Update 10: 357 Days to go!

As promised, I am doing a recap of our engagement photo shoot, which we had last Sunday evening with our photographer, Elizabeth Baxter. What a strange experience, but very fun! To give y’all a bit of background on how we found and chose Elizabeth; I reached out to my friend, who is both a fellow graphic designer and a photographer. I gave her some samples of photographers who I loved, but could never afford (starting prices between $7,000–$9,000—um, no thank you). She then sent me an Excel spreadsheet (clearly a woman after my own heart) filled with potential vendors. Not to be dramatic, but Elizabeth stood out from the bunch in every way for me.

If there was anything in this wedding I was not willing to compromise on, it was the style of photography I wanted. There are talented photographers everywhere—that there is no denying. But as with all artists, they each have a style. For us, I wanted light, romantic, and organic—not dark, heavily saturated, or staged. With that said, it fell into place with Elizabeth and I think we made the best decision.


So now for the shoot! 

We met up with Elizabeth at Brandywine Creek State Park, not far from where our first apartment was. We’d never been there and were quickly regretting that—what a beautiful location! I asked Elizabeth (or coerced—whichever you prefer) to choose a location since nothing came to mind that had all we were looking for. She couldn’t have picked a better spot. We went to two locations within the park and moved around in each a few times.

We ended up in the middle of fields, on the ground, in the woods, sitting and standing on a fallen tree (not an easy feat for a girl with vertigo and without her glasses on), on top of a hill—really all over the place. While I have yet to see the rest of the pictures, I’m sure the multiple locations and our two outfits created some great variation.

What was it like?

I don’t know about you, but it’s not often I’m in a photoshoot. The only other shoot I’ve done was for a “sexy” calendar with my packaging class—not exactly the same situation! It was definitely a strange experience; I often felt like maybe I wasn’t doing the right thing or needed to switch it up. However, I had such confidence in Elizabeth; I knew she wouldn’t let it get stale. Of course, one of the first things Nick and I said when we got in front of the camera was, “this is awkward.” It wasn’t awkward because there was a camera right up in our kisses or capturing our loving looks; I just wanted to make sure we were doing it “right.”

But it stopped feeling awkward pretty quickly. Elizabeth was amazing at guiding us, even if we didn’t always do a good job at following directions (I apparently didn’t know my right from my left at one point). I had the advantage of pouring over engagement photos for a long time prior, so I often knew what Elizabeth was trying to achieve, making it easier for me to run with things. Nick had a tough time getting out of his head throughout the shoot (which is safe to say for us both), but I think we navigated pretty well!

The funny stuff

One aspect I always thought about in looking at other engagement photos was how often the smiles appeared genuine and the couples appeared to be laughing. This was where I got caught in my head, “what on earth do they talk about and what the heck is so funny?”

The first time Elizabeth said, “make her laugh,” I couldn’t believe what Nick decided to do. All of a sudden, I hear Nick whispering unintelligible words in my ear, followed by cat hissing. It cracked me up and confused the heck out of me. As we went on with the shoot, it became harder to find genuine laughs, so I took matters into my own hands. Each time she told us to laugh, I let out a massive fake laugh. It was obnoxious, but always turned into real laughter afterwards. I hate to see any pictures she captured during those first few seconds, as they couldn’t have been cute.

We were able to poke fun at ourselves when we were getting too deep in our heads—it was our way of pulling us both out of it.

The mushy stuff

In a photoshoot dedicated to loving on each other and involving someone whose whole blog is about noticing the tiniest moments, there was bound to be some mushy realizations!! I had two notable ones throughout the process:

First, when things got awkward, our safe space was each another. When we felt like we were in a pose for too long or didn’t know where to look or put our hands, we’d just come back to each other. I’d look at him and he’d look at me and somehow, things felt calm again.

The second came when we saw our “teaser” photo. As I said, I’ve seen so many engagement photos and poured over how beautiful and utterly romantic they are. Standing on the other side now looking at ourselves in that kind of photo? Strange.

Nick made a comment about it being such an intimate, romantic moment—almost feeling unnatural. But then my wheels began to turn. In many instances, we see other people’s romances unfolding in front of us. Sometimes in movies, others in real life. As outsiders, we can pick up on that brief moment just before a kiss or the way two people look at one another for just a second or two, but when it’s your own life, you can’t see it from that perspective, so it doesn’t always seem to have the same magic.

