If there’s a pretty little (or big, or huge) rock on your finger right now, may I be one of the many to say, Congratulations!! This is honestly such a sacred and exciting time in your life and you deserve to celebrate to your heart’s content. Once the champagne bubbly has diminished and the engagement high has worn down a bit, it’s time to start planning your wedding. While there are plenty of things to focus on once you and your partner are engaged, I will be telling you about my top 5 wedding planning tips to focus on.
ONE: Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate!
Okay, I know this isn’t necessarily part of the planning process, per se, but it’s important, nonetheless. You’ve been with your partner for a while by now, you’ve shared your dreams with each other, incredible adventures with each other, and have probably laughed harder with them than with anyone else before. They are the one person in your life whom you can’t live without and they want to spend the rest of their life with you, too!
This is something to celebrate. I don’t mean to just celebrate the first few weeks of your engagement, I mean celebrate throughout your engagement. Whether that means taking some time for yourselves while you enjoy an engagement-moon (haven’t heard of this before? The Knot will give you the details and I’m allll about it), taking the first month of your engagement to bask in this sacred season before you make it public on social media, or simply choosing to do your own, unique thing to celebrate your engagement (did someone say cat party? do party? donut party? full moon hike? Count me in!). After all, you’re your own strange bird and you deserve to celebrate in whatever way feels right to you. In the end, I can’t stress enough the importance of remembering that this truly is a sacred time in your life and it deserves to be celebrated.
TWO: Focus on what YOU want
Weddings come with a lot of emotions from alllll sides of the situation; your personal feelings about your wedding, your partner’s, your friends’, your parents’, your grandparents’, and don’t forget that co-worker who says you just have to have that specific (and maybe slightly strange) wedding tradition incorporated into your wedding. In the end, your wedding day is all about you and your partner, not anyone else.
No longer are the days where we have to stick with unquestioned traditions; you have every right to tell your family that you don’t intend on having dancing, cake cutting, or even a wedding party. Heck, you might even just elope by yourselves on the top of a mountain in Colorado (more posts about elopements in the future–I have soooo many (good) feelings about elopements!)!
While I support all my clients in whatever they decide to do on their wedding day, I always emphasize the importance of sticking to what YOU want for your wedding. In the end, this is about you and the love you share with your partner. Nothing else.
THREE: Embrace yourself
Wedding diets are a thing, I know, but does cutting out all the pasta you love to eat really sound enjoyable? What about cutting out brunch dates with your friends because all that champagne and juice doesn’t fit into that latest wedding diet fad?
I’ll be honest and tell you that yes, I have changed my diet to make myself feel better and maybe fit into my favorite pair of jeans again (but honestly, those pants never fit again) but I personally never called those kinds of changes “diets” but rather called them “lifestyle changes,” and I mainly focused on those changes due to health reasons.
If you’re at a point where your eating habits really could use some help, then by all means, I encourage you to make some adjustments. What shouldn’t necessarily be on your to-do list, however, is starting a diet to fit into that so-called “ideal” size. Let me tell you: that ideal size isn’t realistic. We’re all real human beings with real curves, real hunger, and we deserve to embrace who we are today regardless of our figure shape or waist size. Plus, your partner is marrying you for who you are now, not who you’ll be once you lose ten pounds. Embrace yourself, continually love yourself, and if working out fuels you to do that, I empower you to keep going. Otherwise, have another glass of wine and a bowl of ice cream. Life is too damn short not to.
FOUR: Set a budget
Planning a wedding can get costly, even if you do a lot of it yourself. It’s best to start with your ideal budget from the get-go in order to stay comfortable and happy while you research venues, vendors, and wedding accessories (that dress you dreamed of for years? do you have an idea of how much it costs or are you jumping in with eyes closed and credit cards open?).
When thinking of your budget, it’s best to spend the highest percentage of your budget on what means the most to you. For most of my couples, photographs mean the most to them so they are happy to spend a larger percentage of their budget on photography and videography. After all, photographs are one of the only things that remain once the wedding is said and done.
