A Year Before Our Wedding, Here's What I've Done

 This time next year, I'll be married. It doesn't seem real just yet.

Honestly, I don't think it will hit me until I'm walking down the aisle if I'm being honest. Or maybe even the day after? Haha

David and I have been dating for over 9 years, so as you can imagine, I've had plenty of time to think about our wedding. So much of my research happened prior to getting engaged. I knew that the proposal was coming sometime last year, so I started just researching venues and other wedding vendors to get a good idea of what things cost, what dates were available, and so on. 

David and I decided on a small, intimate wedding in Dahlonega, Georgia. We're keeping the guest list under to our immediate families and our closest friends. A couple factors came into play when deciding on keeping it small - price and COVID-19 were the two main factors. Weddings are expensive and the cost of having a 300-person guest list truthfully was not something that I could justify paying for or asking our families to pay for. Also, I don't know what the pandemic will look like next year and we do want to keep our loved ones safe. 

With all that said, here is what David and I have done so far with our wedding a year away.

Book the venue & date
This was the very first thing we booked and we actually only toured one. I had been eyeing this venue for a while and it was the one that I kept feeling drawn to and the one that David really liked when I showed it. The price also fit the budget. My dad went with us to tour it a couple weeks after we got engaged and we booked it that very day. 

As far as the wedding date goes, I knew that a winter wedding sounded magical and I had a few dates in mind, but our favorite date happened to be open, so we got it!

Talk to our families about finances
I'm so grateful that our families are helping with expenses, but I also wanted to be really reasonable when we had the money conversation. Keeping things easy was the most important thing for me, so David and I came prepared with a budget that worked for everyone. 

Research and decide on the budget
If I'm being honest, this was done before David even proposed. Again, David and I had been seriously talking about getting engaged because we were finally getting to a place where we could get married. I had absolutely zero idea on anything wedding-related and its costs, so I spent a couple months researching. 

Choose wedding colors
This was also really easy to decide. We talked about colors that we liked and I also looked at some decor ideas to get an idea of what would I liked. I also recommend ordering color swatches from wherever you're wanting your bridesmaids to get their dresses (we're using Azazie!) from because it helps you narrow down colors and also gives you an example to take if you need to match fabrics.

Estimate the guest count
I kind of talked about this earlier, but this is really, really important. I suggest doing this before you look at venues because you need to have a good idea on how many people you will invite. Not every venue can accommodate all guest counts.

Buy wedding dress
Yes, I already have my wedding dress! If you want to know where I got it from, just ask! I'm trying to keep it a secret from David. I'll take it to get alterations in a few months.

Book a wedding planner
Having a wedding planner is really important and something that I feel was really worth the money. Our planner, Margaret, is acting more of a day-of-coordinator, but we've already started working with her and knowing that there will be someone else there to handle things on the day of so that my mom, David's mom, my sister, David and I can just enjoy the day. 

Book the officiant
One of my best friend is ordained and she is actually a bridesmaid and our officiant! We'll be working together on a script and timeline for the ceremony.

Book hair and makeup artists
I did not plan to book either of these so far in advance, but they continued being recommended to me and their calendars were open to book, so I went ahead and got this taken care of! 

Book the photographer
I was really excited about this! I found Audrey a few months before I got engaged and just fell in love with her work. I showed David and he really liked her style, so as soon as we got engaged, I introduced myself and once she started booking for next year, we talked and officially booked her!

Create all save-the-dates, invites, and other stationery
I'm not a professional graphic designer, but I know enough that I actually created all of our save-the-dates, invitations, thank-yous and other stationery for our wedding. I'm really proud of how it all looks.

I think I covered just about everything. If you have any questions about vendors that I like in the Atlanta and north Georgia area, just let me know! I'd be happy to help you start your research by giving a few recommendations! 

What other wedding-related things do you want me to talk about here? Let me know!


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