Yes, it was a photoshoot and we were guided in what to do, but the tiniest nuances are all us. The way Nick was looking at me in that photo was all us (though I do wish my eyes were open hah). To me, we can finally get a glimpse of ourselves from an outsider’s perspective and I absolutely love it.


I will end the post with the teaser photo we have and will include some more of Elizabeth’s information below. We are so excited to see the rest and are waiting anxiously in anticipation!! I am spending the day finally starting our wedding branding, so more to come on that!!

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Website: elizabethbaxterphotography.com
Facebook: facebook.com/elizabethbaxterphotography/
Instagram: instagram.com/elizabethbaxter/

Update 9: 363 Days to Go!

Holy Hannah! Two updates in a matter of two days—I’ll take it! Today’s update is brought to you by a beautiful Sunday morning—oh so perfect for writing—combined with an insane excitement for today’s agenda, but the need to wait until this evening!! As I mentioned in Update 7, we are doing our long-awaited engagement shoot today!

When it comes to having a longer engagement, I personally feel there are more perks than disadvantages. It was the right decision for us, but there are times when I wish that timeline was a little shorter. Take today, for example. I’m so excited for this day because it’s been just shy of 6 months since Nick proposed. While we’ve kept very busy since then (and it often feels like time is flying), it can sometimes feel like so much time is passing between wedding-related milestones.

I know what y’all are going to say: “don’t rush this time in your lives,” and, “it’ll be over before you know it.” Yes, yes. I hear you. I know these things. I don’t want to rush through it either, but time is going to pass as it shall. In the meantime, I will comment on my excitement for the next step—experience tells me that it won’t speed time up or slow it down haha.

THE SHOOT

It’s not every day you get to do a photoshoot with your best friend, especially in the hands of a very talented photographer. We are so excited to start working with Elizabeth of Elizabeth Baxter Photography, who we met with for the first time a few months back. Photography was not something I was going to compromise on, as I really wanted to be sure we had, not only the right look and feel, but the right photographer with the right eye. Everyone knows I’m A-Type and, as a fine arts major and designer, I know what I want from a visual perspective. To walk into what is, in my opinion, a creative shoot, and have absolute confidence in our photographer makes me feel so at ease.

We playfully joke about Nick’s “forced” smile—the one where someone says, “smile for the camera!” It generally reminds me of an episode from Friends (shocker, I know), where Monica and Chandler are getting their engagement photos taken and Chandler cannot put on a nice smile for the camera. Nick is nowhere near the level Chandler is, but as an obsessive Friends fan, I can’t help but think of it.

With that being said, Nick’s smile is my favorite feature of his, besides the jawline that can cut glass; but it’s his natural smile that still gives me butterflies. It makes me happy to see him happy and to finally capture those kinds of genuine, real moments has me through-the-roof elated. Combine that with a natural setting and sunset and you have a girl that cannot contain her excitement, even finding a way to make a whole blog post about it!

THE OUTFITS

This afternoon, we are putting the finishing touches on our photoshoot prep, as I finally picked out my second outfit yesterday. After two full days of what felt like endless shopping, I finally found a really sweet dress to wear during the second part of the shoot. As a girl who, for the most part, operates in navy, brown, gray, and black, the likelihood of stumbling across a light, flowy, floral dress in her closet wasn’t promising.

I cannot bring myself to admit tell you all where I ended up purchasing said dress, but it works and that’s all that matters! Shout out to Nick for putting up with Day 1 shopping last week and to Brittney for getting me through Day 2 yesterday! Today, we are choosing Nick’s outfits and doing some final shopping and primping—oh woe is me!

Safe to say, we are really excited for this evening and can’t wait to share the sure-to-be-amazing photos with y’all!! I’m sure nerves will kick in, but we’ll find our way!

Until next time! ❤

Here we go: 365 Days to go!

Our first major milestone has officially arrived—let the countdown begin!!!

That’s right! We are exactly one year from our wedding day and I have been sitting on the brink of happy tears all morning just thinking about where we’ll be on this day a year from now. I will, no doubt, be yelling to my bridesmaids and anyone within a 50 mile radius, “I’m getting MAAAAAARRIEDDDDD!!!!!” (which they already have experience with, of course—Lord help those girls).

THE DATE:

I know I covered this in another post after we picked our date, but I’ll reiterate. Originally, Nick and I were looking to get married in the fall. It has always been part of my vision and I was adamant about it. When we got engaged, the first venue we were interested in didn’t have a single date in September or October. It was at that point where I started to let go of the fall requirement.

