Although the world has been an overall dumpster fire lately, I have been able to find many moments of happiness, from my second year of teaching coming to a close, beautiful weather in the Twin Cities for reading outside, and my own engagement!
In March 2022, while on my spring break with my partner of seven years, we were skiing in the beautiful area of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, when she got down on one knee and asked me to marry her. March 14, 2022 is a day that I will remember for a long time, not only because it was Pi day, but also because of how special it was to be surrounded by the mountains, fluffy powder, and tall aspens while envisioning the rest of my life with my partner, Gabby.
That afternoon, we shared the news of our engagement with our close family and friends who were thrilled for us and basking in the excitement and happiness with us. Fortunately, over the last seven years together, our families have become more supportive of our relationship and we are truly lucky to have such wonderful friends who are like a chosen family and support system.
That being said, one of the biggest shocks of sharing our engagement was immediately hearing from friends and family alike, “So what date are you looking at for your wedding?” I was not prepared to hear this question over and over again from the various people in our life and did not know this was a typical response to “we’re engaged!” Apparently when you are suspecting your own impending engagement, you should also be thinking about when you would like to hold the wedding? Our response to all of our eager friends and family was “not for awhile,” but it got us thinking about the fact that we have no clue what goes into planning a wedding, including picking a date.
Beginning our Planning: The Venue
If you knew me, you would know that I have never relaxed a day in my life, and so immediately (or a few days) after our dreamy engagement, planning mode began. Gabby and I both come from families spread all over the United States and we also live away from our immediate families, so picking the location for our wedding could pose a challenge. Fortunately, both Gabby and I love Minneapolis and see it as a middle point for our families to travel to pretty easily. Likewise, both of us are wanting the our friends to be able to come to our wedding which having it in the place where most of them live, means a higher likelihood of attendance. So, we narrowed down where we would like our wedding and then came the when.
Gabby and I are unified in our dislike for the hot, humid Minnesota summer and did not want to make family and friends travel to arctic that is Minnesota in the winter (or second winter otherwise known as spring) so fall was left! As a teacher, the fall can be a really busy time already full of plenty of excitement with the new school year, but I am also partial to the beautiful leaves when they change colors and transform Minneapolis into something out of a magical fairytale. With this in mind, we picked a few weekends as possibly wedding dates and decided to start the venue search.
Searching for a venue is tough. I knew weddings were outrageously expensive, but I did not know just how much the base cost of renting a venue for 12 hours could be without including the cost of furniture, day of coordination, service fees, and more. With this in mind, we looked around on different websites for recommendations, searched “wedding venues Minneapolis” on Google, and scrolled endlessly on instagram.
By the end of our venue perusing, we saw six different venues in person, and digitally browsed a dozen more before finding the one we would choose for our wedding in the fall of 2023. Although I would love to tell you all where and when it will be held, my budget cannot handle Feminist Book Club readers showing up without an invitation. So, I will share four of the Instagram accounts from a few venues we looked at so you can see what I was looking for.
Something I wish that I would have been told when we were looking for our wedding venue is that there will be the venue that checks all of your boxes except being majorly out of budget, and then there will be the venue that is within your budget but does not match how your envisioning your day and with that in mind, its okay to keep looking. You do not need to find your venue immediately after getting engaged. Remember it is an exciting time in your life that should be enjoyed rather than stressed over. And at the end of it all, whichever venue you choose will be magical because it will be a celebration of you and your partner surrounded by whomever you choose to invite!
My Top Tips When Beginning To Plan a Wedding
1. Create a dedicated wedding email
When beginning to plan your wedding, you will be subscribing to many different vendors, websites, and more to find your venue, photographer, florist, DJ, etc. A way to organize all of your wedding planning is to create your own personalized wedding email. Creating a new email is free on Google and can be a way to keep your wedding planning separate from your work or personal email so you do not miss anything important. Plus, after you are done planning your wedding you can sign out of the email and forget the password forever!
2. Create a planning spreadsheet
With your new wedding email, you can use the different Google services, such as Google sheets, where you can collect all of your planning information in one organized space. You may not be as over-organized as I am, but some of the pages I have on my wedding planning spreadsheet are budget, purchases & deposits, venue ideas, guest list, vendor ideas, and registry ideas. You can really make your planning spreadsheet work for you such as calculating how many you have on your guest list by using the sum function.
3. Create a wedding binder
If you are also a visual person like I am, you may need tangible documents in addition to a spreadsheet. I have a binder with the different contracts we signed with our venue and other vendors collected in this space, in addition to all of our receipts from the purchases we have made. I see the spreadsheet as more of an idea catcher and our binder as the physical representation of what we have picked and paid for. Bonus points if your wedding binder’s cover is also a mood board for your wedding. Gabby and I both mood boarded what we wanted the wedding to be like (and they were super similar!) and now we have a front and back cover for our binder.
I am just in the beginning of my planning with a little under a year and a half until the big day, but I have loved the process of planning our wedding so far! I am going to continue to document our journey towards our wedding here on the blog, so please let me know if there is anything you would like me to specifically cover in the comments below.
I cannot stress enough how helpful a wedding email address is! Almost fifteen years later, my partner and I still use ours for bills, shared accounts, etc. It makes household operations run much more smoothly.