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Dreams VS Reality (Of Your Wedding)

I’ve been dreaming about my wedding day for years. I have two separate boards on Pinterest, each with over 2,000 pins. I have so many ideas that it’s almost difficult to start planning.  The disadvantage of Pinterest is that there is no archive button and some of my pins and ideas don’t fit in with my style anymore. It’s time to get realistic about what I can actually pull off, what I can actually afford, and what I actually like!  Deciding between what is dreams vs reality is huge and will help you figure out your wedding.

Dreams VS Reality: Announcing Our Engagement

It has been a total of 16 days since I got engaged. When I was dreaming about Jason asking me to be his wife I didn’t ever dream of the proposal (I’m not very materialistic and a pretty simple girl.) However, I did dream about my excitement after saying yes. I dreamt of throwing a huge party where we could announce our engagement by popping bottles of champagne and confetti poppers. What I didn’t think about in this great dream, was how I was going to keep this amazing event secret long enough to plan a party. Long story short, neither of us could keep from telling everyone we knew (and even some people we didn’t know!.) That being said, after we told everyone we starting thinking we don’t want to throw a party. We have no idea who is going to be in our lines and we don’t want people buying us unnecessary presents. So for right now, we have decided against an engagement party.

Dreams VS Reality: Timeline

16 whole days! Yet, every person I have told the news to, the first question they ask is “When’s the big day?” To which my response is, “uh……… I have no idea.” How do you even pick a wedding day? You have to be realistic in your timeline so your dreams vs reality don’t become hazy.

  1. This goes back to your theme. If you have a theme in mind, you can generally tie it to a season which will narrow your day selection down to a 3 month period.
  2. What if I don’t have a theme? Great question. This is the boat I am currently rowing. The themeless party boat. So I have asked myself:
    1. What days are important days to avoid? I made a list of everyone’s birthdays and both of our family reunions.
    2. What days are special to us as a couple? Our first date, our first kiss, when we became “official”, when he proposed
    3. When are the holidays? Getting married on holiday weeks or weekends can be touch and go. Most people want to use the extra day off from work to do something special or fun that they can’t normally do on a weekend.
    4. Do I want to get married during the week or the weekend? This was easy for me because 90% of my friends and family work Monday through Friday and are not going to be celebrating with me on a school night. This is going to increase the cost of my wedding caterers and venues because there is naturally a higher demand for their services on the weekends, but, I would rather have everyone in attendance.
    5. How long do you need to save and plan for your wedding? My dream: I’ll get married in November. My reality: I could only save about $4,000 in the next six months and I have unusually busy summer months so I would have to make my wedding and reception as simple as possible. I don’t think I will have enough time to plan, nor do I think I can have the wedding I want on a $4k budget. So a 6 month timeline and November wedding is out.

My second dream was to get married on the day we started dating, thus we could keep our same anniversary. That day is important to us already and my fiance is excited he won’t have to try to remember a NEW date. So, March 4th it is. Now, I do not want to wait 2 years so 2018 it is. This should give us enough time to save about $8-$10K, which is a pretty reasonable budget. In the Wyoming tundra, we will still be covered in snow and 60 mile an hour winds on March 4th, but that will also help me establish a theme. Now that I have a date not only can I answer the million dollar question, but I have a better idea of how to start my budget. Some venues and vendors will have different rates based on the season and will also have different kinds of availability.

Dreams VS Reality: A Budget

I mentioned saving for a budget before, because I’m 27. I really don’t expect my parents to pay for my wedding when I have a good job and am financially stable.  I need to know how much I need to save in my 11 month timeline. I read the entire “Broke Ass Bride’s Guide” in about 10 hours. I made a list while reading it of all the websites and tricks I plan on utilizing, but more importantly, it had real budgets from other weddings. Since I don’t just have a blanket amount I am starting with I am going to start narrowing things down by importance. Some brides spend thousands on flowers, others spent the majority of their money on food or a Vera Wang dress.

First, what does my wedding HAVE to have?
    1. A place to get married (ceremony and reception venues), someone to conduct the wedding (I want a priest), someone to take photos of the wedding. So, how do you picture your wedding? Formally and traditionally, in a church? In a beautiful secret garden of a resort? In the mountains? Maybe you want to be married by elvis or on a rollercoaster in Disneyland. Anything is possible, but it all comes with a price tag. Do some general research on where you think you’d like to get married, what is available for your date, and then get some general quotes on your top 3.
    2. The thing a wedding has to have, in my opinion, is a photographer. My three wedding planners all agree that photography should be 14% of your budget. That’s the second largest part of the budget by their terms. Now, I don’t know if I agree with 14% because that could be thousands and thousands of dollars, but it is vital. So start looking through photographer’s portfolios. I am going to pick five of my favorites and jot down their general package pricing.
    3. I am also going to spend some time solidifying my theme so that I can then start looking at general decoration ideas. That way I know if I want 3 glass vases on every table I can google search vases and get an estimate of how much that will cost.
    4. Although money isn’t everything, everything about planning your special day is going to come down to money.

Don’t go to deep into depth looking into any of the venues, photographers, or decor yet. We are just trying to figure out what the puzzle is going to look like in general, not actually put together any of the pieces. Not yet, at least!


My name is Chelsey Cloward and I am a DIY-er. I’m twenty-seven and I work as a design specialist for the largest power plant on the west side of the Mississippi. For those of you who don’t know, design specialist is a fancy term for industrial drafter. Between the hours I work and commute to work, I am gone for 11 to 12 hours a day. I am also the President of the Activities Committee for the plant, which means I plan and coordinate each and every event for the 350 employees we have (picnics, golf tournaments, poker runs, Christmas parties, etc). Because of this, I have become highly organized and efficient, both in my event planning abilities and my personal life. In my personal life, I am extremely creative. I grew up wanting to be an interior designer or an inventor and spent my time as a child constantly drawing, painting, and creating things. So each and every chance I get I customize my home, my camper, and anything else I can get my hands on!

On March 18th, 2017 my best friend proposed to me and now I am getting to plan my biggest, most stressful party yet: My Wedding. I’m going to take you, my reader, on this wild, scary, fun journey with me. I’ll break down everything I can so you can see the ins and outs of planning your own wedding, learn from my failures and my triumphs, and hopefully, be entertained!

Dreams VS Reality (Of Your Wedding)