Blushing Belle: Engagement & Wedding Planning Survival Guide

(opusproductions)

CONGRATULATIONS! You found the one. You found the fanciest redneck, the sexiest southern bell, the classiest southern gentleman, a courageous cowboy or a cute cowgirl, no matter who you found, you found the one and that is spectacular that you two want to spend the rest of your lives together. Are you ready for the massive amount of questions, responsibility, crushing long hours, and ton of planning? WELL READY OR NOT, HERE IT ALL COMES! Being engaged is such an odd combination of bliss and indigestion. There are so many things that go into wedding planning. The internet and your family can prepare you the best they can, however, most of the time a wedding's details depend solely on the people planning it. Here are some tips, tricks and notes to survive the engagement and wedding planning.

Questions

You will be asked the same set of questions at least 36 times--and that's just within your first week of getting engaged. Here are some possible questions you may be asked:
-How did he propose?
-When's the wedding?
-Are you sure you're ready?
-Who's paying for the wedding?
-Who's your maid of honor?
-Who's the best man?
-When's the wedding?
-How many bridesmaids will you have?
-How many groomsmen will you have?
-Where are you going to go on your honeymoon? 
-Hold on, you're waiting how long to get married?
-When's the wedding?
-Are you pregnant?
-How long have you guys been together?
-Do you know what kind of dress you're going to want?
-What are your colors?
-How many people are you going to invite?
-SERIOUSLY, WHEN IS THE WEDDING?
I'm sure there are few really golden ones that I missed, but these are basically the questions everyone wants answers to immediately if not sooner.

(wimmersdiamonds)

1. Don't Panic.

If seeing that list of questions overwhelmed you, oh honeybunchesofoats are you in for a ride. Don't panic. At the end of the day your wedding is exactly that---YOUR WEDDING. This is a special day about you and your special someone. You'll be able to figure it out. You have a ton of people willing to help you--family members, friends, a wedding planner, or even simply the internet. You have time. You have options. Take a breath.

2. It's Okay To Dream.

A lot of people have a "dream wedding" in mind whether it's this big fairy tale event that they have had a Pinterest board for since they were eight years old, or even simply just a couple of details that they have forever had their hearts set on. It is totally okay to have these dreams and goals and ideas. It is up to you to make them a reality. Sometimes, dreams don't work out--but that's okay! You do whatever you can to keep this wedding a dream of yours. Make compromises when you can, and fight for whatever it is that you need.

3. Making Sacrifices Is Part Of The Experience.

Remember how I just went over how you should fight for what you need? Well, you should also kind of know when to pick your battles. More often than not, you're going to have a final say in what happens at your wedding--especially if you are financing the whole shindig. However, there are those instances where some people that are contributing to the wedding, or are important to you, or are actual professionals with experience with this kind of thing, that will trample all over your dreams, ask for something that you think is ridiculous at the time, or will spend every waking moment of their lives making sure that something happens or doesn't happen at your wedding simply because it's something they want. Whether it's a mother-in-law that absolutely has to have lobster there, the maid of honor that hasn't looked good in purple since freshman year and refuses to wear that color dress, or even the wedding planner looks you dead in the eye and tells you, "You absolutely cannot have a breadstick fountain...how...how would that even work?" It happens. Everyone is going to want their own piece of this wedding cake (haha see what I did there?) and sometimes you're going to have to make compromises and sacrifices that you may not like. For example, if the parents' are paying for the wedding and they want to invite Aunt Helen and her smelly brat children, you might have to suck it up and let the kids and their weird stench come to the wedding. When you do make these "sacrifices" you have to remember something: this is your night that you get to share with people that you hold the closest to you. And at the end of the day...