The venue we chose had fall dates available for 2018, but after getting engaged, neither of us wanted to wait almost a full 2 years. So, we chose May 19. It was the perfect day for us because it was the day before the anniversary of our first date (and falls on a Saturday). But, because our luck isn’t the greatest, May 19 was the only date taken at the venue. We ultimately chose—you guessed it—JUNE 9!!!

It worked out beautifully because June 9 is four days after my parents’ wedding anniversary and four days before both Nick’s parents’ and grandparents’ anniversary. Our wedding date becomes symbolic: the products of these marriages coming together as one—we kinda like it 😉

IT ALMOST STARTED WITH A HANDSHAKE…

I began writing about this on our 3 year anniversary (which was three weeks ago), but today is the perfect chance to get it out there! One of the great anecdotes we have from our first date was at the very end when Nick was dropping me off back home. We both felt that awkward tension as our minds raced to figure out how the other wanted the date to end. Was it a, “thank you, I had a great time,” and get out of the car? A hug? A kiss, perhaps?? I settled on the hug and we both began to move in.

I looked down and, though he swears otherwise, I saw him going for a handshake… a handshake?? Nah. I verbally shut that down and gave him an awkward car hug as we both laughed about the whole thing. To this day, he insists I was the one moving for the handshake, but we all know the truth.

It’s a silly little story, but one I came back to on our anniversary this year, as we sat in the restaurant where we had that first date. I couldn’t help but think about how symbolic that almost-handshake was. That day, I not only met the love of my life; I met my partner. Nick is many things to me, but what I believe will help us through all of life’s adventures is that we are partners in everything we do. We are each others’ support. We are each others’ lifelines. It’s one thing to have someone who will hold your hand through the tough times; it’s another to have someone who will lift you up and help you forward.


Our wedding day will be one we continue to painstakingly plan for, a day we will look forward to with such eagerness, and a day that will likely come and go way too fast. But on this day, 365 days from now, we will embark on one of the biggest adventures we will ever go on. It will be the foundation for the rest of our lives together and all the exciting challenges we’ll face.

We have a crazy number of things on the horizon for the coming year, but it fills my heart with such excitement to know that one year from today, I will be getting ready to marry my best friend.

Update 7: 369 Days to Go!

Good afternoon everyone! It is a rainy Monday here in Delaware and I am unfortunately under the weather, but itching to write. I have about 3-4 blog posts sitting in my head, so there is a good chance you may see a few of those today/tonight!! First up: the wedding!

Our Wedding Team

Throughout our meetings, emails, and phone calls with potential vendors, I got in the habit of referring to them as our “team.” When it comes to the day of our wedding, I see the people we choose to have on our team as the pillars—the ones responsible for having our backs, so we don’t have to worry. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to many when I say I am a Type-A personality and I genuinely believe that may make my wedding day hard. With so many details that need to come together, I know we need a strong group of professionals who I can hand things over to… a feat that I do not consider easy.

I am really happy to say we have our biggest, on-site, day-of vendors booked! That’s right—venue, caterer, photographer, and DJ are all set. We still have to find the vendors like florist, bakery, and officiant, but to have the others set one year in advance is a weight off our shoulders!

The Real Stress

Now here is where I get as close to “real talk” as I can without getting too specific. Nick and I have faced some hurdles throughout this process; that we all know. But some of our hurdles go deeper than finding the right vibe for a DJ. In every wedding planning story, you have the people—the friends and/or family that can sometimes make their way into the horror stories. Maybe “horror” is a bit dramatic, but it’s certainly no picnic.

We have been very fortunate to have a ton of support, but not without some hiccups. We’ve already experienced the reality of getting input we aren’t huge fans of—which is really only an issue when not properly and/or respectfully given.

I love having people involved; it’s truly one of my favorite aspects of all this—I want people who want to have a hand to have it. But sometimes, the delivery of input isn’t as graceful as one would hope. I’m referring to the comments such as, “You’re not having [blank]?!” or, “Why on earth would you do [blank]?!” etc. Yeah, those really don’t sit too well.

