Big day = Big plans
2020 is going to be a big year for me for a lot of reasons. But the main event is no doubt mine and Avu’s big white wedding day on October 11th. As I write this, I’m exactly 240 days out from walking down the aisle and becoming a Mrs. Still haven’t totally wrapped my brain around that.
But regardless, I have wrapped myself up in the throws of wedding planning. It is as much of a beast as you can imagine, trying to plan a party for 150+ people, coming from very diverse backgrounds, without an unlimited budget… or a professional wedding planner. But I’m nonetheless enjoying the journey (for the most part) and working on ways to keep the stress at bay, and focus on what this is really all about. And after everything Avu and I have been through over the past few years, we deserve to enjoy this year of being engaged.
How we got here…
I won’t go through the whole story of how Avu and I met. We started out as friends at NYU and have had a crazy and wonderful journey in the 9 years since then. You can read more about that here. He officially popped the question last August, right before he moved up here to start his new job in Seattle. I wouldn’t describe Avu as an overly sentimental type by any stretch, and I was so touched by the thought and the meaning behind his proposal. He took me back to the first apartment we lived in together in Gramercy. His father was selling it at the time, and he told me that we needed to stop by the building to make sure there wasn’t any family belongings left behind — innocuous enough. The building has an incredible rooftop with a view 360 view of the city, and we used to spend a lot of time of there. While we were there, he suggested we go up for old time’s sake. It was a gray but sunny day, the light and warmth overpowering the clouds casting shadows on the skyscrapers downtown. We reminisced a little about our time here, and he opened up to me about how special it was for him, watching us grow and strengthen the relationship we’ve built. He’d written me a sonnet — a love poem just for my hopelessly romantic heart. At the end, he got down on one knee with the whole city surrounding us and asked me to marry him. It was a yes I’d been waiting to shout for a long time.
Now the fun part starts right..?
So here’s my first piece of advice — don’t rush an engagement. I mean, what’s the point? You’re heading towards forever. I have known for a while that I wanted to get married in October, so luckily when he proposed in August, I knew I had a solid 14-month cushion. I didn’t really dive in head first into this until after the fall (and two weddings I was in myself), and the holidays, and our engagement party (thrown by some of my incredible bridesmaids in New York City… and even Wizzie who flew up from Texas!). I didn’t want to be stressed for these other important events in my life, and I’m glad I had the time to map out a game plan for creating this fairytale event.
The one thing I did knock out early was my venue. There really wasn’t much else I could move forward this until we had that secured. And again luckily for me, I already had one in mind. Avu and I did do a little bit of research online (just because I can’t help myself), but ended up booking the location that my heart had been set on from the beginning.
We’re getting married at the White Sparrow in Union Valley, Texas.
It’s a gorgeous white barn (a designated historical site) with a bare vintage interior aside from massive chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. It’s a bare bones venue, and that was a little intimidating to me at first. It basically means that we have to provide everything ourselves. Other than tables and chairs, we’re responsible for all the catering, linens, dinnerware, waitstaff, etc. Personally, I chose to go this route because I’m such a control freak (along with my mother) and we wanted to have the creative control over every detail. There are certainly reasons to use more all-inclusive venues… one thing that I do find very stressful is the amount of accounting involved in all of this. Because every detail comes from outside the venue, most of it comes from separate places at separate unit prices that we have to factor in …and let’s just say there’s a lot of math involved. BUT, at the end of the day, this venue is my dream come true so it will (hopefully) all be worth it.
Speaking of dreams, I have to talk about the dress for a second. I said yes at Bridal Reflections in NYC.
I never expected to end up with the dress I have. I had actually seen it more than a year ago, when I was helping another dear friend of mine find her own dressed for her wedding. Among the dozen dresses she tried on that day, she came out in a particular Galia Lahav and my heart exploded. Actual tears came down my cheeks…I texted a picture of it to my mom at the time — “this is my dream wedding dress”. She sassily reminded me that I didn’t even have a ring on it yet, and not to get ahead of myself.
