As of last Friday, we are officially one year out from our wedding day! (Does that make it our -1st anniversary? Not sure.) We’ve been engaged for almost three months and that time has flown, as I’m sure it will between now and our wedding. Today I thought I’d give you a little update as to where we’re at in the planning process. Personally, I’ve always loved reading about other bloggers’ wedding planning and all of their wedding details, and it will be fun for me to look back and see what was happening in our lives one year out.
I’ve also included a few more pictures that my dear friend (and bridesmaid) Laura took the day we got engaged. But if you’re not interested in weddings, feel free to skip this post and I’ll be back on Thursday with more green living tips!
What We’ve Done So Far
The Church: We’re getting married at the church in Edina where I was baptized and confirmed. We’ve already booked the rehearsal and the ceremony, and we met with my pastor before leaving for California to do introductions (Eric had never met him before) and learn a bit more about the marriage process. We’ve booked our first premarital counseling session for during our trip home over Thanksgiving!
The Reception Venue: I don’t want to share too much justttt yet, but suffice it to say that I’m in love with the venue we booked! It’s a ten-minute drive from the church, it includes both an indoor and outdoor space (right on a lake–swoon), and they’re very relaxed when it comes to catering, drinks, decorations, etc. Not to mention it was much less expensive than anyplace downtown that I was looking at. Definitely a win.
The Caterer: Check! The menu is all set–I just need to sign and send off the contract. We’re doing a buffet-style lunch after our morning ceremony and everything will be gluten-free. Everything on the menu sounds absolutely mouth-watering and in true Claire-and-Eric fashion, they’re an eco-friendly, local foods sort of company.
The Photographer: Also check! We’ve booked a photographer and a second shooter for the big day, and our main photographer will be taking our engagement pictures over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Obviously there’s LOTS left to do (and lots of time, luckily) but here’s what’s next on my wedding to-do list!
Makeup and Hair: I haven’t decided what to do about makeup and hair for myself or my bridesmaids yet. I don’t think I’ll be hiring a makeup artist for all of us, as a couple of the girls never wear makeup, but having a hair stylist for everyone would be fun. And of course I’ll get my makeup done professionally. But, lots of research to do and decisions yet to make on this one!
The Dress: I haven’t bought a dress yet, but I know exactly what I want and I’ve booked an appointment at a local bridal store over Thanksgiving that carries the dress and several similar gowns. My mom and my sister will be coming shopping with me and it should be a blast! (Yes, this Thanksgiving trip is packed with wedding planning… but that’s just how it is when you’re planning a wedding from halfway across the country!)
The Bridesmaids’ Dresses: I’ve picked a color and a length, now I just need to get to the store and confirm the material. Then I’ll send the girls color swatches and the rest of the information. Personally I don’t see the need to have everyone wear exactly the same dress, as different styles look best on different body types anyways, so the style will be up to them!
Decor: I neeeeeed to get started pinning some ideas for reception decorations! All I know right now is that I want to employ a couple of my artsy friends and family members to put together a DIY photobooth for us. I really have no idea what I want beyond that!
Currently on the Fence About…
The Registry: Eric and I will have been living together for more than a year when we marry, so I’m considering doing a wedding bank account instead of the typical registry as we already have pretty much everything we need for our apartment! If anyone has any experience with this pleaaaase let me know. I feel like some think it’s rude to “just ask for money,” but we honestly don’t have anywhere near enough items on our wishlist to create a typical registry at this point. That money would be much better put towards furnishing a house in the future!
A Wedding Website: I originally thought they were a bit over-the-top, but I’m leaning “yes” on this one as so many people have told me that it’s really helpful for guests! I started making one using The Knot but haven’t finished or published it yet.
And Everyone Wants to Know…
Am I changing my name? I can’t believe how many times I’ve been asked this since we got engaged! I don’t mind at all, but I assumed that people would be more interested in my dress or the food 😛
Anyways, the short answer is “no” and the long answer is “no.” Honestly, I like my last name quite a bit–did you know that there are less than a hundred Branigins in the whole world?! (According to my older family members, it’s how immigration officials at Ellis Island misspelled “Branagh,” which is a common Irish last name, when my ancestors immigrated to the US.) If I were to change my name, I’d be one of thousands of Claire Walkers in the world–but right now I’m the one and only Claire Branigin!
I’m not against changing one’s name for marriage in general, but I do really like mine and don’t see a particular reason to change it. Even if it dooms me to a lifetime of last-name-misspelling. (Branigan? Brannigin? Flanagan? BRAINGIN? <– Yes, a professor literally spelled it that way once, and it was handwritten so no, it wasn’t a typo.)
Alright, I want to hear your thoughts! Wedding bank accounts and/or wedding websites, yay or nay? And what’s the funniest misspelling of your last name that you’ve ever seen?