Good frosty Friday, folks!
The cool weather has finally shown up in central/south Texas providing a brisk reminder that the holiday season is upon us. In case you aren’t quite feeling the spirit let me take this moment to remind you that there are only SIX Mondays until Christmas.
Aside from drooling over your grandmothers cooking (convincing yourself that a walk around the neighborhood totally burns off all those cals), shopping online (ultimately resulting in more personal purchases than presents), and prematurely pulling out your Uggs (whilst pretending your feet aren’t suffocating in…what is that, sheep wool?) , there is one more thing us single ladies might be wishing/hoping/praying/planning for: THE RING.
That’s right. its engagement season, folks.
For the sake of keeping stereotypes in tact, lets do as women do and jump ahead a few steps. Below is a play by play once the rock has been secured and properly documented on social media (omg SO many “likes”).
1. The Ugly Stuff- its not fun but its necessary. Rip the Band-Aid off and you can get back to your Pinterest board.
Budget- Deciding how much you are comfortable spending, whether a large or small number, sets the framework for planning your event efficiently. Knowing who is contributing in the beginning will help you manage your expectations. (Tradition Transition Alert: Did you know almost 40% of couples today say they are helping to cover costs associated with their weddings?) Once you have settled on an [estimated] amount it will guide your decisions like having a longer engagement to save, guest counts, splurging vs. saving on various aspects, etc. There are several wedding budget calculators online that will help guide your on how to appropriately distribute your money.
Date- Once you have decided the time of year you want to tie the knot it is important to narrow down a specific date. Your date determines everything that your budget didn’t already decide. People also seem to assume you know this within 24 hours of your engagement so prepare yourself for that question. Remember, during peak wedding seasons (spring and fall) many churches and venues book 12-15 months ahead of time which usually means other vendors will follow suit.
Guests- You and your fiancé should begin making lists of who you want to share your special day with. More times than not, the number in your head is much smaller than the number that will appear on paper. As the planning process progresses the list will grow and shrink and grow again. You like more people than you think…promise. Your significant other will suddenly have 23 extra cousins and 7 more “best” friends you have never heard about…promise. (Noteworthy: statistically three quarters of your guest list will attend. Double noteworthy: you are still spending time and money to send invitations to all four quarters of said guest list)
2. The Venue- as mentioned above, most established venues will book at least a year in advance. Deciding where you want to say your vows is an important first step because it provides a structure (literally and figuratively). From here your wedding style begins to take place, your guest capacity is set, vendor and lodging options are narrowed, and you get to cut your first wedding check!
3. The Planner- sometimes considered optional, we at Blue Rock hardly think so. Wedding planners are, in our opinion, little fountains of knowledge that sprinkle calmness and (sometimes fleeting) sanity down on brides and their planning committees. Hiring a planner early in the engagement process is important because of their a) limited availability b) industry connections and c) expertise. They know vendors that will be a fit for your style and budget, they know how to set up tables so that you get to effortlessly work the room, they know when to cut the cake, how to bustle a dress, and the list goes on. Most importantly they know what to do when things don’t go exactly the way you expected and the cherry on top is that they can usually fix it before you even know what’s happening. While you may think you are completely capable of putting this whole thing together, or on the opposite end of the scale, totally too chill for all that structure, you don’t want to be the one trying to figure out where Aunt Judith should sit since the back of her chair is causing her sciatica to flare up. Trust. They are worth every penny.
4. The Vendors- Planner or no planner, selecting your vendors is near the top of the list because of availability. If your venue allows outside vendors (Blue Rock welcomes everyone), you will need to book well enough in advance that you can communicate expectations with each vendor. The more time your vendors have to get to know you the more likely they are to understand your style and execute accordingly. *Overwhelming tip after interviewing bride friends: online reviews and personal referrals are your friend.*
5. The Dress- I think it is a natural instinct to always want to wait until you are skinnier to try on wedding dresses. The hard truth is that women are crazy and no matter if you reach your “goal weight” that number miraculously changes and you’re back to kale and blueberries. It is normal to have 3 dress fittings so find something you love in your size 6-9 months in advance and give yourself time to make it perfect. Here are a few tips from a tailor that we think might be helpful.
6. The Invitations- Depending on your situation (destination, out of towners, popular dates, holidays, etc) consider that your guests may need to schedule air fare, hotels and vacation days from work. According to The Knot , ideally, invitations should go out eight weeks before the wedding — this gives guests plenty of time to clear their schedules for the day and make travel arrangements if they are out-of-towners. Timely invitations also let you make the RSVP date earlier — about three weeks before the wedding — so you can get a final head count and start making a seating chart (if you’ll have one) before the week-before-the-wedding crunch begins. At the very latest, guests should receive invitations six weeks in advance, and you should receive responses two weeks before the big day.
Reminder- if you are having a destination wedding, Save-The- Dates are a nice way to help your guests prepare. It is common to send them 9 months in advance!
For more detailed checklists we found a few printer friendly options. Note: this is not in lieu of a planner!!!
Now go paint those nails Jingle Bell Red and practice your “I totally didn’t know this was coming even though I saw the ring box in your top left drawer in a shoe box in another box that may have had a lock on it” face!