Beginning stages of wedding planning, OH MY!

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What a fantastic picture Janet!

On my civil wedding, it was suposed to be a warm day, so I planned to wear white with a bit of purple coordinating dress and shirt. However, the weather became very cold during the night, and, when I woke up I was desperate: There was no way to wear those clothes. Then, I remember I had a medieval-inspired dress I never used, because it was made for my friend´s wedding where the opposite happened: It was suposed to be very cold, as it was winter so I made a very warm dress; but that week was really hot. So, I changed plans and got married with my blue dress, which I love (and I still use it in renassiance fairs, or to cosplay, as it was inspired in one of my favorite Tolkien caracters.

After a little research about sunset times and usual temperatures for the year, we've decided to change the date from 10-10-2015 to 9-12-15. I went out to the store the other day and bought a binder, notebook, dividers, sticky tabs and a 3 hole punch to start making my planning binder (with help from some of the files Susan sent me!) smiley

I'm pretty excited. And I know most people think I'm nuts about setting such a long engagement and starting to plan it now...but I have my reasons. I don't want to cram planning everything into just one year. I want to take my time, look at all the options, have PLENTY of time to pay for everything without making ourselves go broke or into debt, and we can actually enjoy the engagement without having to worry about everything all at once. I've always been someone who likes to have a lot of time to think, plan and then do. I also change my mind like a thousand times before I've made up my mind so having the extra time is good for me haha.

You make a beautiful couple Janet!

Thanks all!

Another word to all that didn't have exactly what you wanted when you got married, renewal of vows ceremonies are just as much fun! The best part is that you can have it however you want it and let's just say when you get older and wiser.....I recommend you go for it!

I'm thinking just that way, Janet.... My 25th isn't that too far off....

Congrats, first off! But I would be NO help...we had a little budget and little planning! Ours was so informal and last-minute, we had people showing up in blue jeans! smiley We kept it super small (about 20 immediate family), had it in the gazebo on the pond at the park down the street then we all went to eat at Bennigan's afterwards! smiley (I sure do miss the Death By Chocolate Cake.) My dress was navy semi-formal and I inherited it from a former boss. I think I bought new shoes and my fake bouquet and that was it! But I loved it, hubs loved it and all our family that came, loved it!

Here's some pics of our simple service...

Love all the wedding pics guys smiley
well our wedding was just last yr and was VERY diy, as we had a limited budget and hardly any parental help.
we did our whole wedding for $3000, so if you would like tips on Diy tips that are cheap and look great, I can help.
I have some layouts from our wedding didgital scrapbook on here, which might help,
also feel free to check out my wedding album on facebook to see how it turned out;

some basic DIY ideas we had were making the invites from photos and ribbon, hand decorating bubbles as our bonomeire, providing our own food (we had an afternoon tea), I got my dress online, from and it was only $200. we had friends do hair, makeup, music, transport, photography, and videography, and make our cake.

We made our own wedding programs too, and we got flowers from cheap as chips- (fake)
I got my shoes from Target for $30, just white sandals, and the venue we got for $50 as it was our local church, with altar flowers for free.
bridesmaids and groomsmen pretty much did their own attire.

what aspects were you wanting help with?

it's not that I want help per se...just wanting to hear everyone's stories; the good, bad and ugly.

I have a very dramatic, rude, hard to deal with family so for the most part almost none of them are being included in the planning stages...which also means that I don't have very many females to ooh and ahh over things with and I look up to a lot of you ladies.

I was raised by my dad and only saw my mom 4 days a month from 6-16 and since I turned 16 it's been about 2-3 a year max (mostly holidays) it's been a little rough for me as I get older. I have a stepmother who has been there for me for the better part of 4 years but she's really opinionated and overbearing sometimes so I'm only including her in some of the planning.

My fiance and I know how we want things for the most part, it's just the details we have to work on and writing everything down and such. Probably about 90% of the wedding will be DIY; from all the paper goods (invitations, save the dates, etc) to decor, flowers, food, etc. I think the only things that won't be DIY is all the attire (bride, groom and wedding party), maybe the cake, and the music. I'm a wee bit of a control freak (probably because my life has been so out of control since I was kid) so I like to do everything by myself haha...which will be interesting because I hate asking for help and rarely need it when it comes to projects.

@Sharilynn I see that you are considering making your own cake. I did mine, although I had been decorating for about ten years at the time. I will tell you that since you do have some time it would not be that hard for you to do. I taught myself. Quite frankly, it is all a matter of picking the decorating tips and squeezing a decorating bag. It would just take some practice. For my wedding cakes I usually do 3-4 thin layers of cake. I fill it with cream cheese icing (including walnuts chopped fine) and I use boxed cake mixes and add about a teaspoon of vanilla (helps bring out the flavor) per box. Then I get "Pastry Pride" icing (I get it at Smart & Final in the freezer section), it does need to be refrigerated although it is not "dairy." I have included in some cakes other things in the decorations - I did ceramics for years and for one cake I made some ceramic shells and starfish highlighted with the color of the wedding....I also had a betta fish in a bowl on the cake. I have my own separators and stands but you can get them for rent or in the scheme of things they aren't that expensive-and if you stack them just make sure you have each layer on a cardboard disk and put dowels in the cake to hold the cake above (cakes can be pretty heavy). I also tend to go overboard with way more cake that would ever be eaten at a wedding - to me it should be extravagant. Here are some that I have done through the years (the first ones were with buttercream frosting) and most I also did the flowers on:

First Wedding cake:

Some of the rest:

With a little practice you could probably do it yourself. Of note, I usually bake my cakes 1-2 days ahead of time, put each on cardboard and wrap well with plastic wrap. Then the day before each layer can be assembled and on the morning of the wedding I assemble, preferably at the venue.

beautiful cakes! Luckily one of my best friends, also my matron of honor, works in a bakery and knows how to do things. Plus another friend's family does a lot of baking and wedding cakes so I think with all of our powers combined we'll be a-okay on the cake!