However, I will follow up with this: recently, I had to make a very, very hard wedding decision regarding some people I love. It was something I didn’t anticipate and something I wish I didn’t have to do; but it needed to be done. I spent weeks and weeks deliberating, stressing, getting looks of disapproval, and yeah, there was plenty of the kind of “advice” I’m not a fan of. But it was finally resolved last week and here is what I have to say about it:

I am constantly humbled by the amount of love and support we’ve received. This decision was so hard because we’ve surrounded ourselves with some of the best humans we could ever hope for in life. While the situation wasn’t ideal, I was reminded of how lucky I was to have that kind of problem—to have so many amazing people by my side.

People may make this time a tad more stressful, but people are also constantly reminding us of how lucky we are to be surrounded by so much love, support, and friendship.

Next Steps

Up next in the planning to-do list, we have some smaller things and some very exciting, big things. The most exciting thing coming up is that Friday will mark one year until we say I do! To celebrate, it worked out that we could get our engagement photos done Sunday, which we are both SO excited for. We spend so much time together already, but to have an afternoon dedicated to capturing our love and relationship sounds like a beautiful way to spend a day! We officially chose a location, thanks to our already-amazing photographer, Elizabeth and we are all set for a beautiful sunset shoot!!

After that, I get to move to our wedding branding—yes you heard that correctly. As a designer, I’d love to have a cohesive “brand” for our wedding so that every single element works in tandem, from monogram, to website, all the way to our thank you notes. I’d love to have that up and running by the end of July so I can get our Save the Dates out in August!

In Conclusion

Being a year out means we aren’t crazy busy planning for the wedding. We have things on our to do list, but nothing to drive us too nuts. We’ve tackled quite a number of the hard items, so it’s a relief to head into summer with that all settled. Now, we are moving towards the “fun” stuff. Having a long engagement is the best wedding decision we’ve made thus far, but it also has a downside: we have to wait!

I’m hoping to find my way back to this section soon to tell y’all all about the engagement shoot and our one year mark! Until then!

Update 6: 409 Days to go!

With each month that passes, I am more and more grateful to have a longer engagement. I think about doing everything in less than a year and it makes my stomach turn!

Today’s post is a little different than the others I’ve done in this part of my blog. As an update, since getting my gown, we selected our caterer and photographer for the big day! We are thrilled to have those secured so we can wrap up the process of finding our main vendors. Now, we only have DJ, florist, and bakery left! Our goal is to have them chosen by the one year mark (or somewhere around then) since we’ll be getting ready for our new home this summer. To have the big stuff off the wedding to-do will be a huge help.

It just so happens that tonight’s entry is actually about these vendors and our experience thus far. Over the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a potential DJ about his company and services. Let me tell you something; whoever wrote the primary “sales pitch” email knew what they were doing. It was personable, kind, and incredibly appealing. Unfortunately, he is out of our price range.

The more we do for the wedding, the more we want to come up under budget. I had to politely tell this DJ that he was just too far out of our price range for comfort, but he was incredibly kind in his response. Now, here is where the point of this entry comes out: I am sad to say that not everyone has been so well spoken in a similar situation.

If you’ve read this section of my blog, you may recall our experience with the first vendor we met with… well, ever. You can read my post on the subject, but here is the gist: the owner was defensive, not concerned with our experience, oh, and drunk. So far, I’ve spoken to at least a dozen different vendors and only a couple have been poor experiences; but if you’ve ever planned an event and had to deal with it, then you know they stand out.

I hate sales. I don’t like sales pitches. But I understand them. I work in a business where sales is a necessary evil. BUT, what do I hate more?

Passive aggressive sales pitches.

I don’t like having to tell a vendor “no.” I understand that they are trying to gain my business and what that feels like. Plus, I have a heart, so it’s not “easy” to tell someone I don’t want to work with them. But the most notable instance of a crappy response was a DJ I reached out to (referred to henceforth as DJ 1). I won’t throw out a name, but the response I got was passive aggressive and made me feel ‘bad’ for having a budget. Safe to say, I didn’t respond after that.

After politely telling DJ 1 we didn’t have the flexibility in our budget to afford his services, he responded by telling me that they recognize they are more expensive and that is because of their quality. The gentleman I was speaking with the past few days (DJ 2) said the same thing, but in a much nicer way. DJ 1 decided to tell me their clients are the brides and grooms who have witnessed DJs single-handedly ruining a wedding (something I mentioned as an experience of ours) and that they are willing to pay more for a “premium” service. The email was cold overall—fine. But he ended the spiel after all that with “how important is your wedding entertainment to you?”

-_-  Is it just me? Maybe you had to be there.

