Last Year, Carla and her partner won our inaugural engagement story competition with her spectacular New York proposal. Before her big day, we thought we would ask how her planning is coming along and if she had any advice for brides-to-be.
Well... Where do I start!
So after our amazing engagement in December 2017, it was all systems go on bringing my dream wedding together. I'd dreamed about this day near enough every day for the last 10 years, and now I had the most incredible person to share it all with.
We had a rough idea of the style of the venue, area we wanted to get married, and we wanted a church ceremony so I got to work on planning all the possible venues, nearby churches, distance from home, time to get there etc. (I'm a sucker for detail and a spreadsheet…) and started putting together a list of suppliers I knew/had heard of, and others that covered the area and I was well away!
I also found that setting everything out onto a spreadsheet (venue cost, venue decorations, cake, band etc.) on an excel sheet, and setting a rough budget for each item, when you'd paid a deposit, remaining to pay etc. and setting up a few simple equations, voila Wedding budget tracker. This has by far been my 'go to' and gives a really good insight on where you're spending the cash and if you do need to cut it, then where you could look at doing that.
We'd scheduled in venue visits, and went to see a good handful before we committed. I actually ended up going on my own to a few of them as my partner couldn't come, and it was great! If you both have the same sort of idea of your venue, then I'd say go and view as many as you can (together or separately) and you can then compare notes and arrange another viewing if you really like one.
Fast-forward 6 months post-engagement and we'd booked the venue, church, photographer, flowers, band, entertainment; I'd got my dress and my gorgeous pair of Rainbow Club shoes, so all of the big stuff was mainly done. But unfortunately all was not to be celebrated... in August 2018 my father-in-law (to be) had a serious accident and devastatingly sustained life changing injuries. At this point, all wedding talk, planning, hen/stag do chats and everything else got put on hold until we got to a point where we knew the extent of his injuries and his treatment plan going forward. With my FiL now being in a wheelchair, the first thing to do was check access with the venue and church, otherwise they were an absolute no go, no matter how much we loved them (thankfully they were both wheelchair accessible!).
Once we knew what could and couldn't be done, and most importantly if my FiL would likely be out of hospital for the wedding date, we got back to planning what I hope will be one of the best days of our lives.
So add in the summer, a cheeky little pre-wedding holiday, moving house, committing myself to 30 challenges to raise money for the services that helped my FiL and the Christmas rush (apparently we don't do things by halves!) we're now just over 5 months until the big day! We still have a chunk of things to do, but mainly the finishing up bits like meeting suppliers, cake tasting, sending out invites etc. Oh and my husband-to-be still needs to sort out his suits... but we'll get there!
I'll admit, I am a huge control freak and the thought of anyone else being involved with my planning, and tracking, and schedules etc. gave me anxiety, but actually I came to realise- take all the help you can get!! If you've doing a handmade wedding and your bride tribe offer to help you make something, then get them all round, open a few bottles of Prosecco and get it done. Does it matter that Susan hasn't quite stuck that bow on at a 90 degree angle to the writing on the card, no it doesn't! The only person who is going to know is you, and really, everything doesn't need to be perfect, and truly, people really don't notice!
I know this is the most important day ever, and you want everything in exactly the right place, but you can't control everything. I can almost guarantee something will go wrong on my wedding day (actually I'd bet money on it!), but who cares?! We went to a wedding where only half the brides dress turned up, the ceremony was delayed by an hour and a half and the groom looked like he was going to pass out, but in the end, everything came together and it was the most beautiful day!
When you get to a point where you're thinking "oh my goodness, I can't handle this!!" grab a cuppa (or a Prosecco), take a step back and remember why you're doing this. To marry the person you love, and want to spend the rest of your life with - everything else is just the stuff that makes the day look pretty. It's you two that matter, and as long as you have that, you have everything you need.
Love, Carla x
If you've been inspired by Carla, then why not take part in this year’s engagement stories competition?
Also check out our wedding checklist, the best place to plan for your big day!