5 Steps to Kick Start Your Wedding Planning + My NYC Proposal Story

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here and if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re a newly engaged bride-to-be so congratulations are also in order! Today’s post is going to be a little bit of everything. First I’m going to share with you my amazing NYC proposal story and then we’re going to be talking a little bit about Wedding Planning 101. I’m so excited to help other brides through their wedding planning that I’m officially dubbing Wednesdays on the blog Wedding Wednesday. I don’t much care for posts that are written after the wedding (though I’m sure I will have my fair share of those too) so for then next year, Wedding Wednesday is going to be your go to place for all things wedding related.

My NYC Proposal Story

Justin proposed to me on a crisp November day in Central Park near the Old Oak Bridge. The number one thing people always ask me is if I knew he was going to propose. One thing you should know about Justin is that he’s absolutely terrible at keeping secrets. I knew he had bought a ring and I was hopeful that the proposal would be happening soon but I pretty much knew when Justin told me he wanted to spend Saturday in NYC (he hates NYC) and wanted to get dressed up (he usually doesn’t dress up unless I ask).

The proposal itself was pretty standard: guy gets down on one knee, says something sweet, pops the question, girl says yes. We spent the day wandering around the city and all through Central Park and The Met and I was anxiously awaiting when it would happen. I had all but convinced myself that he actually wasn’t going to propose when I saw him touch the chest pocket on his coat to make sure the ring was still there. My heart nearly fell to my stomach!

What made our proposal particularly unique because Donald Trump had just been elected president a few days before. The city was full of people protesting and at one point, shutting down streets. In the midst of all of that, we got to tell the world that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. Our proposal may not have been the most extravagant, there were no secret photographers, no fancy speech, but knowing that I had found someone to  love through all of the struggles we face in this world was honestly such an eye opening moment.

Wedding Planning 101

Like I said, Justin proposed to me in November of 2016 and we are getting married in May of 2018. While we’ve finally passed the one year mark our wedding is still quite a ways away. The idea of waiting until after the wedding to share all of my experiences, tips, and advice with the world just wasn’t appealing to me. I’ve already been engaged for 6 months and have SO MUCH knowledge to share with my fellow brides that I felt I would be doing a disservice by not sharing.

No one tells you this but getting engaged can be a seriously overwhelming moment in your life. You’re overwhelmed emotionally from congratulations and just the sheer amount of love you feel (seriously, I thought my heart would explode from all the love) and on top of that you now have to plan one of the biggest days of your lives! There’s a lot of money involved when it comes to wedding on top of dealing with tons of decision making, family matters, and more! Talk about pressure. You can find every wedding planning checklist, binder, printable, etc. known to man but those still don’t actually help you get started with wedding planning but I’m here to help!

Step One: Talk to your Fiancé

The first thing you need to do is sit down with your new fiancé and have a talk about the wedding. I would schedule this out as a date night that way you both know what to expect going into the evening, grab a bottle of wine and some take out (or make dinner together!) and a few other essentials such as a notebook and pen or laptop. Use this time to talk about what your dream wedding looks like. For guys, this is probably going to be a much simpler discussion but encourage your fiancé to pick out one or two things he envisions the wedding to have.

  • Possible Discussion Topics Include:

    • Theme/Overall vibe

    • Season

    • Possible Locations

    • Budget (we’ll be covering this in depth next week)

    • Organization Methods

    • The Bridal Party

Step Two: Pick an Organization Method

One of the very first things you should do after getting engaged is to figure out how you’re going to keep yourself organized through the wedding planning process. I’ll be honest, I did not do this. My organization methods were all over the place at first. I started with two different wedding planners, and a binder just to name a few. Now that I’m 6 months in, I’ve got a padfolio (a folder and notepad in one), sticky notes inside the folder, and a dedicated planner that is easily portable. The bottom line is that you need to figure out a system that is going to work best for you.

  • Possible Organization Options Include:

    • Wedding Planning Binder

    • Google Drive

    • Padfolio/planner combo

Step Three: Gather Inspiration

Based on step one, you should have already discussed with your fiancé what you want your wedding to look like. Now is the perfect time to start gathering inspiration for your wedding! When I first got engaged I probably spent at least $100 on wedding magazines. You wedding inspo pics are going to be the ideas that you build your perfect wedding day off of so more is more when it comes to this step!

  • Possible Places for Inspiration:

    • The Knot Magazine

    • Pinterest

    • Style Me Pretty

    • Ruffled Blog

    • Instagram

Step Four: Choose Your Bridal Party

Asking my bridesmaids was one of the very first things I did after Justin and I got engaged and there’s a really simple reason why: people involved with the wedding are going to care when you talk to them about the wedding. Justin has been fairly involved in the planning process but I’ve relied a lot on my girls to bounce different ideas off of them. They’ll be able to keep you calm in stressful situations and listen to you rant about budget frustrations and just the less joyous parts of wedding planning. Your bridal party is there to help and that’s why I think picking (and asking) them early on in the process is key to a happy wedding planning experience!

  • Possible Bridesmaid Ask Ideas:

    • DIY Bridesmaid Box

    • A Handwritten Letter/Card

    • Picture Frame and Card

    • Mini Champagne Bottle

Step Five: Start Looking for a Venue

Choosing your wedding venue is probably one of the biggest decisions you’ll make during the wedding planning process. I’m going to dedicate a whole post to choosing the perfect venue but to get you started there’s a few things you’re going to want to consider first. Remember in my post The First 5 Things You Should Do When You Get Engaged I talked about how you should start determining your guest list immediately? You’re going to want to have rough number of guests before you start looking at venues. Next, the overall vibe/theme of your wedding can also be determined by the venue or vice versa. I initially wanted a rustic style wedding but we fell in love with our venue which is much more vintage glam than rustic. Your budget is also going to determine what venues you should look at, guest numbers, catering, etc. The Knot vendor list is a great place to find local venues as well as just a quick google search of venues in your area.

  • Possible Venue Ideas:

    • Hotel Ballroom

    • Golf Course

    • Local Farm

    • Local Vineyard

So there you have it y’all. This should give you a little bit of an idea of exactly what to do once you’re done celebrating your engagement and ready to start wedding planning! As I mentioned, Wednesday’s around here are going to be dedicated to all things Wedding Planning so I’ll be elaborating on some of the topics mentioned in this post including setting your wedding budget and choosing your wedding venue so subscribe to the newsletter so you don’t miss out! You’ll also receive exclusive access to our totally free content library.