First of all, before jumping into my first real wedding topic, I need to say THANK YOU! I don’t think I stopped smiling all day on Monday, from all of the messages, texts, and comments left by everyone. Y’all, I was terrified Monday morning… like shaking, armpits sweating, kind of nerves. Putting yourself out there is scary, but I was (and still am) completely overwhelmed by the support shown. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me, and for you to be there every step of the way. UGH, okay, back to what I’m here for!
A huge reason why I wanted to start a wedding inspired blog is because brides come into the salon and really just don’t know much about the bridal world. I catch myself teaching them not just about wedding gowns, but how to plan a wedding in general. Most girls have no idea that shopping for a dress 6 months before your wedding day is actually cutting it way too close. Other girls look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language when I suggest that it’s risky to have her bridesmaids pick out any shade of navy they can find, no matter the fabric. Sometimes I want to cry inside for them when they say that they still haven’t book a DJ or photographer… but in the bride’s defense, HOW WOULD SHE KNOW THESE THINGS?! I certainly didn’t until I started working in the industry.
I want this blog to be a place where brides, mothers, ANYONE can come to learn. Sure, I insert a lot of my own personal experiences from getting married myself, but as the blog grows, so will my knowledge from work, and the plan is to get some other real life brides on here as well!
So let’s start with the basics. A timeline.
You’re engaged. So now what?!
First things first, CONGRATS! Enjoy this time, post all the pictures you want, and keep staring at that left hand, girl! Honestly, engaged life was THE BEST year and a half ever for me… sooo much to look forward to and celebrate!
Now on to the stressful stuff… no matter how long your engagement is, there’s a couple things that you need to book ASAP! (That is, if you want your dream vendors.)
- The most important thing to book first, in my opinion, is your venue. Most people don’t realize it, but venues can book at out as early as 18 months-2 years! *ESPECIALLY if you are looking to get married during the wedding season; May-October.
- Secondly, booking a photographer is high up on that list as well. Most popular photographers only take so many weddings per month or year. Grab them before it’s too late. (I booked with Kayla and Caleb 18 months out!)
- *For other big vendors like a DJ/live band, florist, bakery, etc., the sooner the better!
Since wedding gowns are my speciality, I’ll talk a bit more about this one. Often we get girls coming in just 6 months before their big day and hear, “Oh, well I still have some time”. But in reality, you don’t. At least not if you’re looking for a couture dress. All gowns sold at high end salons such as Matina’s are cut to order. This means that nothing is hanging in a warehouse ready to be shipped out. These gowns aren’t made in mass quantities either. You pick your gown, you get measured, and then the dress starts getting cut; which is amazing… except it also takes 4-6 months for a gown to get made and sent to the salon. (That doesn’t include alterations either, YIKES). With all that being said, shopping for your gown 9-12 months out is more ideal. 12 months out is a consultant’s dream!
Again, I’m biased about wedding gowns, but I also think your dress needs to be one of the first things picked because it sets the tone for the rest of your wedding vibe. Your gown can determine your colors, florals, bridesmaids gowns, linens, etc. But remember! Once you pick a gown, you have to force yourself to stop looking. Turn off your Pinterest board and stop window shopping. If you don’t, you’ll drive yourself crazy because of course “there may always be something else out there”. Time to focus on another task.
Alterations may also vary depending on where you get your gown, but at Matina’s we recommend starting the process around 2-3 months out from your wedding day. (Expect to have 3-4 appointments during this time. When starting early though, you won’t have to cram your fittings into your already busy schedule. YOU’RE WELCOME!)
“BUT WHAT IF I WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT?!” 99% of brides say that, which is totally fine… you do you, girl. With your appointments spread across a 2-3 month period, you can get your body in shape the healthy way! We also strongly suggest that your final fitting be just two weeks prior to your wedding day. This way if you have been losing weight, changed your heel height last minute, etc., it can all be handled accordingly. Whew… that’s a lot of info. But stay tuned for future posts specifically about Dress Shopping 101 and Alterations 101.
Depending on how long your engagement is, you may have some “down time”. You’ve planned ahead as much as you can, but now you just have to WAIT. The true panic may not set in until a couple months out from your big day. And trust me, you’ll know when the panic hits HAHA!
With just 2 months left, you should have your invitations sent out to guests. (Helpful hint: Give guests a small window to RSVP. It’ll help you get started on your seating chart, but then they can’t drag their feet on replying either.)
You should also start scheduling final walk-through meetings with your vendors, and draft up a timeline for the week or day of your wedding. For example; What time do your girls need to meet the morning of? How will the guys be transported to the venue? What day is your spray tan scheduled the week before? When do tuxedos need to be picked up?… the list can get pretty long,
PLAN IT OUT NOW!
When it’s just a month or so out from your wedding day, tasks should be tedious. I personally didn’t plan any meetings a month before my wedding unless it was per request of a vendor. I wanted my weekends open for small tasks that needed finished like printing paper goods, finalizing seating cards, and making sure gifts had been bought for parents, wedding attendants, etc. Whatever you do though, do not OVERBOOK! Most likely you’re already getting more anxious and stressed out, so leave time for that to be allowed. Yep… I said it, schedule out your stress.
Last but not least, the week or two before your wedding, ENJOY. All of the work, stress, and mental meltdowns have been done. Let others around you handle the rest if needed (thanks, mom!), and try to just focus on your significant other. The Sunday before our wedding, Jake and I dressed up fancy and treated ourselves to one final date night before the crazy started up. Before family and friends were coming into town, and days would fly by. We had a special night reminiscing about our early days of dating, our favorite memories, and what we are looking forward to in the next coming week. Honestly, I wish I could relive that night over and over again. It was the perfect way to kick start an exciting week! Would highly recommend planning out one final date night.
Nobodies timeline will look the same, or maybe you’ve hired a professional wedding planner to coordinate it all. Regardless, remember the most important part of it all; marrying your partner! It’s easy to get caught up in details, but on the day of your wedding none of it will matter to you. It’s all about you and your significant other becoming one!
I wanted to share some proposal photos that girls had sent me via Instagram and Facebook (& maybe mine too). I think we can all agree,
BEST DAY EVER!
PS am I pathetic because I got teary eyed looking at these?! I just LOVE the emotion you can feel through all of them.