Friday, August 17, 2018

WEDDING PLANNING: What We've Done So Far!

Hey guys! So many of you may already know this because I have mentioned my fiancé quite a bit on my blog, but I'm engaged! On New Years Eve of this past year, my boyfriend of almost 8 years proposed while we were on a trip with both of our families in Tennessee. I can do a more in-depth blog post on our love story and engagement later on, but for now I just wanted to share some of the things we've already done as far as wedding planning goes. I want to bring you all along with me while I plan each aspect of my dream wedding--so stay tuned for more wedding planning updates along the way! Here's what we've done so far:

Picking a Date & Venue: 
When we got engaged in December, I still had one semester of college left to finish. I was always super busy in college--always involved in several different things at once, putting a lot of effort and emphasis on making good grades, and of course maintaining a social life because once it's over, you'll never get those fun college days back. With all of that being said, I was not trying to plan a wedding on top of all of that. So I knew I wanted to wait until I graduated to even think about picking a date. Once I graduated, we started thinking about it more and we both agreed that we love Fall weddings. Based on that and the availability of our top venue choices, we ended up deciding on October 26th, 2019. Although this might seem really far away to some people, we are more than happy with our choice. I love having an abundant amount of time to plan and I think it will over all make it that much more special.

Now let's talk wedding venues, the most important decision of all. I kind of already knew from the beginning that I wouldn't get married in the city I'm from. We have really beautiful venues here and in the surrounding areas, but none of them spoke to me. We decided to look into Charlottesville, Virginia, because it's only a couple hours away from where we live, it's absolutely gorgeous there, and my fiancés extended family lives in Northern Virginia, which cuts the trip for our wedding in half for them. This area just really seemed to make sense for us. I had researched basically all the venues in the area and decided on three to tour--Keswick Vineyards, Mount Ida Farm, & Trump Winery. All of them were so beautiful and unique in their own way, but in the end we decided on Trump Winery. We landed on this venue for a lot of different reasons. First of all, it's stunning and secondly, the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception areas are all separated, but still extremely close for our guests. At Mount Ida (which is a gorgeous venue as well), everything was so spread out that our guests would have to get in a car to drive only 5 minutes to our reception. At the end of the day, Trump Winery made the most sense and we are so excited to get married at such a beautiful place. 

Booking a Photographer:
Finding a photographer was the next most important thing to us after our venue choice. I researched many photographers in the Charlottesville area. Picking a photographer can be tricky because you try and research so many different ones and after a while, the photos all seem to run together, until you hit one that you just fall in love with. We ended up booking with Meredith Sledge Photography. Meredith and I talked via email and she seemed so sweet and relatable, which I loved. Not to mention, her photographs are absolutely breathtaking. The process of booking was quite simple, too. I emailed her to see packages and pricing, we chatted to make sure it was a good fit, and she then sent me over a full booklet on packages, optional add-ons, and more information about herself. Once I was sure I wanted her to be our photographer, she sent over a contract, my fiancé and I signed, and it was a done deal. We are so excited to have Meredith photograph both our engagement session and our special wedding day! 

Booking a Videographer:
Choosing our videographer was super easy. We know a guy from high school who started a videography business who does incredible wedding videos. He actually did both of my older brothers wedding videos as well. It's just really nice when you actually know someone who also does great work, it just eliminates one more step of the vendor research process. The company I'm talking about here is called MNF Productions--definitely check them out! 

Sending Bridesmaids Boxes:
Doing my bridesmaids boxes was one of the things I was most excited about because I love putting together cute little gifts like that. I have 9 bridesmaids--my childhood best friend who is my MOH, two college friends, a high school friend, my two brothers' wives, my cousin, my fiancé's sister, and my fiancé's sister-in-law. With a pretty big group, it was a little expensive and difficult to keep everything organized. I'm going to do a whole separate blog post on these boxes, though, because there is so much to include! Overall, everyone seemed to love these boxes and I was really happy with the end result as well!

Making a Bridal Boutique Appointment:
In my hometown there is only a couple of bridal boutiques and the only boutique I really loved, everyone I know has already bought from. I know this may not matter at all to some people, but I've known two people in my town to get the same dress and I just didn't want to risk that.  On top of that, I researched which designers I really loved and found some boutiques fairly nearby that carried those designers. My crew and I are going at the end of September to look for my dress in Charlotte, NC at Anjolique Bridal & Formal. They have so many beautiful gowns and a ton of different designers, so I'm really excited to go browse the gorgeous gowns and find my dream dress. I'm taking my mom, my MOH, my two sister-in-laws (my 2 brothers wives), my two grandmas, my aunt, my cousin, and my fiancé's mom. 

Buying Wedding Bands:
This is typically something couples do way down the line, about 6 months before the wedding and we ended up doing it 15 months before our wedding. Basically from where my fiancé bought my engagement ring, he got vouchers to use by a certain date. We went ahead and got the band that matches my engagement ring, which was made specifically to go with the shape of my ring. Patrick went ahead and picked out which band he wanted, too. We were both 100% sure of what we wanted and we had vouchers to spend, so we just went ahead and knocked that task out early.

That's all for now, but don't worry, I will be doing more wedding posts for a whole YEAR up until I get married. Please feel free to let me know if there are any specific wedding related things you'd like to hear/see about! As always, thanks for reading and I will catch you on my next post! 

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