SO YOU'RE ENGAGED!
CONGRATULATIONS! We scroll through engagements just about every day on social media. It's easy to get used to seeing it, but we shouldn't! This is YOUR time and you are so special. So take a breath, grab some champagne + enjoy this moment!
GOING BIG...CAN MEAN KEEPING IT SMALL
Here's the thing - if 2020 taught us anything about weddings, it's that you deserve to go BIG! And when I say big, I mean big with bringing to life the vision you have of your wedding's look and most importantly how you FEEL! Even if it means some aspects might look a bit smaller.
HOW I PLANNED MY WEDDING IN 10 DAYS
Well to be completely honest, this was NOT a part of the plan!
As an American engaged to a French citizen, we planned to marry in May of 2020 in Paris.
Thirty of my closest friends + family had bought tickets, we had a crazy beautiful Air Bnb dinner planned, my dress picked - everything was set!
At first it seemed like just a few weeks delay could solve the dilemma but it didn't take long to realize...this wedding was NOT happening.
It took hours of research, endless tears, and a million and one potential plans. But to sum it up in a few sentences here's what happened. I boarded a plane on July 17, 2020 - ALONE. I was able to prove I was coming into France not to eat baguettes and wear a beret, but to actually live and unite with my fiancé after 5 months of separation and a cancelled wedding.
So then here I was! In France...in PARIS! But not under the circumstances I could have ever imagined. I had Stéphane, and to be honest he is what has kept me strong. He encourages me, lifts me up with spiritual reminders and positivity always.
But other than that - NOW WHAT?! Here's where my story is less about me and more about YOU! How can you plan an amazing wedding, that you're actually happy with when your world around you is just NOT going to plan?!
Refocus + Find Your GO-TO Person
(Outside Of Your Love)
On July 20th, I finally woke up a little less jet-lagged than I had for the last two days. In France, you legally MUST get married at the City Hall - and Stéphane had gotten a new date - August 1st. 10 DAYS AWAY!
There's just no way. I had no hope. Thankfully, I had a dear friend here in Paris and her husband to swoop in and save me when I didn't even know how much I needed it. The thing is, now I'm writing this over seven months later. I can clearly see that I needed some serious help. I was in over my head. But at the moment, I didn't know just how much!
SO - before the mountains of stress come upon you - find your GO-TO person or couple and make sure they're there to Get. Stuff. DONE. Maybe it's a close friend or a wedding planner you really jive with and can trust!
Here's an exact order of what we did.
Day 1: Flowers + Photos
The FIRST thing I did was find an amazing photographer that I could trust to capture the beauty of my day the way I wanted. This would be the only way my family could really live in my day and feel like they were truly there.
Next, my friend took me to one of her favorite florists in Paris and I ordered the biggest, most summery flowers I could ask for! They were beautiful + I still love looking at the photos with them to this day!
Day 2 - 4: Guest List + Location Choice
Again shoutout to my go-to couple - who came up with the idea for a boat! They spent a whole afternoon calling around in Paris and getting us an amazing boat to take us along the Seine with the Eiffel Tower in the background! We were able to bring 20 guests along with us and they provided food and wine! It's great to get an all inclusive package that can just take care of it all!
Day 5: Hair/Makeup + Zoom Setup
I was able to find an amazing hairstylist to come to my apartment the day of the wedding and give me the curls I always want but never seem to achieve myself!
I decided to do my own makeup which could be a risky choice, but thankfully I have way too much makeup than I'm proud to say! In this case - Pinterest can be your best friend!
Delegating our Zoom setup to friends was a great idea because personally I did not want to send out a million Zoom invites just days before my wedding. I did pop it on my Instagram story - add it to your close friends list and let people save the info!!
Day 7-9: Letters, Gifts and JUST REST
Resting is a serious must - weddings are always hectic. And if you've had to alternate your original plans then you certainly deserve to chill!
The day before our wedding, Stéphane and I decided to exchange letters and gifts which really put us in the right mind-space for our big day.
I really recommend this!! Find a beautiful, quiet space and let yourself savor this cheesy and romantic moment as you start your journey together!!
If You've Opted Out Of A Reception - Alternative Ideas!
Picnic In The Park
Grab the champagne, strawberries, chocolate and more! A quiet and sweet picnic is the perfect romantic moment for you two after you've said "I Do". Bring a film camera and snap some memories!
Great for the two of you or even a few friends! Opening a bar tab with your top 5-10 peeps is a great way to celebrate and at a lower price tag than a full reception!
You, Your Love + Me Taking Photos!
An adventurous photo session with a photographer can capture super fun and unique photos in non-traditional places!
Create memories that you can view over and over again!
I don't know about you but I'm always looking for an excuse to go to a spa. Relax your way into marriage by hitting up a spa hotel to escape to!
Keeping Your Joy
The emotions behind a Covid wedding or adjusting your wedding for any unexpected reason can be a lot!
I can't say I haven't had days that I'm so overwhelmed and angry by the fact that nobody from my family could be at my own wedding. But what I try to reflect on is that I am now spending my life with someone I love. I can't imagine not having Stéphane in my life - and if you're getting married then you have found that very rare and special gift too! Make your day as beautiful and memorable as you can! Do what you love and don't focus on what you can't control...just control the heck out of what you can and make it just the way YOU want!!
HAVE FUN + HAPPY WEDDING PLANNING!