The Rules of Engagement

A good friend of mine recently got engaged…and by recently, I mean 3 days ago…

I saw the official Facebook announcement go up last night and this morning it’s seeing a lot of action! I was scrolling through the comments and well wishes, of which there are many, relishing in her time of joy. In today’s age this is the literal way to metaphorically “shout it from the rooftop” that you found your guy, The One, your soul mate, the love of your life…yay!

While I was perusing through some of the remarks on her wall, I became baffled…and maybe just a teensy bit perturbed…that so many people are asking the same question: “When’s the wedding?” Now call me crazy, but who was the last person to plan a wedding in 48 hours???

Getting engaged is a euphoric moment. I believe it is the time in each person’s life when they are the most hopeful…it is the promise of a happy future together, a solid foundation for a family, companionship and love. There will be no other time in your life like this one, so stop…just stop…and soak it in.

I know that planning a wedding is fun…but don’t skip this step because you’re ready for the next one. Plant both your feet solidly in this moment and just be engaged! I don’t care how long you dated…dating is different than being engaged and being engaged is different than being married.

Take a week at minimum…refuse the urge to buy 10 wedding magazines and spend hours on Pinterest…go out and show off your sparkler!  When people ask “When is the big day?” just smile and say that you’re both enjoying some time being engaged first…

Being engaged is also…just really fun.

Here are some of my favorite tips and pieces of advice I’ve collected from brides along the way…

Tell your family and friends first.  Be respectful and call or tell your loved ones in person before posting the news on social media. Let the news spread word of mouth before you tweet it.

Get your nails done.  Everyone will be asking to see your ring, so make sure your hands are presentable…that chipping green polish…has to go.

Don’t waste the money on magazines. If you absolutely must, go grab one or two…but don’t buy more than 3…there is nothing in those pages you can’t find for free on-line!

Budget! I think this is the most important, and too often missed, step of the planning process. For tips on budgeting read http://wp.me/p3Z8Gm-3H.

Estimate your guest list. You should know roughly what number you are planning for as soon as possible. One of the first questions a vendor will ask is the guest count. Once you have a number you can research venues to accommodate your wedding.

Pick a venue THEN choose a date. Lots of brides pick the date first just because it is simple…It is much easier to find a venue you LOVE and choose a date they have open in the month or season you want…rather than finding a venue that has your specific date available. (This is especially true if you’re planning a wedding in under 8 months.)

Find your dress. Yes, the dress comes after the budget, after the venue and after the date…I am shocked at how often the dress is the very first thing a bride shops for.

Ask the groom for his input. I DO NOT care if your guy says… “just tell me when and where to be”. This day is as much for him as it is for you. Ask his opinion…allow him to lead the charge on what the groomsmen will wear the food and the cake!

Don’t sweat the small stuff. It is easy to become stressed out…you may find the bridesmaids dress you envisioned looks awful on every girl in your bridal party…the guest list will go up and down at least a few times… and changes will happen.

Don’t lose sight of “Happily Ever After”.  The saying refers to the time beyond the wedding…You are planning the happiest day of your life, I know. More importantly – you are preparing yourself for marriage…do not become so consumed in planning for the wedding that you forget to continue to nourish your relationship.

 

I would love to hear your engagement tips! What would you do differently in the weeks and months before your wedding? Comment below!

Happy Planning,

Jenn

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The Hired Help

Brides, it’s easy to find great tips on what to do or how to do it when it comes to planning a great wedding…but here’s a nugget of what not to do. It may seem obvious, or so I thought, but last night’s wedding proved that not everyone got the memo – so here you go….

The Lowdown on Vendors

Unless you have a written contract, have read great reviews or they were referred by a friend and you have personally seen some of their work….DO NOT, don’t even think about it, it should not even cross your mind…Don’t give them your money!

Nothing will bring stress to your wedding day faster than having to worry if your DJ is going to show up, if the flowers are going to be the right color or if the cake is going to be edible.  Listen to what I’m saying; this happens all the time…all-the-time…no “great deal or bargain” is worth risking your wedding day bliss.

If you don’t have the time to research for a vendor whether it is a photographer, a florist, a caterer, whatever…ask someone you trust or better yet, please hire someone who loves doing it. If you come across a deal that’s too good to be true – listen to your gut and keep looking. I know you’re on a budget and spending $500 on a DJ seems so much better than $1,200…but honestly nothing kills a reception like bad food and bad music.

You heard me…FOOD and MUSIC…add venue to that list, and these are the three things people will remember about your wedding. Honestly, if these three things are good then you are golden and nothing else really matters! Be willing to find someone you can trust to do a great job…Meet with them IN PERSON and if you leave even a smidge unhappy or uneasy find someone else.

TRUTH: Expensive DOES NOT automatically equal good.

LIE: All the amazing vendors are too expensive!

Amazing wedding photos, delicious food and rocking music are all within your grasp. You may have to spend a lot of time hunting the photographer that will charge you $800 to shoot your wedding day…but they’re out there, I know!!!  I’ve worked with tons of them and have seen beautiful work. ((Not amateurs or a friend of a friend, or Billy Bob with a digital camera…a photographer with a portfolio, you can trust.))

Here’s another little secret about vendors – hiring a wedding planner/coordinator may seem frivolous…however, we have lots of connections and can often get a bride better deals with preferred vendors we’ve already worked with. So the money you save, it can be hundreds of dollars, using their connections will often more than pay for the planner’s services.

Happy Planning!

Jenn

Have a good story of a bad wedding vendor?? I’d absolutely love to hear it…The DJ who shows up with no speakers isn’t an urban myth…I’ve met him! Tell me your stories…comment below.