First things first, I wanted to say how pleased I am to be able to share my story with you. I've been reading Budget Savvy Bride for a while now (even before I was engaged!), and a lot of my initial ideas about wedding planning came from Jess. I hope that my ideas can help someone out there and that we can all learn from each other. I do want to share that my wedding motto this entire time is to remember that I'm planning a “party.” I'm trying to not get caught up with things that essentially are not that important, and I'm just hoping everyone leaves the reception saying “Wow! What a great night!”
I'm twenty-five and a native Floridian. I have lived in the Tampa Bay area for most of my life, and I work and attend a university. I'm working on my Master's in Education for Instructional Technology, and I should be done the semester after the wedding. When I'm not working or studying, I love to hit the beach or watch a baseball game (Go Rays!). I enjoy trying out new bars & restaurants, and I am all about tasting different craft beers and wines.
He shares the same interests but is a total sports nerd. He is a sports reporter who spends his time reading, writing and playing sports. Together we go to concerts together and spend time with our two dogs. We share a house near the beach and try to spend our free time enjoying seafood and sunsets.
After two years of dating, he totally surprised me with a diamond ring while we were vacationing in the Florida Keys. I had “that feeling” that it was coming soon…but Valentine's Day passed…our two year anniversary passed…and our vacation was coming to a close. On our last night in the Keys, I had put the idea of becoming engaged out of my mind. We were getting ready for dinner, and I started pouring the remainder of our champagne into red Solo cups. I said we were going to “celebrate our last night of vacation,” because we had had a truly amazing time. I turned around and there it was—the ring. I was very shocked, said “yes” somewhere among the “really!?,” and didn't cry. Very surprising.
We knew immediately we wanted a beach wedding with a huge party. We are looking at a guest list of 100 on a budget of $5,000–$7,500. I'm splurging on hiring a planner (I can't handle any more stress with graduate school and a full time job!), great photography and even better entertainment. Our wedding will be in February next year, so our planning has kicked into high gear now!
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.