Happy Hump Daaay! It’s time for another #weddingwednesday — where’re all my beautiful brides at?! Before we get too far into girly wedding talk, I wanted to inform y’all that going forward, I plan on sharing only one to two #weddingwednesday posts per month (instead of a weekly thing). I don’t want to bombard love ‘n’ labels with too much wedding mush, so rather, I plan on popping in a WW post about every other week or so.
If you know me, you know that I love all things wedding-related, and since I just went through the entire wedding process myself, I want to share as many tips, tricks and pieces of advice that I can with soon-to-be brides. Thus far, I have shared about getting engaged, some guidance on what to do after you get engaged (read that post HERE), and details/advice for throwing an engagement party (read HERE).
Today, I’m sharing a few of the things I did after our engagement party to officially begin the wedding planning process.
From deciding on a date to asking your best girlfriends to stand by your side to choosing your vendors & putting down deposits to simply choosing your hashtag, you can easily get overwhelmed. There are SO many details in the planning process (like, so many), and I thought that I knew them all when I first got started on my wedding journey – ahem … no. There were so many things I didn’t realize I would have to face while planning my wedding. I was a bride who didn’t hire a wedding planner, so I had a lot on my plate (thankfully I had a lot of hands to help me though!), and I wanted everything to be as perfect as possible on our big day (I mean, every girl wants that though, right?? However, not everything will be 100% perfect – and that is OKAY!). Whether you are a bride who is doing it all yourself or you have a wedding planner, here are a few tips and pieces of advice from my personal experience that may help you really enjoy the planning process (& keep it smooth sailing … for the most part 😉 ):
1. Gather your girls
Obviously, you’ll know early on who you will want standing by your side throughout this big time in your life and on your most special day. So, why not go ahead and ask them to be a bridesmaid/MOH/flower girl/junior bridesmaid, etc. as soon as possible? One of the first things I did as an engaged woman was ask my girls to join me on my journey to becoming a Mrs. I wanted them to be there with me every step of the way! I encourage you to do this early on in the process because 1.) They can help make your life a lot easier and help out in many ways and 2.) EVERYTHING in life is way more fun when you have your girls by your side. Plus, your ladies are probably expecting your ‘bridesmaid proposal’ sooner rather than later – they are excited to be alongside of you … Trust me, I’ve been on both sides lol!
I gifted my girls with individual gold boxes full of special goodies. I kept the theme of the gift very wedding-oriented with the ‘4 Somethings’, but I wanted the gifts inside the box to also be something they could use. There are so many great ideas for bridesmaid proposals and gifts that I have shared on Pinterest (including different price ranges!), so if you are looking for inspo, check it out!
Something Old: vintage hankies (similar here)
Something New: a new tote to carry their things in on the wedding day (similar here)
Something Borrowed: a framed bible verse (I mixed the frames & gave them one to match their homes .. and to make it more personal.) Love this frame!
Something Blue: a little (lace-accented) blue token 😉 that any girl would love!
**For my flower girls and junior bridesmaids, I switched up their boxes just a bit so that it was more age-appropriate and would be something that they really liked. For instance, I gave them some light blue nail polish for their ‘something blue’. All little ones loooove nail polish & makeup!
Thankfully, all my girls said ‘YES!’ to my proposal & I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls and set of friends to stand by my side.
2. Don’t lose your opinion
Don’t take this the wrong way. It is so helpful to have people to talk about fun ideas. I was actually given a lot of suggestions for my wedding and most of the time, I agreed and was super happy that that suggestion was made. However, you will get a ton of opinions & ‘if it were my wedding, I’d do it this way’ … well, newsflash girlfriend, this is YOUR wedding. You can’t forget that because you only get one chance to do it the exact way that you want it. Whenever someone is giving you advice/opinions about wedding details, listen to them, think about if you agree (or not), if the idea fits in with all of your ‘dream wedding’ ideas inside your head – and if so, GREAT! Be sure to show your appreciation for the help. If not, then kindly disagree & most likely, people won’t continue to push you on something that you don’t want. They will understand because it’s simply your time to shine. Everyone else will have their time to shine eventually too. All in all, just don’t let anyone keep you from having the special day that you and your groom have dreamed about. If you keep this tip in mind throughout your wedding journey, you will be very happy with the end result.
