Congratulations! Engagements are an exciting, and often overwhelming, time in one's life. When I was planning my Santa Barbara nuptials, I was completely overwhelmed by all the decisions that had to be made. I was 26, and planning it with the help of my family of co-workers at the Santa Barbara Independent, my circle of wedding planners. Without their advice, I probably wouldn't have gotten married at all. For many of you, a planner or designer is the appropriate choice- he or she will help you with all of the details, from setting a budget, to helping design the look of your event(s), to choosing vendors, to making sure the day runs smoothly.... I could go on! There are tons of planners and event stylists out there, and it's important to choose someone who has a personality and style you feel right at home with- you will be spending a lot of time with her, and putting trust into her to make decisions for you and your family. One of the most essential things I learned, was to prioritize. If you look at the wedding planning as a huge mountain to climb, you'll definitely get overwhelmed by the stress of planning such a huge event. I know for me, tears and anxiety definitely played a roll. I had never had to plan anything larger than a birthday party, and most of you, unless you're already a seasoned entertainer, won't have done it either. Breaking it up into small steps will help you feel as if you're making progress, and will feel much more manageable. So how do you begin to pull together the celebration of your dreams? You've probably already starting pinning from your favorite blogs, gathering ideas you love. And that's a great place to start, to get a sense of your style, if you're not sure. But all those images will start to overwhelm you if you don't have a few kew details in place. It great to know that you want unglazed cake and linen napkins; trophy vessels for your floral, and a farm table outside, with fairy lights hanging from the trees. But, before you can secure these small details, a few key things will help you plan the decor and overall look of your design. The rest of pieces will fall into place. I'm partial to paper- It just helps me see details as a whole, when they are laid out in front of me. 1. Buy a three ring binder from an office store, and some way to section it out. I liked those clear plastic sleeves. I know, not very romantic, but I was able to place contracts, business cards, images from magazines, fabric swatches into sections, marked: ceremony, reception, photographer, florist, transportation, invitations, etc. Bring this to your meetings with vendors, so that they can see your vision for the entire day, and make appropriate suggestions. My binder housed everything, from contracts to tears, to all my notes and guest list:
2. Magazines! Sitting into front of the computer all day at work, and then at night planning your big day can be exhausting. Take a break from the screens and relax with your favorite drink, and start to go through a few. Tear out the images that speak to you. These are the tears I showed my dress designer for the organza overlay in back and front of my dress.
3. Calendar. Once you have your wedding date, (which will only come after you choose your location, so I'm a little ahead of you) you can start to work backwards from it. Now, I can only speak to when you should order your stationery, and a wedding designer or planner can help you with the entire timeline, as it's complex. But if you do like to see it all laid out, this planner roundup from Oh, So Beautiful Paper will help you choose a stylish and functional planner to pop in your bag, and dedicate to the entire planning process for the year.