Monday, September 13, 2010

Now What?

It's been about a week and a half since we got engaged and I am comfortably settling in to my new role as fiance. As most of you diligent blog readers know, I love weddings. I love wedding shows, movies, blogs, books, pictures, magazines....all of it. I've been dreaming of my own wedding since I was little and now that I am actually engaged I have no idea what to do. I thought when this day came I would know just what to do and just what I wanted, turns out I was wrong.

I feel like planning a wedding is a little like "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?" You can't set a date without a venue but you can't get a venue without a date. You can't set a budget without a guestlist but you can't determine your guestlist without a where do you start? I need my lovely wedding planning professional blog friends to help me out here. What was the first thing you did? Date, Venue, Budget and Guestlist are numbers 1-4 on my to-do list, but which one did you start with? All of the internet sites list the following as the first to-dos of wedding planning: "Enjoy being engaged" DONE. Easy, I love it. "Start visualizing your wedding colors and themes" DONE, I've been doing that for 25 years. Then I'm stuck.

For some reason I am having a really hard time picking a date. I realize the date needs to be flexible due to available venues and vendors, but I'm just having a hard time with it in general. Initially, I thought Spring of 2012 would be perfect! Then I started thinking that's way too long. All the girlfriends that I have talked to had about 10-14 month engagements and said they were too long. I know I want a longer-ish engagement so I can enjoy this time in my life and plan this wedding without stressing out. I want to have fun planning, not morph into a scary Bridezilla version of myself. Plus, we own a coffee shop. A coffee shop that hasn't even been open a year, in fact it's only been open for 6 months. It's hard to say where the business will be in 1-2 years time and we need to be able to actually leave work to attend our own wedding. I got to thinking that fall of 2011 could be great! It gives us a little more than a year to plan but we don't have to wait forever and a day. Then I get nervous about the weather. Minnesota is cold and I hate the cold. If we got married in October/November it could be anywhere from 15-70 degrees, and do I really want to be outside posing for pictures in 15 degree weather? And, is next fall too soon for Coffee Buzz? I just don't know and it's driving me nuts! There's going to be positives and negatives to any date you choose and honestly weather in Minnesota is going to be a question mark no matter what month I settle on. So how do you weigh the options? Did anyone else have this much trouble with step 1?

I consulted the internet in hopes of finding some magical date-picking formula and here are some guidelines I found:

Consider the Seasons of Potential Wedding Dates  I know I don't want to get married in the winter, but I'd be fine with Spring, Summer or Fall. Which really doesn't narrow it down all that much. Although, I do know the wedding will be in 2011 or 2012.

Which Day of the Week? I know for absolute sure I want a Saturday wedding. So that actually narrows it down quite a bit, cutting out winter months and every day but Saturday in the years 2011 and 2012 leaves me with about 70 dates to choose from.

Marking Special Occasions with Your Wedding Date I know I don't want to do the wedding on a holiday or birthday. Our anniversary is in November, so it could be cool to do it then. J and I each also have lucky numbers that play a bigger role in our lives than they probably should, but it would be great to have an anniversary with one or both of our lucky numbers in it.

How Long Should Your Engagement Be? Clearly, this is where my biggest issue lies. I definitely want at least one year but don't really want to wait too much longer than that.

Prioritize Your Different Desires I am super lucky to have a fiance that is just excited to marry me. His desires are that I have the wedding that I want. He'll have input on certain things, but as far as a date he just wants to marry me and he wants to do it as soon as possible.

Make Sure You Avoid Certain Wedding Dates Like I said, I'll avoid all holidays. Then we have some weddings already on the calendar for next year and we have the Gopher football schedule to consult...I don't want my family and friends (or myself) mad that they're missing a big game.

Consult Key Participants Once we choose our 'key participants' we will definitely consult them and our families, but I think with planning a wedding a year out you avoid a lot of conflicts in regards to this.

Consult Your Favorite Wedding Locations and Vendors I'm starting to look at and research different ceremony and reception sites. I am hoping by planning in advance we won't run in to any issues getting what we want, but this will definitely be a key component in picking a date. 

Alright girls, help me out. How long have you or were you engaged? Was it too long? Too short? Anyone been married in Minnesota? What date did you choose, why? 



Jenny said...

The first thing that you should always remember is that you sould have fun planning your wedding! Always have fun! We actually did everything on our on! From the flowers to the food! Everything! Except for making the dresses!

The very first thing we did was set a date! We got engaged on Nov 22, 2008... The day after we set a date... We decided to do it the next Nov... So a date of Nov 21, 2009 was set! It was such a great month to get married! I love all the fall colors! And I always dreamed of a fall wedding! We used sunflowers and incorporated the colors from our favorite college football team! It was perfect!

The only thing I wish I would have done different is have someone video it! I completely forgot! Until we were on our honeymoon!

But like I said, always have fun! And NEVER let it be about someone else! This is your day!!!!!

Marian said... I'm getting married in two weeks...and we were literally engaged for almost 21 months (we got engaged Christmas Day of 2008). I really enjoyed the longer engagement because a) we had been dating forever (literally 8 years) and we kind of wanted to enjoy the engagement part...I mean we had been together 8 years, why jump into something now;) and b) we didn't want to stress and be pushed for time. I am a huge a longer engagement would make it easier on the both of since we were basically doing a destination wedding (live in Baltimore but am from NH where we are getting married)that gave us enough time to make multiple visits and sort everything out.
In regards to picking a date, we knew we wanted to get married in the Fall. When, we weren't to picky..except we did stay away from Holidays (like you said...venues tend to be more expensive then). I already knew the church I we looked at different venues and based our date on what they had available. When I found the one I loved, they gave me three dates I could work with...which I then went back to my church to see which one worked there as well...though I guess you can do it the other way as well. But like I said, we were pretty open for dates...we just had a basic time frame we wanted.

