When Joe and I got engaged, I was one of those people that wanted to bask in the glow of being engaged for months. And when I say months, I mean if anyone so much as started to ask me anything about our wedding or wedding planning, I would immediately shut them down and change the subject. I didn’t want to hear any of it.
Eventually, of course, that changed, and Joe and I started to discuss our hopes and dreams for the wedding, beginning to formulate a plan. This is the story of how we got there.
Where? Finding a Location
Deciding where to get married was probably the easiest decision we made. We both live in Dallas, my family is in Texas, and Joe’s family owns a house in Texas so they’re here frequently. Most of our friends live in Dallas, too. It’s where we’ve made our home, so Dallas was always the first choice. It wasn’t the only choice, however: we did float the idea of getting married in Destin (the vacation spot we frequent, where my aunt and uncle own a condo) on the beach. We also briefly considered a destination wedding somewhere else, like Cancun. In the end, though, our hearts and our heads said Dallas, to make for easier planning and allowed for the most people to attend.
When? Choosing the Date
The decision that plagued us the most in the beginning was when to have this wedding. We knew we wanted to be engaged for at least a year, to give us enough time to plan, and give our guests who had to travel far (like one of my MOHs coming from Scotland) enough time to plan ahead. We also knew Summer would be a huge part of the wedding, and so I wanted to give her enough breathing room on the bookends of her research trips, because she had originally planned to be in Edinburgh (yes, where my other MOH lives! What are the odds?!) from January to July of 2019. Those were our major parameters to go off of.
Summer immediately started pushing for a NYE wedding—find out why in her post about initial wedding decisions! I was enamored with the idea of a NYE wedding, but I did realize it would probably be more expensive because it was a holiday wedding. Joe was firmly against a holiday wedding, because he didn’t want it to pose a challenge for our loved one’s schedules. So NYE, and any other major holiday, was out.
That left us with August through the first half of December of 2019 to choose from. As much as the numbers nerd in me appreciates even-numbered years, especially such a good round number as 2020, I didn’t want to encroach into 2020 because I was ready to be married and had a feeling I would hate wedding planning—I wanted to be engaged for a little over a year and then be married.
August was an ideal month because it was low season, meaning prices might be cheaper. But Joe HATED the idea of an August wedding. It would be too hot. I agreed, but I didn’t exactly want a fall wedding either. So this left the month of September. Maybe. I wasn’t really sold on September, either, so we went against our original plan and started toying with the idea of a spring/summer 2020 wedding. We went on a trip to Edinburgh in July 2018 to meet up with Summer and Travis and some of our other friends, and our wedding was the topic of conversation about 40% of the time. It was so hard for me to settle on an ideal date because I wanted whatever date we chose to be inherently *special*, you know? (Of course, I realized later than any date we chose would then become inherently special because it’s the date we picked to get married, but in the beginning I wanted to pick it for a reason.)
On one of our last nights in Edinburgh, Joe, Summer, Travis, and I went on a pub crawl. It was possibly the best pub crawl I’ve ever been on, rivaling that of my bachelorette party. The third or fourth stop was Three Sisters, a bar we loved to frequent that had karaoke that night. We got in line for karaoke, and while we were waiting for our turn, a fellow pub-crawler started singing September by Earth, Wind, and Fire. Summer and I seemed to have the same thought at the exact same time: what if we got married on September 21, the date from the song? Is it a Saturday in 2019? We didn’t even have to say those words out loud before I’m pulling out my phone to check if it’s a Saturday. And it was. I’m in the middle of creating a calendar event for it when Joe’s name is called and it’s our time to shine in karaoke. We sing Ed Sheeran’s Castle On The Hill at the top of our lungs. It’s one of those moments I hope to remember forever: the excitement of things to come, and the happiness of that moment in that bar in Edinburgh.
Who? The Guest List
Joe and I are huge extroverts. We make friends everywhere we go, and as a result we wanted to invite everyone we had ever met to this wedding. I’m not kidding: to create his half of the guest list, Joe literally pulled out his Facebook friends list and went person by person, deciding if they should be invited. I took a different approach: if I hadn’t talked to them in the last 6 months, or I couldn’t think of them from the top of my head, they didn’t make the list. Overall, we ended up with about 250 people on the A list, and 50-60 people on our B and C lists. While the number fluctuated a bit during planning, a guest count of 200-250 was what we went with while venue shopping and booking the rest of our vendors!
What? Our Vibe
Figuring out our vibe for the day was something I struggled with so much. I was so bad at articulating what I wanted, or even formulating that idea. I wasn’t the girl that has planned her wedding out on multiple vision or Pinterest boards since I was a little girl. Joe and I knew we wanted to have a really fun party, where we enjoyed ourselves and had all of our loved ones in the same place. That correlated to an open bar and a bangin’ DJ. That was about all we knew.
We went to a lot of weddings during the summer I got engaged, so I started taking notes about what I did or did not want for our wedding. That helped me refine the vibe we wanted. I also joined The Bridechilla Community Facebook group, where I was able to read posts casually as they appeared on my Facebook feed. This was super helpful because people were bringing up things I had never even thought about—I got to passively read about others’ wedding planning challenges, and made mental notes about mistakes or pitfalls I wanted to avoid.
In the end, our wedding had an urban, industrial vibe (largely due to the venue we chose) with some glitter and glam. It took a while for us to land at that vibe, and I didn’t lean all the way into it until I bought a huge, gorgeous, glitzy wedding dress that I never imagined myself wanting. But I’m so happy with the choices we made and the vibe we landed on.
Click here to learn more about Summer’s initial wedding plans, and stay tuned for venue shopping from each of our perspectives!