Big Sur Engagement Session | Candace + Andrew

Candace and Andrew both grew up living across their school from each other. There was a bridge that crossed over the school grounds and without either of them knowing it, they were neighbors for years. Their story is a bit old-fashioned in today's online dating whirlwind, but their love for each other is contagious. Andrew is a brewer for Alvarado Street Brewery in Monterey and Candace is a biologist working behind the scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Together they're hilarious and warm and we instantly because great friends. They're getting married in September in Paso Robles and I can't even wait to capture the magic of their day. I just know it's going to be spectacular.

You're engaged, what happens next?

Hooray! You've finally got a ring on your finger and it's perfect. You're glowing in your newly engaged status and you can't wait to start planning you and your fiancé's perfect day, but where do you even start? That's where we come in!

Where's the champagne?

First, celebrate it. This is (hopefully) the only time you'll be engaged and you deserve to enjoy every minute of it. Ok, let's be honest, once you start planning the day/weekend/week it's not all going to rainbows and butterflies, but take some time and let it sink in. Show off your ring (if that's your thing!), drink some champagne, accept some gifts (only if they're offered) and share this time with your family and friends. It's EXCITING!

But wait, who's getting married?

When the wheels start turning, hold on. Planning a wedding is a wild ride and it's all what you make of it. You'll most likely have pressures from family members and expectations to meet. Guilt can be a common form of communication, but let's get one thing straight - this is YOUR wedding. We often see a lot of couples fall under the spell of trying to make everyone happy and here's the truth: you can't. This is your day and while taking other people's desires and wishes into consideration is a really smart thing to do, please don't settle. You only get one day and try to make it everything you want (obviously within reason).

Blagh, who needs a budget?

Got a budget? Set one up! Knowing how much money you're working with and how much you want to spend in each area of your day will really help you draw some lines when you begin talking with vendors. One piece of advice? Do your research. It's great to have a budget, but also keep in mind that you're going to get what you pay for so having a beer budget with champagne taste isn't going to work well with planning your wedding day. Keep it realistic and know what you're really paying for and doing your research will help you figure out what you're comfortable paying.

Let's pick a spot!

Before you begin any other aspect of planning your wedding, finding a venue and picking a date will help guide you in the rest of your decisions. You won't be able to hire any other vendor before you know your date and location, but starting a list of people you want to reach out to is always a great idea. Like we said, starting your research as soon as you're ready is your best bet to know where you want to spend your money and who you really want to work with. 

To hire a planner, or not...that is the question.

This leads us to our next point. To hire a planner or not? This is always a hot question. In personal experience, we're always so excited when brides and grooms decide to invest in having someone help them with their to-do's. Wedding planning is a TON of work and having someone there to guide you along the journey of vendors and meetings and budgets and timelines (the list goes on) can take so much stress off of you and your partner (and your families!) You will have a bajillion decisions to make and a planner (even a day-of-coordinator) can really help ease the tension that inevitably comes a handful of months before the wedding day.

Assemble your crew!

Lastly, once you've set the budget and narrowed down the venue and date, you'll want to figure out who you actually want to work with. While not every wedding is exactly the same, a lot of weddings have the same elements. You'll have a caterer, rentals, a florist, a photographer, a DJ or a band, a videographer, and of course, your wedding stationary. Your vendors will be your lifeline to the final outcome of your dream wedding and you deserve the best. The biggest piece of advice we can offer is that you meet all of your vendors before hiring them. Get to know them, ask them questions, make sure you're a great fit with each other because come your wedding day, you'll have had a lot of interaction with them. 

When it comes to planning weddings, we can't say we're experts, but we know what works and what doesn't. These are just a handful of elements to consider when it comes time to sit down and get to work. It can be overwhelming, but it can also be a lot of fun. The pieces may take a while to fall into place, but your hard work will all pay off when your big day finally arrives.