WEDDING: HOW I BROUGHT MY VISION BOARD TO LIFE


No. 1 | FINDING MY VISION AND ARTICULATING IT TO OTHERS 

For me, this was one of the most fun parts about wedding planning. As a creative who loves looking at color schemes, details and is obsessed with inspiration boards, this part was fairly simple. On the other end, having such high expectations for my ideas, I was fairly meticulous in deciphering what I wanted. But regardless if you are familiar with vision boards or not, it's the simplest way to convey a strong message about what you want to yourself and future vendors.

Aside from Pinterest, I highly recommend using multiple sources of inspiration such as magazines; wedding websites like Over the Moon, Style Me Pretty, Vogue Weddings; Instagram, where you can now save posts; and even books! I immediately ordered a copy of Vogue Weddings and browsed through for ideas as well as some of my design books. See my suggestions below. You want to get as much information as possible before solidifying a board.

Fortunately we have Pinterest now, which will keep everything together online and allows you to pin images from any website. You can also upload images specifically for your board. My recommendation is to start with only one board and try to keep it that way so that you can see how all your ideas line up together. I know Pinterest lets you divide images on a single board into multiple sections, however, I don't recommend that because it might make things too confusing. Even though your dress idea pins and cake idea pins might seem like separate categories, it's best to have everything be together to ensure it all lines up.

When creating this board, whether digitally via Pinterest or in physical format like I did, do your best to be discerning from the start. Pinterest is wonderful but can also feel super overwhelming, especially for anyone with a minimal amount of indecisiveness! There is so much content out there, so do your best to only pick things you absolutely love, even if you don't know why! If you can't find a cake design you love right away, don't rush it, some things will take a little more time! I found everything I liked pretty much from the start, however, I waited until a really good idea came to mind before choosing an escort table, which happened to be a month out from the wedding! And I am so glad I did because it was absolutely amazing.

I encourage you to eventually create a final board, whether digital or physical with all the final images, fabrics, colors, paper styles, etc. Obviously you don't have to stick to it 100% throughout the rest of the planning process, but you want to make sure you don't veer too far off, so the general aesthetic remains consistent.

Now that you have a board, you can be confident in your ability to convey your ideas. Make sure you share this board with vendors so they know exactly what you are looking for. I also made sure to write notes on the PDF's I gave each vendor to ensure clarity before and on the wedding day. I have included them all throughout this post and they were so helpful, especially for the florist and photographer. The notes I added clarified small edits to the images or specifiers, for example "hang cocktail sign on acrylic holders at main bar" because vendors will often forget those important details!



No. 2 | CREATING A MASTER LIST

After nailing down what I wanted the wedding to look like and incoroporate, I showed my husband all my ideas and had a real conversation about what we both wanted. The vision board was very helpful in showing him exactly what I was talking about when I made mentions of a macaron tower and blue and white tablecloth. Negotiating some of the items was hard, because we both have strong opinions and had to come to terms with that fact that both of them equally mattered! One way of helping move this process along was for us both to individually rank our top 5-10 wedding items in order of importance. So for example my top three were; 1. outdoor location, 2. macaron tower, and 3. no bridesmaids/groomsmen party. This helped us get a better sense of what meant the most to ourselves and each other, and made the compromises we made feel more balanced.

Then as a couple, we started shared document with the master list. We used Google Docs and created several tabs, the first with a list of wedding items/prices (for example, catering, music, paper) and then a second with the tentative guest list. The third tab we created later to keep track of expenses, with deadlines and notes about each vendor. I also kept a folder with all the contracts in one place. 

We didn't hire a planner until a month before the wedding, as were confident in our ability to choose and execute each item ourselves before handing it all off to someone at the end. I think hiring a planner can be amazing if you are really busy and hate dealing with details or need assistance executing a vision, however, for Arthur and I this was the best decision. Either way, I strongly encourage you hire someone the month before or at least a couple weeks out to take over! Trust me, you do not want to be in charge of everything and honestly I think eliminating some guests or some details would be worth the cost of a planner for the big day so you can just ENJOY IT! Even if you have friends/family to assist, remember they are just as excited to enjoy the day with you and not work the whole time!
No. 3 | IDENTIFYING A BUDGET AND STICKING TO IT

I can't stress how important and how hard this can be. Often times when we think of weddings, especially being raised female in this world, the possibilities and significance of everything being perfect and representative of you tends to overtake our finances. As much as this day should be special, it's also only one day of a big future! Spending all your money and going into debt is never a good way to start the rest of your life so choose wisely.

