Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Guest Post: You Said Yes! ...What's Next?

Style Me Pretty
In the past year or so since I started this blog, I've developed a love for wedding day details: the perfect pink nail polish, which Mass songs sound good on an organ and which sound good on strings, and meaningful words to engrave in your rings.  Sometimes, though, especially when it comes to the beginning, I remember how important the big picture is, and how clueless I felt when I first got engaged--how the heck did one actually get married in the Church? 

I was so excited when Rachael, a reader, offered to write a guest post on general first steps for every bride.  She's planning her sister's wedding right now, and they've just gone slightly over budget--it's made her reconsider, she says, the basics and how to go forward from there.  Read on for a post-engagement game plan and few fantastic resources to help you, from pennies to paper.

So he proposed and you said yes! After the initial excitement is over, you quickly realize you have dozens and dozens of to-do’s now. Before you panic, take a deep breath and recognize that you will have time and help throughout the entire planning process.

Consider the initial questions. What kind of wedding do I want? What is my budget? The answers to these questions will dictate everything else that follows. Discuss these questions with both of your families. For example, if either family plans on contributing financially to the wedding, you need to know that in advance. Planning the budget might be the most important decision in the entire process. All other planning decisions will be based on this. Check out this post for more information about budget planning.

Once the budget is set, the real fun can begin!  Think about what time of year you would like to have your ceremony. June is the most popular month for weddings, followed by August and September. Meet with different venues for the reception to see what dates are available. Try to be flexible on the dates to make sure you get the locations coordinated.

After your date is set, let all your loved ones know. Send out Save the Date cards to everyone on your list. It is important, however, to make sure your list is finalized. You don’t want to deal with any hard feelings if you send out save the dates to family or friends and then you are not able to invite them due to your budget. There are a wide variety of Save the Date designs at Wedding Paper Divas.

Consider your wedding party. Make sure the two of you talk about the size of your bridal party before asking anyone. Also, think about whether the two of you would like children in your wedding party as flower girls or a ring bearer. There are definitely two sides to this coin. Kids all dressed up for a wedding are absolutely adorable! At the same time, however, kids are quite unpredictable when it comes to their behavior. They might get cold feet on the big day and not want to walk down the aisle with everyone staring at them. Consider talking to the children’s parents and get their input. This will also be a financial commitment from them for a dress, shoes, and a suit or tuxedo. Make sure they are able to spend the money.

Start looking at wedding gowns early (side note from Stephanie: who doesn't want to run out and do this right away, anyway?!). Depending on where you decide to purchase, it can take several months to have your gown come in and have alterations completed. To get started, check out plenty of websites and magazines. The Knot has an entire section of their website devoted to wedding gown designs, broken down by style.

Sound advice, no?  For advice on planning a Catholic nuptial Mass, check out Mandi's tips here.  Your turn now, ladies!  Anything we left off of this list?  What were the most helpful steps for you as you began your planning?


  1. I'll offer some advice as a classical musician! If you want beautiful music during your ceremony but can't (or don't want to) spend a ridiculous amount of money hiring professional musicians, check out youth orchestras in your community and public schools. I began playing the violin when I was 6, and by the time I was in high school I was in a semi-professional quartet, and was playing weddings almost every single weekend. My quartet charged about 1/10 of what professional adult musicians charged, and we always received compliments from the wedding party and guests on the beautiful music. (Let's face it, most wedding and/or church music is fairly simple and straightforward. Does it really matter if talented high school kids or adults are performing Canon in D at the wedding?). :) Whether you want a string quartet, a brass quintet, a vocalist, etc, all you have to do is contact the directors of your local high schools and ask them who they would recommend.

    1. That's such a good idea, Marisa! Friends of mine from college did our music and you're absolutely right that you save money and it feels more personal. Thanks!

  2. One thing my husband and I wish we had done was sit down immediately with both of our families and discuss the different expectations each of our respective parents was bringing to the table. My husband is Arabic and my family is Southern, so there were a ton of different traditions that our families wanted--and unfortunately, due to a lack of clear communication, there were lots of hurt feelings when certain traditions weren't included. Maybe hurt feelings just part and parcel of creating a new family and cleaving to one another, but it is nice if you can eliminate it if at all possible!

    1. Nooo way, my husband is Arabic, too! I can relate to the family tradition issues, as well as our families' differing feelings on inviting more distant elder relatives for the sake of good manners. Good advice =)

    2. So cool! I would love to hear your wedding-planning story some time. Good times. ;)

  3. Make a list of who you want to call/notify personally before making it Facebook official! I always felt really special when I found out about engagements and pregnancies personally (even if it's just a personal email/Facebook message). It took me like a week of calling some people a few times, but it was worth it.



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