4. Wedding Guests Only Remember The Food, The Booze, And The Music

Seriously, no one is going to remember the wedding favors, what kind of flowers were at every table, or the giant flower wall that took you three months to make because you saw it on a Buzzfeed list and absolutely had to make it because you wanted a DIY wedding. Details like these should absolutely be important to you, but don't sweat the small stuff if you don't have to.
(weddingshoppeinc)

5. Write Everything Down.

Whether you are a note taker that needs a spiral bound notebook, an Excel sheet or a word document, figure out a system that works for you that allows you to keep track of all of your wedding planning. This will actually make your life much easier, believe it or not. If you have a detailed record of your planning, it will save you a lot of time in hassle in the long run. Keep track of it all so that you can refer back to it. Need to contact the venue because you have a guest list change? Boom you have the person's contact information on your Excel sheet. Wondering where in the world your bridesmaids' dresses are that you ordered? Check the tracking number you had saved in your word document. Keep track. Keep every single receipt. It's better to have it all then have nothing.

6. Make A Timeline.

No matter if you are getting married six months, a year or two years from the engagement, you should make and keep track of a timeline for your wedding planning. This way you can see when you need to have tasks done.
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6. There's An Infographic For It.

I love the internet. It's a beautiful (and sometimes horrible) place that is full of wedding help. It's a lot to slog through bridal magazines and wedding blogs--so sometimes browsing Pinterest and finding infographics with tons of really great information is a lot easier. They are also super helpful when you are showing it to a person that is involved in the wedding planning, but isn't very detail oriented. Look, sometimes grooms aren't exactly gun-ho about wedding planning--but looking at a fun picture can be informative and easy to look at!
(buzzfeed)
(bridestory)
(berries)

7. Budget!

Weddings cost a crap ton of money. There are so many things at play when it comes to having a wedding. Did you know that 23% of wedding budgets go to just flowers? Well that's a made up statistic, but it sounds pretty accurate right? That's because people blow a ton of real, factual money on flowers that will be dead halfway through the reception. Come up with 3 budgets:
1. The Dream Budget--which isn't a budget at all. Come up with all of the things, number of people, and details that you want your dream wedding to have.
2. The Scale Down--this is your first budget. Now that you have a reality to face of what money you actually have to work with, see how you want to cut your budget up. Are flowers absolutely not important to you, but you still think you might want your bridesmaids to hold something (although I am definitely a supporter in bridesmaids holding puppies instead of flowers)? Contribute 2% of your budget to flowers, while you know that the food will be super important to you and your family and will get 45% of the budget.
(bridalmusings)

8. Your Gift Registry Shouldn't Be Treated Like A Christmas List.

That sounded much harsher than I wanted it to, but I hope you get what I'm trying to get at. The idea of people getting you tons of super cool stuff is an amazing one, however you really have to be realistic about what you need and what you want. A lot of power will rush to your head when you're at Target or Nordstrom and you're holding that price gun to scan all of the super cool things in the store to go on your registry! Both of you should sit down and figure out what you want, what you need, and what people can afford to get you. Also, register somewhere that you actually shop or can benefit from! Amazon is great because the registry comes with deals (for example, if you put a Keurig coffee maker on there and someone buys it, Amazon will throw in a month's worth of coffee for the Keurig). For those reading this that know someone with a registry that may be out of your "price range," check to see if you can get the same product somewhere else. (Have those obnoxious Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons? Utilize those!).
(popsugar)

9. You Have A Million And Eight Food Options--Be Realistic.

Your venue may have catering options for you (example: the venue can charge you $94.00 per person, but that will include a full buffet of food, appetizers, cake, bar, etc.), your friends may know a guy, you can also take on the giant task of making your own food. Whatever you choose make sure that the food is good, in budget, and that you can handle it.

10. Relationship First. Wedding Second.

If people put a fraction of the time, effort, Pinterest boarding, agony, blood, sweat and tears that they do into the relationship as they do wedding planning then most marriages nowadays probably wouldn't end in divorce. Getting married and having a wedding is so splendid, fun, crazy and spectacular. The details that go into it are so important, and the day itself will be in your hearts for forever--but make sure that after that fairy tale day is over, that prince and princess charming can continue to live happily ever after. Take silly relationship quizzes and learn your love languages, try to find out something new about one another every day up until the wedding. Pick a new hobby to learn together--start a new TV show every few months. Keep the relationship strong.

Blushing Belle: The Proposal

This is not about the romantic comedy starring the forever extremely handsome Ryan Reynolds. This is about the big question between two very special people: "Will you marry me?" or any variation you find yourself attracted to. Here's a guide for cowboys and cowgirls as to how to pop that perfect question.

