Minnesota-Minneapolis and St. Paul

Planning w/a year+ engagement

FI and I got engaged this April and are getting married in September 2011.  We have done some basic planning, including booking our ceremony and reception sites, officiant and photographer.  Beyond that, I have ideas for colors and tons of inspiration for other projects.

I'm beginning to feel like 13 months is a REALLY long time away, and I want to start planning and doing DIY projects now so that they aren't all piling up at the last minute.  If you had a long-ish engagement, what projects did you focus on when you were still a year or so out?  What kinds of things can/should I be doing when I've got a lot of time to spare, to feel like I'm still planning a wedding?

Re: Planning w/a year+ engagement

  • edited December 2011
    We had a 20 month engagement so we were in the same boat as you. I spent a lot of time browsing at other weddings to get color/decor inspiration like you, it was a blessing and a curse because I changed my mind a few times but I love the theme we decided to go with.

    If I were you I would decide on things like a florist, baker, and such just so you have them locked in on your date, all you need is a down payment, you can change your mind on the look as many times as you need.

    I would also start arranging your guest list and you can start on your invites (the style, not the info yet). If you plan on making your own, it would be nice to get that out of the way. We also started buying our vases and such ahead of time so we could use coupons. Have you booked your engagement pics yet? That was fun to have that done a year ahead of time so it still feels like you are doing wedding stuff. You can also get your save the date designed and ordered.

    All in all, no matter how much time you have, you will still have the 1 month crunch time (especially if you are a procrastinator like me). Get your ceremony music and times figured out early so you aren't doing your programs the day before your wedding :)
    Trying to Conceive Ticker "All that I'm after is a life full of laughter, As long as I'm laughing with you" Planning Bio image
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  • edited December 2011
    Veijes hit the nail on the head.
    Can't think of anything else to end. Guest List was huge for us.
    GL its fun!
  • edited December 2011
    I'm getting married Sept 2011, too, and we've been engaged since April 2009. We've already booked reception and ceremony venues, DJ, photographer, videographer, linens, DOC, and officiant. I've also started picking away at a lot of our DIY stuff. You can check out my bio to see what I've gotten done so far to give you an idea of stuff you can work on far out on the timeline. As long as you know what you want and have a place to store it, I think it's totally fine to start on most of the DIY stuff early on.
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  • edited December 2011
    We were engaged April 2009 and are getting married September this year, so I've had the same timeline as you. It's a blessing and a curse to have so much time! 

                 I worked on DIY stuff the entire time - paper flowers, all of the centerpieces, designing and construction of invites, making corsages & bouts, cupcake flags, etc.

                 I was 100% done with all DIY by the end of June, which has been pretty nice b/c there are all kinds of little annoying details to deal with towards the end.

                 I agree to start working on the guest list, it can take a while to collect all of the addresses and such, so start your spreadsheet now. You can always adjust the list as you get closer, but its helpful to take care of some of that earlier.

                 We bought FH's wedding ring at a Black Friday sale after Thanksgiving and generally have shopped early for anything we could to find deals, coupons, and to just spread out the expenses a bit. That was a nice bonus of the long engagement.

                The biggest piece of advice I have is once you've made a decision and signed a contract/put down a deposit/somehow monetarily committed to it STOP looking. Move on to the next decision. This can be more difficult with the longer engagement, but if you keep it in mind you'll be just fine!

    Thats all I can think of right now. Congrats and Good luck!


              
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  • edited December 2011
    Thank you ladies!  If anyone has any other ideas, I'd still love to hear them.

    I'm about 99% positive that I've selected our color scheme, especially since I haven't wavered once since I decided on it.  We're going wedding/bridesmaid dress shopping in August, which is my next task.  So far I've been taking on one item at a time, and besides dresses I have started to research DJs as my next one. 

    Beyond that, we've got our rough guest list figured out, with every single person we could think of on our initial list.  We're doing E-pics with Spencer Combs in September and then I'll probably do STD's after that.

    Is it truly not too early to look at cake and flower vendors?  What kind of DIY projects did you attack first?
  • edited December 2011
    I'm planning on meeting with florists within the next couple of months for my Sept 2011 wedding and will probably tackle cake early next year.
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  • KittE7KittE7 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    ditto PPs! 
    We have a (too short!) 9-month engagement/planning period. From my viewpoint, having 4 extra months would have been great.  Use these first months to take engagement pics (may come in handy for your wedding projects down the road!), shop for venues, pick the date, and then make the save the date.

    All along the way, be gathering info on what you like & don't like.  And be prepared to keep knocking things off that to-do list!  There's a pretty helpful planning timeline in The Knot's magazine (prolly online too) & Martha Stewart's website...

