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  • Writer's pictureAshley Billone

You're Engaged...Now What?

So…I still can’t wrap my head around it, but I am getting married! It’s been one of the most amazing feelings I have ever endured and I hope it never goes away.

Not only am I going to be marrying the love of my life and my best friend, but I get to plan a wedding too! Some days, I sit at work day dreaming about what my wedding day will look like, while other days…not so much. It’s all fun and games Pinteresting your dream dress, cake, location, flowers, etc. until one day you actually have to make decisions!

I’ve been engaged since the end of November (Thanksgiving) and within a week, we had people texting and calling us if we’ve not only picked a location…but a date too! Now, I get that some women have their weddings planned to the tee so when the planning actually happens, they are all set. But, this is not my case.

My fiancé (I’m still getting used to calling him that!) and I have of course talked about marriage and things that we would like and wouldn’t like at our wedding, but now it’s show time and all those hypotheticals have become our reality. After getting good advice from friends and people who have gone through this, I have reassured myself (several times already) that everything will be ok in the end and we will make the best of it no matter what!

Now, for those of you who are also newly engaged or are on your way to that point, here are some obstacles that I’ve had to overcome and let me tell you, it’s not easy.

The Wedding Budget: Now, this can be an easy or difficult topic depending on if you know you will be paying for the wedding, or will go a more traditional route and have the bride’s parents pay for it. Personally, enjoy being engaged for at least a week before this topic comes in play. It won’t be an easy convo, but it’s something that needs to be established early on so you can start browsing and set some boundaries. (The Knot has a budgeting tool that I found useful to look at just as an average per topic).

The Bridesmaids and Groomsmen: Another tough topic to figure out. If you have a sibling or a family member who you are very close with, well then that’s an easy solution as to who you can pick to be in your wedding party. It gets tricky when you and your fiancé don’t have the exact number of close friends who you would want by your side, so I suggest each writing down a list your closest friends/family who you want by your side and go from there.

The Guest List: (Groans). This has easily been my least favorite thing to tackle so far. Not in the sense that you don’t want to invite people, but because you really have to consider size (especially if you have a venue in mind already). After naming off family and close friends, the list is already at about 100 people. “What about your second cousin and their family, and the neighbor from down the street?, etc.” I say, leave it. If you’re really unsure and don’t want to hurt feelings, make an A list and a B list. The A list will consist of family members and close friends (i.e. wedding party), and family friends. The B list will consist of maybe some high school friends, those friends who you keep in touch with once in a while and maybe any parent’s friends. If you send out the RSVP and find out that more people can’t make it than you thought, then it may be a good idea to invite some people from your backup list. To me, it was pretty black and white (with a few exceptions) as to who I wanted to invite because for me, I don’t want to be shaking people’s hands all night or have a business meeting feeling. This is our wedding and we want to be surrounding by people who we really love and cherish. If you’re unsure about them from the start, I say it’s probably not worth it sending an invite (but that’s just me).

The Venue: This area can be a tricky one, depending on how big both of your families are and where they are located. No matter where you get married, people are always going to have to travel. I had always imagined a destination wedding in Mexico since it’s very near and dear to my heart and also so full of culture. We recently went down for Christmas and very quickly realized that it would be a logistical nightmare to ask about 150 people to travel to Puebla, Mexico. We live right outside Manhattan so for us, we are thinking that Manhattan is a great place to get married (aside from it being expensive!)– it’s a great hub for everyone to fly into and there are many ways to access the venue (we are leaning towards the Upper East Side). It never hurts to look around though, because you would be surprised as to what you’ll find and it’s also a good way to get ideas as to what you both like and don’t like in a venue. I treated venue shopping like apartment shopping- photos will always be different from the real thing (this could be both a good and a bad thing) and you don’t want to look at too many, because then you could start to get too picky as to what you want. It’s always good to ask as many questions as possible and get a sense of what’s included with the space, otherwise things can add up veryyy quickly.

The Dress: Yes, the dress. That long, white, beautiful dress that you’ve been dreaming about all your life. This is a big decision (especially if you can’t even make up your mind what you want for breakfast…or maybe that’s just me). Now, we are looking to get married in late spring of 2018 so yes we have time, but at the same time, I’m new to all of this and you think you know what you want in a wedding dress until you start trying them on! For this one, I say it doesn’t hurt to start looking early because it may take a few months to find the one and you don’t want to feel rushed in the process!

This is about all i’ve had to deal with so far, and I take all advice with a grain of salt. You will get the pushy people who ask if you’ve got it all figured out, the ones who ask if you’re stressed yet, and the ones who will tell you to just relax and enjoy every moment. As mentioned above, take everything with a grain of salt. Write down the things you want, the things you don’t want, cut stuff from magazines for inspiration, make Pinterest boards, do it all!

I’m learning all of this along the way and I’m sure it will get to me and I’ll be doubtful, overwhelmed, and I’m sure much more but this is an exciting journey that I’m on and I’m ok to mess up along the way. If you’re in the same boat as me, I hope you will follow along as well and that I can provide some sort of intel that can help along the way.

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