Congrats you are ENGAGED!
Whether it is a six month engagement or a year, get ready as this time goes by so fast. Enjoy being engaged as it is a magical time full of love and celebrating you and your Fiancé ! It can be stressful trust me but if I can plan my own wedding, so can you! I wish there were more brides writing testimonials and blogging about their experiences planning their own wedding. Do not worry I am here to help! Learn from my experience, take ideas from me or even learn from me on what you do not want to do. :)
LET THE WEDDING PLANNING BEGIN
I would recommend you come up with a budget right away. Create a list of things that mean the most to you about your wedding and plan around those factors. If you are paying for it yourself start saving immediately. If you are getting help from your parents or future in-laws have those conversations early about the budget. During our year of engagement we saved money where we could, ate out less, I went shopping less ( which was difficult) but worth it in the end. I recommend that you ask friends or family members what they would do differently about their wedding and learn from their experiences and mistakes so you don’t have to go through the same problems.
HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER OR PLAN YOUR OWN WEDDING
I chose to plan my own wedding. I have dreamt of planning and decorating and organizing my own wedding since I was little. I always felt it would be a challenge but a fun challenge. If you are feeling like you want to plan your own wedding, do it! Watching your dream ideas and visions come to life is something that is so special.
According to https://www.weddingwire.com/cost/wedding-planner , pricing depends on where you live. We chose to get married in North Dakota which is where I grew up and where Troy and I met. I knew I could use my resources at home and do things there personally that I could not have if I got married somewhere else. For example, having my restaurant I worked at in college, The Ground Round, cater one of Troy and I’s favorite meals ( triple fajitas, beef, chicken and shrimp, so damn good) for our rehearsal dinner. They also supplied us with ranch for our ranch fountain at the reception. Yes, I said ranch fountain but I will get to that later :). I knew I would not be happy unless I planned the decor myself and decorated myself. Stubborn, I know, but I could not imagine walking into our reception and hating the decorations and the flowers. I guess that is the control freak in me? Sorry not sorry.
If you are wanting to find great, creditable wedding planners I found https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-planners to be a useful website.
The day before my wedding my incredible team ( bridesmaids, family, friends, cousins, aunts and uncles) showed up early to help decorate our venue. You really can save money and have them help and get things done.
Below is a picture of the crew that showed up to help me decorate my venue. I was so happy I cried.
PICK YOUR DESTINATION TO SAY I DO!
According to businessinsider.com, The average wedding cost in America is over $30,000. Depending on where you live it can be more or less but we were a little in awe of how expensive weddings were. We didn’t want to go into debt to get married but didn’t want to be cheapskates either. We toured venues in Minneapolis, Minnesota but found the pricing to be extremely high and it didn’t feel right for us. I mean $20,000 for 12 hours made me sick to my stomach. Yes, the venues and rooftops and ballrooms were breath taking but they were just places. We wanted the focus to be on Troy and I’s love and sharing our beginning with our families and friends in a space that wouldn’t break the bank. We thought about destination but knew my family was entirely too large for that to work and we wanted our Grandmas there so we quickly ruled out a destination wedding. We continued researching venues and locations and different places to get married in but everything was either crazy expensive or just did not relate to Troy and I in anyway. It came down to the fact that I couldn’t imagine not getting married in a church before God and our family. We figured out quickly that we wanted to get married in my hometown of Grand Forks, North Dakota.
We chose, St Mary’s Church. This is the Church I grew up in, my parents were married there, my sister was married there. I was baptized there and went to grade school there, I grew up singing in that church so to be able to marry the man of my dreams in the same Church, gave me all the feel’s.
We began touring venues for the reception. From hotels to temples to parks to tents. We finally chose The Alerus Center because of its size and easy access to The Canad Inn connected to the ballrooms. We had originally booked for July 14th but the venue made a mistake and that miscommunication changed our date to July 21st 2018. Out of everything that did not go perfectly, that mistake worked out in our favor. The venue gave us an extra day, July 20th, to decorate and take our time perfecting the ballroom.
The Church was selected and the ballroom booked, July 21st 2018 was set! We had a year to plan!