Wedding Update #1: Our Date, Venues, & Major Vendors
Talking all about what we did in our first two months of being engaged... including booking all of our major wedding vendors!
We are a little over two months into our engagement, and it’s about time I kicked off my wedding series and shared my first wedding planning update!! But first, to give you a little recap, we got engaged the day before Thanksgiving (which was a total shock to me, I was SURE it was going to be in December in NYC!), had a surprise celebration immediately after, and then came back to NYC after Thanksgiving to celebrate with our friends in the city.
Though we were touring a potential venue two days after we got engaged 😂, I really feel like we then took the first full month of our engagement to soak it in, leisurely talk about potential wedding dates, and enjoy our first month as an engaged couple. It honestly still feels surreal and I look down at my ring 10000x a day. I have not gotten used to it and still have absolutely no chill.
Fast-forward to the end of December, Johnny and I went to spend Christmas and New Year’s with our families in Vero Beach, Florida. If you’re new around here, both of our parents have homes there (which is convenient to say the least!). We ended up being there for about three weeks and it was the most helpful and productive time spent. During those weeks I swear I went from knowing virtually nothing about the wedding industry to taking a self-guided (lol) crash course in wedding timelines, vendor selection, prioritization and budget, etc.
It was super helpful because (surprise) we will be getting married in Vero Beach, so it was convenient to physically be there during those three weeks to meet a few vendors in person and have a continuous open conversation with our parents and get their thoughts and opinions. My mom is my full blown planning partner-in-crime and came out full force with ideas that she’s definitely been scheming up for years 😂.
What We’ve Done So Far
You know me and my prefaces, so I’m going to caveat the below by saying that there’s no real formal timeline on how/when you have to plan a wedding. We’ve been taking it day by day, and were fortunate to have those few weeks of downtime over Christmas to cross a few things off our list. But know that I have a whole team of family, friends, vendors, etc. helping us with everything, and I AM RELYING ON THEM. Seriously, I’m trying to ask for help everywhere I can and I’m so thankful for the progress that’s allowed us to make so far!
So we decided to tackle our top priorities first, and the vendors that can only book one wedding per weekend, and knocked out the below! I realize that I just made that sound like it was a breeze, and while most of it was SO MUCH fun, no decision was made lightly or without careful consideration. Also, if you’d like to learn more about how we found and selected these vendors, please let me know as I’d be happy to do a full post on that as well.
So now that I’ve gotten you up to date, here’s the planning we’ve done so far…
- Chose a date– In the month after we got engaged we worked on narrowing down a time of year, and then specific date, that we wanted to get married. We finally locked in a date that’s very us, though I honestly never imagined getting married at the time of year it will be! I won’t be sharing it until much closer, but know that I’ll be inviting you all to watch it in real time (!!).
- Decided on our venues– After we picked a date, we had to figure out the combination of venues we wanted to use for the rehearsal dinner, welcome party, wedding ceremony, and wedding reception. We are lucky that Vero Beach has a number of gorgeous clubs and communities that would make ideal wedding venues, and that both of our families live there so it’s possible to combine a number of our favorite spots into the weekend. So we are moving forward with doing the rehearsal dinner and welcome party at a place that’s special to Johnny’s family (think: Johnny’s favorite activity), the ceremony in a church, and the wedding reception at the beach club in my family’s community there! We hope it will be the optimal combination of golf course, church, pool, and beach settings…. what more could we want?!
- Booked a band– Ok, this was our hardest decision to date. Besides having our closest family and friends there and getting married in a church, the music is the most important factor to Johnny and me. If you’ve been to a wedding or party where the music is incredible, it’s hard not to have a blast and ignore your dinner for more dancing (we definitely want everyone to eat, but you get the idea). Thus, we ended up watching hours of band YouTube highlight reels and I spoke to countless brides about bands I was interested in that had played at their weddings. We ultimately went with one we heard of time and time again as being so good you don’t even think you’re at a wedding… and we cannot wait. All I know is as long as there’s a tambourine I can shake I’ll be more than happy. Question– what are your must-play song suggestions?!
