I remember getting engaged a few (4 or 5?) years ago and was immediately ready to put all my Pinterest saves to work.
The planning part didn't intimidate me, I embraced it. I'm pretty organized and like putting the puzzle pieces together. I was a wedding planner in college so I had some insider insight as well.
Then things got sticky. Slowly the ideal wedding (still a small one) got further from reach. A bit of family flavor and geographical obstacles showed up and contributed to us ultimately eloping (how to deal with all that will fit into another blog post). But those weren't the only reasons.
The biggest factor in us eloping (by FAR)? How we wanted to spend our money for our wedding day and any day after it.
We were on our own to cover all the expenses of this wedding, no contributors. And I know we aren't the only ones that go through this! It's traditional for the bride's family to pay for the wedding but tradition isn't enough to catch up with reality ;) We had money to use on the wedding but we are pretty strict with finances and debt accumulation.
We could either blow a large amount of savings or rack up credit card debt for a simple wedding. We would also be compromising on the majority of decisions for family accommodation.
It was our conclusion to avoid drama and spend our money happily by eloping. We made a honeymoon and a simple ceremony out of it. That was the plan for us. A low-key family dinner followed about a month later at my aunt and uncle's home.
So how does my story fit into this?
I suppose my point is that I get it! Our wedding day choices are sculpted by our daily life, our family and our financial situation. Plus any social pressures we give in to (we all do it, give yourself a break!).
My simple recipe for planning a wedding (if you relate to my story in any way):
Enjoy being engaged. Soak it up. Beam with excitement. Overdose on Pinterest (for a limited time).
Sort through your emotions about what you want for the big day. Always ask why when you're on the fence.
Get an outline of must-haves, really wants and nopes for your wedding. Include your fiancee in this process.
Set a budget and know there could be push and pull here but at least you have some numbers in your head and don't go into consultations blindly.
You'll soon realize that you can create your own stationary affordably but you'll splurge on floral (or vice versa, this is just an example).
Go ahead and book your must haves. Find your dream vendors that you can't go without and BOOK 'EM.
Then move on to your really wants. What "bonuses" can you add in for charm and character?
And your nopes will still pop up in conversation as you chat with people. Keeping checking in with yourself and your fiancee to confirm that they're still nopes ;) For example, you may decide to forgo boutonnieres but your mom thinks they're necessary... do what feels right and politely say "no thanks"!
This is my simple recipe for happy planning for the modern person who's engaged.
They're excited to have this romantic moment but they're going to do it with their head on straight. They're going to splurge on some things and save on others. They're going to set themselves up for a day that they'll never forget. Not a stressful day with a big bill.
My favorite resources for planning:
A Practical Wedding
WeddingHappy (free app)
And if you're curious, my own planning in review:
Find a photographer that I can trust and I will splurge on this (no surprise!). I was lucky to land a duo that also offered a short film, making the elopement all the more easy to look back on.
I tried on several dresses from Zappos (surprising source right?!) and Nordstrom, both offer free shipping + free returns. I landed a Nicole Miller dress for under $1k from Zappos. Then I splurged a bit on a handmade veil. I got shoes at a DSW or something similar, they were affordable but just as beautiful as I'd hoped for.
I did my own hair and makeup which was fine but not sure I'd recommend it. We also skipped flowers given the set up and that we were traveling.
My husband picked out his ideal dinner spot for after the all the hoopla.
I think that covers it, best of luck planning and may it be easy-going and simple. And if you're worried about handling it all, consider a day-of coordinator. They work wonders and truly let you enjoy your day.