    Have fun!
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  • bemidji21bemidji21 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I am also getting married Sept 2011 and we got engaged in May. We have almost everything booked already because September 2011 is booking out REALLY fast! My advice is start booking things now, and then you have plenty of time to do the rest. Better to book early and get what you want than be limited if you wait.

    Personally I thought it was crazy to plan so far in advance but once we started hearing how fast things were booking out I jumped on the bandwagon to be sure we got what we wanted.
  • bemidji21bemidji21 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Oh, also, its totally not too early to look at cake and things. We just booked our cake today and it feels so good to know its checked off our list.

    HTH
  • drdifabiodrdifabio member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    All the girls have given great advice so I will just add my two cents as we had a 21 month engagement.

    Is it truly not too early to look at cake and flower vendors?
    No it is not too early. We booked both of these with over a year to go. Our cake vendor only does one or two weddings a weekend so we got in with plenty of time so she could fit us in. And with our flower vendor, the nice thing with her is that we just came up with a rough idea of what we might want and they got price quotes from a couple florists - she was by far the best (beat the other price by about 1k) so we booked her with a deposit and can chance what we want to do up to as close as 2 weeks out and I have already change it on her once.

    What kind of DIY projects did you attack first?
    I made my favors first and looking back I wouldnt have done favors but I do like what we have. Then I did my card box and the hanging crystals for my CPs. If you look at the DIY section in my bio it is pretty chronological with the most recent projects at the top and the ones I did first at the bottom.

    I also made our invites and started last Nov on them - so 11 months out. And I JUST finished them. They were a total pain but at least I could work on a few one week and then not look at them for a week and didnt have to worry about running out of time.

    So as far as DIY projects go, I totally agree with leggwilliams that if you have a vision and a place to put them then I say start!
  • edited December 2011
    We have a 20-month engagement, and for the longest time I was going INSANE because I was looking for more stuff to do.

    I did buy some stuff early on, and then I changed my mind about using it, which kind of sucked. So my advice would be to NOT buy lots of stuff early. I basically had a HUGE three-ring binder, where I collected all my different ideas. Then, as we went along, I'd edit down my ideas as my "vision" shifted a little.

    We did book some of our vendors right away -- photographer (Spencer Combs), reception site, ceremony site. We also started thinking about rehearsal dinner venues. And it's never too early to start trying on dresses. However, I'd suggest waiting to buy one until you're within the one-year mark, because I ended up changing my mind on the dress I thought I'd get. I'd definitely start working on your guest list, which you can edit as the months go on. (I would also suggest NOT telling people that you're definitely inviting them, because you never know with some people whether you'll still be close friends when your wedding comes.) We also worked on our ceremony early on, and we came up with some must-play and do-not-play songs for our DJ. The rest of the songs we just recently filled in.
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you, ladies!  I really appreciate all of your advice!

    I think I might find a few projects that I know will fit in with my vision and start with that.  :)
  • SSaltzman87SSaltzman87 member
    2500 Comments Third Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    I'm in the same boat as you too, except plan on getting married sometime in 2012. I say it's never too early to figure out what you want and set a budget :-)


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  • edited December 2011
    I am glad I am not the only one who is excited to get going and make this thing happen!  Its also a bit sad to see my to-do list is the same for months.  I am getting married in the Smoky Mtns in Tennessee so I do need to be on the ball.  Anyone else do Save-the-date magnets?  I think the advice the other girls are giving is spot on and I'm going to follow it too.  Maybe I will keep saving my money but keep the checkboook hidden until closer to the one year mark.  Thanks for starting this topic!
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  • acpiper5acpiper5 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    We got engaged in May, and our wedding is August, 2011. One thing that we are DIY, that is done already is centerpieces.  We bought everything already.  I'm glad we did it, because we are using fake orchids in tall vases, filled with water and a floating candle on top.  We litterally bought out all of the orchids at Michaels in the Minneapolis area. WE had to got to 6 stores. The lady at the store said those flowers sell out early.  If you want to do something like that, I would get supplies now, so next summer you're not running around trying to find things. It was pretty time consuming!
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  • edited December 2011
    When we get married on 4/9/11, it'll have been just over a 14-month engagement.  It looks like you've got the big stuff done already, and as long as you're absolutely sure about your colors (I thought I was in the beginning and then changed them 3 times since), it's a good idea to start on DIY, because that'll creep up on you.  I'm currently working on my BM jewelry (I'm making all of their jewelry, FG jewelry, and my own), then will probably move on to creating a card box.

    I think we're going to do STD magnets, too, just as soon as we can get our e-pics done (waiting on FI's hair to grow back since his last haircut was way too short).  No idea yet on what they're going to look like, but we've got a couple months before we need to send them.
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