From Wedding Vendor to Bride: Week 1

As a wedding vendor, I'm around wedding a lot.  And by 'a lot,' I mean several times a moth.  this week, however, I moved to the other side.  On Monday, Jason and I decided to become 'officially' engaged.  We've been talking about marriage for almost a year.  But life got in the way and we decided to hold off.  Monday, however, brought some more changes and Jason asked me to marry him.  Of course, I said YES!

And, in true when-you're-ready-you're-ready fashion, we picked January 1, 2011 for our date. That gave us exactly 47 day s to plan!  Included in those 47 days are Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.

Can it be done?  Of course!  Can it be done with minimal stress?  We'll see...

Here's what happened in week 1:

Wedding Date minus 47 Days (Monday, November 15)
* Jason asks me to marry him. I say yes.
* We pick the date: 01/01/2011
* We talk about general stuff like afternoon or evening wedding?  Alcohol or alcohol-free?  Size of guest list?A few basic questions are tossed around, but not much else is decided.
* That evening Jason tells some of his family the news, spurring the need to tell my parents.  We wake Mom (who is at our house that evening) and tell her.  She's excited and somewhat surprised.  Then we call Dad and Jason asks for his blessing.  (This was super cute and unexpected...I AM in my mid thirties, after all!)  Dad gave his blessing.

Wedding Date minus 46 Days (Tuesday, November 16)
* The day starts with calling family and telling them the news.
* Official planning starts.  First call: Karie Sutton (Weddings by Karie) because I need a planner.  Every bride needs a planner, by the way!  Here's a person you get to give all the chores to that you don't want to deal with AND they won't get mad at you.  Plus they know stuff.  Like how a tasting works with the caterer and what needs to be done first/next.
* Call friends and give them the news.
* Start thinking about where to have the wedding.
* Set up wedding website and go through checklist of things to be done.  Remove all non-essential items.
* Start setting up the wedding budget.
* Talk to Jason about what's important to him (food, photography, guests enjoying themselves rather than dreading ANOTHER wedding attendance) and what's important to me (food, size of guest list, the guest experience).  Good, we match on more than one!
* Answer 'Who's going to do YOUR flowers?' a dozen times.  (It's Hannah--my super talented assistant designer.  I'll do my bouquet.)
* Spend at least an hour talking to Karie about what we want.
* Get a list of people to contact from Karie.
* Email JP for availability.

Wedding Date minus 45 Days (Wednesday, November 17)
* Starting to stress the location.  So much can't be decided until this is locked down.  It can't be too big (takes too much to decorate a big space and our guest list is small); it needs to have some personality; hopefully, it will have water nearby; it can't be too expensive; and most importantly, it can't be a place I've worked at a million times!  I do NOT want my wedding to feel like a day at work!
* Talk to super-talented graphic designer sister about designing invitations.  We're doing e-invites because we have so little time, because of budget, and because I prefer electronic stuff to paper stuff.  
* Decide on a kid-free wedding.  We decided to do this because we realized that with our small guest list, the inclusion of kids would mean 1/3 to 1/2 of our guests would be under 10 years old.  That just changes the whole feeling of an event.  So instead, we're going to offer a child-sitting service.  As Jason's sister-in-law put it, 'That will make [your wedding] a date for us, too. 
* Decide on colors. Charcoal Gray and Coral.  Realize there aren't many flowers or dresses in coral in January.  Decide to keep the colors anyway.

* Spend at least two hours on-line looking for a location.  Spend another good chunk of time talking to Karie about locations.  Run some location options by Jason. Get vetoed.  Try again.

Wedding Date minus 44 Days (Thursday, November 18)
* Picked a location!!!! Compton Gardens in Bentonville. Everything on the list but water near-by.  
* Now all the other stuff can be planned.
* Look at photographer websites.
* Updated planning site and budget.

Wedding Date minus 43 Days (Friday, November 19)
* Today is a work day.  Well, a design day.  I've been working all week and fitting this stuff in on breaks and at night.  But we have a wedding on Sunday, so today the focus is creating beautiful flowers for someone else.
* Talked to Karie and Jason about catering options.
* The BIG thing for today is telling Adrian (Jason's daughter) and hoping she's happy about the news.
. . .
* She is!  and she wants to be part of the planning.  She asked if she could go dress shopping with me, my mom, sister and maid of honor.  I wasn't planning on a formal wedding dress, but i can see that this is important to her.  So we'll at least have one day of dress shopping.  It will have to be an off-the-rack dress that requires very little alteration.  There just isn't time for anything else.

I have to say, her response was the thing I was most worried about with all the planning.  I'm SO very happy that she is excited! 

* Picked first member of wedding party.  At dinner Adrian asked Jason who his best man was going to be.  Jason asked her to be his Honor Attendant.  Her face lit up; it was beautiful!

Wedding Date minus 42 Days (Saturday, November 20)
* Day off (mostly).  Apparently my brain has stopped working.  Nap time.
* Asked Michelle to be my Honor Attendant.  I don't like 'maid/matron of honor.'  Who really cares if they are married or not. And 'matron' makes them sound OLD.  

Wedding Date minus 41 Days (Sunday, November 21)
* Delivered the wedding we designed on Friday.  Congratulations Natalie and Tye!
* Talked to Karie about various details.  Delegated picking linens and chairs to Karie.
* Talked to Hannah about flowers.  Told her I'd order them and giver her a bit of direction, but it was mostly up to her.  I have total confidence in her.  Between Hannah and Karie, I have no doubt the reception will be beautiful.
* Emailed a couple of caterers.
* Looked at photographer web sites.  Found one we like; need to see if she's available.
* Talked to Jason about rings.  We're not getting an engagement ring, just wedding rings.  We're picking those out next weekend. 

*  Tried on a wedding dress from a friend.  It needs altering, but it's beautiful.  Adrian wasn't so thrilled.  I think it's the shopping experience she wants.

So that's week one!  Come back next week to see how things are progressing.