What to ACTUALLY Expect when Planning a Wedding

 About a week ago on Instagram, I asked you all to send me recommendations on the kind of blog posts you wanted to see in the next month or so. One of the suggestions I got had to do with what to expect when planning a wedding. I figured that not only would this be a great way for me to round up all of the wedding planning posts I've done over the course of our engagement but also be a great way to share with Y'all the different phases of wedding planning. 

Planning a wedding is one of the most unique things I've ever done and I'm going to be downright honest that there was A LOT that watching every episode of Say Yes to the Dress couldn't prepare me for. So today, I'm going to break down every season of planning a wedding from engagement to your wedding day and I'm going to chat with you about what to actually expect when planning a wedding. 

What to actually expect when you get engaged:

Getting engaged is one of the most exciting moments of my life. In the moment, it's easy to want to jump right into the wedding planning because you're just SO excited. But take a deep breath because I'm here to tell you that you want to actually enjoy the first few weeks of your engagement without even thinking of wedding planning yet. Tell your family and friends to lay off the wedding questions and take the time to just simply enjoy being engaged. 

To be honest, being engaged is kind of a weird time. It's exciting because you're planning the wedding or your dreams but there is such an "in-between" of dating and being married and it's being engaged. You're practically married but until those papers are signed, sealed, and delivered, you're kind of in this limbo stated during the engagement period. So take the time being engaged to not only plan for your wedding but to most importantly, plan for your marriage. 

A few decisions you'll need to make early on in your engagement are:

Do you want to have an engagement party? (Justin and I skipped this because our families were literally all over the place and it just wasn't going to be possible). 

Will you be doing engagement pictures? (If you have a wedding photographer in mind this is a great way to see if you want to book them for the wedding. Or, sometimes photographers will offer an engagement shoot when you book them for your wedding). 

How will you insure your engagement ring? (Do this ASAP).

Buying an Engagement Ring

Should You Have a Long Engagement?

The First 5 Things to Do when you Get Engaged

5 Tips for Engagement Pictures

What to Wear for Engagement Pictures

5 Things No One Told Me About Wedding Planning

What to actually expect from the first few months of wedding planning:

The first few months of active wedding planning are when you'll make the bulk of big decisions regarding your big day. You'll settle things like the budget, the guest list, and pick the date and venue. I think the first few months of wedding planning were my favorite because you're fresh off of the excitement of getting engaged and no one is tired of hearing you talk about your wedding yet. You're still very much dreaming of what your wedding day will be like. 

While I enjoyed the first few months of wedding planning, I think they were honestly the most stressful for me as well. Talking money scares me and having budget conversations (especially when you realize how dang expensive weddings can get) caused me all sorts of anxiety. Finding a venue for us was tricky too because we weren't sure how many people we were actually going to have. We fell in love with the first venue (before seriously talking about the budget) and I was crushed at the thought of not being able to have my wedding at the Thayer Hotel. Everything worked out in the end but just be prepared to exercise a lot of self-care practices during this time. 

A few decisions you'll need to make early on in your wedding planning are:

What is the overall theme or vibe you want your wedding to have? (You should have an idea of the style you want because this will help you select wedding venues)

What are my "Must Haves" for the wedding? (These are going to be your splurge items, the items you absolutely will do anything to make sure you get. For us it was Photography and Videography).

What will the size of your wedding be? (Before you start actually determining who you're inviting, you'll need an idea of how many guests you can afford and how many will actually come if you're doing a sort of destination wedding. The size of your wedding will also generally determine the size of your bridal party and what venues you look at). 

Choose a planning tool and STICK TO IT. (I changed mine half a dozen times until I finally DIY'd my own binder which is linked below. Do yourself a favor and save the money on a wedding binder and just make one yourself! So much simpler.)

Kick Start Your Wedding Planning

The Best Wedding Planning Tools

DIY Wedding Planning Binder

Setting a Wedding Budget

Choosing the Bridal Party

Easy DIY Bridesmaid Boxes

Navigating Tough Wedding Questions with Family

Wedding Guest List 101

How to Choose a Wedding Venue

Wedding Invitations

Wedding Dress Shopping 101

What to actually expect from the last few months of wedding planning:

The last few months of wedding planning are definitely stressful to say the least. You'll start freaking out because you won't be able to actually picture the venue, the flowers, the decor, etc. all coming together for one cohesive look. Your apartment will be filled with tons of wedding decor that you have absolutely no idea how you got in there in the first place. People will be bombarding you with questions, not returning their RSVPs, and so on. Just remember to breath and to focus on the all-important fact that you are freaking getting married to the love of your life soon! 

The last few months of wedding planning are also when fun stuff happens like the bridal shower and the bachelorette party. You'll also start making decisions on the final details like the ceremony and the music. 

A few decisions you'll need to make later in your wedding planning are:

What do you want the ceremony to include? (Will you be writing your own vows, doing a handfasting or other special ceremony? These are the details you'll start to figure out with the help of your officiant and will help shape your wedding day).

When do you want to start getting ready for the ceremony? (When the bride starts getting ready basically determines the entire timeline for your wedding day so don't wait until the last minute and then frantically throw one together for your vendors). 

Who is paying for what, when are you paying, and how are you handling tips? (We did not have a plan for our wedding and it was a hot mess. I'm still not sure who got tipped and who didn't.)

The Bridal Shower

The Bachelorette Party

Wedding Traditions to Ditch

That's pretty much wedding planning in a nutshell! If there is a specific wedding planning related topic you would like to see me write about, be sure to let me know. Otherwise, this may be the last wedding post for a while! PS: you can see what wedding planning looked like for me month-by-month starting at 10 months out here!

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