Now, I'm not one to say that anything middling-to-good in life is directly attributable to divine providence. I don't rule that out in any situation, but I honestly don't think God turns my Bible pages using the wind to show me which verse to read, or that He showed me which wedding dress to buy. That being said, when I got engaged I was a Senior in college, an SBGA officer, Bible class teacher, working two part-time jobs, and struggling with bad health and lots of anxiety. Uhhhh.
Also, I should admit that while I'm plenty girly, I've never been the girl who planned my wedding colors or what kind of dress or location I wanted. Honestly, on February 1, the only thing I really had planned was who I wanted to stand up with me and that I wanted it to be air-conditioned. So we were starting from scratch.
My parents are incredibly kind and want to help make my wedding beautiful and special, but let's be honest, googling wedding budgets and seeing the general price for weddings in Florida is enough to make the hair on your arms stand up and make your stomach churn. $30,000? I don't think so. I went into the engagement thinking I'd need to make everything from the dress to the chairs to the cake to the paper for the invitations by hand (okay, that is an exaggeration. But I was a Debbie Downer.) Especially once I started looking at venues for big weddings and realized that many places required a full-meal for guests or a MINIMUM OF $7,000 FOR FOOD to book the venue. Yikes. More anxiety.
Sidenote: I should admit this was all in the first week. Which was when 80% of planning occurred. So maybe the reason we aren't stressed is because the first two weeks were nutso and incredibly productive.
Accompanying all of this was my surprisingly-opinionated William, who was determined that we would not have a Pinteresty-homemade wedding and wanted class-to-the-max. I was skeptical of the do-ability of that type of event.
While I said that I'm not sure where providential direction comes in, I will say that I believe God helped with all of this—at least realizing that I would break emotionally without some provision or answers to the wedding concerns. William and I tirelessly looked through and called wedding venues, Mom listened to all my picky comments and worries. We found a place we loved and when the owner heard our financial concerns she helped us find the perfect middle-ground so we could have the perfect location. We found my wedding dress at the first place we looked and it was perfect. I found 20$ bridesmaid dresses on clearance at Macy's (giving away my deepest secrets here), bought my shoes from China for very cheap, the boys found suits for ridiculously cheap thanks to my sale-savvy Mom-in-law, and got ties from *cough*Kmart*cough*. And this was all in week 1.
Did the bridesmaid dresses choose the color scheme? Yes. Did we decide to go minimalist on decorations? Yes. But so far it was still February and things were going swimmingly.
Since then I have done some DIY projects to save money: like floral crowns for the flower girls (which we aren't ending up using because of the elegant v. rustic conundrum—Helloooo Etsy shop.) , the bridesmaids sashes, book-page cut outs for the flower girls to drop instead of flower petals, and we are designing and making all our program fans, etc. However, it's been remarkable how a little coupon-usage, a lot of sweet-talking, and patience in shopping can literally and figuratively pay off. We have wonderful flowers (check out Beautiful Floral Designs for your flower needs--we used them for banquet and now they're being absolutely fabulous to design our wedding florals), a great videographer (Samuel Ward), and great photographers (Wick Photography) plus the perfect wedding party and lots of yummy cake flavors. Somehow Williams anti-DIY ideas and my budget concerns and pickiness are all coming together to make what I think will be a pretty wonderful, fun, elegant day.
So, we made it through all the school stress, SBGA planning, and vision confusion and came out with a beautiful picture of our day — thanks to lots of hugs, inspiration catalogues, a patient William, encouraging Mom, and lots of excitement and love.
Our wedding will be a simple, classy blend of navy, pink, gold, mirrors, history, tears, sprinkles, the Piano Guys music, and loved ones.
A few pictures of the process:
William loved helping me dress shop for the bridesmaids.
Embroidered these to ask my girls with scraps of fabric Mom had. Total cost: 5$+lots of hours.
Cannot wait to have these girls all together for a couple of days!
The flower crown test shot. It's beautiful but too rustic for our day. Etsy shop, here it comes.
Front of our invitations. Michaels is awesome.
Left: shoes from China for the ceremony.
Right: birthday present shoes for my going-away.
Color scheme! (More blush, less hot pink, plus gold).
Found these at a closing Sweetbay; CLEARANCE. This is what people are going to throw as we leave. So fun and colorful!
Yes, cake is the most expensive thing ever. Word to the wise: get a small formal cake and then sheet cakes to supplement it. No one will know. Unless you blog about it.
The venue for the big day! Everyone has been so kind and helpful, I'm happy to publicize for this up-and-coming historic venue!
Perfecting my wedding font.
Last walkthrough before the big day! Thanks, James from The Vault!
Left on the agenda: find a stage, sound equipment, write on mirrors, get wedding license, find people to man our camera in the photo booth. (Any volunteers? We'll have shifts!)
I feel pretty good and blessed about everything. Weddings are fun. And no, we don't have a wedding planner. Yes, I have an OCD notebook, a WeddingWire budget tool, and a wonderful director for the day-of. (Ms. Jean Crispell, everybody! Your go-to for wedding etiquette and to-do lists!) I also have a Mom who is willing to run errands, call tons of people, and trust me with her credit card sometimes. She's been superwoman with all of this, which is why I'm not stressed out.
Oh, and I want to be a wedding planner/DIY queen now. So if you need either, call me. :)