Where do we start? That is a question many couples have asked themselves just after the celebration of the big proposal has settled down. Such an overwhelming thought, isn’t it? It doesn’t help that mere minutes after he asks and she says yes, all of your closest friends and family are asking “When? Where? Are we invited?!” Whew! Well before I give you some advice on where to begin, I should tell you a bit about me.
I have lived in Greenville for nearly four years while my fiancé, Bharat has lived here for almost twenty. We began our relationship here in Greenville but since August of 2013 we’ve been living a couple hours apart while Bharat pursues his MBA in Atlanta. Distance: Just what you need to make wedding planning a bit more complicated! Also, Bharat is Indian so naturally he wants to have a traditional Indian wedding. This means we are planning not one but TWO weddings. As soon as we knew we wanted to get married we knew it was going to be a lot of work!
So where did we start? Priorities. Because I’ve worked in the wedding industry since I’ve known Bharat, discussing the things we’d want at our own wedding tended to come up naturally in conversation. Seeing weddings nearly every week has helped me to see what I would and would not want. I’ve also roped Bharat into working with our companies so he too has gotten to see his fill of weddings. In these initial conversations we realized quickly that we had very different priorities. I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. Bharat, on the other hand, took awhile to warm up to that concept.
Once we came to an agreement to have our wedding ceremonies and receptions on two separate days for the sake of everyone involved, we could begin to figure out the next move. Some people have their hearts set on a venue while others have their heart set on a date. For us, it was a combination of both. Believe it or not, the Old Cigar Warehouse was not a given for us. Bharat was very concerned that I would work on our wedding day if we chose the venue where I work. After I convinced him that having Jennifer (our amazing day-of coordinator) there would keep me from working, we decided to move forward with looking at dates. We secured a date at the Old Cigar Warehouse and quickly began looking for another venue large enough to host the Indian ceremony and luncheon.
With that in place we discussed our top priorities. They varied a bit but luckily for us, they still aligned well. We did what I tell all of our brides to do. Think of the vendors who can only accommodate one wedding in a day. Those are the services to secure first. For example, many catering and cake companies can accommodate six weddings in one day whereas other vendors like a photographer or musician can only be in one place at a time. Photography is important to us and because we wanted to use the same photographer for both days we knew this would be the first vendor we’d need to secure.
From there, if things don’t fall into place naturally, remember to go back to your top priorities. These are the areas in which you’ll be less likely to want to compromise therefore they should also be the areas in which you’ll need to be prepared to focus your budget. If you’re having trouble pinpointing what your top priorities are, ask yourself this: “In 20 years, what aspect of our wedding will we remember most?” Having a realistic budget in place is extremely important and not something you should be afraid to talk about. You want to know from the beginning that your budget is in line with BOTH of your priorities. That is a whole other blog post on its own though.
Talking about and learning what is most important to your fiancé is incredibly helpful to the planning process. Don’t be alarmed if their priorities differ from yours. That is very common among the couples I’ve worked with as well as with Bharat and I. Planning a wedding is excellent practice for married life because it will consist of a lot of compromise, stress, budgeting and fun! The day (or days) itself will go by in the blink of an eye so try not to spend too much stressing over the little details and remember to enjoy the process.