Wedding planning 411 – Getting Started

Disclaimer: This is just what worked for us, and it may not be the best solution or steps for you!

One of the things you have asked for on Instagram is for more wedding contents so that is something I am really working on! One things I thought would be helpful is how we got started wedding planning and some things I have learned so far. Both from my experience planning my own and previously working for a wedding planner.

We are officially less than 5 months out from what I know will be the best day but that doesn’t mean it has been all sunshine and roses in the planning process so far.

First, we are planning a destination wedding so that comes with its own sets of problems, especially during a global pandemic. So I will start with the basic advice on how we got started.

  1. Browse Pinterest, Bridal Magazines, and Instagram to get a vision. This will also help you decide on a realistic budget.
  2. Try to set an initial budget but make it flexible. Until you get deeper into planning you don’t realize how expensive it can be. We tried to set a budget for each category and stick as close as we could to it.
  3. Make a priority list: list all of the things that are non-negotiable for you. For me it was having a photographer and videographer I loved. I knew that to get those two things, other aspects of the budget may have to get cut.
  4. Decide when & where you want to get married. Remember if there are certain aspects at the top of your priority list, but you are unsure if they fit in your budget you can work around that by trying to pick a month to get married that isn’t a ‘peak’ month, getting married on a Friday or Sunday rather than Saturday etc.
  5. Photographer / Vendors: Once we knew the location and month we wanted to get married, the first thing we did was reach out to the photographer we wanted to check her availability. Since we were a little flexible on the date, we wanted to make sure the vendors we 100% wanted could make the date work which is how we ended up with a Sunday.
  6. Venue: From there, we contacted the venue and started working with them to solidify things. This is where our process will likely be very different than most. We had visited our destination many times and had known for more than a year the venue we wanted to get married at and due to Covid we couldn’t visit so we had to make a decision. Normally you would want to go to your venues.
  7. Wedding Coordinator: Originally, we did not think we would have a wedding planner other than for the day of. I highly highly recommend you at least invest in an day-of/month-of coordinator. It will take so much stress off of you knowing everything is being handled. We ended up talking to a few and fell in love with a local wedding planner named Melinda. She fit right in our budget and is very talented. She has already taken so much stress, pressure, and time away from us.
  8. Wedding Dress: Because my wedding was only 7-8 months away we knew getting a dress had to be a top priority. With Covid, getting vendors as well as a dress could be difficult, especially with rescheduled brides. So we immediately set a few appointments knowing we probably had a week or two max to get one ordered if we wanted to have time for alternations. I ended up finding the one and I will spill more of those details in a future bog post!

If you made it here THANK YOU!! I will do a follow up post with more information and details but I didn’t want this one to get overwhelming. If you are a bride and have questions or other advice please please leave it in the comments! Again this is just what worked for us and where we stared and may not be for everyone.

Our Proposal Story

Buckle Up! This is a long one, but I am so excited to finally get it out in writing for you!

Photos by A.W. Photography

Writing this post, even months later, is still a pinch me moment! One of the first times in college Russ and I hung out, we were Kayaking with friends. Two of our friend were poking fun at each other and Russ and I kept making eye contact. I remember looking up and him smiling at me and I said to myself wow, I think I am going to marry him some day. 6 years and 10 days after our official first date, he popped the question!

Russell knew that the only way to get me someplace dress up, hair and makeup done, in an outfit I loved was to stage a photoshoot. I had been wanting to get Christmas card photos done with Ryder so at first when my best friend Ashley reached out to me about swapping photos, I didn’t think anything of it other than I was excited. She was sending me tons of outfit inspo picks and making sure I was wearing a pretty dress (instead of my usual jeans and a sweater) so I started getting a tiny bit suspicious. That weekend at brunch, I confronted her about it (one thing you will learn about me is I am super blunt). Ashely, Amanda, and Rachel three of my best friends were all quick to assure me, multiple times over the next two weeks, that if he was doing it was a total surprise to them. In fact they even acted mad that they didn’t know. So I totally believed them.

Fast forward to that day, Russ was acting like it was just a normal day. We grabbed breakfast and Starbucks, watched football, and hung out. He paid extra close attention to getting ready and (all girls know this struggle) encouraged me to wash my hair when I said I think I would just leave it as is and curl it ;). I felt so pretty as we left the house and was still a tad suspicious but really tried to not get my hopes up. About five minutes in to taking the pictures, I felt like I had been wrong it wasn’t happening or it would have because he took Ryder back to the car for some pictures with just us two, he had no ring box anywhere I could see, and you know ladies all the ‘signs’ you look for.

Ashley suggested we do a pose that is one I usually hate, so even in the photos I did not look totally ready. I was expecting him to run, pick me up, and spin me around so I was braced for impact haha. That is when he told me to turn around. I immediately blacked out. It took me a couple of minutes to even take the ring because I was so in shock and so filled with joy that I would get to marry this man!

After several more pictures, we made arrangements to meet Ashley at a local bar for a celebration drink. As we pulled up I saw a couple of my friends cars and figured it was an engagement party! I was shocked when none of our family was there but I was so excited to see some of my closest friends and celebrate. We decided to go over to another local restaurant for dinner but didn’t think much of it. As we walked into the restaurant, I made eye contact with my dad and future dad-in-law and didn’t even recognize them. I was shocked and burst into tears when I walked into the room and found all of Russell and I’s family and my best friend Rachel there. It was the most surreal moment of my life and one I will never forget!

