Our 19 month engagement// Planning a destination wedding while living abroad

So, let me just start by saying- the most perfect human asked me to be his adventure partner for the rest of our lives on February 18th, 2018… and my heart could not be anymore full.

Some of you might be thinking “jiminy crickets, when is this girl going to get married?” and trust me, I am right there with ya. The build up to our wedding date has been creepingggg along, but let me tell you… it was the best decision we could have ever made. When Zachary proposed, we had an entire different layout of our future ie: remember when we were moving to Washington? I don’t. But I do know that each love story has their own timeline and ours is completely in our favor. Not only are we planning a DESTINATION wedding, but we are planning it while living ABROAD. Yeah, so just think about that for a second. We are planning this amazing celebration while living in Tulum (where the cellphone service sucks so hard and I basically depend on WIFI to succeed in anything wedding related) so 19 months of planning was necessary for us, and it’s OKAY. Over the past year and a half of wedding planning I have noticed there are so many weird (like super super weird…) wedding traditions that people feel “obligated” to follow, which is just beyond me. I’m not trying to hate on traditional weddings but if you know me, you know I am anything BUT traditional… so strict over played wedding timelines, garter tosses, and over priced wedding caterers aren’t my bag.

We are still three months away from tying the knot but these are some things I have learned while planning our wedding:

A wedding planner is necessary. End of story. I totally respect weddings of all budgets but if you are planning a destination wedding, even if you are familiar with the area, I highly recommend a wedding planner that knows the ins and outs of all local vendors. For our wedding I have been working with Rachel and Melissa at Elevents and Co and they are my lifeline. We are in correspondence nearly every day, chit chatting about chair rentals, design ideas, hot dog carts… you know, just your everyday stuff.

Be involved. The whole point of your big day is to celebrate the love between you and your significant other, and it should be all about y‘all. Wedding planner or not, be involved! While planning our Charleston wedding, my goal has been to not replicate the same ole’ same ole’ Charleston Plantation shindig. Since we are basically planning a union between our Houston, Austin, New York, South Carolina, and Tulum family… we want our wedding to be a weekend of celebrating… not just a 7 hour ceremony and reception. Most brides get to celebrate their wedding season with showers, bridal events, bachelorettes, and bachelor parties… but our schedules won’t allow us to participate in those, so a wedding week is in the cards for our crew. But on the note of being involved, it has been so fun collaborating with my mom, my amazing fiance, our lovely wedding planners and all of the creative Etsy vendors out there! I feel like all the personal touches really make such an impact on your wedding vibe… at the end of the day, it’s all about you and your man! Some of the highlights of our wedding personal touches: OUR PLAYLIST+OUR WEDDING STYLE+OUR ALTER DECOR+OUR WEDDING CREST+OUR WEDDING CAKE

Make a list of all the things that you know you want to make happen. Do you want peonies? Do you want your bridesmaids in flower crowns? Do you want a hot dog cart? Do you want a disco ball? Do you want a 8 foot cheese table? ALL things to really reallllly think about. No matter the budget, figure out what is important to both of you and figure out how to make it work.

Your fiance has a say. I know I am not alone when I say this, there are SO many emotions while planning a wedding and sometimes all the feels get jumbled up. I promise you, your partner has opinions about this whole thing… and LISTEN to them. Even though you might not agree or understand or think that he/she has any opinion whatsoever, at the end of the day it’s about the both of you and the love you share… it’s not just a one way street. Basically a foreshadow of the future you are creating together. So listen with an open ear and and an open heart, your big day is going to be amazing no matter what. **Zachary has been so damn amazing and has basically turned into the ultimate wedding planning partner in crime. Making fine tuned wedding playlist (by the hour y’all), creating our beautiful guestbook, communicating with all family members, and diligently planning our honeymoon. I am so incredibly grateful.

YOUTUBE. Yo, Youtube is amazing. Especially if you don’t even know where to start. First of all, Jamie‘s channel has not only kept me entertained but informed. You aren’t supposed to know how to plan a wedding…. aka a party for 100, 150, 200 people. No normal person out there can casually plan the wedding of your dreams (I mean if you’re having a wedding, it should be THE wedding of our dreams) So if you’re feeling overwhelmed in the first couple weeks, months, year- take a step back and do your research. To be honest, that is the whole reason why I am writing this, because maybe one day some curious bride will stumble across this list and feel inspired.

MINTED. I love stationary. Love, love, LOVE it. I send postcards and write letters frequently (if you are a dear friend, you know what I’m talking about) I love mail- sending, receiving, picking out quirky stamps, licking envelopes… you know, the whole thing. SO, on that note, our wedding stationary was super important to me. I wanted it to be personal, informative, elegant but fun. Since I don’t live in the states, having an online platform where I could collaborate with designers was just wanted I wanted and lets be honest…needed.

THE KNOT. I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am for this online platform. Wedding Planner or not, this website has helped me keep my thoughts, budget, guest list, RSVP list, wedding registry, and wedding timeline in check. It has been my saving grace.

It takes a village. If you are planning any wedding, the best part of the whole thing is including all of your loved ones. Through out this whole process, I get to communicate, facetime, blow up emails, facebook messages, send instagram inspiration and pinterest boards 24/7. It is so fun and has made this entire experience (while being so far away from my family) so much more personal. My mom washed and dried every piece of rosemary that went into our wedding invitations (and assembled 100 beautiful invites!!!), my rockstar dad has figured out how to install a sound system on an isolated island where our ceremony is going to be held, my mother in law is making us the most fabulous wedding cake, my bonus dad (Waynes World!) is there for all the design inspiration and emotional support, my bridesmaids are seeking out lingerie for my honeymoon (ow owwww) and my dads amazing partner (BB!!) has been foraging Texas wild flowers for months for an instillation for our alter… the list can go on and ON but I am just so thankful for every human that contributed to our wedding weekend.

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