Do's and Don'ts:

DO

Make it special. This is an important and romantic moment, but it's also a major life decision for the both of you.

DON'T

Don't rush into things or drag your feet. As mentioned previously, this is a big decision for the both of you to make. Are you ready for this commitment? Is this something long overdue? What have you been waiting for? What else do you need? What else does he/she need? When the moment is right, you'll know. Now, no one can really tell you when it's a good time to get engaged no matter what the old grumps or fairy tales say. Some people consider the best time to get engaged is after being with a person for a few years, settled into a nice house with a white picket fence and a career that brings in at least $65,000 a year. However, others (myself included shamelessly) sometimes it's just about how two people feel about each other. I know how lame and cliche that may sound, but at the end of the day you click with one person. You come close to that click with some people, but there's really only one person that you really, fully click with. People are like puzzles. All of the little jigsaw pieces come together to form something greater. Those pieces are memories, experiences, and other people ranging from family, friends, lovers and foes, but there's only one person, that missing piece, that brings the whole picture together to complete you.  

DO

Get some ideas. Go on Pinterest. Ask your engaged friends. Ask your prospective fiancé's friends or family. This will help generate your perfect plan. 

DON'T

Don't ask empty handed. I know this sounds incredibly "douche-y" but according to several surveys, all of the wedding sites, and many pissed off, passive-aggressive brides asking without the ring can seem like you're unprepared or didn't put as much time and effort into the moment as you could have. If you couldn't afford a ring, this may be a factor you should consider when it comes to the engagement idea. Now, let's say you can't present her with a ring. Check your other options. Can you present her with something else like a necklace, promise ring, Boot Bling, etc? 

DO

Go big or go home. This could mean many things. This could mean making the engagement an all out event, or going big on the nostalgia factor. Either way, make sure that this moment is one of the biggest for the both of you next to the actual wedding and perhaps your children. 

DON'T

People are going to be super stoked for you and shower you with praise, congratulations, advice and perhaps even actual gifts--which is never a bad thing. However, there are going to be THOSE people that are going to be less than thrilled that you've popped the question or said yes to the question. These people can vary from relatives that don't think you're ready for marriage or your jilted best friend that never got around to telling you how he feels about you. No matter who that person is, don't let him/her ruin this for you. Be happy. (Unless someone tells you, like, "Hey, your fiancé is a serial killer. Like, legit, bodies in his basement." Then consider going about this with caution.)

DO

Traditions. There are some traditions to this engagement game that still may be considered important to a lot of people. Think about these traditions and which you are willing to do. The most popular one is the groom asking the bride's father for "permission" before popping the question. Now, personally, I think this is a cute idea because it's shows that you want the girl bad enough that you'll do anything for her, even if that is tackling the obstacle of asking her scary father if it's okay to take her hand. It also kind of sets the guy up for failure though, because sometimes it's hard talking to a girl's dad. No matter what though, it's a respect thing. Ask the dad, at least 7 times out of 10 he won't kill you.

DON'T

When it comes to celebrating the engagement, don't feel pressured by family or even your own eagerness to show off and celebrate to have the engagement party the weekend after you get engaged. Can you? ABSOLUTELY, YOU DO YOU, IT'S YOUR ENGAGEMENT! However, "studies" (and I say that to legitimize my internet blog post, but I really mean from the many stories I have read on The Knot, Pinterest, Facebook and several real life lady sources) show that waiting to have the engagement party any time between 1-3 months after getting engaged is best. This allows you time to do a lot: just simply enjoy being engaged, plan out some details (because people are going to ask you A LOT of questions you don't have the answers to at the party), who's going to make the guest list for the actual wedding (kind of bad form to invite someone to an engagement party, but not the actual wedding), what kind of engagement party you want to have, set up a registry, etc. 

FACTORS TO CONSIDER:

Here are some things you may want to consider when it comes to how you want to go about getting engaged.

1. What kind of engagement do you want? (several ideas are listed below)

2. How much money do you want to spend on the engagement?

3. Who do you want to involve in the engagement? (Will it be a big family affair? Do you need an audience? Do you need the employees of your location to help you out? Do you need a confidant like the sister of the bride or best friend?)

