We all dream of a wedding full of happy tears, magically romantic moments, delighted guests, and no shortage of Pinterest-worthy details.
But, we’re going to level with you. Wedding planning comes with its challenges, learning experiences and “what the heck do I do now” instances.
Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times of your life, but when the dust settles, it starts to sink in how stressful planning a wedding can be and how much work it really is.
The amount of resources and to-do's are nerve-wracking to say the least. You start thinking, and overthinking. Should I hire a planner? Can I afford one? How am I going to plan my own wedding? This is one of the most important days of my life. How do I make it perfect-for-us?
It’s easy to start spinning around in circles and to question your capabilities. Add the financial restraint along with the emotions and you’ll be in the same place as Michelle, co-founder of The White Box (a former wedding e-design and planning service company) — so you're not alone!
Michelle has been in the wedding industry for years, but once she started planning her own wedding she felt more relatable to brides than ever before. That feeling of being overwhelmed with making the right decisions is enough to keep one up at night.
Carrie, also co-founder of The White Box, felt similarly noting, "My first wedding as a planner was my own. I was in your shoes and the pressure was on to succeed. But let us be the first to say, you can pull this off and we’re going to help you."
Between their years of experience and their successful respective weddings, they assure that these five tips come straight from the experiential heart — their best suggestions for when couples aren’t sure where to begin.
At home on the sofa, or at a coffee shop. Talk about your favorite things to do as a couple. Maybe it's hiking or going to the beach. Maybe it's entertaining at your house with a large crowd — or just an intimate dinner gathering. Write down your top three, and let your wedding day reflect this (sobeit your theme). If you love to hike, find a relaxed outdoor location for a ceremony or reception. Inspired by the beach? Find a source of water whether that be a lake or the ocean. Love a large, loud party? Go for a space that can accommodate everyone and where the entertainment can be the main focus. Prefer a small gathering? A family-style dinner could be the perfect match! Then, discuss a guest count that would reflect this, and do your best to stay close to it.
Oh, the dreaded budget chat. Definitely stick to your guns here. What are you comfortable spending, whether it be your money or family chipping in? Going outside of this range can put strain on all your relationships and your wellbeing. You can make any budget work as long as you choose your priorities right from the onset.
You can start by pulling some images that ring true to your “theme." Pull 15 or so and then look for the common thread within. You may find you are drawn to natural, organic elements and color palettes. If you see a lot of blush in your intimate wedding inspiration, go with it and narrow your images down to 5, assuring they are cohesive and form a collection. Then, stop. No more pinning. Don’t second guess yourself. This is about your marriage, not over-analyzing sage versus eucalyptus green.
Start to check out venues and photographers after you’ve proceeded through the above steps 1-3. Make sure they align with your relationship and goals as discussed on your date night. Pull together your look through event rentals (tables, chairs, and table linens). Then, move onto selecting flowers, invitations, bridesmaid dresses, décor, menu, and so on. Mimic your favorite restaurants that you love to frequent together or draw inspiration from your personal styles. Doing this will make certain this vendor process will reflect your joint identity as a couple.
Throughout this planning journey, your body will fill itself with nervous energy — so, it’s productive to find an outlet through which to channel it. Make plans to enjoy your life, the engagement process, connecting in love and the planning experience itself. Consider this your brief reminder to go out with friends, exercise, visit family, date your fiancé(e), and do enough of what you enjoy most to counterbalance the stresses of planning.
While you’re keeping Michelle and Carrie’s advice in mind, sometimes a little technology can go a long way and can be very cost effective. There are many apps and services available online but three wedding planning guides we like are Zola, The Knot, and WeddingWire. Even if you're working with a personal planner, they can be a big help. Here’s a bit more about these three tools:
Zola’s mission is to make wedding planning easy and aside from services, they offer expert advice. Need cake ideas or ways to cut costs? Check out their blog! No matter the size of your wedding, it can be helpful to have everything in one place. Here are a few ways Zola can help:
The Knot is pretty similar to Zola and also free but it’s the veteran in the space. While some users have reported challenges with the RSVP management on consumer report websites, overall, it’s still one of the best resources out there. And again, their tips and tricks and all-in-one service are very helpful:
Option three, yet another free wedding planning friend that’s easy to set up. Keep your checklist, budget, website, and vendors in one place. They’ve also got quite the store to shop! Consider this your wedding central space. Here are some highlights:
We encourage you to visit some sample sites and to search around. You’re sure to find the best platform for you and your wedding-planning team!
While the timeline can vary based on who you are and the size of your wedding, one thing you’re going to need is a registry. This is your wishlist to share with everyone who wants to celebrate you. Planning your dream wedding should be a dream that’s detailed beyond the day itself — so find some gifts that keep on giving! You’ll enjoy curating it, and with a digital organizer, it’ll be easier than ever to distribute. Here’s where we suggest you begin:
La-ti-da! And you’re off to the races! We hope this post has helped you to plan the big day and we can’t wait to hear about it. Tag us with #mollymymag to share about your wedding and remember to enjoy your engagement!
This article was originally published in the summer 2018 issue of Molly My Mag under the title “You’re Engaged! Now What?” and has been expanded by our team here.
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