It’s crazy to think that one year ago, I was saying “yes” to my best friend and that in one year, I’ll be saying “I do!” This last year of planning has been a complete whirlwind, and I can’t wait to fill you guys in on all the progress we’ve made. Wedding planning is no joke, y’all. I really hope that our experience can help any other brides-to-be out there have a smooth planning process. There have been some tough conversations, stressful moments, and really exciting experiences over the last year, but I know it’s all going to pay off in the end! I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel with most of our big ticket items having been checked off and I know it’s going to come to an end before I know it. Before I get too sad about that, let’s dive into the good stuff!
In case you’re new here, hi! I’m Jill, the Editorial Director here at Parsimony. I got engaged last year on October 10th, and am getting married next year on October 10, 2020 (how could you pass up that date, am I right?!). It’s been a while since I last checked in. So, last you knew, we had discussed the ever important budget, asked our wedding party to be a part of our day, chosen our venue, started working on a first round list of guests, visited the crazy topic of contracts, and booked our photographer and videographer. And that was all in the first three months! Regardless of how long of a timeframe you give yourself, I feel like wedding planning is pretty much a hustle. Maybe not always, but there are certain spans of time where it feels like everything is just “go, go, go.” The first three months definitely fell into that category. Once those big ticket items were checked off, we could start to breathe and relax a bit.
Month four went pretty smoothly and nice and relaxed as well. We had our winter wonderland engagement photoshoot with the incredible Melanie Zacek. I’m honestly still in awe of the photos and what a phenomenal job she did. While I actually hate winter, I have an appreciation for its beauty and the look of fresh snow… which did NOT disappoint! It was so fun to dress up and romp around on a snowy day, even though it was totally freezing. We also officially locked down our florist, even though we knew from day one who we would have. I’m lucky enough that my partner-in-crime, our Owner and Creative Director, Melissa, is also a florist! So there was no competition in this section, because I already work with one of the most talented florists around.
After some more down time, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer and started the adventure of dress shopping. I feel like this is something I need to dig deeper into in a separate post, because it was a wild ride! I didn’t expect to feel so overwhelmed with all the options since I thought I was pretty clear on what I wanted, but I ended up falling in love with a couple of dresses that were completely opposite from one another! My biggest pieces of advice would be to: 1) Try on a whole variety of styles, you may be surprised at what you do and do not like. 2) Schedule appointments at different stores. You may vibe better with different consultants and each shop will most likely have a different variety of dresses for you to try on. 3) Go with your gut. One of my favorite dresses wasn’t a hit with the group my first time out, but something deep inside me told me it was special. It ended up being one of my top two! (Can’t tell you if it was “the one” though.) At the end of the day, I went to three different shops and had three very different experiences. I think it was a sweet spot because there are so many dresses that too many more would’ve stressed me out (it’s so hard to pick!) and too few would have left me worried that I didn’t experience all my options. So three seems like a solid number to me.
Quickly after I picked my dress, I took my ladies shopping and we got their bridesmaid dresses! It was a fun process, I pretty much sat back and told them to try on anything and everything they wanted. My goal was that they all were in something comfortable and that made them feel good. I really wanted them to all choose the same dress, but I was open to mixing and matching within the same color and fabric. Luckily for me, they all ended up agreeing on a dress! We narrowed it down to three colors that were within my palette and then debated the pros and cons of each. Once again, we were all pretty unanimous on the decision for color. I’m super excited to see their dresses when they come in!
Another exciting development was with our Save the Dates! I’m once again very lucky to have such a wonderful and creative friend, our Art Director, Dave, who is an amazing graphic designer. We asked if he would be willing to help us with designing all of our paper goods for the wedding and he graciously agreed. He’s been great with helping me narrow down my thoughts and bringing my vision to life. I’m SO in love with this stunning Save the Date he designed for us and can’t wait to see what he does for the invitation suite!! With the Save the Dates, I knew that I needed to get our wedding website together. If you know me, you know I’m pretty detail oriented and when I have a vision, I need to make it perfect. I knew that I couldn’t go with a template offered from a pre-built wedding website and that I needed to create something on my own. I also wanted the URL to be something simple and easy for people to remember. I ended up creating our website through Google Sites. It didn’t have quite as much customization as I would like, but you can design a website for free, which was awesome for our budget. I bought our domain for something crazy like $12/year and the rest is history. It was fun to get all of our information loaded in and ready to go for our guests to explore!