4. What do you need in order to execute your plan? (location, supplies, reservations, flowers, etc.)

5. When do you want to get engaged? (What time of day? What time of year? What season? Day of the week? During a specific holiday?)

6. Where do you want to get engaged? (Is there a special destination or place that means something to the both of you? Are you willing to travel?)

ENGAGEMENT IDEAS:

1. Destination Engagements

Wanna go somewhere super special to pop the question? Consider these destinations.

1. Disneyland or Disney World

Disney actually has entire website dedicated to engagements and engagement planning. Buzzfeed has done articles about it. Disney is considered to be the happiest place on earth, so if you and your fiancé to be are into that kind of thing, make it a magical day at one of Disney's many parks. You can get the park involved or just do it yourself!

2. The beach

Go seaside and propose in the sand or right by the ocean. The setting is romantic and it's super simple.

3. Near a tourist trap

Places like the Hollywood sign, the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Piza, the Empire State Building, or anywhere else you kind find a fanny packer taking a photo might be a fun spectacle for an engagement.

4. The great outdoors

Find yourself on a hike, camping, or perhaps just a romantic stroll through the woods. Let the trees, wind, and woodland creatures create the setting.

5. Theme Park 

Can't afford Disney or just not into giant mice? No worries. Check out Six Flags, Dorney Park, Sea World, zoos, etc. Go out for a day of fun and splendor!

2. Activities: 

Doing activities and going on a fun date sets a perfect mood to ask the question. Consider these date ideas and activities.

1. Horseback riding
2. Dinner and a movie (perhaps make it a home cooked meal of favorites and her favorite movie, a fancy restaurant and the newest blockbuster at the theater, etc.)
3. Stargazing
4. Build a blanket fort together
5. Go to the zoo
6. A picnic
7. A scavenger hunt
8. Make paper plane love notes and throw them at each other while you wait for a pizza to be delivered
9. Create a playlist of songs that are special to both of you and slow dance and jam out
10. Go out and get or stay at home and give each other the spa treatment (massages, candles, steamy shower, etc.)
11. Actually Netflix and chill (yeah, we know what the kids are really up to when it comes to the "Netflix and chill" date, but it's actually a great date idea. Set up a que with a theme: binge a few episodes of a new TV show you both wanted to watch, horror movies, enjoy a couple of episodes of each other's favorite TV shows, RomComs, "bad" movies, etc. Cuddle up with a blanket and an array of snacks and enjoy! You get to spend time close to each other, learn a lot about one anode there AND watch some entertaining stuff.)
12. Bowling
13. Go to an arcade and earn enough tickets to get each other prizes
14. Play games! (this is fun to incorporate alcohol and stripping too if you feel so inclined. Best games: poker, Boggle, Trouble, video games, etc.)
15. Shooting range to fire off some shots
16. Go camping (hike, build a campfire, stay in a cozy trailer)
17. Find some "Free Day" stuff to do (make a list of local events or locations that have freebies)
18. Tastings (whiskey, wine, cheese, cake, etc.)
19. Make a trip to a quirky destination (Pick a funky or interesting destination whether it's the next town over or a classic tourist trap, jump in the car and make a day trip out of it. Don't forget to bring a camera!)
20. Seasonal adventure (pumpkin picking/carving, berry picking, picking out/chopping down a Christmas tree, beach day, etc.)
21. Concert
22. Karaoke
23. Explore a city (check out tourist destinations, the best shops and place to eat, etc.)
24. Shop at a flea market
25. Do DIY projects together
Check out some more ideas here, here, here, and here

3. Nostalgia:

Make it an unforgettable night with the memories that brought you both to this point in the first place.
Go to the places of or recreate your first...
-Date
-Kiss
-Dance
-Anniversary
-Specific activity (For example, the first movie I ever saw with my boyfriend was Mad Max: Fury Road and that was before we started dating)
-Homecooked meal

4. Food:

Classic. Proposing with a girl's second biggest love: FOOD.

This is a cake.(gccouture)

(palomasnest)

5. During an Event

-Sporting Event
-Movie
-Concert

Check out more ideas here, here, here, here and here