Alright loves, I know I said I would get this Wedding Q&A up quickly, so I’m sorry for the delay! A few things came up that needed my attention, but better late than never, right?! In case you missed it, I posted a question box on my story a few weeks ago where you could submit any wedding related questions. Since I got so many responses, I decided to split them up. You can read my answers about engagement photos in this post – or keep reading for the rest. This post covers more of actual wedding planning, what our day will look like, organization, and more. And if you’re totally new around here, you can read all about our final postponement and venue change in this post! Now let’s get to it…
In what order did you book your vendors? First venue, then florals?
I think this order really depends on what is most important to you and what kind of budget you’re working with. For us, we really wanted to get married downtown (RIP to that idea 😭) and we had always dreamed about dancing to our favorite local band, Rod Tuffcurls and The Bench Press, on our big day. Because those were important to us, we looked at downtown venues first, booked Cafe Brauer (again, 😭😭) and then booked the band.
After that I moved on to floral/decor, catering, photographer, videographer, etc. I definitely recommend finding your venue first though, because some venues have approved vendor lists. You don’t want to get stuck with a caterer or florist that you aren’t allowed to use at the venue you love. Also, my wedding bundle has a planning timeline in there that is really helpful for staying on track with everything you need to do!
Have you said yes to the dress? Would love to know if you shopped at local Chicago places.
This question makes me laugh because we were supposed to get married in May 2020. I said yes to the dress SO long ago now! 😂 I got my dress from Alice in Ivory and I cannot speak highly enough about my experience with them. My sister kept saying I should make more appointments, but I just had a gut feeling that they would have my dress. After our first appointment, Jennie said “Yeah, we don’t need to go anywhere else.” We went back a few weeks later when my sister-in-law was in town and made the call! If you want more ideas for local places to shop, I also wrote a roundup all about the best bridal boutiques in Chicago that you can read here!
Any fun details you want to include because of new venue/season?
I actually had a call with our florist TODAY because we need to make a bunch of changes! An outdoor wedding at a country club is quite different from an indoor wedding in a historic ballroom. For example we had designed a gorgeous hanging piece that would be our altar for the ceremony and a statement piece above the long head table for the reception… but now that we’ll be outside, that has to go! Instead, we are looking at creating some sort of standing trellis/altar situation. I’ll be sure to share some more about that once we nail down a design. The peonies will also need to be changed to something else in season… stuff like that. I still feel a little overwhelmed about this topic, but everyone at Revel are such experts, so I know we’re in great hands!
Are you making a honeyfund? How do you explain that to older guests?
We registered at Zola which allows you to create “funds” that your guests can contribute to. This was a good route for us because older guests can buy us a physical gift if they would like, but there is also an option to contribute to our honeymoon fund or our condo updates fund, too. Best of both worlds!
How have you stayed organized wedding planning and rescheduling?
Umm… I haven’t always?! I tried to stick to my wedding planning timeline in my bundle at the begining. And then this post walks you through everything to consider when postponing if you’re in that boat. At this point, I feel a little all over the place though – mostly because I have to revisit so many things I already did the first time around. It’s a mix of not wanting to re-do things I’ve already done, but also feeling anxious that these new decisions won’t pan out again. The term “cautiously optimistic” has taken on a new meaning for me. Luckily, my Mom and sister have been incredibly helpful as I get back in the planning mode. I’m very lucky to have them!
Did you cut your guest list? If so, how did you tell people?
We ended up postponing for a 3rd time and changing venues so that we wouldn’t have to cut anyone. That being said, I wrote all about wedding postponement communications in this post – including what to say if you have to cut your list!
Are you asking your guests to be vaccinated or take a test before the wedding?
We are, but in an informal capacity. Because we still have 2+ more months to go, we know that the majority of our guests are already vaccinated, and the wedding will be outdoors now, I am not overly worried. That being said, I put a disclaimer on our RSVP page that says: “In an effort to keep all of our guests safe, we kindly ask anyone who is not fully vaccinated to wear a mask when going indoors and/or take a COVID rapid test prior to attending.” I think that is more than fair to ask.
Ways to save money/cut costs? Weddings are so expensive!
This is really tough because costs vary SO MUCH depending on where you’re located, day of the week, and what your priorities are! I think it’s really important to sit down with your fiance and anyone else who is helping pay for the wedding to discuss what is important to all of you and how much you have budgeted for this day.
