It’s been a month and 10 days of engagement! And every single day get really exciting and overwhelming. (I admit it, there are still days that I woke up earlier than usual).
Yesterday, we went to PICC Forum and joined hundreds of bride and groom to be, and check out Wedding & Debut 2015 Expo for wedding trends, suppliers and hopefully get discounts and freebies. But before we went shopping for suppliers, our past 30 days has been a series of (strategic) planning and (careful) budgeting. In this post, I want to share how we did the pre-planning stage, what are the things we do, that helps and didn’t help so far.
- We seek God by praying more. Since Mark & I started dating, praying together out loud has been part of our dates. When I said “Yes” to his proposal, we end the sweetness and crying by praying, thanking and praising God together. And as we step into engagement season, we got busy and forgot to pray. We realized both of us felt worn-out and physically exhausted. So we re-submit our plans to the Lord, we acknowledge that He is our Source, source of wisdom, strength, blessings and favor, in every prayer we confess that we are limited and we are dependent in Him alone. We also had series of sharing what God has impressed in our hearts during our individual quiet time. God is always faithful so we commit to pray more! The Bible says in Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
- We own the big day. One of our ninang to be gave a very important advice, which is “to keep in mind, that this is our wedding” (Not my parents, auntie or bff’s wedding! This is OURS). What matters most is to make our dream wedding come true”. This doesn’t mean we don’t value family & friends opinion, of course we do! Actually, we want our guest to celebrate and enjoy this special day with us, but in terms of wedding details and decision-making, it will be Mark and I who has the final say. Thank God both our parents are so supportive and serve as consultants as we plan.
- We set one day out-of-town for wedding planning kick-off meeting. We had our whole day planning in a place where we’re most relax. On this day, Mark and I pray and plan. We pray first to align our plan with His plans (Proverbs 19:21 says “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”) We set a marriage/wedding goal, priorities and listed what we don’t want and want in our wedding. Then we dive into details and finalized our wedding date, budget, bridal party, principal sponsors, honeymoon, initial guest list, timeline, wedding theme & colors.
- Set a goal. We learned this from Joe & Rica’s wedding planning blog post. So the very first thing we did during our kick-off meeting is to agree on one common goal. Good thing, Mark & I shared the same faith and values, we both want to magnify who God is on this day! We want our family and friends to part ways with this realization “grabe ang galing ni Lord.” We’re both in awe how Piper defined the surpassing goal of marriage, so borrowing from John Piper’s book Preparing for Marriage. Our goal is that through our love story our wedding will magnify the truth and worth and beauty and greatness of God. As what the Bible says in Romans 11:36 “For from him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen”
- Set top 3 budget priorities. Being frugal as I am, told Mark to stick to budget, I shared with him how my dream wedding looks like, but I don’t want to him to spend his whole savings and investments for this occasion. Given 25% of wedding budget goes to reception/venue, we have to spend smart on remaining 75% and agree on our top 3 splurge which are honeymoon, photo & video documentation and wedding ring. Why? Because we think this is what we’ll be left to us after the wedding day. Susan Southerland’s Wedding Budget Booster free e-book is a good read too!
- Brainstorm what we don’t want and what we want. This activity helps us to identify how our wedding would look like. And day dreaming begins…
- Maximize free wedding planning tools and templates online. Being a business process analyst, I’m a sucker with automated tools and templates. My finance was surprised how I prepared to keep our planning organize, efficient and creative. Wedding boards in Pinterest, shared wedding related files in Google drive for real-time updates, budget tracker, guest list filter, on-line wedding survey by google docs, detailed wedding checklist, shared calendar, 6 months engagement milestone, Wunderlist app for shared things-to-do list & reminders, are the tools that make our planning somehow stress-free. By the way, I also made a wedding planning scrapbook, dahil iba pa din pag old-school!
- Learn by asking friends who recently get married, as for me I appreciate my friends Cai, Carol, Charis and Ap-ap. And also read wedding blogs like Bride and Breakfast, wedding resources such as Perfect Wedding Day, Rustic Wedding Chic, and Perfect Wedding Guide for free e-books and magazines. I also swoon over celebrity bloggers Patty Laurel, Rica Peralejo and Bianca Gonzales wedding posts, sila ang peg ko!
- Harness our strengths and complement each other’s weaknesses. Discovering our differences – our strengths and weaknesses, made this season more exciting. Wala pa naman umaatras (hehehe). As we plan, Mark and I learned to accept that we’re two different imperfect individual. So we decided to work as a team! We assigned tasks where we’re good at. Mark’s 9 years’ experience as Mechanical Engineer and project management made him efficient and effective in timeline setting, negotiating with suppliers, reviewing contracts, and logistics, while my creative (kikay) personality and 12 years’ experience as graphic designer, business, systems and process analyst unleashed my creativity and resourcefulness, so budgeting, bargaining (shopping skills, hehe), sourcing of suppliers, conceptualizing wedding themes, colors, DIY, apparel, program, music and organization is my job!
And that’s a long list! Hope this post will be helpful for soon to brides and grooms and for those singles who’s dreaming of his/her wedding day!