The DC Ladies Recap: The Long and Short of Wedding Planning

The other day Kellie dished out some guidelines for where to start in the overwhelming world of wedding planning. What we didn't mention was how the length of your engagement may affect how you approach your planning. Luckily, Margo has this topic covered. We have Margo's recap below; the full article is here. Margo is the owner of The Bright Occassions, a local boutique wedding planning company.

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Long Engagements

  • Enjoy being engaged, but stay away from wedding magazines or blogs!
  • Budget and save.
  • Set a general wedding date and planning start date.
  • Do not ask your bridal party before you start planning.
  • Use your time wisely.
  • DIY projects.

When couples first get engaged, they are often bombarded with questions from family and friends.  One of the advantages of a longer engagement is that you can take your time before answering all of their questions.  If you know your engagement length will be well over a year, avoid jumping into planning, reading wedding magazines or browsing blogs/Pinterest for ideas.  Take a few months to enjoy being an engaged couple before you start to overwhelm yourself with all of the options and planning.

Short Engagements

  • Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner.
  • Start with the Who, Where, When, and How.
  • Know what you need to do first, enlist help.
  • Discard the unnecessary.
  • Limit your options, and move on once a decision is made.
  • Consider the untraditional.

If you are planning a wedding in 6 months or less, there will be a lot of decisions to make and not a ton of time.  Having a Wedding Planner can help in a lot of ways!  Perhaps the biggest way, is that as a professional they are not planning a wedding for the first time, they can move quickly providing the appropriate venue and vendor options that are available your date and budget.  In addition, they can help manage your time, provide design solutions, as well as contact and negotiate with vendors on your behalf.

Getting Started with Wedding Planning

Getting Started with Wedding Planning – via Ellie's Bridal Blog

Getting Started with Wedding Planning – via Ellie's Bridal Blog

Congratulations, you are engaged!! Now that you have finally arrived to this point in your life, what should you do? As a bride-to-be herself, our very own Kellie will share her wedding planning insight that she has gained through both planning her own wedding and experience working in the bridal industry.

Personally, I find WeddingWire to be very helpful. Who knew you no longer have to go to a million sites? You can find a lot on one place! See image on the right for what you can utilize for your wedding planning alone. In case the WeddingWire/all-in-one-place approach isn't for you, here is a list of 10 Wedding Websites that Every Bride Needs. No matter what resources you use, you should certainly kick off your planning by thinking about these points:

#1 Plan your budget.

Understand your limitations and prioritize. If there is something you really want, talk to the vendors for ideas and suggestions to get something similar that is closer to the price you are looking to stay at. This requires you to be flexible and open to suggestions.

#2 Get inspiration

Figure out what kind of wedding you want. How do you want it to look, what vendors are in the area you want to get married, and where you want to get married. With Pinterest, bridal magazines, and a plethora of wedding blogs at your fingertips, you will never feel short of wedding inspiration. If you own an iPad, The DC Ladies have a fabulous post on how to integrate your ipad/tablet into all your wedding planning needs.

#3 Find a venue that you LOVE

This will determine how many guests can fit and afford. The guest list can build up very quickly. Knowing how much the venue charges per person, you can place a reasonable estimate on how many guests you can invite. If having 200 people is very important to you, you can look at venues that can accommodate the amount of guests and be within the budget you can afford. Check out Venues on Wedding Wire or The Knot to help you see what is in the area and start making appointments.

#4 Request Quotes

Don't be afraid to start requesting quotes from vendors you are interested in. Take the time to learn everything you can. You want to make sure they have what you are looking for.

#5 Put together your online website

It's a great way to give detailed information that cannot fit in the invitations. You can share how you met, the proposal, who's in the wedding, fun activities in the area.

#6 Plan pre-wedding events

Personally, I have been to many weddings. Sometimes you do not know anyone but the couple and a few friends. When planning a wedding, take advantage that people are coming into town to be with you. Plan fun events before the wedding so your guests can make new friends and have time with you. The day of the ceremony is crazy and have limited time to spend with everyone. Events leading up to the big day will help you really spend quality time with everyone.

#7 Create down-time

Plan to have time for last minute details and to get away from the craziness. You want to enjoy everything because it goes by fast. Make sure you take the time to de-stress and relax. You'll need time to get yourself all together. So don't forget to plan time for yourself the week of the wedding.

#8 Expect the unexpected

Realize that something may pop up that you were not expecting. Tell yourself, it's your wedding and you are going to enjoy everything no matter what happens.

#9 Research the value of a Wedding Planner

Every engaged couple should at least think about hiring a Wedding Planner, in which case you should read this so you know a little more about what a wedding planner actually does. Great wedding planners are known to work with your budget, and ultimately help you spend less rather than spending more. If you know you want to plan your wedding completely on your own, you may still want to hire a planner for day-of coordination.  You may not realize the full value of one until you learn about the near-disasters that you didn't have to deal with only after the wedding.

If you have any other tips or advice that helped with your wedding planning, please help share those [not so] secret tips. You can also follow our Wedding Planning Tips Pinterest board and view our collection of the most helpful pictures and posts we could find.

Wedding with a Twist

At Ellie's Bridal Boutique, we are so excited to hear the stories of our Brides and what they plan to do for their wedding. Our Bride Carmen had such great ideas to make their wedding fun with a new twist. We can't reveal the full details until after her big day (10/11/12 -- it's coming up!!) but we wanted to share a couple fun videos of weddings with a twist. Check out JK Wedding Entrance Dance. It takes traditional to modern.

The JK wedding inspired this spoof of Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

To help get the party started one bride, featured on The Becker Blog, gave out masquerade masks for guests to wear during the party celebration.

Help get the party started by handing out masquerade masks for guests to wear during the party celebration. #Reception #EscortCards

How did you make your wedding fun and different?

For Your Wedding Day, Stay on Campus

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Still looking for the perfect venue? Have you considered a nearby University or college? Or even the one you graduated from? Using your Alma Mater as your venue can add a personal touch and can save you some money as well!

For Example, the University of Maryland, College Park, offers many spaces for both the ceremony and reception. Their most popular area to hold a ceremony is The Memorial Chapel. The Memorial Chapel has two spaces available for rent, The Main Chapel which is larger to accommodate a bigger guest list and The West Chapel for a more intimate setting with a smaller guest list.

The Chapel gives HUGE discounts to couples affiliated with the college or military couples! Although anyone in the general public can get married there no matter what your religious affiliation!

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Green couples everywhere, find a college in your area that is doing their part to help the planet and book them for your totally Green wedding day!

Beyond the ceremony, most Universities and colleges have gorgeous spaces available for the reception!

At the University of Maryland the Adele H. Stamp Student Union has several rooms available, one being the Grand Ballroom which as a Beauty and the Beast-esque feel to it with it's high ceilings, chandeliers and wood floors.

A few more perks of having your wedding on campus are:

- Parking services

- Shuttle buses

- Guest Accommodation

Many college campuses will offer valet services when you book an event with them and big, public universities usually have shuttle buses going all over the place. In the summer most of the dorm rooms sit empty and unused so if you need to provide accommodations for your guests, you might want to consider having your wedding on campus.

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Where will yours be?