Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 6--Budget

Now some of you may be wondering why I have written about choosing a venue and buying a dress before I talked about budget.

Well to be honest, I didn't really have a budget so it wasn't something I had to worry about along the way. Now let met explain, it's not that my dad said "go for it, spend whatever you want on whatever you need to make your wedding great." Not at all. More so, he knew I wanted a simple, DIY wedding and didn't want to spend lots of money. My parents were a part of every wedding decision and purchase I made so they were aware of how much I was spending. My mom helped me to do research and always make the best purchase for a great deal!

However, I realize my case is very special and most people have/need a budget. So here are some tips to help you.

  • Who is paying for your wedding? If it is your parents, you will need to sit down with them and find out how much they have set aside or are willing to spend.  If you are paying for it yourself, you will need to set a budget for yourself.
  • Once you have a budget, you will need to prioritize items. If a certain kind of dress, flower, cake is super important to you, put that near the top of the list. If you could care less about the flowers, put that at the bottom. Decide what is really important for you and you don't want to compromise on.
  • Keep receipts, keep track of your purchases along the way so you know how you are doing.
  • Shop around for the best deals.
  • Figure out what you could do yourself or have a friend do for you for cheaper or free.
Don't get stressed out about it! Don't let the budget control your wedding planning and make it no fun for you. Instead, find ways to work well within your budget!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 5--Wedding Dress

Wedding Dress! Sigh....such a great thing to do in the planning process. But it can also be overwhelming! There are SO many styles, price ranges, silhouettes, materials, and even colors. Picking a wedding dress and then wearing it is something a lot of girls dream about, but it's not always an easy decisions. There are even TV shows about it! It's a big deal. So where do you start?

Some things to consider--
  • season--some materials/silhouettes fit better in different seasons
  • style of wedding--if you are having a casual wedding, then a blinged out dress might be too much
  • body--there are many resources online that can help you determine which silhouette is most flattering for your body type
  • budget--dresses can be so expensive! Set a price before you go shopping. Once you try on the super spendy one and love it, that makes it SO much harder to not buy it.
  • are you able to sit/dance/fit into a car in the dress
As a little girl, I hated lace. Well, that wasn't the only thing I hated. I was very particular about how certain fabrics felt on my skin and lace was one that really bothered me. UGH, no way jose! But then, before I got engaged, I all of a sudden just started pinning every lace wedding dress I saw. My mom was wondering what had happened to me! I honestly think part of the inspiration was Kate Middleton's dress. At any rate, I learned that it's okay to change your mind about what you once wanted and just give your new ideas a try. I still pinned the flowy, empire-waist, Grecian style dresses that I liked but they more and more becoming outnumbered by lace.

When planning for your wedding dress, I would recommend lots of pictures! Cutting from magazines and pinning online. As you collect more and more, you will hopefully start to see a trend in material and silhouette especially. Then when you go to try on, you have a good starting point and can show your pictures to the consultant and they will help pull dresses to fit your desires.

Here are some dresses that I pinned:

Pinned ImagePinned Image
Pinned Image
Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

As you can see, lots of lace. I loved the open back idea but when I tried a dress on like that, I found that I could hardly lift my arms up. Hmmm...okay that wouldn't work.

Once you are ready to go try on dresses, make appointments. If they have an online store, look at dresses you like and call ahead of time to make sure they have them in the store.

I would recommend taking someone with you. Someone you trust, who can give their honest opinion without being rude, and who has similar taste as you or knows exactly what you like and what works for you. I took my mom. She came from out of town and so we had 3 days to find a dress. I called about 6 places in the area that I knew had dresses I had found online that I really liked. I made 4 appointments and we set out with pictures and a smile.

Take a camera with you. Some places may not allow you to take pictures, but those that do...take them! You will want to look back later to compare or just remind yourself how much you really like one.

Going in, you may know which dress you want. I think it's a good idea to try on a few though. Those other dresses will either totally confirm your decision or open up great new possibilities you hadn't considered. And besides, what's the harm in trying on a lot of wedding dresses???

My mom and I ended up only going to 2 appointments because we found my dress at the second place. Even though the appointment I had looked forward to the most was the next day, I knew their dresses were 3x as much and I had already fallen so in love with a dress, I didn't think I could like another one 3x as much. So I made the decision, rang the bell, and bought my dress!

I found my dress!

Maid of Honor helping me put my dress on

Mom zipping my dress up

Every girl should feel beautiful in her wedding dress!

I love my wedding dress and wish I had reasons to wear it again!
 Happy Dress Shopping!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 4--Color and Style

Choosing the colors and style of your wedding can be very hard, but the sooner you can do this the better the rest of your planning will go. Your colors and style will determine how you choose invitations, bridesmaid dresses, decor, flowers, and even food.

