Shannon and Ben part 2: making budgets and savoring the engagement

A few weeks ago we introduced to you to our 2019 Couple of the Year, Shannon and Ben. Today, this fun-loving couple starts their new series with us by sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of planning a wedding! This first installment of their wedding diary is all about wedding budgets and getting engaged. Not to give it away… but they’re both harder than you might think!

” Once you start telling people that you’re engaged, you need to be ready for the engagement press conference questions: How did it happen? Were you surprised? Where did it happen? Who was there? Who knows? What state do you think you’re getting married in? Do you already have a venue in mind? What time of the year are you thinking of? Do you already have a date? Do you think you guys will have kids right away? These are all legit questions we had to answer just hours after getting engaged.

While I (Shannon) loved the amount of thought and effort that Ben and my parents put into our engagement, having my family there for that moment definitely impacted the way we went about informing people of our engagement. My Mom was so excited (rightfully so) that I wasn’t sure how long she could keep things under wraps for, and obviously we wanted to be the ones to share our good news. So, we immediately called and texted everyone on both sides of the family, as well as any friends who we anticipated on inviting to the wedding. This didn’t leave us much time to just appreciate the fact that this new and exciting thing was happening in our lives.

Coming out of the chaos of telling everyone about our engagement, we decided to hold off on doing any real planning until after the holidays. This was probably my favorite time during our engagement because we got to enjoy the new status we now held within each other’s lives without worrying about everything else that comes with a wedding. Come January 2nd though, the stress and confusion on how to even begin planning a wedding started to settle in.

Your wedding budget basically drives every decision you’re going to make and it’s one of the most awkward parts of planning. Are you paying for it yourselves? Or will you reach out to the parents and see if they will help out?

We knew off the bat that we were going to have a huge wedding, mostly due to the fact that I have a large family. I wouldn’t have enjoyed our wedding as much if all my aunts, uncles, and cousins weren’t invited. The more bodies you have present, the more money you’re going to spend; more food, more booze, more centerpieces, more party favors, more trips for the shuttles, more invitations, etc. The list goes on.

The way we approached the budget conversation was by having separate discussions with our respective parents, asking the question “what are you comfortable with contributing?” and going from there. After those discussions, we sat down and tried to figure out what we could afford – both our ideal and our max.

Unfortunately, the dreaded budget topic is something that never really leaves you. You constantly have to refer back to your original budget, compare budget to actual costs, and (frequently) revise your budget to account for things you weren’t anticipating or your priorities change. If you are lucky enough to receive help from parents, the biggest piece of advice I can give on budgets is be as upfront as possible at the beginning (that goes for both the bride/groom and the parents). This will help manage expectations on all fronts and hopefully make it easier to stay on budget throughout the planning process.

Once this least fun part about wedding planning is done, it’s time for some fun stuff, like when are you getting married? Sometimes knowing where and when you want to get married can be difficult, since there are so many factors to take into consideration. Luckily for us, this was one of the easiest parts of the planning process. We wanted an early summer wedding for a number of reasons.

We’re big on reasons to celebrate, so we wanted our wedding anniversary to occur at a time of the year where no other holidays / special event would interfere. My (Shannon’s) birthday is in March and Ben’s is in September; once you add in holidays like Christmas, 4th of July, Valentine’s day, etc. that basically left early summer. This will hopefully permit us to travel in the future to celebrate our anniversary or, at the very least, this will just give us another excuse to get dressed up and have a nice dinner out.

Also, let’s be honest. Everyone looks better with a tan but no one wants to be sweating through their dress/suit before the wedding has even kicked off. Mid-June will hopefully allow for the perfect balance of you’ve “gotten some sun” but you’re not “melting” during the ceremony/reception.

In the next blog, we’ll share more on the venue selection process, as well as everything on guest lists and how to deal. Looking forward to sharing more with you soon! “

 – The Future Holts

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