Engagement Journal: Month 8

Okay, you guys I can't believe I'm saying this right now, but WE HAVE BEEN ENGAGED FOR 8 MONTHS ALREADY. I honestly feel like Sam was on his knee at the CN Tower and I was cutting him off crying "yes! yes! yes!" just yesterday. The realization that we are more than halfway through our wedding planning process is crazy! People warned us that this season of our life would fly by because of all of the planning, but jeeeeze. This is a whole new level. We waited 6 years to get engaged, so we had been looking forward to it for such a long time and, I'll be honest, I'm not ready for it to be over. 

My last Engagement Journal update may have been a little stressed, but I feel like everything is really coming together now. I haven't felt that same intense pressure during this stage of wedding planning. It has definitely been more of the fun stuff like dress shopping, creating mood boards, finalizing inspiration, picking out bridesmaid dresses, and planning our honeymoon. 

I won't skip over the one breakdown I had though, because it was pretty bad. And I mean... calling-our-wedding-planner-and-telling-her-that-maybe-we-should-move-the-wedding-bad. The tears, the anxiety attack, the whole nine yards. It came not long after I wrote my last Engagement Journal update. I was having dinner peacefully at home after a long day of work when my Mom called. She told me that one of our family members was concerned that all of the hotels where we are getting married were almost fully booked (in fact, some of them were fully booked). In addition to this, a lot of the flights we were looking at were almost booked, and the prices were increasing.

We had just ordered our Save the Dates and put 3 large deposits down on the venue, planning, and catering. And we didn't do any hotel room blocks yet because we figured that we were sooo far out and we wanted our guests to have the option to stay wherever they wanted (without us having the financial burden of a minimum requirement).

So, as you can imagine: full freak-out. I was repeating to myself while whipping out my laptop on top of my just-made dinner, and clicking through the travel websites, "this can't be, something must be wrong, she's looking at the wrong date or wrong location". It was then that I confirmed my worst fear. The hotels and flights' availability that I had checked not even 2 months prior that were "totally fine", were no longer "totally fine". Everything was selling out QUICK. I called our wedding planner in a panic and immediately asked what the heck was going on during our wedding week. Did they just announce that Kim Kardashian was going to be here? Is there going to be a 2nd Olympics this year? How did I miss the goddamn memo? Apparently this particular location is very busy during this month because it is their biggest wedding surge of the year. FUN STUFF, right?

Long story short: Our wedding planner called every hotel in a 40 mile radius to see if we could get a room block, we didn't end up getting one, we (I*) considered pushing the wedding another year out to plan better and the possibility of losing our deposits and flights and hotels, etc., I cried in a ball on my living room floor, we contacted everyone before the Save the Dates got mailed out to warn them to book everything ASAP if they plan on coming, most people did, others said YOLO, we realized we can't act as a travel agent for 60 people's vacations, everyone survived. 

Thankfully, that was the only meltdown I had since we last spoke on this topic, but what a meltdown it was. So, if everything else could just go on smoothly from now until our wedding, that would be cool. K? But, really other than those stressful few days, the past 4 months have been absolute bliss. I guess the wedding planning Gods figured that they gave me enough of a heart attack with the travel debacle, so they're giving me a break... for now. 

The fun stuff:

Dress shopping - I wrote a full post about my experience with shopping for a wedding dress. It was definitely one of my favorite moments of being engaged so far. I spent the day with my Mom, future Mother-in-Law, and little sister in Georgetown, DC. We visited only 2 boutiques before I said "Yes" to my dream dress and we celebrated over lunch. The feeling of being in my wedding dress is unlike anything I've experienced before. I can truly say that it is the first time I've ever "felt" like a bride. I can't wait for you all to see it!

Mood boards - As a stylist, this should come as no surprise. Our wedding planner and I came up with a mood board for our wedding day and it embodies every emotion and experience that we want our guests to have. I also came up with a mood board for my bridesmaid dresses, and have been pulling the most beautiful inspiration for each category of the wedding design (ceremony space, tablescapes, reception, etc). I finally have an excuse to spend endless hours scrolling Pinterest - every stylists' dream!