Speaking of guests… we had to finalize our guest list in order to send out these beautiful Save the Dates. Let me tell you… this was probably one of the most stressful parts so far. We thought we had things down and were good to go. Then we sat down to look at our numbers and ended up being waaaay over. Like over 90 people that we needed to get down into the 70’s. It was really difficult to figure out where the best places to make cuts were, and we had to have some difficult discussions. All in all, we just tried to focus on the fact that this is our day and really looked at who we cared about most being a part of the festivities. While part of me wishes we had picked a venue with a larger capacity, I know we both wanted to keep the wedding small, and choosing a smaller venue has forced us to stick with that instead of falling into others’ wishes for the day.
With the process moving along, we also wanted to nail down our room blocks. I felt like this was a necessary step before we sent out the Save the Dates so that our guests had all the information they would need. This is another one of those topics where I think there is just so much to cover that I’ll have to break out into a separate post. But, a quick point of reference is that you want to make sure you have an affordable option. The rooms at our venue were a little above the average price point, so in addition to a block at the Inn, we also secured a lower rate block at a nearby hotel. For people looking to do something different, we listed some additional hotels and resources as options for guests, but only have blocks at the two places. At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone, so you just have to do what works best for the majority and makes the most sense for your situation.
To finish off the vendor list, we also booked our DJ! Anyone on a budget should look at a DJ versus a live band. The cost comparison is staggering. While it’s nice to have live music, not everyone has that kind of money to spend. We found an awesome DJ through referrals who will DJ our reception and play acoustic guitar for our ceremony and cocktail hour. Honestly, this feels like a two for one kind of deal and the best of both worlds. So, if you’re not looking to spend high four figured into five on your music for the big day, consider looking for a DJ who can also play acoustic for you. It’s also important to make sure you like your DJ or band. Aside from the obvious, they’ll also be running the show and keeping the evening on track. They make the announcements and really keep things flowing and the party going. I think that referrals and if possible, seeing them in action, are the best way to feel confident in their abilities.
We also rounded out the wedding party with our flower girls and Jaren’s groomsmen! We had a ton of fun picking out a little something to give Jaren’s adorable nieces to ask them to be our flower girls. I found some super fun “Petal Patrol” t-shirts for them and we got some yummy cupcakes with frosting flowers on them, because who doesn’t love some sugar, especially when you’re three?! Jaren was also finally able to connect with three of his friends and ask them to be groomsmen, all of whom said yes. It felt great to have both these things checked off and to know that our party is complete!
Last but not least, we recently went to go visit our friend Sara, who we asked to marry us! This was probably one of my favorite asks because she had NO idea it was coming. We were struggling to figure out who we wanted to ask to be our officiant, knowing it’s such a big role. We tossed some family members names back and forth, but ultimately, Jaren thought it would be best to choose someone more in a neutral zone. When he suggested Sara, I knew she would be absolutely perfect. She’s been along for the ride for our entire relationship and I couldn’t imagine anyone better for the job.
So now we’re back in sort of a lull for a bit. It’s nice having the big things done and knowing that the fun details are all coming up. I’m super excited to really dive into all that stuff and to do our menu tasting and start planning our honeymoon, but we have plenty of time. It’s been great to really be able to relax and enjoy planning for the most part. I’m really happy that we gave ourselves two years to get everything done. With the current lull, I’ll definitely work to dive deeper into some of the previously mentioned topics for you guys, but if there’s anything specific you want to hear about, please give me a shout either here, on social media, or email me!