Some tips for picking your colors and theme:
  • Consider the season of your wedding. Colors naturally fit into different seasons. Warmer shades for late summer and fall, and cooler shades for spring and summer. Try to avoid the cliche colors of holidays in that season. For example, red, white, green at Christmas time is way too common and maybe not the best color combo for a wedding. For a winter wedding, instead try deep red with gray accents or a rich blues with gray or black accents.
  • Consider the style of your wedding. Rustic weddings work well with earth tones and muted shades. Neutral  or very simple color palettes are becoming popular for modern style weddings.
  • Consider your bridal party. What color(s) would your girls look good wearing? Some colors work better for different skin and hair and then some colors just don't look that good as a dress even though it makes a great invitation.
Here is a GREAT website for browsing hundreds of wedding color palette options. The Perfect Palette allows you to choose one color and then they provide several palettes that would work around that color. They also provide pictures from weddings to give you ideas of clothes, decor, flowers, food, etc. that match that palette. Such a great resource!

How did I pick my colors? Honestly, I ran across this palette picture on Pinterest and just fell in love right away. I did look at a few other options but I knew this was going to be my wedding colors. Now, I realize, that is a lot of colors. I think it is more common to have 2 or 3 colors, which simplifies things. But, as you will realize throughout this blog, I was not afraid to break "tradition". I loved these colors together and wanted to use them all! And so I did, and (I may be a little biased) but I think it worked great.
Pinned Image
 For choosing the style of your wedding...
  • Consider the season. If you want an outdoor wedding, winter weddings are still possible, but your style will definitely need to take the weather into consideration.
  • Consider the venue. If you rented a gorgeous church, a quaint chapel, or a backyard, the building/setting will automatically define the style.
  • Consider your dreams of a dress. If you have always wanted a huge princess ball gown, maybe a beach setting isn't the best. Your dreams of a ball gown may indicate dreams of a more formal style and setting.
Back to Pinterest, I saw this picture and it totally fit my wedding dreams of a style. Rustic, outdoors, country, simple, yes!
Pinned Image

I pinned this picture because I felt it was such a great mesh of my colors and the style. Pies are so rustic and simple and the colors looked so great together! (I did want pies at my wedding instead of cake...fiance vetoed that and even though I was bummed for a bit, I love what we ended up doing...keep reading throughout this month to see what that was.)
Pinned Image

 When my mom found this fabric line, the name alone had me sold. Urban Cowgirl...I feel like that fits me so well. We chose the 4 "lace" fabrics from this line (blue, cornbread(yellow), grass (green), and mud (brown) and then a solid coral for my bridesmaid dresses.

From my wedding--Color and Style
All of my wedding colors are included here in my bridesmaid dresses and the style is definitely rustic (baby's breath), simple (sundresses) and country (cowboy boots).

I hope these tips help you choose your colors and style!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 3--Date and Venue

For my fiance and I, these two topics went hand-in-hand.

You can't nail down a date until you know the venue works on that day. You can't nail down a venue until you know what day you want to get married on. It's a vicious cycle and it drove us crazy for two weeks.

Here's how we tackled it.

First, pick the season you want. We knew we wanted a summer wedding so we could have it outdoors.
Next, pull out a calendar and cross off all the dates you know do NOT work for various reasons (college graduation, HoopFest, family birthdays, etc., etc., etc.)
Then decide what day you want to get married on. Saturday is the biggest pick, but Fridays and Sundays are becoming more and more common for cheaper costs of venues. As you look at venues, you will need to decide which is a higher priority to you: the day of the week you have your wedding on, or the venue you have it at.

Once you consider those things, narrow down your dates to 3 and begin researching venues.

Now to be honest, I got completely overwhelmed and stressed out by venues. We knew we wanted a outdoor, country style wedding so I looked for ranches/barns/farms in the area. The places I found were either WAY too expensive, WAY out in the middle of nowhere, or had WAY too many rules.

The first problem is obvious. The second...I didn't want my guests to have to drive 30 plus minutes from their hotel to my wedding and I didn't want to have to travel far from my home either or to a hotel that night. The third problem is what really pushed me to the decision we ultimately made for our venue. Every venue had rules about capacity, parking, catering, rentals, and time allowed on the day. They were all so different and hard to compare.

My fiance and I ended up deciding to have our wedding in a family friend's backyard. They live on a farm and have a huge backyard where they got married themselves. The price: free. The location, 10 minutes from hotels that guests would stay in. The rules: drive slow to avoid dust and don't both farm animals haha.

So though I did not go the traditional route with renting a venue, hopefully these tips about choosing a date and a venue can help you in your wedding planning.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 2--DIY

Now before I rope you completely into this 31 Days of Wedding Planning, I should let you know something. My wedding was nothing like the Father of the Bride, everything paid for, everything the biggest and best kind of wedding. My wedding (by choice) was a DIY wedding. I wanted it simple, I wanted to have a hand in everything, and I wanted to not spend a ton of my parent's money. If you want to go the all-catered, all-inclusive, all-out wedding that is great! But this blog probably isn't for you then. My tips and advice will be based on my own experience. I am providing these tips to hopefully alleviate some stress, quest for ideas, and time as you plan your own DIY wedding. (I am also doing this to help me remember how planning my wedding went so that I can help my girlfriends and someday daughters).