I have a lot of help when it comes to the photography, cake, decor and such. I have all kinds of connections smiley

It's good to have a lot of connections, thats how we got our wedding done so cheaply. It did take a lot of work from my husband to get things done, as well as time, energy, creativity, and commitment to the tasks, as many were tedious (making $100+ bubble tags, for instance.)
I didn't have many female friends that helped with any stage of the planning process. My husband was the person I relayed ideas off of, so I understand how you feel.

@janet: those cakes are stunning! I wish you did mine!

that was our cake

we made our own invites from photos and ribbon, and a decoration in the middle (from spotlight)

And here's our handmade chairbows: material from spotlight, fake rose petals held together with split pins and super glue, with a decoration on top.

We also decorated our bomboniere boxes with white ribbon, and the same decorations as the chair bows

Honestly, we handed the responsibility over to family! (Mostly my mother, who has a friend who plans weddings and receptions, so they did it all!) I told them what I liked and had in mind and they took it from there! I LOVED not having a single thing to worry about! And the day came and I got to just enjoy it and enjoy finally being married to my best friend! I have only one thing I wish would we would have had, and that is having a disposable camera at every table so that the guests can take pictures. That would have been so fun to have all sorts of different pictures and not just the professional ones, which are usually just formal ones of the bride and groom and family. Congrats and good luck!

@Stefanee, we did the disposable camera thing and heaps went missing. we only got 2 lots back and they were fairly silly, shooting up peoples noses and things. the rest were too dark to really see anything, but if you give them to people that know what they're doing, i guess it would work better

@Sharilynn, it might be good that you are discluding pushy and judgemental people out of your planning, as my original maid of honour was just thise things, and ended up being fired by my husband on the day of the wedding because it felt like her wedding starring us. she was so pushy when it came to table arrangements, my veil being over my face on entrance, my dads walking down the aisle, and our choice of drinking glasses, right down to the music selection. if we could do it over she wouldn't have been included at all in the first place.
With photos, make sure you have a really good idea of what you are wanting, as we missed out on many that we wanted. maybe even write them all down (mother with bride, my immediate family, extended, grooms side, flower girl and pageboy, etc) so you get everything you want.

It's also a good idea to have a big breakfast, followed by little snacks during getting ready, and maybe a little quick snack between wedding and photo shoot, or wedding and reception, as you just may not have time with all the mingling, etc. Also, make sure your maid of honour is prepared to help you out with supplying you with food whilst you are mingling, and tending to guests needs. she should be a second host, essentially.

my husband had to call on another bridesmaid to organise my hens night, as no-one else was bothering, so if you want things done, double check they're actually being done if not being done by you. I felt the hens was something i should not be organising.

We also realised too late that people we wanted to thank had left by the time we got around to doing the thank you speech and handing out little presents, so maybe have them in their respective posts already; musicians under their chair or piano stool, kitchen staff in the kitchen, etc with little tags.

It helped having a dedicated presents table, even though we did a wishing well, and an M.C ensuring everyone knew what was where, and announced each activity (boquet toss, cake cutting, etc), including us leaving so we didn't have to feel awkward about leaving.

@janet: We already have the date set for our re-dedication of marriage: we got married on 21.1.12 so we plan to re-marry on 12.2.21 hehe

@Marisa "Congrats! Jordan and I didn't spend a lot of time planning our wedding. We ended up with about a 2 month engagement. The important part is what comes after! I still have my wedding dress, any ideas on what to do with that now?"

I also only had a very short engagement, once I decided to say yes (almost 2 years after her asked smiley ) I wanted it done. It was very small and actually not that fun smiley Many things went wrong. But my oldest daughters wedding 4 years ago was super fantastic. Planning it with her is one of my top three memories. There is nothing like watching your daughter happy and in love.

So fun seeing everyone's wedding photos!

I think you're on the right track and are being very smart about it. We were engaged in December 2000 and married in spring 2002 for all the reasons you listed, especially the idea to have as much as possible paid off before the big day.

If you don't like something, or someone's trying to push something on you, then in my opinion you'd be fully justified in morphing into Bridezilla. I had to become a real... (insert nasty word)... because my MIL was trying to rudely horn in on selecting my dress. Why? Because her own daughter shoved her out of the process years before and she was trying to control mine. It was very unpleasant. There were other incidents, including a little bit of emotional blackmail.

All in all, though, we had a really lovely wedding. We were married in a basilica, with a vocal quartet and an organist up in the loft, and the reception was accompanied by a four-piece jazz quartet. They were just as much as a DJ, and we reeeeaaaaaallllly did not want a DJ. That was something worth every penny. We didn't blow oodles of money; we just spent it judiciously and spread it out.

I can't wait to see tidbits of what you're planning. I'm such a sucker for a wedding. smiley

EDITED TO ADD: ooh, just remembered a suggestion. I saw this idea back in the day and implemented it... and it'd only work if you're doing wedding party introductions at the reception. We had the wedding party announced - groomsmen accompanying bridesmaids (I had three pairs), the matron of honor and best man, then after we were announced and did the walk, we immediately went into the first dance. After the first dance, a lovely buffet luncheon was served, then the usual other dances and speeches and such. We mingled at each table after eating. It was a really nice way to segue if you're doing anything so structured, because there are always people who *have* to leave early, and they don't miss that part.