Category: Getting Hitched (Page 2 of 2)

Overwhelmed with Options

If there’s one thing I’ve found so far on the wedding planning journey, is that the options are just so overwhelming.

I’m only in the earliest stages of planning, and thank goodness I have at least a few things figured out. I know (roughly) what my centerpieces will be. We’re not doing a wedding cake and instead, we’ll have a dessert bar. We’ve narrowed it down to two months that we’d like to have the wedding in. But choosing a venue? Kill me.

(Psst…some of the venues we are considering are in the photos…)

Photos taken from venue websites. Except for the one at night. That came from my Mister.

The venue is one of the biggest decisions you make in wedding planning – and I’ve found that it can be one of the most frustrating pursuits so far.

I’ve contacted more than 35 venues in the past three months. I’ve heard back from maybe a third of those. Some were completely out of our price range, so they got cut off the list first. Then we got rid of the venues that couldn’t accommodate our guest list. Then the ones that wouldn’t allow for alcohol to be served (we like our beverages!). Then there were some that were flaky, non-responsive, or rude. Cut.

Now, I’ve got things narrowed down to about 5-7 venues. We haven’t visited any yet and that’s the next step of the journey, but trimming down the volume of venues did give me some insight into the process (and hopefully I can apply this to other areas of my planning):

  • Know what’s important to you. When it comes to choosing a venue, we want a place that has good food (or allows for good outside catering), is attractive, is easily accessible, and isn’t a hassle in any way. The less stress we have for this shindig, the better. Both my fiance and I are on the same page with the type of “feel” we want our venue to have, as well as what we want and don’t want in our reception. 
  • Have an idea of limits. A rough estimate of your guest list can make a huge difference. Before we even got engaged, Brent and I made mock guest lists out of curiosity to see how many people we’d want to have. We’re around 175 (though I have this overwhelming urge to want to invite everyone, but curbing that is a topic for another post) and having that number in mind made it easier to look at venues. Right off the bat, I was able to slim down my list of places to contact for pricing quotes.
  • Think about your guests. My biggest priority for the day is for everyone to have a good time, and I want to make sure that they’re comfortable and well taken care of. I consider their needs as well as my own desires for what I want the wedding reception to be.
  • First impressions matter. I think more favorably about the venues and vendors that responded quickly (and thoroughly!) to my inquiries about pricing and capacity. Unfortunately, I’ve dealt with a few who took forever to respond, never called back, never followed through, were vague and difficult, or just didn’t impress me. Professionalism, friendliness, and a dedication to service makes a different to a couple shopping for a venue – if you don’t have this down, you’re missing out in a big way.

We still have a lot of time before we have to start nailing down the nitty gritty details, but this is going to be a biggie. It’s going to determine a lot of other things (including the date!) so I’m taking extra care to not rush into it and to think everything through.

Speaking of thinking things through, am I over analyzing? Should I just pick a place and run with it? What did you do for your wedding? I’d love to get your thoughts too!



Wedding Planning Mantra #1: I Will Not Be a Bridezilla

Photo By: Lyn Gardner

When we first got engaged, my Mister-to-be and I spent a weekend watching “Bridezillas”. Like most Netflix rabbit holes, “Bridezillas” sucked us in for what probably amounted to several hours. We watched, we cringed, and swore up and down that we wouldn’t let that kind of crazy seep into our own wedding plans.

My name is Mandy Boyle – and I’m pledging to not be a bridezilla.

But I am looking to document my wedding planning experience here and hopefully, have some fun doing it.

I’ve written for wedding clients as part of my job in internet marketing, so I’m familiar with the territory. I’ve read all about tips, tools, color palettes, and inspiration boards. I’ve seen the craziness. I’ve also seen the overwhelming amount of products and resources that are available to brides looking to plan that special day. This may give me an advantage, but I’m certain I have just as many questions, frustrations, and concerns as any other bride.

My blog has always been a place for me to express myself, so while I’m finding myself shaking my head or nodding in agreement throughout the wedding planning process, I think it might be nice to have a place to talk about it (outside of family and friends).

So, the “Getting Hitched” category of my blog will be dedicated to just that. I’ll share my thoughts, my trials, my moments on the brink, and the journey leading up to the big day. There will likely be blood, sweat, and tears. There will be times when I’m completely out of my mind (tell me I’m being stupid).  Becoming a bridezilla may be tempting…but I will try to resist.

Deep breath. 

Let’s begin the Tales of a Twenty-Something, Mostly Reasonable, Scared Shitless Bride a.k.a. How to be a reasonable, budget conscious human being while planning a wedding in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Mantra #1:  I will not be a bridezilla. 

I will not scream, scratch, and cry on national television. 

I will not make unreasonable demands of my friends and family. 

I will not attempt to burn, maim, punch, kick, or kill my fiance. 

I will not lose my shit at every available opportunity.

One Little Word

Right now, at this very moment, there’s something hanging around my neck.

I’ll give you a clue: it’s shiny, is usually worn somewhere else, and it’s the key to a much bigger adventure.

I’ll stop the guesswork.

I’m engaged.

(cue screaming and jumping up and down)

I wasn’t expecting it to happen, but it did and I’m overjoyed.

And now it’s time to get the ring resized so I can stop wearing it on a chain.

They say you know when you’ve found the right person and that getting engaged will just feel like the universe aligned. For me, it was more like this:

If you could be in my head at this very moment, you would have heard a lot of “HOLY SHIT!” “THIS IS HAPPENING. THIS IS HAPPENING.” “REALLY?!” “MY HEARTBEAT IS IN MY EARS.” “OH-EM-GEE FOR REAL!” (As you can tell, I couldn’t really say anything, but my brain was on overdrive).

I honestly say that it was terrifyingly wonderful. Perfect. And you’re never quite ready for the moment when it happens either. Sure, we’ve been together for quite some time, but I wasn’t expecting it. Maybe that’s why the feeling is just so deliciously intoxicating.

It’s been about a month since he popped the question and we’re still riding the high. We go out to different things and we see someone new who congratulates us. I’ve got a bit of wedding fever and my family doesn’t help much with it (I know you’re all excited and I am too!) It’s a nice feeling, to know that so many people are happy for you and support you. I know that when the big day comes, we’ll be surrounded by so much love that we won’t even know what to do with ourselves.

Or maybe we will. We’ll say, “I do.” That’s what you do when you’re surrounded with that much love.


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