One thing to keep in mind while wedding planning is the deposit costs you’ll incur upfront; a lot of vendors (most, actually) require a non-refundable deposit to book your date. While a lot of wedding photographers require 50% upfront and the rest a month before the wedding, I only require 30% upfront and the rest is due in monthly payments (plus, this payment schedule is always flexible and we can chat about the deposit to make things easier for you!).
Before you start booking your vendors, sit down with your partner and ask yourselves: when you envision your wedding day, what is most important to you? High end desserts that people might not even eat? Or photographs of your friends, family, and your new spouse having fun at your wedding that will help you re-live your wedding day, time and time again? I know this really awesome photographer who can provide you with an amazing experience, tips on how to make your wedding day special, and incredible photographs… and her name is Ashley. *wink* *wink*
FIVE: Search for Vendors
Weddings require lots of hands on deck, meaning you’ll need to find your trusted team of vendors to help pull your wedding off. Once you’ve celebrated your engagement, focused on what you want, embraced yourself, and have developed a budget, it’s now time to start your vendor search.
One resource that I absolutely love using to find vendors is Rocky Mountain Bride. They have an incredible list of vendors throughout the Rocky Mountains, whether you’re looking for vendors in New Mexico, Colorado,Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah, or Canada.
When you’re deep in the vendor search phase, make a list of the vendors that draw your attention. Focus on what they bring to the table: does their website illustrate the kind of work you’re looking for? Do they seem to have a personality you can jive with? (remember: you’re going to be spending a lot of time with these folks over the next months of wedding planning), and does it seem like they will give you an incredible wedding experience? Every vendor is different and everyone will do things slightly differently, which is why it’s important to talk to your vendors. Get them on the phone, ask them questions, and if possible, plan to meet some of them in person. Wedding vendors may or may not be the best at communicating via email so get them on the phone–hearing someone’s voice can really make a difference! If there are some vendors that give you a bad feeling, though, trust your gut. More often than not, your intuition is trying to tell you something you should listen to.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, have chosen your favorite vendors, and are getting ready to book with a contract and deposit, please be respectful of the vendors you reached out to and inform them that you’re moving in a different direction. Nobody likes getting ghosted. Please don’t ghost us.
With all that being said, below are a handful of vendors I recommend in Colorado & New Mexico!
Planners & Designers
Orange September https://www.orangeseptember.com/
Manmade & Sage https://www.manmadeandsage.com/
Candace Noel Events https://www.candacenoelevents.com/
A Beautiful Theme https://abeautifultheme.com/
Hey! Party Collective https://heypartycollective.com/
Brindle & Oak http://brindleandoak.com/
Revel + Roots https://www.revelandrootsevents.com/
Collective by Sachs https://www.collectivebysachs.com/
Renegade Floral: http://www.renegadefloral.com/
Floral Fetish http://www.floralfetishabq.com/
Bagel’s Florals https://www.bagelsflorals.com
Florecita Flowers https://www.florecitaflowers.com/
Plume & Furrow https://www.plumeandfurrow.com/
Lumme Creations https://www.lummecreations.com/
The Painted Primrose https://paintedprimrose.co/
Yonder House https://www.houseofyonder.com/
Gaia Stvdio www.gaiastvdio.com
Velvet Armoir Floral Design https://www.velvetarmoire.com/
Hair & Makeup:
Genica Lee https://www.genicalee.love/
Kata Baron http://www.katabaron.com/
Betty Rose by Alanna https://bettyrosebyalanna.com/
The Beauty Bar Santa Fe http://thebeautybarsantafe.com/
Wedlocks Hair & Makeup https://www.wedlocksbridalhair.com/
Megan Cary https://www.megancaryartistry.com/
LoLa Denver https://www.lolabeautydnvr.com/
Alchemy Face Bar https://alchemyfacebar.com/
Kevin Guevara http://kevinguevara.com/films#filmjournal
Mark Blake Films https://markblakevisuals.com/
Acts of Adventure https://actsofadventure.com/
Blnk Films https://www.blnkfilms.com/
O.Ski Films https://www.oskifilms.com/
Interested in working together? Message me here to see if your 2020 or 2021 wedding date is still available!