neglect the moments we spend together. Make those Friday nights special by making plans to put down your phones and do something fun together.
Because of Covid- 19 things are still so unknown! One thing I am reminding myself is that I am marrying the love of my life and that things may not go as planned on our day. The universe has a plan, and it could be a smaller wedding than expected or it could mean a date change. Whatever happens just know that you are marrying the love of your life, and be there for each other. Communicate, cry, laugh about it! But most importantly just know that you will be married and it will be special no matter what!
If you are looking for more wedding planning tips and advice head over to theknot.com . This is a trusted resource for all things wedding planning related!
Also, be sure to check with the CDC recommendations for travel, travel restrictions and state event regulations.
Are you recently engaged or wanting to get engaged?! Let me know your journey below!
photo cred: J&J photography