Well flash forward, and I was back in that same shop browsing around just for fun with my mom. The sale attendant is pulling gowns for me off the racks, I’d told her I wanted to try a variety. I was just starting out and wasn’t sure what I wanted. Once we got back to the fitting room, one dress caught my eye. Surely it couldn’t be. But it was. That dress. Still there. Just for me. I tried it on myself, and I just knew right then and there. I tried on all the other dresses we pulled just to be sure (again, I can’t help myself). And then I said yes. Tears. Champagne. The whole nine yards.
I know some people must be rolling their eyes at this, because yes it was pretty magical how this all came together. I’m fully aware and extraordinarily grateful for the luck I had with both of those huge decisions, and my amazing parents who are making this day happen for us. One thing that I would tell any other bride though, is to go with your gut. I know that sounds cheesy… but there is sooo much out there and it is so easy to get bogged down in all the choices, and doubt your every move. In the end, I went with my gut feeling on both that venue and the dress, and then I stopped stressing and second guessing about it. And I know at the end of it all, I’m going to be gloriously happy when I look back no matter what.
Vendors and details and checklists, oh my!
I’ve been very blessed in terms of having a smooth wedding planning, and I’ve got most of the heavy lifting figured out now, which I’m very thankful for. It helped that I had my mind made up ahead of time about certain things, and I’ve been going with my gut (see above).
Here’s the list of vendors I’m using so far, and the links to their sites!
Obviously, I still have a lot to do…including hiring a vendor for the DJ/sound & lighting, photo booth setup, designing invitations, laying out the seating arrangements, narrowing down bridesmaids dresses, and so much more.
And that’s before we get to the even smaller details! There’s designing centerpieces, table settings, vignettes, the sweetheart table, favors, signature cocktails, shoes and jewelry.
So am I going crazy?
Honestly, no. At least not yet.
And how exactly?!
By getting a damn good wedding planner (see link below), making a thorough checklist, and taking things one step at a time.
PRO TIP: I spent several hours in Barnes and Noble one day, soon after I got engaged, perusing all the books and journals I could find on Wedding planning. I took notes/snapped pictures of the checklists in all of these, and then went home and compiled/organized them into one comprehensive wedding todo list. (Would you be interested in seeing the full thing? Let me know!)
ANOTHER PRO TIP: Delegate. Seriously. My mom is my wedding planner, and I have both a maid and matron of honor (another hidden pro tip right there), so I have a solid support system and I use them. I couldn’t make it to a catering open house, so my mom went to the tastings. I’m also letting her have major control in the table settings and decor department because she’s an amazing designer (stay tuned.) As much as you may think you need to control every single little detail for things to be perfect… here’s a secret: they won’t be anyways, and you most likely won’t care when it’s all said and done because it will all be beautiful anyways.
Got any other advice?
I only know what’s worked for me. I started the process early so that I could take breaks from the planning and take things slow. Keeping a separate email file and folder for all wedding planning materials, correspondence, receipts, etc. will help you stay organized and keep track of costs, contact info and everything else as you go along. (The planner is great for this too)
Bottom line, I’m just trying to remember the bigger picture at the end of the day, and what this is really about, a celebration of love. When I remember that, and I actually picture going through the day of, the details get blurry and I just get really excited.
And when it gets tedious and all else fails, there’s always a good bottle of Pinot to take the edge off.
My wedding style
I’m going for simple elegance for my wedding. I want to incorporate fall colors, but keep things bright and airy. I’m going with light shades of mint, sage and gray for the bridesmaids, and the florals will include those colors as well, with pops of burgundy, rose and peach. Champagne linens and brass/gold accents for the tables and decor.
And seeing that reading and writing is such a big part of life for both Avu and I, we want to incorporate books and literature into the decor, favors, etc. You can take a peak at my pinterest board for all things wedding planning inspiration…. which will only continue to grow. I’ll be back with more posts breaking down what I’m renting and where and how I’m setting things up as we continue bringing this vision to life!
I hope you’ll follow along as I continue this exciting journey! And if you’ve got any cute ideas….I’m all ears! Let me know below!