Kansas City Travel Guide

Shop Look #1: Bag (similar – exact sold out) // black jeans // Mules // Oversized Button Down

Shop bottom look: Cropped Boyfriend Jeans // Similar Jeans – Exact Sold Out // Mules // Similar Crop sweatshirt (sold in store @ Nordstrom – not available online)

A couple of weekends ago, Russ and I took a super fun weekend trip up to Kansas City. A lot of people asked us “Why KC”. When I lived in Kansas we visited KC all of the time! I loved everything about it. As I got older, the desire to be there and explore only grew. Kansas City is now a big city that still feels small. There are so many sights, sounds, shops, and eats in Kansas City. Its so hard to do a trip in just a couple of days but it was plenty of time to fall in love with the city and a few of the places there. Russ and I have narrowed it down to our top picks in this fun weekend getaway guide to Kansas City.

Local Eats

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There is a large restaurant scene in Kansas City, and it can be difficult to keep track of all of the recommendation and restaurants you pass by.

For KC BBQ you have to try Q39. This is an amazing BBQ restaurant with so many great options that you won’t find at your typical bbq places. We suggest starting off with the onion strings. They are thin, crispy, spicy, and delicious. The plate is piled high and it comes with an amazing dipping sauce. The main courses were even tastier. Our awesome bartender talked me into their Burnt Ends sandwich and it was to die for. Russell had a sandwich with three different means and he loved it. This was such a fun and trendy BBQ place, we can’t wait to go back!

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For great pizza try Chiusano’s Brick Oven Pizzeria at Legends Outlet Mall. The Pizza is amazing, the atmosphere is cute and quaint, and the price is just right. Russell and I split the best brick oven pizza we have ever had. It is the perfect opportunity to eat Italian food in Kansas City.

Mexican food restaurants are easy to find in KC. There are so many options it made it hard to chose. We ended up going with a favorite that we don’t get all that often, Chuys. If you don’t have a Chuys close you have to go.The food is great, the staff was so nice, and the atmosphere was, even more, fun the ones in Oklahoma and Texas.

Fun & Drinks

 

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Power and Lights District has so many fun bars and restaurants. Perfect place to hop from place to place or go for just a couple of drinks. We loved this area and can’t wait to go back! Each place has its own personality and many were fun even during the day on Sunday.

Houlihan’s is one of my families favorite places to get drinks, especially during their drink specials on Sundays. It was a great place for us to watch the football games, get a small bite to eat, and have a few of their tasty drinks. The location right next to Oak Park Mall in Overland Park had an amazing patio and so many TVs. Definitely a great place for day drinks.  

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KC Soda Co was such a fun place to spend a little time on Sunday. It is at the Legends Outlet Mall and offers thousands of unique Sodas. We had so much fun testing out different sodas and finding our favorite flavors.

Shopping

Shopping in Kansas City was so fun! There are a couple of places I really recommend if you are going to Kansas City to shop.

Oak Park Mall is a large mall, especially compared to the malls in Oklahoma City. There are great stores like Evereve, Nordstrom, H&M, and so much more! We could have spent days exploring all of the stores and styles they offered.

The Plaza – The outdoor mall at the plaza was so fun. There are a ton of good shopping options, many of which are different than options we have at home. The Kate Spade store, of course, drew me in. It was so cute and the employees were amazing. We loved all of the fun restaurants, the great little coffee, and sweet shops, and of course, the people watching.

Legends Outlet Mall is another great place to go shopping. It is best to go early in the morning because by the afternoon it was really crowded. They had most of the traditional outlet shops with an added few we don’t have close. I loved the Victoria Secret Outlet and went crazy in Levi. This is the perfect place to spend your Sunday morning or late afternoon on your tip. Did I mention the area itself is so fun? The racetrack, soccer field, and new water park (that is still under construction) are all within walking distance.

Live Music

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KC Live in the Power and Lights district looked like one of the most fun places. There were tons of bars all in one area as well as an outdoor stage that plays tons of great bands. We missed the bands but the area looked like a total blast and we can’t wait to go next time we are there. I will say that during the day they played a movie over the stage outside. It looked like the perfect place to brunch and hang out during the day.

The Plaza district also has live music on some Saturday nights, it has food trucks, and it is such a fun outdoor atmosphere. We had so much fun exploring the area, hearing a little music, and grabbing some yummy snacks before dinner.

Where to Stay

There are so many great hotels depending on what you are wanting to do in Kansas City. We chose to stay in Olathe just outside of Kansas City. We found it to be the perfect location for us. It was a little cheaper than staying in downtown KC. It also was right off the high which made it easy to get any place we wanted to go quickly and with minimal traffic. I would suggest staying closer to downtown or the power and lights district if you are wanting to really experience the nightlife.

Thank you all so much for your recommendation a couple of weeks ago and for reading this post. We are hoping to do more weekend getaway to keep creating these fun guides for you all if you like them. Trips like these can be so fun without costing a ton. Have you been to KC? What should I add to this list?