For my own confirmation, receiving the email I did this morning from DJ 2, which had the same point, though expressed in a much more respectful way, made me think even less of the email DJ 1 sent. Even when I sent DJ 2 a second email saying it still wouldn’t work, he sent me the loveliest email saying that I will have a “fantastic wedding, a beautiful home, and a beautiful family!” This guy was so nice, I contemplated saying “screw the budget!”

Here’s my point: if you are a bride or groom: be on the lookout for this kind of behavior. Maybe it doesn’t bother you, but I see our vendors as members of our team. I am so excited to work with our venue, caterer, and photographer (shout out to Elizabeth, if you’re reading this hah). They should be respectful, make a great connection, but most of all, give you confidence that they are on your side and are eager to make your day special.

If you are a vendor (or in sales in general): let this be a lesson—I’m certainly going to remember it in my line of work. Words are powerful… they have the power to make or break a sale, so choose wisely and here’s a tip: don’t go the passive aggressive route. Be kind. Be understanding. And don’t be a jerk.

Because you probably won’t get the sale, and you may lose potential clients as a result.

🙂

Update 5: 430 Days to go!

Wow! Do I have a wedding update for y’all! As most people know by now, this past weekend was the one many brides are most excited for (you know, besides the wedding itself): dress shopping!!!

We are in a funny situation, as my mom and dad live in Florida. That meant we had to plan this event far in advance. Schedules needed to be checked, flights booked, reservations made, etc. Our goal was to have my mom come up in May sometime, but in trying to coordinate a weekend with both her and my future mother-in-law, we had one weekend free between April and the end of July and this was it.

Now, our wedding is just over 14 months away—not really any rush to find a gown. However, the thought was, “If I can’t find a gown during this first trip, we have to start the whole process over again, but now we’re looking at August or September—9 months before the wedding.” I wasn’t going to push it.

I decided to go with just the moms on Friday. As special a day as it would be for me, I knew how special it would be to them as well, so I wanted to dedicate the first day to just us for a more intimate appointment. Saturday was with the moms again and four of my bridesmaids. The thought of a large entourage was nerve-wracking leading up to the day, but it turned out to be wonderful. It makes a huge difference when you go with people you know, love, trust, and who know you well enough to find a good balance.

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The sea of gowns!

I tried on approximately 30-35 gowns at 3 different stores. I had great consultants, so one had me in the poofiest gown in the store from Saturday (shocker: we loved it) and another was my Friday consultant’s pick for the ugliest gown in the store (which I included a picture of below). Believe me, putting those on for fun made my life as the bride better. My head was killing me this weekend from all the thinking I had to do, so it was nice to break that up with some fun.

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The dress that went through a lawnmower…

In the end, we had some real contenders. Friday, we had to narrow it down from 5 gowns. Saturday a.m., while the store was gorgeous, it was mostly out of my price range and the dresses I saw weren’t for me. Saturday evening, we had some contenders, but one in particular rose to the top. That sounds good, right? Nope. I had already had my “bridal moment” on Friday. That’s right! My flexibility in silhouettes turned into loving two completely different gowns. Now I was faced with this existential question of, “what do you want to say about yourself on your wedding day?”

HA! You try answering that when you have a million dominant personalities.

Safe to say, I was distraught. Thank goodness for my amazing group of ladies who were there to give their support and help me through it. After some dinner, wine, and sleep, we came up with a plan. I needed to try on both gowns again. The first at the store from Friday and the second at the store from Saturday afternoon. We were set to go to both the following day to do just that.

BUT. To throw a wrench in the mix, there was one more gown I had fallen in love with in my searches leading up to this weekend and it felt like the perfect blend between the two. We found out the Saturday afternoon store could get it in for me to try on, so I opted to hold on going back there until they could get it in. So Sunday, we went back to the original store here in town. I was grateful that Bridget, one of my lovely ladies, could come to this appointment because I needed someone who hadn’t seen me in the original gown to do so (which should have been a sign right there).

I walked out of the dressing room and we all knew without a shadow of a doubt. I was already in my dress.

It all came down to a feeling. I now understand the concept of “you just know” when it comes to your wedding gown. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt a blissful silence. I wasn’t thinking about any other gowns; I wasn’t thinking about other possibilities or nitpicking at tiny details. I was there… in my gown… and I didn’t want to try on another dress ever.

