Booking the big things for the Big Day

Something New

Because I'm turning 30 (next week) and have quite a few close friends who have been married over the past five years, including a sister, I didn't go into wedding planning completely blind or hopeless.

Immediately following my engagement, I had my married friends texting, calling and sending messages offering help or their advice on tackling the Big Day, like the things I should be doing ASAP before all the other Bridezillas beat me to the punch.

On top of the helpful advice from friends, I've also personally been a bridesmaid four times and was well on my way to starring in my own version of 27 Dresses before getting engaged, so I've been on the front lines more than a few times, twice as a Maid of Honour.

I figured it'd be smooth sailing, for the most part.

While I wasn't completely hopeless in starting to plan my wedding, I might have overestimated my handle on things based on past experiences, because when it came down to it, I actually wasn't prepared for how much stress would be thrown at my head so quickly.

Right away I was told to book 'the big things,' but I didn't realize how quickly I had to do that in some cases, figuring I had a lot of time.

We booked our lovely venue about a week after we got engaged and found a ceremony site a couple of weeks later. The caterer came easily also because my sister had booked the same company and they're based across the street from my venue (easy peasy). My mom found a wedding decorator for me, which was nice, and I knew I had some time to find a wedding dress further down the road.

But my very first stressful experience of my wedding planning was finding a photographer - what a nightmare.

No one told me that the photographer was probably the very first thing I should have booked, since many are already booked up for a year, sometimes two, in advance. Seriously, I couldn't believe it. A full year before the summer of 2014, some photogs were booked every single weekend from June until September.

Photographer after photographer told me they weren't available on the day of my wedding, and the ones that were available I couldn't afford. My level of panic was on the rise with every email and phone call I made. More and more wine was disappearing, too.

I was starting to fear that we'd be shelling out some major dough just because I didn't book a photographer for my wedding 35 years ago like every other bride seemed to have done.

It wasn't until a photographer who was already booked up referred me to a friend of hers that I realized I didn't have to jump off the Taylor Bridge into the raging Peace River. The booked-up photographer who emailed me back had worked with this guy on occasion to team up on weddings, and she pointed me to his website to look at his work.

It was perfect, totally what David and I wanted, and despite not being overly religious, I prayed that he'd be available.

And he was. Thank you Wedding Gods and the lovely girl who thought of him for me.

Booked: Venue, ceremony site, decorator, caterer and photographer. The Big Items are done, and up next are things like a DJ, a commissioner to marry us, bartenders and whatever else I haven't thought of yet.

Then there's the dress - yes, the dress. Thankfully I've already found it, but the story about that whole process is an amusing one and it's going to have to wait until next week.

Here's a teaser: Try to lose 1,000 lbs before going wedding dress shopping.

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