In defense of planning your wedding before you’re engaged:
Betsy and her now husband Tim began planning before they were officially engaged. Today Betsy shares their reason for doing so and how it affected their planning in a positive way, and set the tone for a stress-free planning experience.
So, why did you decide to start planning before you were engaged?
The truth is that we decided to plan it together without telling people for two reasons:
1) We’d been running businesses together and had joint finances for years. A surprise engagement didn’t really make sense for us. How do you surprise a girl with a ring when she’s the one who sets your “family” budget? Plus we make all of the other decisions in our life together, shouldn’t the biggest one be made together too?
2) We’re some of the last of our friends to get married and we watched weddings where the family made planning a living nightmare. We didn’t want our wedding to be colored by family drama. So we planned it all then just invited people to come enjoy it. We gave our moms the job of creating slideshows, his aunt and cousin helped me decorate and my step-mom helped with my bacherlorette party.
How did you go about planning before the engagement?
It took us over a year to figure out what we wanted for our wedding. I priced out everything from an intimate 80 person dinner downtown to a destination wedding with 30 friends to a 200+ person Oktoberfest tented party on my husband’s parent’s land. Like many couples, we struggled over how much it was going to cost and the size of our guest list. We weighed how important it was to have all of the extended family there and how many friends we wanted. We had enough different opinions between the two of us to rule out all options at one point or another. I got excited about each and every idea. I’m a person who likes to share my excitement and had we been engaged already I would have towed my mom and girlfriends up and down the roller coaster ride of each idea’s rise and eventual demise. We’re glad we were able to hash it out between the two of us before we invited other opinions into the conversation. We, like most families I’d assume, have at least a few relatives who have loud opinions about many things. We figured people couldn’t have opinion about things they don’t know about yet. We still tried very hard to consider other people opinions. Most of our conversations included sentences like, “Well, your mom doesn’t like too much sun” or “Of course we have to invite all of the cousins.” We felt that planning the wedding ourselves saved our relationships with our families.
Since you planned the wedding before you got engaged, when did you decide to make it official?
We signed the contract with our wedding venue the day we ordered my engagement ring. Then I waited very impatiently for a month for the ring and the engagement to be official. I knew it was coming but didn’t know when Tim would actually propose. It was the best of mix of planning together and surprise. While I waited for it to be official we kept planning. By the time we officially were engaged, we’d signed contracts with our venue who was also our caterer, our photographer and our band. We’ve been planning our lives together for the past five years so it made sense to plan our engagement and wedding together too.
What was the best part of planning your wedding on a simple scale?
By planning it first and then telling people about it we were able to invite people to be part of our day in ways that we needed and that we thought would be meaningful. When made our final choice to have our wedding at HotelRed we offered people options of how they could help, if they wanted to, instead of having feeling guilty or obligated to accept help that we didn’t want or need.
For us planning our wedding before we were officially engaged meant that we got to spend our engagement celebrating instead stressing out. Our engagement was about parties and food selection rather than budgets. Some couples may still crave the rush of a surprise engagement but for us that trade off was worth it.
And what a beautiful wedding it was! We’ll be sharing Betsy and Tim’s gallery very soon. You don’t want to miss it!
Tell us: When did you officially start wedding planning? Share your story in the comments section!