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Friday, July 10, 2009

365 days...and counting

Today is officially the one-year mark until the big day! I feel like I have been engaged forever (and I pretty much have!) so the fact that I only have a year to go is absolutely thrilling. Based on theknot.com's checklist, this is what we should be doing right now:

- Begin envisioning your wedding --- formal hotel or friend's loft? Backyard barbecue or exotic beach?

I guess I can check this one off the list! We already know that we are having a casual, outdoor wedding that is far from formal. Where it may be, however, is still up for discussion.

- Decide on a budget and hash out who's contributing.

We already know this one too. Our initial budget is $15,000, not including the honeymoon. Now, that is $15,000 out of my pocket (more on that later). I'm pretty sure our families aren't contributing, and if they are, they haven't told us. How would you even bring that up? Oh by the way mom and dad, are you gonna give me some money to help me pay for this wedding? I don't even know!

Make sure to insure your engagement ring.

....I think it's insured. I think. Oops. Maybe I should go ask FI about that one...do I really need to??

Pick your preferences for a wedding date and time, and finalize after okaying with important guests, location, or officiant.

As of now, our wedding still stands at July 10, 2010. Mr. National Mall's half-brother is in the Marines and is currently stationed in Paris. We have yet to get in contact with him to ask him if he is available to come back on our current date. It is very important to FI that his brother attend, so we may have to change our date if he can't come back then. We also know that we want a Saturday night wedding at this point. I know Saturday nights are the most expensive days to get married, but unless we find a location that is very close to our house, I'd rather not make our guests take off of work to come to our wedding.

Begin interviewing wedding consultants (if you'll have one) AND / OR start asking family AND friends FOR local wedding vendor recommendations.

This doesn't really apply to me. None of my friends have gotten married yet, and none of my family members have recently been married so I don't know what they can reccomend to me! I have found some great ideas for reception sites and caterers looking on theknot forums as well as researching online at sites such as projectwedding.com and weddingwire.com. As for a wedding consultant, it really doesn't fit in my tiny DC budget. I am going to try and swing for a DOC, but we'll see how that goes.

Brides: It's never too early to begin thinking about your gown. Start by figuring out what style will look best on you.

I must say, this has been my favorite part so far! I don't have a dress yet, but I have been to a few stores to try on some dresses. Thus far I really like trumpet/mermaid styles, but I've been thinking more about a full tea-length dress. I thought I would like styles such as a baby-doll or empire waist in order to hide my post-baby stomach, but I actually like the styles that are more form-fitting and cinch my waist. It goes to show that you should really try on EVERY style because you may surprise yourself! (PS - I heard that there's a sample sale going on at Blush Bridal in Gainsville tomorrow)

Start interviewing caterers.

Yeah.....no. Not even close. I have researched endlessly and have come to the conclusion that paying $80/pp for fajitas and mashed potatoes is just not going to fit in my budget. Not to say that it won't work for someone else, but just not for me. I'm going to have to look around for some less expensive options. Our only requirements are an open bar (which probably is going to take up alot of the $$) and casual, delicious food such as, well, fajitas and mashed potatoes haha. Shouldn't be too hard...right?

Scout out reception sites.

Now this I have done. I haven't chosen one yet, but boy have I been looking. We've visited 5 sites so far. Two of them ended up being way out of our budget, two of them are on the higher-end of our budget, and one of them currently fits perfectly (but is our least favorite). I'm still looking for reccomendations for a site fee of less than $3,000 if anyone has suggestions!! Oh, and there must be a place for an outdoor ceremony. This is not negotiable.

Start looking for an officiant who suits your style and spirit.

Seriously? Seriously? I'm supposed to do this now? A year away? I don't think so.

If you're having an engagement party, set a date, draft a guest list, and purchase your invitations.

Oh wouldn't have this been lovely if we hadn't have gotten engaged three years ago. Oh well! And are you supposed to throw your own engagement party? Or does that rule only apply for bridal showers?

Book your reception site as soon as you see something you love that’s available on your date.

See above.

Get organized! Start a notebook/file folder to house all your wedding-planning paperwork in one place.

I cannot stress this enough!! I have stuff all over the place so I went out and bought an accordian-style file folder to keep all of my inspiration photos and wedding-related items. I have different slots for decor inspiration, dress inspiration, food inspiration, well you get the idea. Once we start signing contracts and what not I plan on starting a notebook to keep track of our budget and important dates.

Begin working on a preliminary wedding guest list and decide on your wedding's approximate size. Request lists from both sets of parents and create your own wish list.

This has been an issue for us. We have already created our guest list, and that's all that it's going to be. Since we are paying for the wedding and trying to keep costs down, we are not requesting a list from our parents or even taking suggestions. One of our rules is that if we have a) not met the person or b) have not spoken to this person in over a year then they will not be invited. We are also not including a +1 on any invites unless the person is a) married b) engaged c) in a long-term relationship (over two years) or d) they don't know anyone else. In addition to keeping costs down, I want our wedding to be intimate and personal to us. I don't want to have strangers at my wedding, even if they are Mr. National Mall's second cousin once removed. I know that this will offend some people, but in my opinion if they are unwilling to contribute, our parents shouldn't be able to invite their best-friend from work who I've never met. Sorry.

Choose your bridesmaids/groomsmen and ask them to be in the wedding party.

Done and done!

Find a ceremony site if one hasn't been determined by your choice of officiant or reception site.

Neither Mr. National Mall or I grew up with religion, so we aren't getting married in a church. Because of this, we will be having our ceremony and reception at the same place. I have always wanted to get married outdoors, and I think it will make it much easier on our guests as well.

And there you have it! I really thought I'd be much further behind than I thought. I am still currently searching for a job, and I don't want to make any major decisions yet until I can secure the fact that I will have an income to help pay for this wedding! But, even though we don't have a reception site yet, we (or I) have made a decision about one thing.....our centerpieces! But more about that in the next post :)

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