Wedding website - Creating a wedding website has been like designing a second blog for me; it has been so much fun! I only wish that I could share it with all of you now. I have spent so many hours writing, adding content, and information, and just trying to make it as easy and exciting for our guests as we possibly can. 

On the list next: 

Finalizing our menu choices for the welcome party and wedding reception - I was hoping to have this done by now, but unfortunately our contact for catering has been a bit slow getting everything finalized. Sam and I chose some amazing foods and cocktails though that we really think will elevate our guests' experience and highlight the unique destination where we are getting married. 

Tackling our music playlist - We are asking my parents and his for 5 songs each that are meaningful to them to add and be played during our reception. We have added a few songs on our own so far and I feel like it has been easy to decide on slow, romantic songs, but we haven't had much luck with upbeat "dance" songs yet, so that's definitely next on the list. If you have any recommendations, feel free to comment on my latest Instagram post and help out!

Getting my dress altered - I have my dress, shoes, and veil already, but I need to start the process of actually getting my dress altered. I know it's silly, but I feel like I'm not in my "ideal" shape yet (#Winterbodyoverhere). I want my dress to fit absolutely seamlessly on the day, so I have been holding off until I get a little more toned from time in the gym. I am planning on going to a private seamstress that I know in my area, so I do have more time as opposed to having it done at a bridal boutique, but I'm still anxious to get the process started. 

Dance lessons - Soooo excited about this! Sam and I have wanted to take dance lessons for awhile now and although we aren't planning on doing some crazy, choreographed dance on our wedding day, we still want to practice the basics. Plus, can you imagine a more fun and romantic date night? 

Honeymoon planning - I am mostly leaving the honeymoon planning up to Sam. He is much better at making travel accommodations than I am and he doesn't get stressed out about it. Whenever we travel, I literally just go with the flow (which is very uncharacteristic of me in every other area of our life) and it's so much more relaxing than trying to be in control. I always tell him that I don't want to know what's going on - just put me in the car and I'll follow your lead. Ignorance is bliss in this case!

Currently feeling:

Our family's excitement and overwhelming support. It has been the most amazing feeling to know that both of our families are on board with our unconventional wedding choices. I can see the joy on our parents' faces every time they ask us about wedding planning or remind us of how close we are getting to the big day.

Hearing our Moms say how excited they are about our wedding and this family vacation all together makes every single thing worth it. It makes us realize that even though planning a destination wedding is quite a bit more challenging than the traditional route, it was undoubtedly the right decision for us as a couple. 

Most nervous about:

Finalizing all of the little details and day-of schedule. I feel like I keep telling friends and family that "everything's basically planned" when really I know that there are so many little things I am forgetting. I know that the travel to our wedding destination and the 2 days leading up to the wedding are going to be crazy busy, so I just want to stay calm, enjoy it, and soak it in the best that I can.

I'm also nervous about last minute costs that could break our budget. We have been doing so well with staying on track, but I've heard a lot of brides say that the little, unexpected things during the final month or last few days add up quick. 

Added to the Playlist: 

Overwhelmed - Tim Morris

The Wine We Drink - Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors

I Loved Her First - Heartland

Most recent purchase:

Wedding invitations! We ordered them from Minted (highly recommend) and put them in the mail late last week. They are so beautiful and I can't wait for everyone to see them! The design matches our mood board and aesthetic for the wedding so perfectly. 

*Marry Me Marabou Rose Gold Ballet Flats by Yosi Samra. Use my coupon code "ANNAS20" for 20% off your entire shopping cart (1 time use)! I ordered a size 8 because I am typically a 7.5 and they recommended to order a size up for best fit. The fluffy pink pom poms are even more gorgeous in person and I will definitely be putting them in my day-of bag (they are designed to fold) for the wedding for when my feet start to hurt!

Are any of you babes currently engaged and planning a wedding? Comment on my latest Instagram post and tell me what your favorite moment has been so far!

Need more wedding planning advice and content? Read What I Learned About Shopping for a Wedding Dress!

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xo Anna Elizabeth