WARNING: This post is extremely long. So, if you're at work or have some where to be shortly, then I suggest bookmarking this and coming back later. :)
Earlier this week we hit the 5 month mark on our wedding countdown. It seems a little unreal that the wedding is that close, yet still so far away. We've found so many wedding to-do lists and check lists that tell us when certain things need to be complete by. We aren't following those things too closely though. Every so often we take a peek at the list to see how we're comparing. Though there are somethings that we've decided to put off a little longer than most might suggest, we seem to be surprisingly right on track.
So, I figured I'd do a little rundown of what we've already accomplished in the last 6 months since we've started planning and what we still have left to do.
Pick ceremony/reception venue: The fiance and I knew that we wanted the ceremony & reception to be at the same location for two reasons: people would not have to travel from one site to another and risk getting lost, and (probably the most important) it would be cheaper. We decided upon the Winter Park Farmer's Market, which is an old convert train station. The benefit of this location is it has a "plan B" site in case of rain (this is Florida you know...) and it was one of the few sites that allows you to bring in all of your own vendors.
Choose a photographer: This was our second splurge in our budget (the first being our venue). We have never had professional pictures done together, and our families never really invested in professional pictures as we grew up. So, we wanted to spend a little bit of our budget on our photographer. And on that note...
Had our engagement shoot: As I mentioned in this post about my summer plans, we've already had our engagement shoot. Our photographer was wonderful and made us feel really comfortable. I promise to write a post about how our shoot went and my tips for any couple preparing for a professional photo shoot.
Choose a dress: I'll share more details about dress shopping after the wedding - can't give the fiance too much information, need to keep him guessing. :) But I will say it's more of a traditional dress rather than something that I feel is more of a here-and-now dress.
Decide on reception table decor: We were blessed to have friends and coworkers either give or let us borrow their old wedding decorations. So, our centerpieces are practically free. We still have to purchase candles, ribbon, and a couple of glass vases.
Save-the-dates: We've already mailed out our save-the-dates, and everyone really seemed to like them. They were different than what most of our families have seen from past weddings. You can read more about our save-the-dates here.
Purchase wedding bands: Technically, this one is in-progress. We've already purchased my wedding band, but we haven't bought the fiance's band yet. My band still needs to be resized, but we're waiting for the hotter months before taking it into the store. We've picked out Dan's ring, but we just have to go out and actually buy it.
Paid for our honeymoon: The night we realized our deposit on the venue had gone through the bank, we booked our honeymoon. We've been paying on it little by little each month, and we finally paid it off a couple weeks ago! Woo hoo! That's definitely been a weight lifted off of our shoulders. I promise to do a post on our process of deciding on where to go for our honeymoon and what our final decision was. I'll give you a little hint:
Choose a DJ: We decided to have a DJ instead of a band because we like the idea of having a variety of music during our reception that will make both the younger and older guests happy.
Choose bridesmaids/groomsmen: Dan has known for a long time who was going to stand up beside him at our wedding. I on the other hand struggled with choosing bridesmaids. A part of me always pictured my wedding with just me and my groom standing there with the pastor - no bridesmaids, no groomsmen. Another struggle was that all of the ladies I wanted to stand beside me are struggling financially (hey, aren't we all?) and being a bridesmaid can be pretty expensive. So, we made some compromises as to what they are wearing, and everyone is happy. :)
Completed our registries: We went with two of the most popular stores for registries: Target and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. It definitely took a lot longer than we anticipated, but we enjoy the process.
Find a day-of coordinator: This was something I've always wanted, but knew that it would probably be out of our slimmed down budget. However, a church friend is trying to start up a coordinating business and has generously offered to do day-of coordinating for us free of charge.
Choosing our cake baker:
This was another gift from a friend. I recently went to a baby shower for a friend who was having triplets (yes! triplets!) and they enlisted the help of a youth member from the church and her mother to make the cake for the shower. And let me tell you, that cake was delicious! So, when they approached us after our engagement and offered to make our cake as their gift to us, we jumped at the opportunity. Now, we're just trying to figure out flavors of the cake & filling - of course that's always the fun part. :)
Choosing our officiant: This one was a no-brainer. For years our former youth pastor has been offering to marry us whenever we visited him and his family in the panhandle. Well, no he finally gets to do it!
