You may find Part I here!
The following topics will be covered in this post:
- The Proposal & Ring Questions
- Planning & Budget Questions
- Reflective Questions
- Honeymoon Questions
The Proposal & Ring Questions
Did you know Ryan was planning on proposing? Did you discuss it ahead of time?
I had absolutely no clue that Ryan was planning on proposing. Though we had obviously talked about the future and marriage before, the last time we seriously discussed getting married, I told him I wasn’t ready. Apparently Ryan sensed something change and without us ever talking about getting engaged, bought a ring, asked my parents’ permission and proposed! I was totally blindsided and totally ecstatic!
Did you tell Ryan what kind of ring you wanted?
I never told Ryan what kind of ring I wanted, but he remembered me talking with some of my girlfriends years ago about how much I loved the Lucida ring from Tiffany’s. He designed my ring after the Lucida ring, but made the band thinner, which I liked a lot since I have small fingers (size 4.5 which is apparently “freakish”). Though he picked out my engagement ring on his own, we selected our wedding bands together.
How did you announce your engagement to your family and friends?
Ryan surprised me by having my family and his family meet us for a private dinner at Houston’s restaurant in Winter Park, Florida, so they all knew I said yes about 40 minutes after he proposed! I called my best girlfriends that night and called additional close friends the next day.
Planning & Budget Questions
What’s your best tip for keeping balance in your life and staying calm during the process?
Never forget the purpose behind the day. It’s so easy to get caught up in every last detail of wedding planning. I tried my best to keep my eyes on the prize and told myself that no matter what, the day would be amazing because of the reason behind it. Between working full-time, maintaining this blog and having any sort of a social life, it would’ve been easy for me to feel super stressed, but Ryan and I tackled all of the most important decisions early on (choosing the venue and booking our vendors), so as the wedding day approached, we only had to worry about the little things that popped up like creating our menu and programs, making the cookie bar, purchasing gifts for our bridesmaids/groomsmen, etc. I also really depended on help from my mom and sister. When I finally recognized that people close to me genuinely wanted to help, it became easier to rely on them and took a lot of the stress off of me.
I actually published a post about the things I wanted to remember on our wedding day which really helped me keep my head in the right place 10 days before our wedding.
What are some of your best money saving tips? What aspects of your wedding did you feel were worth splurging on and what areas did you feel were good areas to save money?
My number one money saving tip is to figure out what is most important to you early on and budget accordingly. Be willing to cut back in other areas so you are able to spend more money on the aspects of your wedding that you feel are most important. Right off the bat, Ryan and I knew that we wanted good food, an open bar, a nice venue and a great photographer. We were willing to save money on the florist, our attire, invitations and favors.
When we created our budget, we made sure to allocate the majority of our money to the areas we felt were most important. Also, don’t be afraid of “do it yourself” projects. We saved a ton of money (literally hundreds of dollars) by making our menus, programs, invitations and save the dates ourselves.
How did you decide who would make the “wedding guest list” cut?
Ryan and I both created separate lists of people who we put on one big “must invite” list. These people were “non-negotiables” like family members, best friends, etc. We then asked our parents to provide us with a list of people they wanted to receive invitations and discussed the importance of including these people with them. Then Ryan and I created a “would like to invite” list. We were able to add people from our “would like to invite list” to our official guest list after we saved a bunch of money on our wedding invitations and went under budget with my wedding dress. Creating a guest list is difficult, but people understand that you have a budget and cannot invite everyone.
Did you hire a coordinator to work with you throughout the weekend? If not, how did you handle the set up and clean up of your ceremony and reception? Who told people when to walk during the ceremony?
No, we did not hire a coordinator. However, we were lucky in that the hotel where we held the wedding (the Vinoy) provided a catering manager who worked with our vendors to make sure everything was set up and cleaned up correctly. She was also the person who told us when to walk down the aisle. Additionally, I provided pictures of how I wanted specific things to look with details for the catering manager to follow. We cleaned up the cookie bar and other things we brought into the reception site, but the Vinoy handled the cleanup of the food and tables.
Was your dinner served buffet-style or sit-down and why did you choose to do it that way?
We had a sit-down dinner at our wedding. Both Ryan and I wanted this from the start, but were open to buffet-style since we thought that might be less expensive. At our venue, it was actually more expensive to offer a buffet dinner because the Vinoy explained that they have to prepare extra portions since many guests will take more than one portion of certain items. We mainly chose to do a sit-down dinner based on the fact that we thought it was more intimate.
I remember you said you printed your own invitations. I am trying to save money on this part of the wedding… Can you go over the program you used to do this, and where you had them printed?
Ryan and I agreed that we didn’t want to allocate a lot of our budget to our invitations. I don’t remember any of the invitations I’ve received to weddings and we wanted to save our money for other areas of our wedding that were more important to us. We used a box set of invitations that my mom and I purchased from Michael’s and printed them using my parents’ printer. We also made our own Save the Dates by using a template from The Wedding Chicks website. We printed them at Staples.
How important did you think the selection of a DJ is in planning a wedding?
I think the selection of a band/DJ is extremely important. We wanted our DJ to be the person who kept the night rolling without taking over or seeming too “over the top” or invasive. I didn’t want the kind of DJ who yells out stuff like “C’mon, everybody! Get on the dance floor!” I wanted people to want to dance due to the awesome music and energetic atmosphere and that’s exactly what happened. We gave our DJ a timeline of the evening so he knew when to announce that it was time for speeches, first dances, the cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc. I highly recommend our DJ, Jeff Staples, to anyone in the Tampa Bay area. He was amazing!
What you would have told yourself a few months ago now that your wedding is over?
- Logistically: if I could go back I would have met with the catering manager of the Vinoy one more time to avoid confusion over where I was supposed to get ready with my bridesmaids on the day of the wedding. Since I got sick on the Thursday before our wedding, I wasn’t able to sit down with her one last time and I wish I had the opportunity to do so.
- Personally: I would’ve done my own make up. I don’t wear a ton of makeup as it is but I think I felt like I had to have the help of a professional on my wedding day. I wish I would’ve done my own to alleviate the stress I felt once my makeup was done. I felt a little “off” after looking in the mirror and basically “re-did” my makeup myself.
- Emotionally: I wouldn’t tell myself anything different. I felt like I was completely in the moment throughout the ceremony and the reception and I loved every minute. It was such an incredible day!
How in the heck did you decide on a honeymoon destination?
This was honestly the hardest decision related to wedding planning for me and Ryan (which is probably why we were so bummed when our honeymoon was canceled due to a hurricane). We selected St. Lucia after doing a lot of research. We wanted a location that was tropical, not too far from Florida by plane and had a lot of adventurous things to do. We felt like St. Lucia offered all of these options.
I know you and Ryan had a honeymoon planned to St. Lucia. Where were you guys going to stay before the weather dilemma? Do you all plan to go back?
We were going to stay at the Anse Chastanet. The pictures on their website are truly breathtaking and the reviews we read about the resort were amazing. We hope to finally visit the resort on our one-year anniversary.
You may read about our totally last-minute honeymoon here: