I’m gonna stop saying “it’s been awhile” because, well, I just never have time to write.
But today I am making time.
I hope you are staying inside as much as you can and staying healthy!! This has been a crazy week… I will be the first to say, I did not take COVID-19 as seriously as I should have a few weeks ago. This has been a devastating few days as I have realized the implications of COVID-19.
Before I say what I want to say, I need to give a quick update…
Due to the unforseen circumstances of COVID-19, Noah and I have made the choice to postpone our wedding until May 24th. It was no easy decision, but God has been in it the whole time. We hope to make a video soon to explain everything and share our testimony with you.
Okay well now that's over, and we can get to what I actually wanted to say!! Noah and I got engaged in late July of 2019, and we hit the ground running. While we started planning, we took to heart a few pieces of advice from others, and I wanted to share this with other brides!! Please know that this is just what I have learned, and only you know what’s best for your wedding! Okay… let’s get to it!!
1. Setting aside money
Okay this is a tough one! Since Noah and I won’t be living together until after we are married, and neither one of us pays rent (thanks mom and dad), we decided to make our wedding fund our “rent” payment. Here's how this works…
We estimated that we would pay around $1,000 a month for rent when we got married, so we opened a seperate account under Noah’s bank (since we would eventually use his bank for our joint account) and we each put $500 a month in there, and more if we could afford it. Any monetary gifts we got, we put into the wedding fund.
After signing our lease (don’t worry, we’re still not living together till marriage #purityrocks), we decided to put between $1,100-$1,200 in there a month on the first of the month, which is when our rent will be due.
This has set up good habits for Noah and I and helped us set a realistic budget for the wedding. I encourage every bride to do this!! It’s been hands down the best choice Noah and I have made about the wedding!!
2. Making a budget
Call me crazy, but I created a rough budget the night we got engaged. Looking back… I was a little crazy and I wish I had taken just a little bit of time to enjoy the first week of being engaged.
Regardless, I created a budget. In this budget, I listed everything I thought we would spend money on for the wedding (pretty sure I just googled categories, so fancy, I know). After creating the categories and items I thought I would need, I made a row at the bottom of all of my totals (Estimated total, Actual spent total, Scibanas total, Browns total, Other gifts total).
The reason why this was so helpful is because you don’t realize how expensive everything is until you’re knee deep. If you have a set budget, it makes knowing how much you can spend easier. For example, we looked at our budget and decided we were way over in some areas, so we cut out things that were not as important to us. I’ve attached our budget at the bottom of this blog.
Brides, please make a solid budget. You will save yourself so much stress in the long run if you keep a really close eye on your money and document every little penny that is spent. Yes, including your etsy cake topper and stamps and the $20 you spent on ordering extra invites. I know I seem crazy, but it’s so helpful!! Also, if you need a template to start ya off, I will send you mine!!! Gals help gals, am I right??
3. Pick the 3 big ticket items that are most important to you, and plan around that
I’m sure that this is on every single wedding website ever, but for good reason. Noah and I decided that the venue, photographer and wedding attire was most important to us. So we splurged there. But here’s how much God loves us. We budgeted $1,500 for my dress (including the gift we got from my nanny to help pay for my dress), and my wedding dress was $200. Yep you read that right. We also booked these things first. The very first thing was our venue, then photographer and then my dress and then Noah’s suit.
Important on this: Do not confuse what’s important to other people and what's important to you. I had a ton of people tell me I should care more about my cake or flowers or decorations or whatever, but we stuck to what we wanted and because of that, we are having the wedding we’ve dreamed of and I am so thankful.
4. Pick 3 people whose advice you will take
Oh Lord… Sweet pickles y’all this one was HUGE. I had never ever thought about this until my youth pastor told Noah and I. He said, “Pick 2 or 3 people who you will take their advice to heart. Let everything else roll off.”
Let me tell you gals, when you get engaged, suddenly everyone, their mom and their distant 5th cousin twice removed has an opinion. You will lose your mind if you take to heart everything that everyone says. Truthfully, only you and Jesus are going to know what's best for your wedding, so pick a few people that you trust their character, their financial choices and their spiritual walk and take to heart what they say and the warnings they give you. Taking this advice has saved me a headache and a half while planning my wedding.
THIS BEING SAID- you do not have to be rude to your people who are trying to help you. Most people mean well, so listen, and let it roll off. OR ask the Lord if you need to take to heart what they said. NEVER be too prideful to hear from the Lord
Okay, sorry, I’ll stop.
5. Date Night
Planning is really fun at first, and then it’s not. The last 2 months of wedding planning have been a nightmare (but praise God, we have an extra month to pull things together so I’m less stressed wahoo!!). Plan at least one date night every week or two to have a date where you don’t talk about the wedding. Don’t forget the most important part of the wedding: marriage. I am preparing to be Noah’s wife for the rest of our lives. We need to stay friends and stay dating. Your whole life can’t go on hold just because you are planning a wedding. So keep getting to know your future spouse. This is a precious season that you’ll never experience again. So take it in.
And on that note, be kind to your spouse. Tension is high during wedding planning and I wish I could say that I’ve been perfectly calm with Noah… but I’m human and I haven’t lol.
Make it a point to compliment your spouse. Make sure they know that you are excited to marry them. Tell them how thankful you are that they are working so hard to support you guys. It means 10x more than you know to your future spouse. Chances are, you will do most of the wedding planning and the temptation to say “you never help with anything!” will be STRONG. But be kind and be thankful for the part they are playing in helping plan.
For example, right now, Noah is working more than I am so that I can be more committed to my church and do what I want to there while also planning our wedding and honeymoon. He may not be helping me plan all that much, but he's working his tail off so that I don’t have to in this season and I am SO THANKFUL (love you boo hehe).
6. DO NOT GO INTO DEBT!!!!
Truthfully, I didn’t know this was super common and this really goes back to the first point, but do not go into debt for your wedding or honeymoon. Sacrifice now with your spending money to have a realistic wedding that you want without going into debt. I am so proud to say that Noah and I have paid for nearly our whole wedding and honeymoon without going into any more debt!! This takes off so much stress honestly. It can be so tempting to go into debt to have what you want and the best of everything, but it’s not worth it. Stay out of debt people!!
7. Last and most important… pray.
Planning this wedding has been a faith tester and a faith builder because we have prayed our way through it. Every time we got stressed about not having the money, we prayed and God provided. The wedding is important, but God is more important. This is a really unique chance to have a testimony of how God provided for your every need. There were several times during this process where people gifted us their services at no cost, gifted us things for our apartment and gave us money to pay for the wedding. We boldly asked God to do what only He can do, and He did.
We have a testimony like no other because we have needed to trust God like no other during this time. He is amazing and He loves us and we are so thankful to serve such a wonderful God!!! Thank you Jesus!!
I want to take a moment to thank my bridesmaids, Noah's groomsmen, our church staff, the summermoon staff, our church family and friends. You have played more of a part in all of this than you will ever know. Noah and I are so thankful and we couldn’t do this without you. You have held our arms, prayed for us and celebrated us like we don’t deserve. There’s no way we could adequately thank you for how you’ve loved us. Thank you.
Brides, I hope this was helpful!! If it was, share it with a friend who may need to hear it!
Till next time, peace out squirrel scouts.
wife // local kids pastor // mama to my heaven boy + my rainbow girl