Okay so you’re engaged. You’ve announced it, you’ve celebrated it, you’ve enjoyed it (I hope). Now, it’s time to start planning. If you read last week’s #WeddingWednesday post about announcing your engagement and starting the planning process, then you know that starting the planning process comes with budget talk. You’ve gotta get an idea of that nailed down. An exact number? That’s up to you, but definitely a range. This week, I’m talking about deciding on what kind of wedding you want to have, choosing a location, and sharing why we’ve decided on having a destination wedding.
From the budget, you need to decide what kind of wedding you and your fiancé want to have. Here’s a basic rundown on your choices: Elopement, Intimate- family only or family and closest friends, destination (size varies), small, medium, large, or extra large. Now the exact numbers on each of these depends. I’ve had friends say they were having a ‘small’ 200-person wedding. I don’t consider that small. I’ve also attended weddings with well over 500 guests. Regardless of the exact numbers, deciding what sort of wedding you want is an essential first planning step.
Your budget, personal style as a couple, and practicality all should influence what you decide. Bride or groom’s families may also influence this decision. If one of your parents are completely fitting the bill, and there is room in the budget, then they may want to invite a lot of friends or co-workers. All of these factors are important to consider! You don’t want to think you’re having a small-er under 100 person wedding with just those close to you and your parents think they get to invite all of their old college friends you sort-of-kind-of know. Take all of these details and factors into consideration with your fiancé (and your families if needed) and make a decision.
From deciding on what kind of wedding you want, decide on a location. Options will depend on the size of the wedding you want, but also on the budget and ultimately, the style of wedding you want to have. Personally, I think the location should be meaningful and somewhere that you both love. Whether it’s the brides home town, the city where you met, the first place you traveled together, or maybe your dream destination– deciding on the general location is important.
From a general location, you can start to look at specific venues. Some find it best to pick a date that works (more on that next week) and then find a venue open for that date. Others do it in reverse and decide on their dream venue and then choose a date that is open and that works for the couple and their families. We did the latter way, so I’ll talk about that next week, as I am writing these posts in the order in which I planned.
Again, the venue should fit your styles and budget. If you prefer a more modern feel, don’t look at barns in the area. If your taste is rustic, the latest hotel may not be the best fit. Indoor vs. outdoor is also an important consideration.
For us, we wanted something small and intimate. We’re both approaching thirty and have been to A LOT of weddings. I’ve been to probably five at the same country club. I’ve been to some where I’m with the bride and groom all night and others where no matter how many times I try all I can get in is a “hii you’re gorgeous” to the bride before she’s swept away. We knew we wanted something smaller from the beginning. Our initial thought was we’d shoot for around 75.
I knew I did not want to get married in Dallas (where I’m from). The Joule Hotel was the only one that that I felt I would really want to get married at, but ultimately, I did not want a Dallas wedding. Hometown, out. Next, we entertained the idea of Austin, Texas. This was the first overnight trip we ever took together and we both love the city. We really could live there one day. There were two hotels there that I absolutely adored (Hotel Saint Cecila and Hotel Van Zandt). They completely fit our style. We shuffled with the idea of Napa, California for a bit, too. That was the first vacation we took together. Plus, who doesn’t love them some wine country?! We were considering Auberge De Soleil over a holiday weekend to make it easier for guests to travel and make a trip out of it. Ultimately, everything in Napa really adds up and we just weren’t sure that was a good fit. We went back to Austin. But then, I went back to our original thought. Originally, I said I wanted to get married in Italy. We casually talked about it before and thought it would be amazing and ‘so us.’ But, we started worrying that no one would attend, so we set aside the Italy idea and were pretty set on Austin. We had a contract ready to sign and even had our 100 person list (guest list is another topic for another week, too) nailed down. BUT THEN.. a big destination spoke to us again.
Okay, so really a friend spoke to us. At another wedding, one of my friends asked us where we were looking at getting married. (Side note: don’t talk about your wedding at someone else’s unless asked. And even then, keep it short and sweet. Your day has come and gone or WILL come.) When I told her that we were thinking of Austin, my friend was shocked. She told us that she figured that based on how much we loved to travel that we would run off somewhere. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that WAS us. We wanted something intimate. We LOVE to travel. We love pizza, pasta, and wine (who doesn’t?). It had to be Italy. It was perfect for us! Italy was the first International trip we ever took together. Within that trip, Florence was the place that most left us wanting more. We could think of no better location than Florence for our wedding! We realized that we couldn’t worry too much about who would or wouldn’t make it and had to do what we felt was right for us. We cut our 100 person list in half and started discussing WHEN and WHERE within Florence.
Why we decided on a destination wedding
We want something small and intimate.
We wanted a celebration with those we care about most. Our theory was that we wanted everyone to be able to stand up and say something about both of us and the influence they have had on us and our relationship, and vis versa. We are well out of college, so just because someone was in our sorority or fraternity or we hung out back then, doesn’t mean they have to be invited to such a special celebration. We also feel that just because someone isn’t at our wedding, doesn’t mean we aren’t friends, don’t love them, or can’t celebrate another time. I don’t love huge crowds where you can’t really spend quality time with people. We both want to spend our time during our wedding with those we care about most.
