I’m Back!

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In the 9 months I’ve been writing this blog, it has absolutely become a part of my everyday life. Between writing and scheduling posts, interacting on social media, editing pictures, etc, there is always something to do. For the past two weeks, I’ve been totally disconnected from the blogging world. Now, I had a good excuse.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that two weeks ago I did this kind of awesome thing – got married! On May 24 Dave and I officially got hitched, had one heck of a wedding reception, then jetted off to Ireland the next day for our ten-day honeymoon. So needless to say, the blog was pushed aside for a few weeks. I’ve missed it though, and I’m super excited to be back!

Since you all have become an everyday part of my life, I’m dying to tell you all about the wedding and the honeymoon. As much as I would love to share all the excitement that has been the last two weeks, there is no way I can talk about my dream wedding and ten entire days across the country of Ireland in one blog post. I’ll catch you all up eventually, but it’s probably going to take a few posts!

Mostly, I just wanted to check in today to let you all know that I’m back, I’m sorry for the crickets the last few weeks, and I promise I’m going to be upping my blogging game from here on out.

On that note, I’ll use this excuse to segue into some very exciting news! I’ve mentioned more than a few times that I’ve been working on migrating my blog to self-hosted WordPress and completely revamping my blog design. I started working on the design ages ago, knowing I wouldn’t have the time to completely make the transition until after the wedding. Well, we’re passed the wedding and now I have time! If everything goes according to plan, you’ll be seeing a brand-spanking-new blog when you visit Very Erin next time this week! Of course, that’s if everything goes according to plan.

I’m so excited for this change! And so ready! Plus I’ve already changed my marital status and last name in the last month, so I might as well keep them coming!

Lessons I Learned Wedding Planning, Part 1

Today I wanted to share with you some of the lessons I learned while planning my wedding. I’m not an expert on weddings, nor a professional in the wedding industry. But I did just spend two years planning my own wedding, and I can tell you I learned a lot from it. I’ve both read and written a lot about weddings and wedding planning, something I’ll continue to do going forward to share the things I learned with brides-to-be. As you can see from the title, I’ve labeled this post as “Part 1”. Though the wedding has passed by the time you’re reading this post, I’m writing it a few days before. And I know that when I sit down to write Part 2, there will be so many lessons learned on the day of that I can’t possibly imagine right now. For now, enjoy Part 1 of the lessons I’ve learned while wedding planning.

Lessons I Learned Wedding Planning, Part 1

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1. Start early. When Dave and I got engaged, we set our date for two years away. It was difficult picking what seemed like an imaginary date in the future to have our wedding, but it was definitely the realistic and responsible thing to do. But that didn’t stop be from starting the planning right away. And you know what? It payed off. There wasn’t a single vendor I was interested in who had to turn me away because they already had my date booked. And in some cases I was able to sign a contract at 2013 or 2014 prices instead of 2015 prices.

It also helps reduce the stress of wedding planning so much. We were really able to take our time and not look at a check-list, worried we were falling behind. Here’s how it went. In September, I bought my dress (some people will tell you not to buy that early because you’ll fall in love with something else. I solved that by not looking at any other dresses, and I’m more in love with my dress than I was then). Then I didn’t do anything for awhile! In November we booked our venue/caterer, and took a couple of months off for the holidays. We didn’t book the next vendor until January, and the next one a few months later. By the time we hit the one-year mark, the vendors and large details were already worked out and I had an entire year to focus on DIY projects and small details.

There were definitely downsides to having a long engagement, but there were zero downsides to starting to plan as soon as I could. Whether your engagement is six months or two years, get an early start.

2. Consult previous brides. There have been a few other couples in our life who were either planning their wedding at the same time as us or had gotten married in the few years leading up to our engagement. These women have advice to share. Listen to it! It was a cousin who had gotten married four years before our engagement who suggested we have a wedding the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. It would never have occurred to me to get married on a Sunday, but we had the benefit of of paying discounted Sunday prices AND none of our guests having to work the next day because of the holiday. So it was basically like a cheaper Saturday!

3. Choose the most important things to splurge on. Unless you have an unlimited wedding budget (in which case I would be jealous), you can’t splurge on everything. Choose a few things that are most important to you and make them your splurges. Figure out a way to cut back on everything else. We chose venue, photographer and honeymoon as ours. We went over budget on those, and cut elsewhere. We found a low price on an awesome DJ, which made that part easy. We didn’t spend much on flowers, decor, cake, or paper.