Paying off vendors: We've been making payments to all of our vendors throughout this entire process. I know the fiance and I will both be breathing a sigh of relief when we've paid them all off.
Collecting pieces for the tables: My mom and I have been scouring yard sales and thrift stores for glass centerpieces and salt/pepper shakers. I'm loving the eclectic/gathered look for the table accessories.
Pricing: It might sound like a waste of time to some, but for the most part, the fiance & I have been making two trips (maybe more) to the store for items we are interested in purchasing for the wedding. We want to make sure we're getting exactly what we want, but also at a price we can afford. Our method: when we see something we like, we snap a picture of it with our cell phone cameras. We also make sure that to have the price tag somewhere in the picture so we don't have to rely on our memories for the cost of the item. Then, we come home and look at our budget and figure out when in our timeline we will be able to afford the items we want. This method might not work for everyone, but it's helped us stay on track in terms of our budget.
Confirming our wedding day transportation: One of Dan's groomsmen has a '56 Mustang which he is so generously allowing us to take home on our wedding night. However, we're struggling to figure out a way to get everyone to the venue along with all of our decorations so that everyone only has to make one trip.
Picking out a cake topper: This one might be a little silly, but I've been stressing over a simple cake topper. I don't want to have the traditional bride & groom that you can find at all of the craft stores. And I'm not big into the interwoven hearts or rings. Nor am I a big dove fan... I like the idea of having a scrolled "C" on the top of our cake, but Dan isn't a big fan. I've pretty much resolved to not have a traditional topper and just put some flowers on the top or something of that nature. However, while doing some searching on the Internet, I think we've found one we're both happy with from an etsy seller. I'll share what our final decision was when we make it. :)
WHAT WE HAVE LEFT TO DO
Purchase Dan's wedding band: Again, we have it picked out, we just need to go out and buy it.
Get my passport: Luckily, Dan already has a passport from a cruise that he and his family took about a year ago. Unfortunately, last time I traveled out of the country, I was underage, so all that was required was my birth certificate.
Design/purchase/mail our invitations: We're going to design our invitations online just like we did for our save-the-dates. We've got a design picked out, but we're waiting on our engagement shoot photos to come back so we can add them to our invitations.
Put together our bouquets & boutonnieres: Fake flowers. For some in the wedding business, those are fighting words. But, I've never understood spending a ton of money on flowers that will die in a few short days. Plus, I wanted to save my bouquet. So, fake/silk flowers seemed like the best solution for us. One of my bridesmaids took a couple floral designing classes back in high school and her former instructor has offered us to come to her shop and have a class on how to make our bouquets. I'm excited for this because it will give all of my bridesmaids time to get to know each other. But, we're struggling with finding a time to fit in every one's schedules.
Purchase all the dress accessories: I've been given jewelry from my grandmother as my "something borrowed and something old" to wear on my wedding day. But, I still need to purchase the undergarments for the dress as well as the shoes.
Figure out what the guys are wearing: We've been going back and forth over what Dan & his boys will be wearing on the wedding day. Should they all be wearing a tux? A suit? or something a little more casual?
Pricing the food: We've pretty much decided on where the food will be catered. However, we don't know the exact cost and how much we need to set aside to pay for all the food. So, we're planning on finding a day sometime this summer to go and sit down with the caterer and price it all out.
Experimenting with hair styles: Dan's hair will be easy: I'll shave his head about a week and a half before the wedding. However, I have no idea what I want to do with my hair. A woman who always does my aunt's and mom's hair will be doing my hair for the wedding. So, the plan is to take her a picture of me in the dress and let her play around until we find something that I like.
Figuring out rehearsal dinner details: Where? When? Who? What will be on the menu? Not stressing too much - we've got enough time for that one.
Purchasing all the little things: Candles, lighters, sand, vases, plates, napkins, silverware, cups, gifts for our helpers, and all that fun stuff.
So that's where we are at on the whole wedding front. Anyone else out there in the midst of planning a wedding? Have you been following the timelines or just sort of doing your own thing? Or maybe you recently celebrated your wedding - any advice you want to share?