Engagement, Stage One


Before a week ago, Jordan and I only talked about getting married on short occasions. When we did, it was all hypothetical. "If, at some time in the future, we end up having some sort of event where you're wearing a white dress, and people come just to see us..." That sort of thing.

As such, once we got engaged, we had no plans whatsoever regarding a wedding, a date, a guest list, or anything else. The only thing we'd decided long ago was that I want dancing and he doesn't. Not so much the best place to start (for him, at least, because I'm the bride, so I do what I want).

So where do you start? Everyone is going to have a different opinion, and I knew the questions would start immediately upon breaking the news (which is most of the reason why I waited a few days before announcing my engagement to everyone I know).

"When's the Big Day?" (For some reason people like to capitalize Big Day.)
"How many bridesmaids are you having?"
"Where is the wedding going to be?"
"How many people are you inviting?"

"Are you having a reception?"
"When are you going dress shopping?"
"What are your colors?"

AHHHHHH! That's what I was thinking.

It's been eleven days since The Moment (see what I did there?), and I have decided to stop freaking out. Yes, there is a lot to do. Yes, there are a lot of details. Yes, it is a huge event. And no, it does not have to completely stress me out. 

There are, however, two main decisions that need to be discussed and decided upon, especially if you want a rather quick engagement period. 

Step 1: Pick a date 

This narrowed down rather easily for us. Anything before May was too early. June felt too cliche. July and August are too hot. September wasn't the best for a few of my friends who are teachers and my dad, who is training for a 500-mile bike trip. Anything after October was too long of an engagement, according to Jordan. So that left October or May. The more we thought about it (as much as you can think about it over a three-day period), the more I realized that Jordan was right. A long engagement wasn't necessary for us. So May it was. 

We looked at weekends in May, and it almost instantly narrowed down to either May 7 or May 14. I asked a few of my closest friends (the girls I wanted to be bridesmaids), and May 7 was ruled out for one of them for sure. That, coupled with my brother's finals week and a few other small things, left May 14. 

Now at least we had something to tell people.  

Step 2: Decide on a location 

Oklahoma? Texas? Illinois? These were the possible states where it might have made sense to get married. But after talking with Jordan, we decided that Oklahoma was the best place that fit us. We met here. We have mutual friends here. We go to church and work and live here. Done.

At this point, I could (and did) start getting freaked out by the multitude of options. Colors. Dresses. Flowers. Photographers. Cakes. 

Pick. One. Now. 

Forget that. I have time, and everything is going to be perfect. And now that we've answered the two big questions, I am firmly settling into stage one. I'm calling it The Gathering Stage.  

This stage involves organization, research, and absolutely no decisions. Right now, it's all about ideas and considering your many, many options.

Basically it looks like this*:

And this*:

*Binder, pens, colored tabs, and bridal magazines courtesy of two of my best friends (and bridesmaids), who knew I probably wouldn't actually buy a bridal magazine or binder for myself.

Note: I'm not exactly sure what the next stage is. I'll make up a name for it when I get there.
LauraKatie said...

Congratulations Amanda!!!

Lauren said...

I'm sort of a wedding planner on the side so I've been through this a few times & have some advice to offer...

#1) It's ok to say "we haven't decided yet" with a smile. People ask b/c it's their way of showing support. You don't have anyone you need to answer to but yourself.

#2) Pick you battles. It's natural that your mom or his mom or someone else will thing you *need* to do things a certain way. Stay true to how you picture your day, & concede on the issues that won't really matter either way.

#3) Don't sweat the small stuff. Chances are people won't remember a thing about your table. They might remember favors, but not likely. No one will see what ribbon your bouquet was wrapped in. If the tiny little details start to stress you it's not worth it, simple is always chic.

Happy planning! And congratS