4. Know when to DIY. NOT all DIY projects are cheaper. They just aren’t! Know which ones will save you money versus which will cost you the same amount, but increase your stress level. The things that you can DIY can save you a lot of money. I designed our Save the Date cards and invitations in Canva myself and printed them for cheap at a local printer. We paid a fraction of what many people spend on invitations. I also bought silk flowers and made the bouquets myself. They look the same to me (because I don’t care much about flowers) and cost maybe $100 for all 6!

5. Know when to compromise. If there is something wedding-related that you disagree with your or mother-in-law where they care a LOT and you don’t care that much, it might be a time to give in. It’s an important day for them as well. Throw them a bone once in awhile.

6. Know when NOT to compromise. People are going to have a lot of opinions on your wedding. People from parents, to coworkers, to odd distant relatives. While it’s important to compromise, it’s also your wedding and it’s important to hold onto the things that are important to you. The only person who’s opinion is as important as your is the one you’re marrying.

7. Stick to your budget. When you get engaged, you and your fiance should decide on a number you feel comfortable spending. Try your best to stick to that. There are a lot of pretty, shiny things in the wedding industry that someone will convince you you have to have. Well unless that something is a marriage license, you don’t have to have it to get married. You and your fiance know your financial situation best, so it’s okay to say no to things you don’t need. One magical day is not worth a loan the price of a new car.

8. Don’t obsess. I had a two year engagement. If I turned every day and every conversation into all about the wedding, people would have gotten sick of me very quickly and I would have gotten sick of my wedding very quickly. Planning a wedding is a big deal, but it’s not the only nor the most important thing going on in everyone’s life or yours! Don’t let wedding planning take over your life and don’t let if have an adverse reaction on the relationships in your life.

I hope these tips can help you. Some I learned from making the mistake myself and others were mistakes that I missed, but noticed in others. Wedding planning can be an amazing experience, and it’s important to focus on the best parts of it!

Wedding Send Off

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There were surely times over the past two years where I felt time was moving in slow motion. When we hit the one-year point, already halfway through our engagement, it felt like we had an eternity to go. There were times I was furious with myself for having such a long engagement, even though I knew we needed that buffer after college.

Now that we’re just a few days away, I have no freaking clue where the time went. Wasn’t I just in college, hanging out with my boyfriend and thinking that maybe someday we’d get married? The engagement felt painfully long at times, but now looking back, it feels like it’s gone by in the blink of an eye.

As insanely excited as I am to finally be married, there are some things I’m going to miss about being engaged. It was fun! I love doing research and making spreadsheets, so that part was a dream. It was fun looking at amazing venues and eating free cake. Yes, I will those things. But more than anything, I’m excited to be married. And to have this whole planning ordeal over with! No one tells you how much planning goes into a wedding! Okay, maybe they do and I just didn’t listen.

This afternoon is officially the beginning of my wedding vacation. The wedding is on Sunday and then Dave and I jet off on our honeymoon!

You’ll still see blog posts while I’m away, just not everyday. There will be around three posts per week that I’ve pre-scheduled, as well as some social media goodness. I’ll miss the blogosphere, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for a little break!

Enjoy your Memorial Day and the next two weeks!

The Final Days of Wedding Planning

Final Days of Wedding Planning

Well guys, this is it. After two years of wedding planning and 8 months of writing about my wedding planning on this blog, we’ve only got a few days left and this is my last Wedding Wednesday post! (I’ll still post wedding planning tips, there just won’t be posts following my own planning!) I’m stuck at work still today and tomorrow, but then Friday the wedding weekend begins! We’ll start with some wedding prep (ie a trip to the nail salon). Saturday is the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and Sunday is the big day.

Our life has been a flurry of planning lately. I’ve virtually been taken over by a slew of to-do lists. Most of them are long. And scary. The biggest tasks lately have been the seating chart, final meetings with vendors and putting together the wedding day timeline, and buying tons of last-minute items that we’ve forgotten. Dave had this bachelor party last weekend and I had my final dress fitting! I’m going to be exhausted after a day of dragging around that bad boy, but it’s going to be worth it!

Strangely, it still hasn’t hit either of us that we’re getting married in just a few days. Maybe it won’t until the wedding day? Or until I’m walking down the aisle? Who knows.

The wedding day isn’t even here yet, but I can finally see all of our day coming together as we finish up the last few details. It’s been a lot of work, to say the least. Luckily I’ve got a fiance who wasn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his wedding planning hands dirty.

