wedding planning

Advice for Brides: How to stay organized while planning your wedding

                                                             Image from  Southern Weddings Shop

                                                             Image from Southern Weddings Shop

Would you say you're big picture kind of girl? Or one who loves the little details?

Obviously you need both the small elements and larger frame of things to come together when planning your wedding. And whether you identify with the first or second description, there is a way to stay organized during your engagement and now want to pull your hair out!

I am definitely constantly looking at things from the macro perspective and this could not have been more apparent when we planned our wedding in 2013. When Dean proposed, I immediately because crazy obsessed with finding the perfect wedding venue - and photographer - such that I totally neglected the other, smaller details that also needed to be discussed and dealt with simultaneously during that time.

Having a fiance who is the opposite of you - in case, Dean is really, really great with all things details! - really helps to keep you on track. And having one place to store all your dogeared magazine pages, fabric swatches, receipts, timeline and vendor info.

Enter The Southern Weddings Planner.

                                                             Image from  Southern Weddings Shop

                                                             Image from Southern Weddings Shop

Isn't she pretty??

Where was this when I needed it? Instead of a sleek, prepared gold and white binder, picture more of a watercolor mix of pinks, purples and blues with a painted cursive F for Fairweather on the front and you'll have an idea of what I came up and really loved using. However, if the SW Planner had been thought up, designed and for sale at the time of our engagement, I would have bought it faster than you can blink. And it would have saved me so much time and energy that I could have put into my planning my wedding, instead of designing a binder to fit my needs.

The planner is a perfect place to write down your weddings dreams and watch them turn into a reality. Not only will this beautiful binder help you stay organized and on track through the planning process, there is tons of incredible inspiration tucked throughout. Just a few of the meaningful wedding and marriage planning sections include:

First Steps After You Get Engaged
Planning for Your Ceremony
Dress Shopping Journal
The Gracious Southern Bride

Anniversary Gift Guide
Marriage Planning

If you don't already have a physical way to organize your wedding details and the big picture of the day, hop on over to Southern Weddings and order your planner! P.S. Check out my Instagram post for a fun Southern Weddings Planner giveaway!

I'd love to know - for all my engaged readers (or now married readers), what has been your favorite aspect of your wedding - or marriage - to plan for?

Advice for Brides: Your bridal party

Advice-for-Brides

When my then fiance/now husband & I started discussing the size of bridal parties with his family last fall, we quickly realized there was a difference in matters of how big is just right.

What's the average number of bridesmaids & groomsmen? my mother-in-law asked.

About 8 to 10 people, I said.

They. were. shocked! In the South, once you included siblings, maybe your closest cousin or two, plus your longtime friends & college roomies, you're probably looking at a double-digit bridal party. For Mr. D & his mama, who originally hail from the Midwest, they decided 4 or 5 was about average for weddings they'd seen or been a part of.

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So what is the best size for your bridal party? Although space, money & resources can quickly add up with a larger group of bmaids & gmen, let's put that aside for now & ask yourself this question:

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Who do I want walking beside me in the months leading up to our wedding & who do I want standing beside me as we say our vows?

DC-bridal-party

When you think about what you're asking your bridal party to do - support you, cheer for your upcoming marriage, help with wedding planning/tasks - & how asking them to be in your wedding reflects just how deep & meaningful your relationship is with them, it helps when deciding to ask or not to ask.

What if I feel like it's simply expected for me to ask this friend? Maybe you were in their wedding. Or y'all were really close buds years ago. Are they automatically in your bridal party? My hubby & I asked 8 girls & guys to stand with us on November 9 (#ourbigSouthernwedding, anyone?). It was almost 9 - I thought about asking another friend because it felt expected, although our relationship had become distanced over time. But we realized that wasn't going to help our friendship or our wedding party. It would only add stress in ways that no one wanted or needed. Do you actually want this friend to celebrate your marriage with you? Then ask away!

Should all of our siblings be included in the bridal party? Realizing family ties are different than friendships formed throughout our life, think about it like this: "Will my brother/sister/soon-to-be in-law be crushed if they're not a groomsman/bridesmaid?" For those with laaaarge families, you may just have your closest siblings at the altar, or those that are unmarried/don't have kids/still enjoying being in weddings. Remember, your wedding is a family affair & a time for your loved ones to gather with you & toast to your marriage. If a family relationship will be drastically impacted for the worse by not including a sibling, it may be wise to ask them.

Do we need to have an equal number of bridesmaids & groomsmen? I've had brides ask if having an uneven number in the bridal party will throw things off or look bad in photos. Honestly, it doesn't! Whether you have 1 bmaid standing next to you or 5 groomsmen next to your fiance, they are there because that person has a special place in your life & they are important to y'all. And that's what matters, & what will shine through, in your wedding photos.

Do y'all have any other suggestions for selecting your bridal party? How did you decide on your bridesmaids & groomsmen?

Happy wedding planning!

Advice for Brides: The Top 5

Advice for Brides: Making Decisions

Advice for Brides: Get more sleep

Advice for Brides: Seeing your groom

Advice for Brides: Putting the wed in wedding

Advice for Brides: Creating your registry

Introducing Advice for Brides

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When my now hubby proposed last May during a beautiful hiking trip, I immediately started pouring over all things wedding - Pinterest, blog, photographers' blogs, bridal mags and more - as soon as I got back home. Deano was such a champ through the 7 months of our engagement. I mean, I wanted to know ALL the options on ANYthing before making a decision (including all the possible Save the Date options in our price range on Etsy. Let's just say, that's a whole lotta options!).

And I didn't know where to begin! Any brides feeling the same overwhelmingness? Deano & I had talked about marriage, sought counseling from our pastor & parents & prayerfully considered the commitment before we went ring shopping. But until the day he put the ring on my finger, I wanted to hold off on any plans of any kind.

I wanted to enjoy & be present for every moment while we were dating - not months in the future deciding what kind of flowers I'd have in my bouquet. For those of you that are able to be in the here & plan for the future, cheers to you! That was not something my brain could handle :)

In August I shared my heart with y'all about this very thing & gave a few tips for what I learned through our engagement. The more I talk with brides, the more I realized a lot of us were in the same place. We've never been engaged/planned a wedding before & then there's pressure to suddenly become the perfect wedding planning fiancee/bride. Here's something to keep in mind: At the end of the day, if you're more married than when you started, the wedding day is a success. Yay! Time to drink a big mug of coffee & cheers to that!

Although you'll still have many wedding planning decisions to make, the freedom that comes with knowing that is hugely awesome! And having been right there in those same wedding-planning shoes not too long ago, I'm starting a new weekly blog series about all the helpful hints & wedding tips I've learned: Advice to Brides, from one bride to another :) I'm so excited to passing along what has worked for our wedding & other couples' weddings, too! Check back on Friday for the very first post!