They did it! They took you to your most memorable and romantic spot, dropped down on one knee and popped the big question! You were surprised and overwhelmed with so many feelings that they are now indescribable. Then through teary eyes and an enormous smile you said, "Yes, of course I'll marry you!" And now you are engaged!
Being engaged is a truly magical experience, it really takes a relationship to a new level; even if you have been together for 10+ years, there is still some wonderful element to finally committing your intentions of lifelong love to your betrothed.
As the dust settles, you have sent all your pictures of the ring to your elated friends and family, you have posted the romantic and exciting image of the two of you, or of just your ring, on all of social media and then a calm comes...What’s next?
Well, now you have to plan a wedding and if you have never thought about the details of your dream day it can become instantly overwhelming. Unless you are in the business of weddings and/or an event planning, it is likely you cannot even fathom what has to happen to make an ideal wedding day come to fruition. Luckily, we live in the world of the interweb and everyone today can transform from novice to expert in a matter of minutes. What does it take to make this transformation? Just a bit of research, some organization, a vision. You can make anything happen as long as you know what you want, so what do you want?
The first step to planning a wedding is to find your vision. You can Google it, you can search Pinterest and get lost for hours upon hours, you can scour Instagram and attend all the wedding shows near and far as long as by the end of it, you have a vision.
You may be saying, "What do you mean, a 'vision'?" Great question! In order to expedite the second step of wedding planning, which is picking a venue, you have to know what you are looking to create. For example, if you are searching for a new home, apartment etc. you will likely have a few expectations; you want it to be cozy and warm, with a balcony and large yard. Though it is in a skeleton form, you do have a starting point/vision for what to look for and what to weed out as you Craigslist away. The same applies to your wedding day, do you want a rustic feel in a barn? If so then you can narrow down your venue search immediately to only look at venues that have barns. Is your theme 1920's, or rustic chic, or medieval? Look, it is your day, we have seen a lot of different wedding themes, i.e. Star Wars, there is no judgement here, just come up with a vision and your planning, whether you, your mom, or wedding planner expedites it will be a hundred times less stressful.
Then once you have your vision you will need a budget. You and yours should sit down together and discuss the elements that are most important to you both in order to budget appropriately. To some brides and grooms, it is important to have a cotton candy machine on their wedding day, if that is the case and you have a general budget, you may have to cut an expense somewhere else to accommodate your dream cotton candy machine. Does your spouse really want a cigar bar? Everything has a price and it will take some research to figure out your budget and what it will accommodate but it can be done. DIY is a fad for a reason, it is usually very cost effective.
Now that you have your vision and your budget you can begin your venue search! As stated earlier, it is just like apartment hunting, by the time venues call you back and you have visited a few you will have no idea who is who or what they offer. Luckily, in this day and age, every venue you visit or contact will likely send you home with a packet full of detailed information that you can look through when you get home (I will have another blog posted this week about how to pick your perfect venue, what to look for, what to expect what is a good deal).
Let's continue with what to expect after you have secured your venue. After you have picked your dream venue everything really seems to fall into place and you can start your research. First, who is planning your wedding? Who is helping you, how will they help you and what type of bride do you expect to be?
Some brides are extremely relaxed and easy to deal with. They have a vision but no real extraneous concerns, and they have a trust/faith in the wedding planner, the facility, and the vendors. Overall these brides are chill AF. Then there are brides who may be stressed or a bit worried but you would never know it because the mother or father has done most of the planning, and trust me, there is nothing wrong with that approach. At the end of the day, it does not matter who puts it all together as long as you and yours are happy. You also have brides that trust no one. They do not trust the facility, the wedding planner, nor the vendors. They are worried that all the time and money spent on the day will all go haywire unless they are a part of every decision from start to finish. These brides are not wrong to be worried, lots of things can and do stray from the original plan, but that is what an awesome wedding planner is for, they correct any hiccup with grace and serenity and if they are truly good at what they do, you will never know the difference.
There are obviously a copious variety of bride types, but it is important to know which type you are so that when deciding how involved you would like to be in the planning of your wedding day you have clear expectations for those who you are working with. If your mother or mother-in-law is planning your wedding, will she make all big decisions of her own accord or does she need to get your, “Okay” first? If planning with your significant other, do they have authority to make plans and visit venues without you? A few expectations help the entire process run smoothly. I have worked one on one with Brides, with Couples, as well as with Mothers and Fathers, all are lovely to work with as long as they know what the expectations for the big day are.
After you have set your budget, created a vision and acquired your plan of action for your wedding planning team, and picked your venue, then you can search for your vendors! Depending on the venue itself, you will need to pick your caterer, your baker, your hair and makeup artist, your photographer, your DJ or live band, your wedding planner and your florist. Most venues have a preferred vendor list that can help guide you in the right direction. The Columbia Gorge Hotel & Spa has a wonderful list of dependable and kind vendors that we have worked with many times. We always know they will be punctual, efficient, and pleasant.
So, all of this can seem very overwhelming, are you overwhelmed yet? If so, take it slow, and don’t stress too much because it always comes together in the end. Do, however, pace yourself and allow yourself enough time to get everything picked out without any pressure. Your wedding day is the epitome of what you do not want to procrastinate on; many vendors book at least a year out and often kitschy dates such as 08/08/2018 fill up immediately. The more you know and the sooner you know it, the easier your planning will be.
A wedding is a lot and there is no getting around that but that does not mean the planning process can't be fun too. A wedding has a lot of moving parts, but at the end of the day it is the most exciting and biggest party you will likely get to put on! With just a bit of foresight, you can easily plan a fun and special wedding day!
Reach out to us with any questions, we are here to help!