Good luck with all the really is such an exciting process!!!

Mateya said...

Our wedding is 26 days away! We wanted a fall wedding because all of the weddings we ever go to are in the summer and we wanted something differnet! We also wanted the cooler temperature. South Dakota has crazy weather too, but the beginning of October is usually pretty good.

We got engaged in December, so our engagement was about 10 months and honestly I think it was perfect and I wouldn't have minded if it was a little shorter. The planning process is first there is so much to do (venue, location, dj, caterer, photographer, dresses, etc.) then there is this lull time where you can't really do anything because either it's all done or it's too far away from the wedding date and then about 2 months away from your wedding date things get crazy again.

The lull time was the worst, because I constantly felt like I should be doing something for the wedding, but there really wasn't anything to be doing!

No matter how long or short your engagement is, you are going to enjoy being engaged. It's an exciting time and you will enjoy it together.

Good luck!

Brittany said...

I have no experience what so ever with this, but I imagine it will be difficult... but like the rest of the girls say... enjoy it!

I am sure whatever you decide will be perfect for the two of you!

Good luck! Wish I was more help!

KatiePerk said...

Goodness. I remember when we got engaged and everyone kept asking when's the date? It drove me nuts. It will get better and then it will be fun!

Momma Drees said...

We were engaged just short of 3 years! Of course, we were in college and wanted to wait until after graduation (2 weeks actually!). It was great to be able to pay for stuff as we were able, take our time to get things set up, paid for, decide on what we wanted, etc. We actually ended up changing the reception site 6 months before the wedding!

Congrats! and best of luck! There are definitely people out there for a sounding board!

Minnesota Girl said...

The first thing we did was pick the date and church. The reception site was picked about a week after we booked those. My advice it to book the church and reception site as soon as possible--especially if you have a Spring or Summer wedding in MN. I wanted my reception @ the Landmark Center, and ALL Saturday's for the Summer were already booked over a year out. I was pretty bumbed, but we ended up having our reception @ McNamara @ the U of M and it was an AMAZING venue.

Let me know if you need any names for flowers, linens, photographers, video, make-up, etc! I worked with really great people and they made my wedding BEAUTIFUL!

Minnesota Girl said...

I forgot to say, we were engaged for over 16 months before we got married. I suggest having a shorter period between the engagement and wedding. 16 months is way too long. I think the longer you have to plan, the more stressed out you get. I'd say 9-12 months would have been perfect!

JoJo said...

I love wedding planning! I'm so excited for you.

I was only engaged for 8 months actually. He proposed in March and we were married the following November. I'll be honest it didn't really take me too long to plan the wedding. I was done with all the big details by the first 3 months and only had little details to take care of after that.

The first thing we did was pick a date and then we picked a venue to accommodate the date.

We estimated about how many people we would have between our friends and all our parents friends and my parents gave a price point of how much they were willing to pay per head.

Then the next thing I did was the dress because that was the most important part. I had a vision and it had to be executed perfectly!

I always knew my bridal party color would be navy because its timeless classy and everyone looks good in it.

Flowers I just knew I wanted white. I love white weddings. My favorite folowers are hydrangeas, roses and orchids so we did those three arrangements in white. Flowers were the most important part to me after the dress because it sets the ambiance of the whole wedding, so I took it seriously.

The band and photographers/videographers were booked shortly after, but that was a lot easier. They were recommended. I checked their websites and liked what I saw, so I didn't think too much about it.

Invitations were easy too. I wasn't that picky about it. Just wanted it to look classy, but it's just paper to me so I picked one of the first things they showed me.

The other details come together as you keep going. Don't stress to much. Of course it's going to be perfect and beautiful!!

Caroline said...

We were engaged for seven and a half months. It was the right amount of time for us, but it would have been better if it were sooner too. It's all up to you. Do you have any idea of what kind of wedding you want? Figure that out and then plan.

Annie said...

i'm a minnesota girl and i just got married a month ago. although i have no words of advice for you :(
we had a very small wedding with only immediate family and we held everything at my parents house. it worked out perfect for us and it was just what we wanted. we paid for pretty much everything by ourselves and didn't have to use credit cards for anything so that was nice. it was just a day all about us for us and that was perfect of us.
we were engaged over a year, it didn't seem like it was too long to be engaged :)
i am sure as time goes on ideas will come flowing to you hun, you are so recently engaged.
although i could suggest a neat date to get september 10th. your wedding date would be 9-10-11 ;)

Domestically Deficient said...

We got engaged August 2009 and we're getting married on Sept. 25, 2010. For me, it was the perfect engagement length.

As for what to do first, we picked the month we really wanted (Sept.) and landed on the specific date based on what Saturday our venue and church were both available.

Good luck and happy planning!

Miss K said...

Aaaagh wedding planning can be so overwhelming! Our engagement is only 10 months, but I wish the wedding was already here. lol.

In my planning, I've found that magazines are a waste of $$ everything can be found on the internet. Once you have made a decision or paid for something STOP LOOKING. has the best timeline of getting ish done and references for stuff. Style Me Pretty has really great weddings that I've found a lot of good ideas. Email me if you have a specific question then we can bounce ideas off each other. Luckily, we won't have any of the same attendees at our weddings so I'd be able to completely indulge my ideas/thoughts to you. Woohoo!