Why you would want to go the DIY route
~It is personal. Doing your wedding yourself really allows you to make it just how you want it to fit you and your fiance. This day is about you and you are the best person to know how it should be and how to make it happen that way. It is a great feeling to show up at your wedding and see how great everything looks and know that you (and probably a few helpers) created everything! This day is supposed to be your special day. If you are the one who made all the invitations, decorations, and selected all the songs yourself, you will enjoy the day so much more because you can take pride in your the fruits of your labor. Plus, then you have and own everything after the wedding that can be used for home decor or helping someone else with their wedding.

~It is fun. While making 200+ invitations can get tedious, overall, doing your wedding yourself is fun because you get to see it transform from ideas on Pinterest to supplies all over your house to a gorgeous venue on the big day!

~It can save you money. Making your own invitations, decorations, etc. is definitely cheaper than paying someone else to. If you are on a tight budget or want a low-cost wedding, then DIY would probably be a great option for you. Even if you can't do everything yourself (I didn't), taking on some of the big areas can help you save a lot. I will also provide tips for how I chose vendors that were cheap and as close to DIY as I could get without truly doing it myself (like the cake for example).

Why you would NOT want to go the DIY route
~Though this is called Do-It-Yourself, you honestly can't do everything. In order to do a DIY wedding then, you will either have to make some choices to have someone else do something or to NOT do something at all.

~It is a lot of work. If you are in school or working a full time job or something else that does not give you the time to do all the research, calling, deciding, and crafting yourself, then this may not be the best route to save you time/stress/money.

Looking back, I am so glad I had a DIY wedding. Yes there were times of frustration, stress, and tears, but overall, I enjoyed it, had fun, and absolutely LOVED my wedding.

Not to brag at all, but just to let you know that DIY weddings can turn out really great...we received several compliments from guests that our wedding was one of the best they had been to. Some thought it was put on by a professional. I felt so blessed by these comments. I tell you just so that you realize with dedication, organization, good planning, and great family and friends to help, you too can pull off an excellent DIY wedding! Keep reading every day for more tips and advice on how to do just that.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 1--Planning Tools and Resources

Planning a wedding is a lot of work! It can be overwhelming and it can be stressful. can also be fun and organized. I hope in the next 31 days to share my experiences, tips, tricks and help you have a more enjoyable wedding planning season.

To begin planning, you need some resources and tools to help you stay organized through all the arrangements. Here is what I used and found extremely helpful.

1. A spiral-bound notebook.
That's right. They are cheap and doesn't have to be fancy (although since it's for a wedding it could be).  I had a notebook that I wrote EVERYTHING in. I wrote ideas, to-do lists, phone numbers, names, shopping lists, numbers, etc. etc. etc. I am very much a write-it-down list person. Even if you aren't, planning a wedding will require lots of organization so a notebook is a great place to start.

Practically every page of my notebook had lists and notes on it.

2. Calendar
About two months before my wedding, my mom and I decided that I needed a calendar. We needed a timeline to know when to get the last big things done, keep track of appointments, and know who to call when. It doubled as a to-do list that I could cross off items as completed. 
3. Wedding Magazines
So many to choose from! When I got engaged, my mom gave me two Bridal magazines. One was more pictures and ideas that I enjoyed looking through. The second one was "Real Simple Weddings" and was more like a Wedding Guide. It was so great. It had ten chapters about various wedding topics and broke everything down explaining it very well and helping you determine which route to go that best fit you.

4. Websites
There are dozens of blogs and sites related to weddings which can make it overwhelming. I used the following to help me:

Pinterest of course! I had been pinning wedding ideas since before I started dating my now-husband. Once I got engaged, I went through and purged from my wedding board to narrow it down to what I actually wanted to do.

TheKnot This site has so many great pictures, resources, ideas, and tools. We used this site to create our own wedding website complete with stories, pictures, information, RSVP capability, links to registries, hotel accommodations, and an online guest book. It's free and easy to use. On this site, they also have checklist and guest list tools that were helpful!

5. Helpers
I would say I had 3 main helpers in planning this wedding--my mom, fiance, and dad. I would strongly recommend you have someone who can help you on a regular basis. I chose my parents because I was living with them, they were paying for it, and they are some of the best help I know! As the time got closer, I of course enlisted several other people to help with specific tasks but throughout the planning process, they were my go-to's for decisions, discussions, details, and doing!

Those were my biggest tools and resources for planning. Of course there are many more and what I post is not necessarily right or wrong--it's what worked for me and what could possibly help you! What other tools/resources did you use or you would want to use?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Days of Wedding Planning

I stumbled upon this other blog called The Nesting Place that encourages and hosts people to commit to a blog topic for the month of October and blog about it everyday. I thought this would be really fun so I started thinking about a theme I could do. I chose to do 31 Days of Wedding Planning. I planned my own wedding along with lots of help from my parents and now-husband. I took pictures of various things along the way and wanted to blog about them but never had the time. Well this 31 Days of blogging will allow me to share some things I learned that will hopefully be helpful to others and it will allow me to go back and blog about everything I wanted to as I planned my wedding.

I hope you join me for 31 Days of Wedding Planning!