Your entire relationship has led up to this moment. You're living your life as if it's any other day, but what you don't know is that everything is about to change. That's when it happens. He starts to get down onto one knee. The tears are starting to run down your cheeks, and you're so overwhelmed with emotion that you can barely register the words coming out of his mouth. No doubt - he is feeling the same way. Later, both of you will talk about how you can't really even remember the exact words that were said, but at the end, one thing is for certain. You are going to be his forever, and he yours. Now what?
1. TAKE A SECOND TO BREATHE
Put off the Instagram post, put off the phone calls and wedding talk for just a hot second. Hug your love, and tell him how much he means to you. Sure, you've been dreaming of the perfect wedding since you were a little girl playing dress up, but he's been thinking of his future for a while now too. More than likely, the ring has been on his mind for quite some time, and it's been a pretty hard secret for him to keep from you while he picked out the perfect one and planned out the one moment that would be talked about for the rest of your lives. Once you've rejoiced in the moment that FINALLY happened, take some time to call the ones that mean the most to you two and celebrate. There's no need for knowing the exact wedding date and everything you want mere seconds after he stands back up. Enjoy the engaged season, you only get one!
2. TALK ABOUT YOUR PRIORITIES
Let's go back to that "I've dreamed of this day my whole life" thing. Maybe you've always imagined an outdoor wedding with all of your family + friends + all of your sorority sisters + the Starbucks barista that has your order going as soon as you open the door. Here's where that becomes a problem. Maybe your fiancé only wants your closest family members and couldn't imagine getting married anywhere but at the church he grew up in. IT'S OKAY TO WANT DIFFERENT THINGS, but you should sit down and write out a few (think less than five) things that are important to each of you when it comes to planning your wedding. Then, compare those lists to see which compromises should be made. Ladies, nine times out of ten, these are the very few things your man will ask for, and most of the time, it's because they truly mean something to him. Remember, it's his wedding day too. A few things that come up often when deciding what is most important on your big day are: budget, venue, a first look or seeing each other at the aisle, color scheme and formality of the wedding attire.
3. MAKE A WEDDING EMAIL ACCOUNT
I know, I know. You're thinking, "BUT I already have a million accounts - one for personal, one for work, one for all of those junk emails and coupons I really didn't want but felt bad telling the cashier that I didn't have an email...." Hear me out. ALLYOGRAPHY client Megan suggested making a wedding email account for wedding related things only. That way, wedding information doesn't get overlooked buried under the same outlet store's emails with their million sale offers for the day. Another bonus is that you don't have to dig through work/personal/school emails to find wedding information in a frantic panic to finalize any remaining details.
4. MAKE A GUEST LIST DRAFT
DRAFT, y'all. DRAFT. This isn't set in stone, and you can add or take away people later on in the process. However, so many pieces hinge on how many guests you'll have celebrating as you kiss each other for the first time as husband and wife. Let me play out this scenario for you.
You think, "Ok, we have semi-small families, and I only want to invite a few friends. Let's go with 100 guests." Then, you find a venue that holds 150 people at max capacity. Great! Right? Then you tell your caterer and rental company you only need stuff for 100 people and get a quote. Doing great on budget, killing the game, heck yeah! And THEN you sit down to make a guest list. "Oh no, we forgot about this aunt, and this cousin with older children that are married, and this coworker that's married so there's another plus one." And all of the sudden, you're over capacity for your venue, you're over the budget you thought you had lined out perfectly, and you've caused yourself a ton of stress figuring out who to cut from your guest list to make it all work.
Now, I'm not saying it's easy to make this draft and figure out who is important enough to make the cut if you do this step before you start planning. But, it does give you the opportunity to set your budget with a more realistic goal in mind, and you don't get stuck with a booked venue that's too small and having to either not invite people entirely, or inviting them and not giving them a plus one. Who should be invited and who should get a plus one is a story for another day.
ALLYOGRAPHY Bride Drew said doing their guest list first let them know which venues were too small (most common) or too large for their celebration so there were no surprises later on in the planning process. Napkins, chargers, seating for the ceremony and reception, catering and cake numbers - not to mention the money it takes to host all of these people. Don't wait until you're already late sending out invitations to figure out who to invite.
5. FIND A WEDDING PLANNER / COORDINATOR
Notice, I said "find" and not hire. One million times, yes, HIRE a wedding planner if it's within your budget. They have expertise at doing just that - planning and coordinating weddings. If having an easy and fun day with little stress is a priority to you both, place hiring a planner on your to-do list. Then, it becomes their job to help find and coordinate all of the other vendors that will play a role in your big day (venue, catering, floral design, photographer... the list goes on). ALLYOGRAPHY Bride Tori said hiring a wedding planner has made their life 10x easier, and that her planner has taken care of everything to make Tori's vision come to life, without Tori or her closest peeps having to lift a finger.
However, regardless of your budget, find someone (or many someones) to help do the little things. Your mom shouldn't have to worry about mixing the sweet tea for the reception or tying all of the bows on the chairs. With some extra planning on your part, these are jobs that a family member or friend can do to take the stress off of you and your immediate family. Just remember, you will be the one coordinating who is doing what job, how they do it, when they do it, and who they will answer to when making sure it's done correctly - so if that will add chaos to your day, consider hiring a wedding planner.
Well... now, go plan a wedding! As you go through this process, and become overwhelmed at how much really goes into making one day go off without a hitch, remember how you felt the exact moment you looked down and your fiancé was on one knee. Those butterflies will return as you walk down the aisle to marry your best friend, and at the end of the day, being married to your best friend is all that really matters.