If somebody told me when Jared and I met, that three years down the road I would be preparing myself for graduation and planning our wedding all at the same time, I would have never believed them. But something I have learned through this journey is that life never goes as planned, and I couldn’t be more happy about that! Originally, my advisor didn’t want me to pursue graduating in four years since I was behind from transferring, but that was a goal I was determined to make. After long semesters of 18 credits worth of criteria, I persevered and was informed that I could graduate after only four years of school. Getting closer to the end of my journey, Jared and I were getting more and more impatient about marrying each other. We knew we wanted to be together forever and had dreams of buying a house, owning a farm, and having many kids together. We didn’t want to waste anymore time. I set restrictions on our relationship saying that he had to wait until I graduated to propose because I didn’t want to get caught up in getting married and letting my dream of graduating in four years slip from under me. His original plan was the ask me the day of my graduation to marry him, but like I mentioned above, life never goes as planned and he asked me to be his forever at the start of my last semester of college. Which meant that I had to finish off school, and get to plan a wedding all at the same time, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Do Your Research
If you’re newly engaged than the first thing you need to figure out is what your ideal wedding looks like. I created Pinterest Boards, took quizzes about what theme fits my style, and started shopping. The best thing you can do for yourself is find a wedding planning website that fits your needs and sign up immediately. I use TheKnot to organize everything into one platform and used the search engine to find my venue and photographer. It can also assists you with setting a budget and tips on how to stick to it. Which leads me to my next point, set a budget and figure out what is realistic for your dream wedding, and what belongs in your fantasy. I am not a millionaire (sadly) so i can’t afford everything I would ever want and that’s okay! Doing my research first is what has helped me narrow down what I want and need for my wedding later on in the planning process. Trust me, it can get overwhelming, but as long as you are aware of the costs then it will relieve some of that pressure.
Something that I have found that has helped me through the planning process is to get the major details checked off my list early. I was fortunate enough that I could start planning for our big day during school breaks like our winter break, so I had basically a month to dedicate my time to wedding planning while no school work was required. Setting a date is the most crucial part, so if you plan on getting married within a year of your engagement, than it is never too early to set a date. Once you find a venue you love, pick a date and stick to it. Once you have the date you can order your save-the-dates and get those out whenever you’re ready. Starting early will also help you get the date you want, if you have a specific time in mind, because trust me, you’re not the only one who is engaged and you’re most likely not the only one who wants that specific time period. So the earlier you start, the less likely you’ll have to settle or wait another year to get married.
Get the Big Finances Out of the Way
Okay, I don’t mean blow all of your life savings or spend your entire budget upfront, but start booking the ‘big picture’ things. The good thing about weddings is that you make everything in payments! So as long as you have enough for a down payment, than you’re booked and they save your wedding date and you don’t have to worry about it until the next payment is due. So start scheduling appointments to view the venues and get it booked! Once you have the venue I would focus on finding the band or DJ you prefer, the florist, caterer if your venue doesn’t require you use them for food, who’s making your cake, and most importantly, your dress. If you get those big finances out of the way early, you’ll set yourself up for a less stressful ride.
Step Away from Planning When Necessary
Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting times of your life, but it can also be the most stressful. Thanks to my winter and spring break and some reading days, I really had time to focus on wedding planning outside of school work. But if you’re like me and life is happening all at once, you need to be able to separate the two. I had an online class on Excel worth one credit that was work at your own pace. I had to learn how to operate all the function in each chapter, show up for an exam that you had one chance to pass, and get an 80 to receive the credit. It was essentially the one class that could hold me back from graduating. When it came close to exam time I realized I couldn’t focus on any wedding planning because my time belonged to studying. Which is perfectly fine! It is okay to step back and put planning on hold for awhile. Don’t worry, you’ll still get everything done in time for your big day! I kindly told my family members that I couldn’t answer any wedding questions until my exam was over. That meant no texting about decorations, taking a break from Pinterest, and no emails. Taking a break from planning can also be good for you when it’s something you have been focussing on for months at a time.
Don’t be Scared to Ask for Help
Planning a wedding is no joke, and it will be one of the biggest events you will ever plan. I mean, being a wedding planner is a real job with people out there getting paid everyday to direct it all. But if you want to save money by skipping the wedding planner, you’ll still need to ask for help every once in awhile. My mom, future mother-in-law, and sister have been a tremendous help to me. If I am busy with classes or studying, there is nothing wrong with texting one of them and asking if they can contact so and so, or email this person, or research the price of this or that. Planning a wedding is definitely a full time job, and it’s smart to divide that time between the people who will share that special day with you. It’s important that you ASK for help, not TELL your friends or family what to do. No one is going to want to help you if they see you are becoming a bridezilla and not appreciating their assistance. Lastly, if you have a vision of something you want, tell those who are helping you plan. They aren’t going to know your exact idea if you don’t communicate with them and then you both can get lost from your dream wedding.
Don’t Forget to be in the Moment
Once the dress fittings begin, the save the dates go out, and the decorations start to accumulate, you can’t forget to pay attention to the life you’re living at this very moment and to stop thinking about the future ten months from now. I’m still in school and I have plenty of friends who aren’t on the path of marriage yet. I have to remind myself that it is okay to just be a college student who just wants to drinking $5 margaritas. It’s okay to put off planning and daydreaming if it means spending time with your friends, because you have to remember that they are also starting their new lives and everyone will go their separate ways in the end. I had engagement photos one day and cap and gown photos the next. You can’t forget that you wont get these moments back and everyday of your life is just as important as the day you marry your soul mate.
These tips really only apply to you if you’re one, getting married while in school, and two, you’re planning your own wedding rather than opting for a professional planner. Either way, I hope these tips are helpful when it comes to you planning your own big day!