- Booked our photographer– This was another decision I put a crazy amount of thought into. Photos are more important to me than they probably should be (though it’s also part of my career to share them), and I have a very specific vision for how I’d love our day to be captured (surprising, I know). Thankfully, through such a truly God-orchestrated type of way, I found our photographer, who’s creative eye and photography style is unlike anyone else I’ve ever seen. I’ll definitely speak more to the vision I have in another post later on, but when we got on the phone and he asked me to “walk him through the fashion for the day” I knew he was my person.
- Booked our videographer-– I received a reference for this videographer in a DM (I cannot tell you how helpful your DMs have been!!) and watched this video and balled. That was the end of that decision. 😂 It’s really important to me to have video(s) of the day to watch for years to come, and to of course share with all of you. I also felt strongly about choosing someone for our videographer, photographer, and planner who I really connected with, since they will be with Johnny and me for the entirety of the day, and will be responsible for executing and capturing the happiest moments of our lives to date. Bonus points… our videographer happens to be married to our planner. 😊
- Booked the hair and makeup team– I will have quite a few bridesmaids so I knew I needed a robust hair and makeup team that could do stunning but natural looks… and I found just the duo (who will bring multiple professionals with them so my bridesmaids aren’t in HMU all day!). They do the hair and makeup for a lot of the weddings in Vero Beach, and before signing a contract I had my hair and makeup trial to get to know them and their style! It was hysterical because we’re so far out from the wedding, and I am planning on having about 6 more inches of hair when the time comes (I’m growing it out and half of it will be extensions 😂), but they couldn’t be kinder, more upbeat, or talented in the sunkissed/glowy/soft pinks type of look I want! They also gave me a ton of tips on what to have prepared the day of for myself and my bridesmaids while we get ready… which will warrant its own blog post later on!
- Hired a planner– The club where we’re having the wedding reception has an in-house events planning team that handles all of the weddings on property. They’re phenomenal, have it all down to a science, and will do the large majority of the logistics. But since we’re going to be getting married off property in a church, we decided we wanted to hire an additional planner to manage the ceremony and day-of logistics. Thus, I found Anna Corbin through an Instagram rabbit hole. We interviewed a number of planners, but I remember Anna asking me “how do you want your day to be a reflection of you and Johnny’s love and personalities?” which was the first time someone had asked me that. I was floored and immediately taken to her personal way of looking at the logistics and meaning behind everything we’re going to include in the wedding day. Needless to say it’s already been the BEST DECISION and biggest blessing to have her calm and strategic approach to crafting our wedding day timeline.
- Booked my Bachelorette villa & our flights!!!! (LOTS more to come on this… it will happen much closer than the wedding will!!)
Side note– I just cannot believe I’m writing this post right now. I’ve waited years for this and it’s so surreal and I’m just so thankful I get to share it all with you.
So now that we’ve solidified those key vendors, we’re heading into the next phase of vendor selections, which will tap into more of the design side. We’re now trying to decide on a tent company, florist, linens/decor, hotel blocks, a ceremony officiant, cocktail hour music, invitations… Please feel free to share any and all recommendations there! I’m sure I’m forgetting things too… like the DRESS! The dress selection comes next as well, and I already have a feeling that will be my favorite part of all. 😊
My mom is coming into the city for my best friend’s wedding in a few weeks (as is my dad, but we’re leaving him out of the wedding dress shopping process because I want him to be surprised!!), so we’re going to take advantage of her being here and do some wedding dress shopping then. I just so happen to live within blocks of some of the most stunning bridal designers and retailers in the world, so we have some special appointments lined up for when she’s here.
I promise to take you along on that journey, though I’ve already decided that only my mom and sister will see The Dress until the day of. I am already leaning towards one style/design so I’ll be curious to see if that’s what I end up with.
Thank you all so much for following along and caring about our planning process so far. This officially kicks off my wedding planning series, and a Bachelorette one is launching next month. 😉 I’ve already received so much valuable advice from you all, so please keep them coming!! xx