Planning a Wedding Before Getting Engaged

Photo by Jenna Marie Photography

Pre-planning your wedding before even getting engaged is a recent trend that actually happens way more often than you would think.

It may raise an eyebrow, but it actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Venues and vendors often get booked twelve+ months our, and everyone is so busy these days that its nearly impossible to find a time to get all your friends and family in the same place at the same time. So, if you know you are going to get engaged soon, as most modern-day couples do, it makes a lot of sense to get all the details of your big day perfect. 

Cate Munro over at Refinery29 has written a great article about this move towards pre-planning, and it is definitely worth checking out.  

Congratulations… I mean, Best Wishes!

Over the holiday’s, I am sure that some of you were engaged or you knew of someone that became engaged.

Best Wishes!
Before you enter the overwhelming world of dance lessons, DIY projects, and findining the perfect linens, sit back and relax.  Enjoy your engagement for a few days before entering the world of wedding planning.  I can assure you that from now until you walk down the aisle, you are going to have at least one meltdown.  Don’t fret.  It happens.
Until then, just enjoy the wonderful time. 
When you are ready to start planning, check back here for more details on Wedding Planning 101.  And incase you are a blog newbie, I have tagged all posts with the label Wedding Planning 101 so that you can sit and read these posts together and at your leisure.
Our engagement on the Canary Islands

A Day in the Life

What did I do 70 days before my wedding day?

  • Met with my best friend/ Maid of Honor and received our second wedding present!
  • Gave my faux Greek family wedding stuff for us to store.
  • Ring Shopping with no success.
  • Booked our Rehearsal Dinner venue.
  • Visited the hotel to look over the remodeling.
  • Met with our photographer to go over must take photos and the day of timeline.
  • Had my first set of alterations.
  • Collapsed.

Getting Away

Sometimes, you simply must stop talking about your wedding.


Denton and I agreed that at the six month mark (six months engaged; six months to the wedding), we would spend an entire weekend not talking about the wedding. We decided to “get away” by staying at the James Hotel in downtown Chicago.

We had a wonderful time! I started the weekend off by getting a massage. While I was getting pampered, Denton checked us in to our room. After meeting up, we shopped around Michigan Ave. Denton bought a fitted black cashmere sweater at Bloomie’s. Then, we totally splurged by having a Peppermint Mocha in the late afternoon. We relaxed in our room for a few hours wearing the comfy robe and slippers. We went to dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s. It’s such a man’s restaurant but I love it there! When we got back to the James, we had a few drinks at the J Bar.

We started off Sunday late in the morning with room service and reading various newspapers. After a little more browsing, we went to the movies to see American Gangster! It was awesome.

The icing on the cake? We were able to maintain our wedding budget by spending gift certificates the entire weekend! I have loads of gift cards that I have stockpiled from the past year. Our goal was to see how many we could use in just one weekend!

I Feel Good…

We are approaching the the 5 month mark. I feel excited, energized, and ready.

It hasn’t always been peachy.

About a month ago, I started to lose it. I still didn’t have my dress. Or my ring. Or ceremony musicians. Or x, y, z. Things were in progress but I wasn’t checking anything off my list. My 300+ item task list.

My fiance and I got into a huge argument. Unpleasant things were said. I cried. He frowned.

While getting upset isn’t a mandatory part of wedding planning, I do think that most couples go through a period– hopefully very brief– where they feel overwhelmed/ frustrated/ etc.

My point for this post is to let everyone know that wedding planning isn’t always peachy. When you look at other wedding blogs, magazines, books, etc., no one really talks about the stress. It is stressful!


As my idol says, Tomorrow is another day.

Planning for Engagement Pictures

As much as I wanted engagement pictures, we waited to add them to our package until we had a better sense of our budget. (I was really worried about going over budget!) Luckily, we can afford them. I’m thrilled because I think the pictures will be a great practice for the wedding day.

The engagement sessions package with our photographer includes a guest book for us to use at the wedding. As with our wedding photos, we will have full rights to them.

Here are some of my favorite engagement pics:

Knottie AlmostMrsGraf and her DH look so in love in this picture!

This is such a romantic picture! And I love black and white!

I love the couple silhouettes are so dark and how it contrasts with the urban landscape.

Another great city shot! I would prefer to have a non-kissing photo though.

Knottie ChiMonique looks adorable with her FI in this picture. I love it!

Really great photo but it won’t work for us. I hate dirt, sand, water, etc. I know– I’m prissy!

Planning for the pictures was a lot more work than I had expected. Here are the steps that need to be done:

  1. Set the date. This Sunday!
  2. Check out the weather. It is supposed to be in the mid-60s and partly cloudy. 20% chance of rain. Fingers are crossed.
  3. Choose locations with photographer. Our photographer suggested Grant Park. We are also going to some places that are meaningful to us as a couple: 175 W. Jackson, Starbucks, & the el.
  4. Choose/ buy attire. Neither me or my FI are the type to wear jeans. We are debating between wearing business casual attire or something a little more dressy. We’ve considered getting really dressed up but we don’t want to look stuffy.
  5. Practice beforehand. The things that I make my poor FI do! I want to make sure that he is really comfortable in front the camera.
  6. Schedule a make-up artist. I am using a gift certifcate that I have for a free make-up session at Endo Exo.
  7. Schedule a blow out. I’m hoping to find somewhere cheap. Suggestions?
  8. Get a manicure and pedicue. Cute nails are a must for photos that are going to be on display at our wedding!
  9. Lose 3lb. I know it is only 3 lb but I will feel so much better about myself if I am in my happy weight range.
  10. Buy an umbrella. Even if it doesn’t rain, an umbrella can be a great prop. I am hoping to find one with polka dots!

Am I forgetting anything???