Fun fact: my bridal moment on Friday didn’t come immediately. I thought you walked out and just started bawling. Turns out, my emotions don’t work that quickly. What happened was that, after trying on the gown multiple times, when my thoughts finally settled (because there wasn’t anything left to say—unlike every other gown I tried on), my mind was quiet enough to able to envision walking down the aisle to Nick. Guess what! That’s where the tears came from!! (and not cute ones either).

As you can gather by now; I very excitedly said yes to the dress!!!

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I am so happy with my decision and genuinely can’t wait for the day I get to put it on and marry my best friend. It was a rollercoaster weekend that went entirely too quickly, but I am yet again reminded of how incredible my support system is. A special shout out to my bridesmaids Bridget, Charlotte, Maddie, and Melanie, my fantastic future mother-in-law to be, Susan, and my other best friend/Mommy! Having you all there this weekend was an absolute blessing and I couldn’t have picked a better group!!

While I am grateful to never have to try on another wedding gown (who’d a thunk, right?), this was a weekend I will always remember… and now I have my gown!!!!

Update 4: 454 Days to go!

I’m sitting here tonight in the quiet (minus some neighbors yelling, but laughing and having fun, so I can deal) and a wonderful realization crossed my mind that I wanted to share. Maybe this is too personal, but I said I would try to be as transparent in this portion of my blog as I could, so here it comes.

Nick and I spent some time this morning going through our catering options so that we can finally get it taken care of. There was laughter, yelling, pretend stabbing, kisses, frustration, and a myriad of other emotions. We managed to get on the same page and make great progress. Then, just prior to me writing this post, we were on the phone with one another—as we often do when we are apart (currently house-sitting)—and got onto a stressful wedding-related subject.

I spoke to him about my concerns; he expressed his opinions and we found ourselves standing on common ground (side note: it’s nothing to do with either of us directly). But I made a comment that said something to the effect of, “You know, it’s our wedding. We’re getting married,” and his response was so simple, but so much more than I could have ever dreamed. He quietly said, “Woah, that gave me the chills.” I was confused at first, so I asked why. He repeated what I said and went on to say it gave him excited butterflies. Cue the two of us going back and forth with audible smiles on our faces, “We’re getting married.”

Wedding planning isn’t all tulle bows, yummy cakes, and smiles. It’s tough decisions, complicated processes, and have I mentioned way too expensive?? But at each step, I am reminded of how wonderful it will be to celebrate this time in our lives, bringing together our dear friends and family, to celebrate the love we were so fortunate to find in one another. At the end of all of this, I get to marry my best friend. I think sometimes, we lose sight of that, so tiny moments like tonight bring it all back and leaves us even more excited than we were before.

Update 3: 489 Days to Go!

That is right! We have 489 days to go until our wedding! What does that mean???

— WE OFFICIALLY HAVE A DATE —

I am so excited to announce that the first step on our massive to do list is completed: we found our venue, the contract is signed, and the deposit is out of my account!! Our date also happens to fall exactly 4 days in between the anniversaries of my parents and Nick’s parents/grandparents. For two people who really didn’t have a date preference (we even switched seasons!), that worked out quite beautifully.

Finding the venue wasn’t all that difficult because the “competition” wasn’t all that confusing—I’ll tell you why. While there were quite a number of options in Delaware, Maryland, and Southeastern PA, their offerings and price tags honestly made our lives easier. We hit the trifecta with our venue: it’s nearby, it’s everything we were looking for when it came to the space, versatility, and management, and the best part: the price was the best we found (with the exception of the other venue we saw). We were left with the question of whether or not to continue looking at others, but when it came down to it, this venue had everything we wanted and for the best price. Our answer was clear and now it’s ours! Yay!

While I truly wish this was the hardest part, it’s proving not to be.

THE CATERING AND BUDGET

Woah now. Food is expensive. Alcohol is expensive. People can eat before they come.

We are in the process of hunting for caterers. I’ve reached out to a number of companies and we’re starting to hear back from people now. As of this moment, we have one, maybe two viable options and three if we cut our list. I’m probably going to reach out to more, but we’ll have a good number to choose from, I think. To be straight, all I want to do is go to tastings—that would make this bride very happy.

There’s a general “rule” that says your reception (venue, catering, alcohol, etc.) should be approximately 48-50% of your total budget. Well, there’s also some recommendations that you pick your top priorities and agree that, if you spend more on those items, you’ll spend less on everything else. Venue was one of the top priorities, so now begins the challenge of where to go from here.

