Saturday, August 28, 2010

Engagement Bling

Scott and I have a great group of friends here in Chicago and recently, two couples have gotten engaged.  Between the two of us, we know several couples who are currently in that fun stage called wedding planning.  Now that our own wedding has passed, I often find myself bestowing advice to engaged ladies (and hoping I don't come off as a know-it-all). 

The number one thing I end up saying is, "Don't worry, it will all work out" (which we all know is easier said than done).  But in the end, you realize it really does all work out.  All the planning sets the big day in motion, and then the bride and groom's only job should be to live it out and enjoy every moment.

As for some of my top tips:

1) Stay organized.  Keep all your vendor invoices, magazine pictures and other inspiration in a big binder.  Since you can't tote the binder everywhere, tuck a little notebook in your purse for random thoughts, vendor contact info, and note-taking while making calls on-the-go.  Track down a timeline/checklist that you like and reference it every few weeks to make sure you haven't forgotten an important task.  It also helps to look ahead and know what is coming so you can manage your time.  And nothing feels better than checking something off that list!

2) Solicit venue and vendor recommendations from anyone you know who has gotten married in the same city you are.  I contacted friends and classmates from high school who got married in my hometown and everyone was very willing to help.  (Who doesn't like talking about their wedding?!)

3) Don't overwhelm yourself with choices.  There are a million options every step of the way.  Pick a couple good options and go with one.  Make an informed decision and try not to second-guess yourself.  For example, if you are deciding on a florist, pick two or three florists you have heard great things about, meet with them, and then choose one.  If all two or three are great, you can't go wrong!

4) Plan certain weekends to be "wedding planning weekends" so you can feel productive and get a lot of the time-consuming tasks done.  My planning weekends were the times I flew home to Kansas.  I set up a bunch of meetings ahead of time and made a schedule with plenty of errands and lots of downtime too.  An added benefit to this system - you won't feel guilty if you relax on your time "off".

5) Ask for help when you need it.  Your friends and family are capable people who would love to help you.  Respect their time, but don't be afraid to ask for a favor when you are crunched for time or really stressed out.  (For example - big thanks to my aunt and mom who baked hundreds of cookies for the welcome bags!)

I think those are the big pieces of advice I have...  Now I am off to a bachelorette party!  As a bridesmaid, I can't wait to shower the bride with lingerie, partake in some delicious cocktails and dance the night away!

(Check out these gorgeous and unique rings!  They belong to our two friends who recently got engaged.  The cell phone pictures don't do them justice...  Congrats!  And to the guys who picked them out - nice job!)

Sparkly diamond in a tension setting - congrats to E and B!
Beautiful sapphire surrounded by diamonds - so happy for C and M!


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