June 8, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Laying the Foundation

Wedding Wednesdays is a series where I recap all parts of planning my April 2011 wedding.

Last week I recapped our proposal. I spent the weeks following in newly-engaged bliss, buying magazines, joining TheKnot and adding wedding blogs to my reader.

One big hurdle I faced planning our wedding is the fact that Memphis is 6 hours away from my hometown, where our wedding would be. I worried about this at first--How could I possibly get it all done??--but looking back, I think this may have been a blessing. It forced me to make a decision and stick with it. It also helped me decide what was important to me in terms of the wedding and what wasn't that big of a deal.

I wasn't the first of my friends to get married. By the time our engagement rolled around, I had a general idea of what I wanted from our wedding. I saw my friends stress over the tiniest things--the exact flowers, bridesmaids gifts, who their future mother-in-law invited--and who made it seem like planning a wedding was one of the worst, most stressful experiences of their lives. I had stressful times--more about that later--but for the most part, I really enjoyed planning our wedding.

Since my friends started getting married, I've told my parents the three things I wanted for my wedding:

1) pretty dress
2)pretty pictures
3) a fantastic party with all my friends

I'm happy to say I managed to have all 3, plus stuff I wasn't expecting. I believe it is because I decided early on what I wanted and didn't waver from my choices.

My parents gave me a budget a month or so after the engagement. In the end, I went slightly over(more on that later), but it gave me boundaries for my planning. With a budget set, J and I took a few days off work before Easter weekend and went home to spend the holiday with my family and start planning our wedding!

I had a date in mind when we went down there. I knew I wanted a Spring wedding because of the color palette I had in mind. I didn't want it to be too early, but I also didn't want it to be smack in the middle of "wedding season". We settled on April 16,2011!

I knew that the ceremony would be at the church I grew up going to. It was renovated a few years ago and looks fantastic:
I snapped these pictures after the Easter service that weekend. My dad handled securing the church for us.

We looked at two potential reception venues. One was a gorgeous farm with a view of the mountains, but it was also 1/3 of our budget. The other was the reception hall at the local country club. My family has been members my whole life and I've been to numerous receptions there. We ultimately decided on the club. While I wouldn't get the outdoor, southern garden wedding I pictured from all the blog posts I'd read, I would get a great reception within my budget! It was $500 to secure the hall and in the end, that $500 went towards our final bill. They provided tables, chairs, basic white table cloths, the food and the staff, plus a coordinator(who was amazing). It was a great deal.

We also met with two photographers I had researched before hand, William Massey Photography and another local pair. I knew I wanted a mix of the popular candid/journalistic style photos and traditional, posed portraits. Both photographers do great work, but in the end we went with William Massey Photography and we are beyond thrilled with our pictures(more on those later). I wanted to book the photographer early because pictures were one of my "Big 3" important items.

We squeezed all of that into one day of planning! It was exhausting, but we did it. We knew our visits to Georgia(especially together) would be few during our engagement. We had to make the most out of each visit. By the end of the weekend, we had decided on a budget, date, church, reception venue and photographer, essentially laying the foundation for our wedding!

Next week: Picking the bridal party and other wedding party roles. Please let me know if there is anything you would like to hear about!


Ally Garner said...

I gotta say, any time when we emailed back and forth about planning both our weddings i always thought you really had it together. This post confirms that. Smart decision to identify what was most important to you and focus on capturing those goals. it paid off! Great advice for planning Brides.

Your church's sanctuary is beautiful btw! I bet it was a gorgeous ceremony :)

Looking forward to next week's entry!

Nicole said...

Excellent date choice! ;) Can't wait to hear the rest! (I'm shortgrass on The Knot, just in case you forgot. hehe)