Ok, so maybe we only started with 3.5, but that’s all the more reason to be aware of a count down. We were engaged in early September, chose a date and location almost immediately and quickly started planning because we realized how much work it would be to get it all done. We had tossed around different locations to no avail and ended up choosing a very DIY location: a large garage/shop on his parents avocado ranch. Every location in San Diego is either extremely expensive or hard to get and sometimes both. We didn’t want to use a church fellowship hall, because we wanted alcohol and dancing. We are both extremely picky about the “style” of the location, which might seem strange that we then picked a garage, but you’ll see once it’s done what we were going for. So this seemed to be most economical and practical choice in the time we had alloted for engagement. No waiting until Spring, because that would make our engagement longer than our dating relationship and that’s just weird. Well, OK, it’s not weird, but we were talking about a December wedding back in June so we have been pretty set on that time frame for a while.
Planning initially began with pricing out different vendors (flowers, catering, venues, equipment rentals, photographers) and deciding upon a reasonable budget with my parents. We created a google spreadsheet with all of the prices for everything we could think of and shared it with my parents. We had done most of the leg work of the budget by getting an idea of what vendors cost and finding the best deals we could. We compromised where we thought we could and chose more expensive vendors when we thought it necessary. For us, photography was something I really wanted to go big on, but we decided against a traditional wedding cake and chose to have friends prepare 15-20 smallish cakes for a large cake table. After pricing out the vendors, which took about a month of hunting and gathering, we decided the details of each one. We chose the venue, the menu, the style of tables we wanted to use, the lighting, etc. What I found early on was that each decision was connected to the other and many things had to be decided all at once early in the planning process. This has made me rethink my previous assumptions about women who plan their weddings before they find grooms. Having to have an intimate knowledge of the planning process up front is all the more reason to think about weddings long before you ever have to plan one, especially if you have to plan one in less than 4 months. I needed to know the options for venues, to choose the venue, to know which caterer I was using, to then decide upon a menu in my budget. I needed to know the color scheme of the wedding to choose the linens, invitations, flowers and bridesmaid’s gowns. All of this depends upon the style of your wedding as the main underlying theme that drives every decision. Exhausting and emotionally draining to make so many decisions so quickly. However, the bigger decisions are usually contingent upon one another and work themselves out as you go.
The bright side? There is less pressure after the bigger decisions are made. One thing I used to help me figure out the look and feel of the wedding was Pinterest. I was able to search hundreds of wedding images for ideas and then “pin” them for bridesmaids and friends to see and comment on. So helpful.
Now that the big stuff is decided, I’m focusing on the smaller details. The smaller details are the “fun” part, but I have a feeling that my DIY side is never going to rest until it’s all said and done. I am also searching for the most cost-effective ways to do everything–turns out when you plan a wedding in 3.5 months it severely limits the cash flow, which is fine by me, but presents a challenge. I spend every morning before work and every evening after work on my computer doing research. What’s amazing is that it’s all coming together, in theory, quite nicely. A few examples, my fiance’s church is letting us borrow their tables which happen to be the same tables as the party rental place in town. I also have acquired 150+ mason jars from friends and Phillip’s family to use as glasses for beer and cocktails. This means less stuff to rent and the added bonus of the mason jars being a vintage-ranch special touch. Moral of the story: do your homework and ask around, you never know what you’ll find even among your friends and family.
2.5 months to go. I still have yet to confirm the details with the caterer, but I’ve shared with her my thoughts on a menu and a price per head and she gave me the thumbs up. She is a good friend of mine that has catered many weddings I’ve been to, so I already know her style and all about her food. She owns a little restaurant in town called La Farfalla and it’s fantastic! She’s got some linens that I’m going to look at soon to pick a color. I wont mention the cost per head, but Terry is extremely reasonable and very talented at what she does. I think we confirmed the photographer that we will be using for the wedding, I’ll be writing a post about that soon. The venue is set and Phillip has made plans with his Father to move all of the equipment that is currently in the shop. Lots of work to be done there, more details on that soon as well. We have to make another trip to the party rental place to confirm the items that we need from them. The funny thing is that list seems to be getting shorter every day. Other than that, it’s on to the DIY and detail work, like invitations!