3. Decide on a budget – then add a couple thousand
Yep, you read that right. I had calculated a certain budget for my wedding and all its festivities. Well ahem … my estimate was a little off. I actually tried really hard to break down and calculate all the estimated costs (or what I wanted to spend on certain things) and well, as the wedding day got closer and closer, it’s like I kept thinking of more and more costs that I hadn’t budgeted for. And these weren’t like random extras that I just wanted to add. It was the little details that I kept thinking of toward the end of the process that added up quickly. So, establish a set budget and then literally add $2000-3000 of ‘cushion’ just incase. If you don’t spend it, then that’s a win-win, but if you do, then at least you are more prepared for it than I was. 🙂
4. Attend a bridal show
I attended The Pink Bride bridal show in Knoxville last winter before my wedding, and it helps brides in so many ways. All of the main vendors in your area get together to set up a booth to show off their products and/or services that they offer for weddings. This includes photographers, videographers, florists, DJs, bands, caterers, hair & makeup teams, venues, coordinators, rental companies, tux and wedding dress retailers, and so much more. Whether you are just getting started in the wedding process or you just have to tie up a few more loose ends, I HIGHLY suggest attending The Pink Bride show coming up at the first of the year. Pink Bride shows are hosted in Knoxville, Memphis, Chattanooga, the Tri-Cities area, and Nashville. (However, if you are not in the Tennessee area, you can google search for local bridal shows nearest you.) Bridal events like this will obviously just make you even more excited for your big day, plus you get to meet and connect with many different vendor options. This is one of the best ways, in my opinion, to see what all of your options are as far as wedding vendors go. You can see their work from past weddings & get a better feeling about if a vendor is the best fit for you and your day. I met most of my main vendors at the show I attended and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome of our big day.
I do want to share a few things about bridal shows that may help you in some way. Most of the time, a lot of the vendors will be offering some kind of HUGE deal that lasts only during the show. Keep that in mind before you go! Also, write out a list of what you absolutely want to book ASAP (i.e. flowers, venue, cake, videographer, etc.) because those are the vendors that you want to find at the show and go ahead with a deposit if possible (to secure your spot). TRUST ME when I say that you should focus on your date/venue first, then very soon after, find your photographer & videographer. Photographers are booking up over a year in advance now (crazy, right?!), so don’t miss out on getting the one at the top of your list. Also, if you feel more comfortable booking with vendors after the bridal show, that’s fine. Just be sure to write down your favorites that you saw so that you don’t get overwhelmed later on when trying to remember who was who. Speaking of being overwhelmed, well … welcome to a bridal show. 😉 JK, it doesn’t have to be that way. A lot of people do get very overwhelmed, but if you just go in as the ‘organized bride’, stay relaxed, enjoy yourself & have fun, then you will have no problem!
Oh yeah … if you plan on attending any of The Pink Bride shows after the New Year, be sure to grab a copy of The Pink Bride Magazine because you might just see a familiar face on the cover – all thanks to my wonderful photographer, Katherine Birkbeck & all of my amazing vendors! I plan on attending at least one of the PB shows in January, so if I don’t see you, come say hello! I’d love to chat weddings or fashion with you guys!
If you would like to hear about the vendors I used for my wedding, let me know in the comments below or comment on my insta/facebook/twitter, and I may share that in one of my upcoming #weddingwednesday posts.
Thanks so much for reading!
Before I sign off, I want to ask for your thoughts and prayers. My heart has been so heavy the past couple days as I have been following such tragic news about the wildfires in Gatlinburg, TN. I grew up in a neighboring county of Gatlinburg, visiting the town (still to this day) many times per year. You may or may not have already heard about this matter, but here’s some background: The fires burned over 15,000 acres of land and properties. So much of our Tennessee history is destroyed. Over 100 structure fires confirmed. Hundreds and hundreds of people’s homes & businesses completely burnt to the ground. 3 losses of life thus far. And a lot of recovering & rebuilding to come for our Great Smoky Mountains. This one hits really close to home. On a brighter note, material things can be replaced, God has opened up the skies providing lots of rain in East TN today, and the Volunteer state has come together more than ever. I would so appreciate you joining me in prayer for all those affected by this tragedy & all emergency personnel.