The first stage of engagement is excitement. Pure, unadulterated joy at the idea of marrying your best friend, choosing all the details, and inviting all your friends and family. The second stage, which comes on soon after you start the planning process, is a feeling of being incredibly overwhelmed. You have the big decisions: the when, where, who, and how much, but then you start thinking about all the tiny details you never even imagined. What color should the cocktail napkins be? Should I put the cake in this corner or that corner? What flavor cake should we have? And on and on it goes. So how’s a bride supposed to stay sane?!
First of all, it’s important to remember you’re not the first person to ever plan a wedding. There are countless books, blogs, articles, etc. on all the ins and outs of wedding planning. My sweet mom bought me the Mindy Weiss Wedding Planner & Organizer, and it has become my best friend! With timelines for short and long engagements, a budget breakdown, and detailed info on every aspect of the planning process, it has helped me feel so much more in control.
The best decision I made was to focus on one thing at a time. First, we chose the venue. Then, we locked down our date. Next, I went dress shopping. Then, we looked at photographers. For each decision, I made sure to compare at least two options at different price points to decide what works best for our budget while still fitting my vision.
Which brings me to the budget, perhaps the most stressful piece of wedding planning. To help me stay organized, I’ve kept track of my budget both in my Organizer and in a Google Sheets file. The file is shared with my planner and my parents and updated with deposit due dates, itemized pricing, and running totals. I’m a bit of a spreadsheet geek, so being able to see everything laid out has been super helpful!
I also have a Google Doc with all of the contact info and contracts for each vendor, which is also shared with my parents and planner. It gives them a bit of a glimpse inside my head as I’m planning! While I am working with a planner, I’m sourcing, interviewing, and negotiating with the vendors myself but utilizing her expertise for the contracts and nitty gritty details. She is also going to save my life the day-of with helping make sure everything is in order so I can enjoy the day!
The best advice I can offer throughout the planning process is to enjoy it! I’ve had so much fun scrolling through photography samples, picking out flowers, and looking at alll the inspo pictures on Pinterest. As Mindy Weiss says in her book, this is the biggest, most expensive party I’ll ever throw, so I might as well have fun with it!