Some venues have a lower fee as long as you use their in house caterer. Some caterers have less expensive family style meals or buffets instead of plated dinners. DJs are always less expensive than bands. When it comes to florals, adding lots of greenery and candles can help bring the cost down in a MAJOR way. I also think it’s lovely to support calligraphy artists and create really customized wedding suites, but those are exponentially more expensive than using a pre-made template. Maybe you don’t need to get wedding favors or a photo booth or customized signage everywhere either. It all just really depends on your budget and your vision for the day!
Likely getting engaged soon – what little aspects of wedding planning should I not worry about?
None of it 😂 Jk jk, I know I’m a little jaded right now – but since I already planned my dream wedding that we didn’t get to have, I just don’t really care about anything anymore beyond everyone having a good time. Are we going to get married? Will all of our favorite people be there to celebrate with us? Is everyone going to get fed? Will everyone be able to get a cocktail (or five) and dance the night away? GREAT. While there are still more decisions to be made, that’s truly all I actually care about at this point. That, and the weather… but unfortunately I can’t control that at all!
Do you have any bachelorette party/staycation ideas with a pool? What about bachelorette party theme ideas?
Honestly, I am not your girl for this – but I would start a thread in my Lake Shore Lady Community Group on Facebook because I bet they have some great ideas! My ideal bachelorette weekend was supposed to be in New York City in April 2020… but obviously that didn’t happen. I just wanted to frolick around the city with my best friends, go to some old favorite spots, and see a Broadway show. I’m still hoping to get back there sometime soon to do a few of those things. It just won’t be a full blown bachelorette weekend.
To make up for that, I went to Naples with two of my best friends a few weeks ago, I’m going to Lake Geneva with my sister and Mom for a few days of relaxation in July, and a boozy ladies-only brunch is in the works, too. I just couldn’t handle planning a whole weekend again, just on the off chance I’d have to cancel again. This plan isn’t as exciting, but I’m happy with it!
Gift ideas for bridesmaids?
I am still struggling with this one! I bought robes for them a million years ago… but beyond that, I don’t know! I’ve been thinking about maybe paying for their hair and makeup as the gift, but I also like the idea of getting them a simple piece of jewelry that they can wear often. My sister-in-law got us clutches that I still use all the time, so I like that idea too. I don’t know!
Gift ideas for your parents who are paying for/helping pay for the wedding?
Both of my siblings got my parents a photo book of wedding photos, which I plan on doing too. Instead of duplicating whatever they chose as a couple, they customized the book to reflect what my parents would want to remember from that day. For example, all of the major moments, plus more photos of them, especially of them with their family members and friends. Obviously, you have to wait until you get your wedding photos back to make this though. In the meantime, I think getting them a gift card for dinner at their favorite restaurant is a nice gesture!
Are you doing a seating chart or letting guests choose? Whats your perspective?
SEATING CHART ALL THE WAY. I think open seating is really confusing – plus, I want a FAST dinner service so we can get to dancing. That’s always been important to me! Regardless of if you want to speed through dinner like me or not, I still think assigning tables is nice. Weddings can be a little uncomfortable if you don’t know a lot of people. But knowing that you have to go to Table 9 avoids any of those awkward “who should I sit with?” feelings.
What speeches will you have at the wedding vs rehearsal dinner?
The only speeches at our wedding will be from my Dad, my Maid of Honor, and Adam’s Best Man. As for the rehearsal dinner, we haven’t gotten there yet! I wouldn’t be surprised if a few members of our wedding party said a few words though!
Is Luna invited?
I think Adam is still sad about this, but no, Luna is not invited. She will have her own amazing weekend with my parent’s dog (her bestie!) and a dog sitter – I promise!
Best way to support and celebrate friends getting married soon?
Just be excited for them! If your friends had to postpone like us, it’s likely that they have had to deal with a lot of their own feelings – not to mention, the opinions and judgements of others. So now that it’s actually happen, just be excited for them! Tell them you can’t wait, tell them everything will be perfect, ask if there’s any way you can help, stuff like that!
Also, if any of their new plans are less convenient for you… just don’t tell them 😂 For example, I know that our new plan of taking photos downtown but getting married out in the burbs isn’t ideal. It will be an early start, it’s a lot of driving, etc. But if we could have had our original wedding, it wouldn’t have been this way. This just is what it is now. Moral of the story: know that they probably had to compromise a lot, so if you wish everything was easier, it’s likely they do too!