Cheers to you! You said YES! Once you’ve caught your breath and your cheeks have stopped hurting from smiling so much, pause. Pause to take one more long, deep breath. Enjoy the moment…. your moment <3
Photo Credit: Heather Cook Elliott
Start with the 4 Ps
Discuss with your fiancé (and any wedding VIPs – i.e. your parents) where you see yourselves tying the knot. Your wedding day could easily include multiple locations (a ceremony site, a cocktail hour site, and a dinner/dancing site) and you’ll need to make sure that each place has availability on the date you wish to get married. If you’re planning on inviting out-of-town guests, “places” may also mean arranging overnight accommodations. Booking as far in advance as possible is the best way to ensure availability. For a Saturday during peak season, many high profile reception sites in the Greater Milwaukee area are booked 12-16 months in advance. Consider a Friday night fête or a “Sunday Funday” if your dream location is already reserved on the weekend you desire.
Photography Credit: Uttke Photography | Location: Cuvée
To make things easier on everyone, determine major pocketbook matters right away. Will you and your fiancé be paying for your wedding in full? Will your parents be covering costs for the entire affair? Will your partner’s parents be contributing financially? The average wedding in Wisconsin is $34,000, however, your wedding cost be far less (or far more) based on any number of factors. Bottom line – once the budget for your big day is determined, stick to it (it’s harder than it seems – 45% of couples go over budget)! Consider the overall total and prioritize accordingly.
Photography Credit: Heather Cook Elliott
How many people do you and your partner plan to invite? If there are conflicts in deciding who gets an invite, refer to venue capacity and budget.
Photography Credit: Front Room Photography | Venue: Westmoor Country Club
And then there are your VIPs – the girls and guys closest to you. They’ll not only be at the party – you want them in the party. Once you’ve selected your trustworthy, reliable, bestie of all besties Maid Of Honor, much of the planning can become a team effort, and when possible, logistics can be handed off entirely! How great is that?! (Don’t forget to give her a special thank you gift in the days leading up to or immediately following your wedding – chances are, by then she’s more than earned it!)
Photography Credit: Robyn Vining
Getting an idea of generally what style dress you are looking for is not only fun, but it can be really helpful once you are ready to start shopping for your dress. Make a physical inspiration board with tear outs from magazines or scour Pinterest and Instagram for images. Look for environmental clues in the pictures… colors, florals, venue type – a ballgown in an ultra modern venue may feel out of place – or it may be the exact kind of striking juxtaposition you hoped for! These kinds of visual clues can help you envision what you’ll look like in that style on your big day. If you go the digital route, be prepared to share photos with your stylist. We love that! Then, be prepared to keep an open mind… what you see on a model in a photo may end up being precisely what you look like in that crepe halter sheath…. or it may not. Remember, every body type is different and what looks great in a picture may not give you the feeling you were hoping for. And, THAT’s what’s truly important.
Got it! I think I’m ready to start looking for my dress… any tips?
If you’ve done your due diligence with the 4 Ps, shopping for your wedding dress and bridal accessories should be a totally fun, exciting experience! Knowing your budget and style preferences before going to any appointment is key. After that, we recommend simply keeping the following in mind:
Less Is More (2-3 people at the appointment)
Since August 2015, we’ve worked with thousands of brides and we can honestly say – the best appointments have been those where the bride is accompanied by only her dearest friends and family. If you’re having trouble deciding who you should bring along, try asking yourself this question: Who were the first 3 people I told about my engagement one-on-one? There’s your answer! Yes – we have plenty of brothers who come along. Yes – we have plenty of mother-in-laws. Have little ones in your life? We’ll never say no to bringing along a smiling (or sleeping!) child 🙂 Everyone’s group is different and that’s part of what makes our job so fun and your experience so uniquely yours! Less is more.
Feel like you’re leaving someone out? Or you wanted your whole bridal party of 8 to be included in the process? If this is how you truly feel, why not invite the larger group to your Pick Up or Accessories Appointment? You’ll avoid the “too many cooks in the kitchen” situation when selecting your dress BUT, they’ll all feel important being a part of your very first big reveal! We LOVE when brides go this route. It is SO much fun!
Don’t Fight the Feeling
If you happen to find your dream dress during your very first appointment, lucky you! Don’t fight the feeling. We totally understand if you have a full day of appointments booked and you want your group to have that “full shopping experience” with you. But, when you feel like you’ve found the one – say yes! We will never tell you to “cancel your other appointments!” but, we would encourage you to remember, you started your day looking for that dress, the one you love – not necessarily a shop til you drop extravaganza that leaves everyone exhausted just for the sake of shopping. Should you find yourself standing in your wedding dress by 10:45am on your first Saturday out, use the unanticipated “extra time” with your gals to grab a nice lunch/dinner or a group mani/pedi. Celebrate – you found your dress!
Photography Credit: @meganpalama
Designers Work On A Timeline, Too.
Photo Credit: @itsmetiffyt
Wedding in September? Your wedding dress shopping experience may very well start in snow boots! That is normal and working that far out is highly recommended. Ordering a wedding dress is typically a 6-9 month process. Most of the designers we work with work on a “made to measure” timeline and sourcing all of the materials to even start the creation of your dress takes time. Some dresses are coming from overseas which also takes time. And, you don’t want to forget about alterations – which 99.99% of dresses WILL need if you want that absolutely flawless fit (trust us – you do!). The longer you wait, the more you risk incurring rush charges from both the designer and your alterations specialist. Save yourself the stress and extra investment. Start shopping early! You won’t regret it.
Planning your wedding will be a process – no matter how organized you and your bride tribe are! It’s your own special journey from Miss to Mrs… Remember to enjoy it and take lots of photos. You’ll be going from “I Do!” to “I Did!” before you know it…
Photography Credit: Michelle Kujawski Photography