Our favorite bride-to-be is back sharing some wonderful advice for all of you getting ready to start planning your wedding day! Kristen and Kevin planned their party on the exact same weekend as their wedding, so that it felt like an actual trial run of their wedding day (so smart!). I won't ruin the surprise, but the intimate details and personal touches that Kristen added throughout their engagement party was pretty incredible, and the party itself was simply gorgeous. And thanks to the talented Nicole DeTone behind the camera, we have all the pretty to share with you today!
“If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.” –Love Actually
What comes before Part B? PartAY! I learned that motto from Lauren Conrad in the Laguna Beach days, but I learned like forever-ago that an engagement party is a wedding-prequel. Since this is the most special, magical time of your life, I encourage all newly-engaged couples to have an engagement party! It is so nice to kick off the wedding festivities with your favorite people who are over-the-moon happy to celebrate you and your fiancé. It is also the perfect opportunity for a bride-to-be to give wedding planning a practice-run!
Our backyard engagement party fell on the exact same weekend that our wedding will be next year. Coincidence? Absolutely not. As a teacher with a summer wedding, I wanted to test out how to manage my time between the end of the school year and the big day. I also wanted to see for myself what the weather would be like throughout the day! It’s a good idea when planning your engagement party to have a subtle theme which coordinates with your wedding. We have been sticking to a clean, crisp, all-white theme with a “splash” of rustic. Our wedding venue is on a lake so we brought in canoes and oars for some lake-side love! I even found a mini-canoe that I couldn’t pass up for the kiddie drinks. It’s a really smart idea to book your wedding trials for this day to see how your hair and make-up will look in photos. Which brings me to another point: book your wedding photographer for your party and have him/her come a half hour early for detail and couple shots! My photographer was amazing and created a modified wedding photography questionnaire for me to complete ahead of time. I also sent her a checklist of all the details I wanted captured before everyone arrived!
Knowing that many of our friends and family members would be meeting at our party, Kevin and I decided to have everyone wear name tags. I wish I could take credit for this amazing idea, but it goes to my family friend Mrs. Stip who did this at my bestie Sarah’s bridal shower! Kevin and I still agree that it was the best thing we could’ve done that day. On the name tags, each person also wrote their relation to the bride and groom. Of course as the drinks flowed, so did our guests’ creativity! By the end of the night, we had therapists, priests, ex-lovers, and the most hilarious memories floating around. It was the best ice-breaker for our super-happy group of framily who was eager to meet to begin with! Little wedding details have always held a special place in my heart so custom drink tags, monogrammed napkins, decorative straws, and specialty signs were a necessity!
My best planning tip: incorporate details that are YOU. You can start by making a list of things that sum you up as both individuals and a couple. Yes, Pinterest inspires me, but I like everything to be relative to Kevin and I. What do you and your fiancé do for a living? Where was your proposal? Where did you meet? What are your favorite things to do? Those make for perfect details to tie into your party! As a teacher, I knew I wanted to set up a “Kiddie Corner” to keep the kids happy and “engaged” (teacher humor!). Getting engaged in Cape Cod was of course our most special day so I created a “Where it all Began” station which had photos of our proposal, a map of Cape Cod, and Cape Cod chips! Kevin and I love our beer so we thought it was only appropriate to have “his” and “her” kegs. If it were up to me, a signature drink and a witty hashtag would be mandatory for all occasions! Kevin and I had so much fun finding our specialty drink. We gave it a creative name tied in with the “love” theme. Our “KC’s ‘Main Squeeze’ Strawberry Lemonade” was delicious and so refreshing for a day outside in July! We displayed our hashtag for our guests on a wooden ore and created a Snapchat filter (where your guests are, you need to be!). We also brought in our favorite Disney song and used it for our keg canoe sign: “Can’oe feel the love tonight?”. You have to let your personality shine through in all of your wedding festivities!
As picture-perfect as our engagement party was, it was a beautiful day because of the people who were there with us. Kevin and I love our families and friends more than anything and being able to watch them meet, laugh, and make memories was more than we could’ve ever wished for! Since we first got engaged, our parents have truly been wedding-planning angels and have been amazingly positive and supportive in our planning. We can’t thank them enough! Love most certainly was “all around” at our engagement party and for that Kevin and I feel very blessed!
photography: Nicole DeTone | Hand Lettering: Handmade Darling