As soon as Q proposed, I immediately starting searching the internet for tips on how to plan a wedding, budgeting, and doing it while pregnant. I had found out that we were expecting a baby Winston just a few weeks before his proposal! I read tons of articles and took many notes, and now that we’ve officially made it through (woo!), I wanted to share some advice from my own experience. Read on if you’re planning a wedding on a budget, with a short time limit, or carrying your own little bundle of joy:
1. There’s no such thing as “too early” when it comes to planning
It was important for me that Q and I officially say our “I do”s before our baby was born. So the first thing we did was create a timeline with all the major dates: engagement party, invitations sent, ceremony, etc. We gave ourselves 4 months of planning- crazy, I know. BUT, the best thing we did was get started on the planning right away. I mean literally, right away. Since I was in Florida already the weekend he proposed, we went ahead and went straight to the venue and put our deposit down. We also got started on rentals and flowers. It might sound crazy, but we (mostly I) knew what we wanted and it was a relief to have so much done within the first month! Plus, most vendors will allow you to make changes to your order up to two weeks before the wedding date. It’s better to get in your order and adjust along the way, if needed.
2. Accept any and all help
This one is especially for the expectant brides! People will offer to help you. Don’t give the usual “Oh, it’s okay. We’ve got it” response that we’re accustomed to using. Take the help! For us, it was my mother. She was our event planner/decorator/caterer all in one. Working full time and from another state made it hard to be hands-on when it came to the wedding. So we would come up with ideas together and she would help to make sure they were executed the way I wanted. This was extremely helpful on those days that just getting out of bed was difficult (hello, first trimester).
3. Cut costs where you can
As a little girl, I always dreamt of my wedding, but I never dreamt of how much money it actually costs to make all of those magical moments happen! I was shocked to find out how quickly money goes when you’re actually planning one of these things. Our goal was to stick to a budget of $6,000, but we did end up going over by a bit. However, we would’ve spent much more than that if I didn’t figure out this tip early on.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that when I have my mind set on something, I am committed to it and won’t have it any other way. I had to adjust a little when it came to wedding planning. It turns out flowers are WAY more expensive than I knew and with the way I’d envisioned my big day, the flowers alone were going to take up half of the budget! So we ended up improvising by doing some fresh flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres) mixed with artificial flowers (flowers for altar, decorations, etc). The greatest thing is that it was more affordable, but also no one even noticed the difference! Figure out what you need to splurge on (*cough*my dress), and what areas you’re willing to bend a little.
4. Make an itinerary…and accept that people will still have questions.
I am a planner and I write absolutely everything down. I love to-do lists. The whole works. Having a schedule for the day of your wedding printed out is super helpful! Not just for you, but for everyone involved. I found a cute template online and used it to outline the events leading up to the wedding, as well as the actual wedding day. I printed out several copies, texted it to the bridal party, had it available in hotel rooms, etc. I STILL had people texting me with questions about times or addresses, but it was nice to be able to send them a screenshot instead of typing out an address over and over. My MOH even suggested having the groomsmen save it as their wallpaper on their phone! Not to say that guys forget details more often, but it was true in this case 😉
5. Forget about trying to make everything perfect and remember to enjoy your party!
These days, we spend so much time trying to make a picture look instagram-worthy, or copy an idea we found on pinterest. No shade, cause I definitely did a lot of that. But when the day came, I had to remind myself that this is probably one of the few times in my life that ALL of my friends and family (both new and old) will be together in one place to celebrate. I needed to pause and enjoy it! It’s totally okay to smize in a picture because you’re feeling like Beyonce, but then let yourself be silly and natural in a few too. For our exit, I thought it would probably look best if I was carrying my bouquet as we walked out. But I hadn’t had any dessert yet and we ordered my favorite cupcakes. I was not leaving that reception without that cupcake. So I ditched the flowers and walked out with my love in one hand and fudge cupcake in the other. It was a great decision.
However you do things, know that it will be the best day of your life because of the love. Not the outfits, not the food, not the music. I’m including some pictures from our big day because I can’t stop looking at them!