And even if it doesn’t all come together and the day is a disaster, that steak, open bar, and marrying the most amazing guy ever will sure make it the best day of my life.

Weekend Wonderfuls, Vol. 5

Weekend Wonderfuls

1. As someone about to get married, this post by Rebecca on what marriage is completely spoke to me and made me look forward to my marriage even more!

2. In lifestyle blogging, there is a jagged line between too personal and not personal enough. This post offers great tips on how to find a balance between personal and helpful blog posts.

3. I spent way too much time picking out mine and Dave’s wedding hashtag, only to decide on something relatively simple (#mellonwedding2015). This post offers some tips on choosing your wedding hashtag!

4. I love reading blog posts where bloggers talk about their favorite blogs. I love discovering new blogs, and this is how I’ve discovered a lot of my favorites! This post features some great ones!

5. Once the wedding craziness calms down, I’m going to be in the market for some new summer reading. I love this post because some of the books are already on my list and some I’ve never heard of, but now they’re on my list!

I’m off to see my little brother graduate college tomorrow. What’s in store for your weekend?

Creating a Wedding Day Timeline

For your wedding day (or weekend) to run smoothly, it’s important to create a timeline so everyone is clear where/when events are happening, and so that it’s easy to stay on track. Your wedding day is going to be a busy one, and any sense of order you can get will make a huge difference. Being only a week and a half away from the wedding and having had our final meetings with all of our vendors, I am in full force finalizing the timeline. Here are some tips I can offer to far.

Creating a Wedding Day Timeline

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+Consult with your vendors. Your hair stylist knows better than you how long it will take to do hair for six bridesmaids, just like your photographer will know better than you how long pictures will take. Make sure to talk to all the vendors before setting anything in stone.

+Skip the gap. Often times a couple will have the ceremony early in the day and then have several hours before the cocktail or reception. People are becoming less tolerant of this. Have a later ceremony and take pictures during cocktail hour.

+First look or no? Obviously the tradition is for the groom to not see the bride before the wedding, but many couples and ditching that tradition in exchange for a first look. You’ll have to be ready earlier, but it saves time after the ceremony. For the record, Dave and I are sticking with tradition. He won’t see me until I’m walking down the aisle!

+What type of dinner are you having? This will definitely play a role in determining your timeline! If you’re having a large wedding or a buffet dinner, you’re going to want to budget extra time.

+Leave wiggle room. If one thing runs late, you don’t want it to throw the entire day’s schedule off drastically. Schedule more time than you need for everything.

+Don’t street about changes. I guarantee not everything on your wedding day is going to start at the exact minute designated on your timeline. That’s okay. Don’t let it stress you out and throw off your mood for the whole day.

+Trust your vendors. They are the experts. They are professionals. They have done countless weddings before and I guarantee several of those had the timeline go out of whack. Defer to them and trust that they can help straighten things out.

For those who have been married, what are you best timeline tips?

Currently, Vol. 4

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Watching: I’ve honestly barely been watching TV at all (gasp!). I know, it’s so unlike me! I’ve mostly just had HGTV playing in the background as I get stuff done that, it turns out, is more important than watching TV.

Reading: I have had SO little time for reading lately! I really try, but I just never end up making the time. I started reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I’m very interested in it, so I’m definitely going to finish it. I’d love to say I’ll finish it before the wedding, but that seems unlikely!

I’m still reading The Kite Runner as well. I only got a few chapters into that one, but plan to pick it up again when I have more free time. In like a month and a half.

Listening: I’ve spent the last week tirelessly listening to music for the wedding playlist. I just finalized the songs for the ceremony, grand march, etc a few days ago, so now I’m working more on a reception playlist. 

Planning: We’re less than two weeks from the big day, but all of my planning energy revolves 100% around the wedding. I was hoping to be devoting more time to planning my new blog design, but so far it’s just been unrealistic to finalize the wedding, keep up with my blog, and continue working on my new design. 

As far as the wedding goes, I’m definitely behind where I wanted to be for planning! I’m hoping to work my butt off this week and get just about everything done so I can relax the last few days before the wedding!

Loving: Honeymoon plans! We aren’t creating a strict itinerary for the entire time we’re there, but our plans are really starting to come together for the things we are planning. Some tidbits involve staying in a castle, drinking Guinness, and going for a horse back ride! 🙂

Dreading: The amount of stuff I have to get done at work to prepare the office for my two week vacation. I’m the only staffer in my office, so it leaves a big hole!