I am in no way qualified to give financial advice but I my only recommendation is to add an extra cushion for last minute items and unexpected costs. No matter what scale of an event you are planning things always come up last minute and something will cost more than you thought at some point!

A FEW WAYS WE CUT COSTS

1. Design Paper Products on Etsy: We did this and had a custom wedding crest made, along with custom designs for our save the dates, invitations, wedding menu, reply cards, placards, illustrations, etc. I had an amazing experience with Lana and would highly recommend her. She sent us designs and gave us printing instructions, which we were able to print through Basic Invite. Make sure you have whomever is printing send a sample first so that you are 100% sure about it before ordering the entire amount needed.

2. Hire a Day-Of/Month-Of Planner: We did this given our skills at executing ideas and working with people, however, it was also a major cost saver! I don't recommend going without a planner/coordinator entirely because not having someone be in charge could easily ruin your wedding day. What's the point of spending so much time, energy and money on a day you can't actually enjoy yourself?

3. Purchase the Champagne and Liquor Yourself: Obviously your venue will determine whether or not this is possible, but it's definitely something to consider when you choose a venue. If you are having an event at a hotel, country club or restaurant it's unlikely this will be an option. However, one thing I really wanted was a venue that allowed us to choose all of our vendors and purchase the booze so that we would have full control. We picked the chairs, the linens, the tables and the alcohol brands we loved most. Choosing vendors ourselves also gave us the option to splurge on one detail and save on another. We were also very smart to purchase the alcohol in between Christmas and New Year's Eve, which apparently is when most stores have the largest discounts. It's been almost five months since our wedding and we still have endless amount of champagne we love! The Patron is unfortunately no longer, but we did have some left up until about October....

4. Have your Dress Custom Made: This one can go both ways, depending on the dress maker or design house you chose. The two dressmakers I visited both reviewed with me what I wanted and asked about budget. They both recommended different fabrics and various ways of meeting cost expectations, which is a conversation you should have upfront if you plan to go this route. I loved my experience with Liza and was able to construct a specific vision of what I wanted, with opportunities to edit along the way. I also loved that I wasn't paying for a middle man, but instead just directly for the fabrics and the labor.

5. Going Bridal Party Free: This is a very personal choice. For me it just felt simpler and less stressful to have my friends be guests at the wedding and have less things to worry about on my wedding day. As someone who loves to entertain I knew having all my closest friends around all day was just too much manage and I wanted to have the most relaxed and enjoyable day with just family. Opting out of a bridal party also allowed me to avoid some significant costs such as bridesmaid dresses, gifts, snacks, bouquets, Ubers, whatever. I really just wanted my friends to choose their own outfits and enjoy the day as much as me and I am so happy that's what I did, but to each their own!

No. 4 | USING TIME WISELY

Aside from budget, this is probably the next most stressful aspect of a wedding to manage, the time that goes into planning and getting stuff done. I remember Arthur and I made a lot of progress a year before the wedding and then sort of forgot about it! That is why having a master list of every detail from the catering all the way down to name cards was extremely important, so we could keep track of what needed to be done and when. 

Even though there were a few last minute items I completely forgot about until the week of the wedding, such as table number cards/stands, the majority of items were accounted for and handled because of our master list. We also decided to divvy up the work so that we didn't need to rely on each other for every detail. I took on the tasks that were more important to me such as paper designs, decor and florals while Arthur managed the entertainment, catering, venue, etc. This allowed us the chance to take the lead around what was important to us and made it easier to compromise on the tasks we shared such as the ceremony, honeymoon and guest list. Obviously it wasn't as simple as this might seem but we did our best to communicate first before starting tasks and keeping each in the loop as necessary.

As excited as I was to have a wedding, the planning became very exhausting and annoying so I decided that in order to be productive I needed to watch an old wedding movie while doing the work. Some of the ones on rotation were Bridesmaids, Father of the Bride, 27 Dresses, My Best Friend's Wedding, etc. Whatever it is that makes you feel good and maybe a little less overwhelmed I'd highly recommend finding it. Also, a chilled glass of pink champs might not be such a bad idea either!
No. 5 | PLAN, PLAN, PLAN AND THEN LET IT GO! 

The fact is that even though I loved everything about my wedding, a few things did go wrong and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. WHICH. IS. FINE. That happens, no matter how big a budget and the only thing you do is not give a f***. I planned my heart away until the very last minute, literally, I finished writing my vows before going to bed the night before. When I woke up the next day, my motto became whatever. Everyone had a plan and my only option was to trust in the full color printed guides I gave to each vendor and ENJOY THE DAY! And enjoy the day I did.

-MGS

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