Thursday, May 4, 2017

Planning a Wedding in 6 Months


Planning a wedding in 6 months... is easy!

My engagement happened on Christmas Eve, 2016. I could not have been more excited! Not long after that, our wedding date was set for July 8, 2017. So many people looked at me like I was crazy - 6 months?! I kept hearing "Wow, you waste no time!" and "That soon?!" and "July 8th... of this year?!" 

All I could do was laugh. To me, 6 months is a great amount of time to plan a wedding. As you plan your big day, just remember this: you are planning a happy, fun day for you & the people you love. As long as you marry your fiance & get to have your supporters around you, all is well. No worries! Stress never looks good on anyone. Follow along as I show you how to plan an awesome, affordable wedding in 6 months! 

Our Facebook announcement photo :)

1. Pinterest: First things first, start getting to know what you want in a wedding. Whether you're engaged yet or not, start a Pinterest board & fill it with anything & everything that looks good to you, regarding weddings. Pin things like dresses, hairstyles, color themes, flowers, decor, food ideas, invite ideas, tux ideas, cakes, desserts, shoes, photo poses, veils, flower crowns, teeth-whitening tips, hair tips, nail ideas, beauty plans, lighting, center pieces, programs, wedding workout plans, RSVPs, venue ideas or tips, favors... anything that ignites your mind with ideas for your day. Check out my Pinterest Board for ideas on pins. 

*Tip: make sure to only pin things you really like. You don't want to have to sort through thousands of pins when it comes time to plan! 



2. Get Engaged: Too obvious? Well, you never know. But this part is kind of required. Soak up every moment & make sure to say YES! (I first said "What are you doing?!" then again "What are you doing?!" then I giggled a bunch... then he had to ask me again... and I finally said "Forever! Yes! I will marry you tomorrow!" Yup, I'm a dork - but I loved each moment!)



3.  Tell Those Close to You, First: I first told my mom, as she was practically chomping at the bit for this moment. Then I told my family. Then we told his family. Then we told our best friends. Then we put it on Facebook. I recommend telling loved ones in person, & waiting a day or two for social media. Soak up that intimate moment!


4. Get on The Knot! I cannot say enough about how helpful theknot.com has been for me. You plug in your wedding date, and it automates a checklist of all the things you need to do each month to be on track. I use that checklist almost daily! 



Not only do they have that amazing checklist, but you can also plug in your budget & they will have suggested amounts you should spend on each thing to meet that budget. To be honest, I don't use the budget feature on the website. When it comes to spending money, I made my own Google Sheets page to keep track. 

You also can make your Wedding Website on here. Your wedding website is a site you can make & have your guests go to for all your wedding day information, like the venue, the times, the dates, the addresses, the blocked hotel, your registry, your engagement story, & so much more! On our invites, we put all the relevant information, but also put "find us on theknot.com" at the bottom. 



 They even have a countdown to your wedding date! 


It's just a really helpful resource to keep you on track & stress-free! 


5.  Decide on Your Wedding Party: Chances are, you already have an idea of who you want next to you on your big day. When I called my bridesmaids to tell them I was engaged, I answered the phone with "Want to be a bridesmaid?" Haha, I thought it was a fun way to tell them I was engaged, but also let them know they were going to be my warriors for the next 6 months. I would have told them in person, but it was Christmas Day & the families were bursting at the seams to shout it from the rooftops. 
*Tip: Make it special. I asked my sister to be my Maid of Honor by writing her a cute, personal poem, framing a pic of us, & gifting her with some cute items: a mini bottle of wine, some nail polish to wear on the big day, & some 16-hour lipstick to wear on the big day. 



5. Go Dress Shopping: I got engaged on a Saturday and was in a wedding dress store on Monday. Yup, I was ready! I mean, it is a fun experience, so why not go wedding dress shopping right away? Plus, you have 6 months to find the dress, get it altered, find a matching veil, & try it on about 1000 times - get crackin'! I didn't find my dress that Monday, or that Wednesday, but I did find it on that following Saturday! Lucky for me, it fit well, available off the rack, & was 30% off! I tried on about 30 dresses in total until I found "the one," so don't fret if you don't find it right away. 

6. Make a Guest List: Start with immediate family, then spread out to aunts & uncles, then their kids, then out more, then over to friends, co-workers, etc. Go through your phone, through Facebook... get all your loved ones on a pretty Google Sheet like mine. This Google Sheet tallies up your guest totals for you - sweet! Meet with the parents and have them check the list. Then, decide on how many people you want at the wedding ceremony, the dinner, or at the dance.

Mailing out invites!

7. Talk About the Budget: Who is paying for what? How much are they willing to help? How much do we want to spend, as the couple? How many people can we afford to have eating dinner with us? Where are we willing to pull the budget strings, & where are we willing to splurge a little? Are we aiming for $2,000? $5,000? $8,000? $10,000? Don't be afraid to ask parents or talk to your soon-to-be partner!

8. Decide on the Venues: Originally, I wanted a wedding on our farm. After thinking about weather, & mud, & parking, & liability, & tables, & chairs, & the DJ set-up, & the dance floor, & lighting, & farm animals... we ultimately decided against it. I just want a fun, stress-free day and having my wedding at home brought way too many "what-ifs." Plus, the cost to rent tables & chairs & a dance floor & event insurance & portable bathrooms would have cost more than the hall we rented! We decided to rent a hall in town, similar to an American Legion. It was $300 and included tables, chairs, lighting, insurance... plus, the owner can cater the meal right in the building, have a stocked bar with bartenders hired... it just was too easy not to make that decision! I trust we can get the place really pretty & that the night will be great at our hall. 
As for the ceremony... Jim requested that we marry in a church. We're both religious, so that was a no-brainer. I originally wanted it outside, but I listened to my fiance's request & was fine with it! We are becoming members at the church we are getting married at.

9. Follow your checklist! After you've done the major things, like setting a date, asking your bridal party, buying a dress, & booking your venues, just follow your checklist on theknot.com. That's it! That is the big secret to staying on track. Get your caterer booked, get your bridesmaid dresses bought, get your alterations done, order your invites, mail your invites... just follow the checklist. 

And read ahead! For some reason, The Knot's checklist had me scheduled to mail out my invites in June - a month before the big day. Well I don't know how it is where you come from, but here in my neck of the woods, we mail those suckers out a good 2 months in advance. And, seeing as we didn't do save-the-dates, we actually sent ours out 3 months in advance. So I checked off a June item in April! 

Also, edit your checklist to fit you. You can actually remove things from the list if you don't plan on doing that item. For example, our checklist said to mail out save-the-dates in March. Well, we didn't do those, so I clicked the item & clicked "Remove item" so it took it off my checklist. It's very user-friendly! 


Well, it's now May & I can happily say I am on track for the wedding:

 

I'm ticking off items for May and even items in June & July, too! Wow, the wedding seems so close now! My current projects are: making the rehearsal invites, making day-of itinerary's for the wedding party, & ordering flowers. Things are going pretty smoothly! 

Again, just remember, at the end of your wedding day, if you & your fiance are now husband & wife, it was a success! 

Watch for a future post about how I budgeted my wedding!

I wish you a stress-free, fun, content wedding-planning experience! 

Love,
Ash 

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