Budget has been the hardest aspect for many reasons. Ours has already changed more than once because more realities have set in. So why is budgeting for a wedding hard, in my opinion?

  1. The reality that what we thought we could expect when it comes to pricing is often totally off.
  2. We need to figure out to reach our goal in the time we have (though I’m confident we are in a good spot now)
  3. This budget has had to change to accommodate the things we want.
    and worst of all….
  4. We’re faced with constant struggle of wanting a special day in a special place to celebrate our love with the people we love vs. not wanting to spend all this freaking money on it.

I’ve grappled with number four over and over again. So has Nick. But we realized that we want this day to be special; we want it to be with our closest family and friends; and most importantly, we truly believe we would regret doing it any other way. So we’ll make it work and cut where we can.

A WOODWARD WEDDING

I’ve been struggling with how much information to share in this section of my blog as a result of another challenge we’re facing: the cutting down of our list. I recently had a wedding-related experience that left me feeling pretty down and I really don’t want to put others in that position. On the flip side, I also really want to share this exciting time with family and friends who I’m not in constant communication with all the time. Let’s face it: who has the time for 50 phone calls every time something happens? Not to mention, the closest family members on my side are a few hours away—technology keeps us going. I also really believe that having this planning archive to read from years from now will be very special.

There are certain realities that we have to face with planning a wedding and one of them is that, despite it being “our day,” we still have limitations because we don’t have unlimited resources, if you catch my drift. I genuinely hope y’all can get what I’m gettin’ at here, because there is no eloquent way to put what I’m trying to say—and I’ve been trying since last night. It puts us in a disappointing position, but a very real one that many couples end up having to face when they have a set budget. I guess I am putting this out there as a general disclaimer because of the disappointment I faced recently. It’s a precautionary and genuine measure and my intent for this blog is to share this exciting time in our lives, not to rub noses. I’ll leave it at that.

NEXT STEPS

When it comes to where to go next, we have to work towards getting the “big” stuff out of the way. There is a LOT going on in our lives right now—we are seriously trying to tackle a lot—and we have some very exciting news sitting on the horizon waiting for some Is and Ts to get their dots and crosses. We planned a longer engagement for a reason and if we don’t keep moving, we’ll turn around and see all those extra, comfortable months sitting in the dust.

However, we are in a great spot. I look forward to getting those big things out of the way so we can get to the really fun stuff!!

Until next time!

Update 2: XXX Days to Go

Yesterday was the one month mark since we got engaged—wooo! It’s yet another reminder of how happy I am we are not getting married in under a year! Yay!

THE VENUE:
Things are pretty quiet on the wedding planning front. We hit an emotional snag last week when more of the realities of paying for the wedding hit us directly in the face. We found the perfect venue, but wanted to be absolutely sure it would work with our budget. We received the contract and there were quite a number of things that needed clarification—we were worried about things that could “pop up” later on and really hurt us. After Nick and I sat down, combed through the contract, and had a long and somewhat stressful discussion about finances, I went all Leslie Knope on the owner (you should have seen the document I sent him with questions), but he was wonderful and cleared everything up for me—not to mention his answers were what we were hoping for!

THE FINANCES:
As I mentioned, Nick and I have known for a long time we would be getting married, so saving started a while ago. I don’t know how other people do it in less than a year, starting after the engagement. Giving credit where credit is due… seriously. I’ll reiterate: it’s stupid expensive and a part of me hates myself for wanting a wedding like this.

However, with the saving that has already taken place and the advantage of our current living situation, we should meet our initial goal (which in the end, needs to be higher) by May of this year, so we’ll still have a year to save the rest.

THE DATE:
The date we wanted is the only date taken at this venue, so we need to pick another. I need to check with Nick, but we may have decided on another day that has some significance—hopefully more to come on that this week!

THE PLANNING:
The hardest part so far, besides the budget, is making time for planning. It leaves me so grateful to have so much time before the big day, but that also means I need to make use of it, so we’re not scrambling and I don’t transform into a total bridezilla (note the emphasis on “total” hehe). With that being said, I have the most amazing network of friends and family who have been so supportive and eager to help. It makes me feel guilty for only being able to have a certain number of people in the wedding party—which was our first hurdle in the planning process—but also so excited to have the help we do.