We wanted our wedding to reflect who we are.
We love to travel. We always choose experiences over ‘things.’ In this case, the things were napkins, chairs, plate chargers, etc. Things I truly don’t care about. Plus, I can’t get over what this stuff costs. I mean.. for real?! To rent a chair you want me to pay $60/each? Nope. I’d rather spend that on a wine tour with my friends. Or at a cooking class. Or something else FUN that creates memories and opportunities for learning and laughter.
We don’t want to lose sight of what is important.
We really believe that a wedding is the start to a marriage. It is not just an excuse for a giant party or to be the center of attention (if that is your thing). We want this day to reflect us, who we are, and what we are committing to together. We didn’t want wedding planning to become a source of frustration between us and make us forget all the excitement of being engaged and what is to come!
We wanted to be cost efficient.
When we really started to look at a destination, we realized we could have three or four days of celebrations that we could cover for a much smaller group of friends/family for the same (or even cheaper) cost of one bigger party. A lot of our money spent will be on experiences and FUN for a few different things rather than renting out a big venue or meeting a hefty food and beverage minimum for one night.
We want it to be as relaxed and stress free as possible.
Less little detail decisions = less stress. We LOVE to plan trips, so planning the details on where to eat, what to do, etc. doesn’t feel stressful to us at all. We’d rather kick back and relax leading up to the wedding rather than stress about each little detail falling into place.
We want to be an ‘excuse’ for our friends to travel & experience one of our favorite places.
I get so excited when a friend or family member is visiting a place I have been and loved. ESPECIALLY international destinations. I know how life-changing travel to such places is for me and I get so excited at the idea it will be for others. I wanted our guests to have a reason or excuse to experience an amazing place and take a dream vacation.
I’m so excited to share in the coming weeks exactly where we are getting married within the gorgeous city of Florence. Stay tuned my friends!
Florence, Italy… here we come!
I want to add that not every bride has had her exact wedding planned in a book since age 10. Not everyone has it perfectly dreamed up and planned out on Pinterest either. THIS IS OKAY. I was so that person. Not every detail has to be pre-decided. Please go into planning knowing that one day, you may look back and think “meh” about a detail here or there. I have had so many friends who have gotten married say they would change this or that or that something was their biggest regret. You guys… please do not lose sight of WHY you are having a wedding. It’s for a marriage. This mindset is exactly why we wanted a small, intimate wedding. We do not want a huge “party” to make us lose sight of what we are celebrating, which is a marriage. Sometimes, you’ve just got to make a decision. Not every little detail can or will be perfect. They are all details and all that matters at the end of the day, is that you get to marry the one you love. You get to commit your lives to one another and start your life as a couple together. Okay, off my ‘please don’t forget a wedding is not just a big party’ soap box now!
PS: We still don’t have a hashtag. My soon to be last name is Roscopf and we are open to any and all clever suggestions! I may even give a little thank-you present to the one who submits the winner. // The photo below was taken of us last time we visited Florence together and is still one of my favorites. I always say happiness looks good on people and I think you can truly tell how happy we were to be traveling around such an amazing city together.
Photo Credit: World Map // Mr. & Mrs. planner // All others are my own.
Florence will be such a beautiful destination for your wedding!
By Lauren M
Thank you! We’re so excited.
This is so sweet, I can’t wait to see all the fun and planning you so Italy will be amazing!
AW thank you Sydney!
I just attened my first destination wedding and had a blash! Definitely considering it for the future.
Aw so glad to hear that!! XO
Italy is just amazing, we went for our honeymoon and it was just magical!
XX, Amy | Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins
Aw would love your recs! We’ve been to Florence before but will start our honeymoon off on the Amalfi Coast before going to Greece.
I’m headed to Florence in May and cannot wait! I’m so excited that you’ll be having the wedding you love in the best destination!
Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com
How exciting! You HAVE to go my fav restaurant ever. It’s called La Giostra. The pear and walnut ravioli is the most amazing dish I’ve ever eaten.
wow how exciting! so lucky to have a destination wedding!!
This post is so perfect! We had the same struggle going between Dallas, Sonoma and Ravello. Italy is so dear to our hearts (my husbands family is from Sicily and my mom’s ashes are spread in Tuscany) but we let our friends and family influence us away from getting married there even after I had the whole thing planned. I loved our small-ish wedding in Sonoma but part of me still wishes we would have listened to our hearts a little more. Your post perfectly puts all my thoughts and feelings into words. Congrats and so excited for you!!
Omgosh such a similar situation! Thanks so my for reading and commenting. I know Sonoma was beautiful! It’s such a dreamy wedding spot. XO
Love your little planning notebook! And you definitely have the dreamiest wedding location!
xx – anna
I think a destination wedding would be so dreamy!
such a great post I remember when my husband and I first got engaged it was so fun planning
Ah!!! Italy is my favorite!!!! In fact, Florence is my fav city in the world!!!! I’ll actually be back there in May. How exciting!!! Sounds like your wedding will be a dream 🙂
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