THE PARTY:
While most of my wedding blog is shared in the interest of full disclosure, I have to be vague in this section for now. A rough background on the wedding party woes: we were initially looking at 16-20 people. Pick your jaw up off the ground. After talking to many people, everything got sorted out and we’ve settled on 6 on each side, plus the kids and us of course. We could easily include more people, but there is a lot to consider with a large party and it’s our personal decision to keep the numbers where they are. We’ll just find other ways to include the rest of that amazing, though massive group along the way.

We have not asked the 12 people to be in the wedding yet, as we have some ideas on how to make it special. We’re hoping to see that happen in the next few weeks. A few people have told me I don’t need to ask anyone for a while, but I talk to most of my girls regularly and it’s killing me to stay away from all bridesmaid topics haha.

IN CONCLUSION:
In the end, nothing too groundbreaking has happened since my last post because of the difficulties of making time for it and other commitments, but I hope that in my next update, I will be able to properly title it (replacing XXX) and will have some more exciting updates to share!

Have a happy Hump Day everyone!

Our First Wedding Update!

It’s been 10 days shy of a month since Nick and I got engaged and the wheels have been set in motion! While I always thought about my wedding to a certain extent, I was definitely not the girl who had a clear picture of what it would look like. In truth, my picture only became clear when I met Nick and I saw how our lives would intertwine. Not to mention— surprise—I grew up and actually discovered my preferences. Safe to say I will not be getting married in the golden, opulent ballroom I used to picture in a dress the size of a hot air balloon.

Once we announced our engagement, the first step was to begin the hunt for a venue. Luckily, that picture I was talking about is much clearer now, making it easy to narrow the focus in pretty much every aspect of planning. Nick and I have also been very open about getting married and have known our engagement was coming for about a year, if not more, giving us plenty of time to start thinking and saving.

We went to go see our first venue two weeks ago. Because it was not a great experience, I am going to refrain from mentioning the name and hyper-specific details, as I’d like to think not everyone’s experience would be like ours and the venue is still very beautiful. We set up an appointment to take a tour and were very excited to do so. I have a habit of taking car pictures with Nick whenever we go somewhere (usually trips, holidays, or just special dates/days out) and this day was no different—I even got him to smile for this one!!!

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We got to the venue and were pleasantly surprised. I did have some “reservations” leading up to our visit, as they were aspects that are important to us in finding the right venue, but I still wanted to keep an open mind. Here were my reservations:

  1. The outdoor space was not what I was hoping for. I realized I might be willing to compromise if the indoor space was amazing.
  2. The tables they have are rectangular and we really like round. Again, this is something that we would be willing to work with and the tables they had were gorgeous.
  3. The dance floor was tiiiiiight. If you’ve ever been to a Kreischer wedding, you know this just simply isn’t an option. It may work for other families, but not mine.

We did like this venue. The bridal suite was simply lovely, though the space for the guys was certainly not. I actually told Nick if we got married there, he would not be getting ready in that space—it’s his day too! However, the main areas of the venue were beautiful and very well taken care of. It would have been a serious contender if our experience with the owner was not what it was. Word to the wise: regardless of your personal connection to a potential client, consider dressing nice (not talking a suit here, but even just a nice pair of jeans and a button up would be good) and definitely don’t reek of beer. It doesn’t make for an impression that says reliable.

Not to mention, any time I would present an element that wasn’t exactly what we were looking for, we were met with just enough contention to notice—again, not a good impression to leave. I don’t think I was being insulting, but the owner’s response came across with frustration and I speculate it was not the first time the comments were made.

Luckily, Nick found another venue not far from where we are right now. We saw photos and visited the website, quickly realizing this was moving to the top of our list. We did a drive by that same night and, though we didn’t see much, were excited by what we could. We set up an appointment and took a tour the next day. Safe to say, this experience, despite rain and mud, was much better. The owner was very accommodating and sweet. The tour was thorough and informative and the venue had everything we were looking for. We could really picture our day there and love all the options we are left with.

In an effort to not jump the gun, we spent more time looking into other venues in Delaware, Maryland, and SE Pennsylvania to see if anything came close. We quickly realized how right this venue was for us in almost every way; it’s a real gem. I’ll hold on announcing the location until we are officially booked, but it’s something we are hoping to do this week!

I am so excited to share this experience with everyone, though. We have a great amount of time to plan and are so excited to watch it all come together. I’ve already considered eloping because the cost is stupid, but we are going to take the time we need to find the best options for our special day and I’m excited to share our trials and tribulations along the way!!

Until next time!