How I Would Plan My Wedding if I Did It Again from Scratch

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January 22, 2024

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i'M COURTNEY KIBBY

There’s nothing worse than spending all your energy and free time on planning your wedding only to worry if everything will come together the day of.

I’ve only planned one wedding (my own) and my mom did most of it. Thankfully though we have these beautiful, readily available people who it’s their JOB to make your wedding day happen. We have people who have the power to create a day that speaks your language, has your aesthetic, and tells your love story.

here’s THE ONE THING that will help you relax just a ~little~ …

HIRE A wedding planner.

“This is YOUR DAY. This is actually one day where you get to go as crazy as you want, be as extravagant as you want, create whatever you want. At the end of the day, you’ll never regret the extra $$$ you spent on those floating floral clouds because this is your chance to create a one-of-a-kind day that will blow everyone away. So do what you want. Don’t hold back.” — Manda Worthingtin, Mae and co

Time travel with me for a sec, would you?

Let’s rewind an entire decade — how has time flown so quickly?!— and pretend like we’re sitting down at the kitchen table at my parents house, probably with a piping hot cup of extra strong coffee (which is how my parents make it so a spoon could stick straight up), ready to sit and chat for a few hours while we sip our coffee.

 (You’re my best friend in this scenario, by the way.) 

“I know, you’re right,” I laugh, agreeing that its funny how time flies, and I wouldn’t have thought I’d be 22 planning my wedding right after college.

We start talking about how Chase and I met officially — around the Beta Theta Pi fire pit introduced by a mutual friend — and how we met unofficially — the Oklahoma high school student council state program where he insists he remembers me, but didn’t ever come speak to me (this is a great story I’ll tell in a later newsletter this year — subscribe and  stay tuned), thinking about how I literally have no idea what I want in the way of a wedding, but I’m from a Oklahoma so probably a barn wedding? (It’s 2008 and barns are all the rage — think mason jars, burlap, barns as the aesthetic covering Pinterest). “I literally don’t want to get married in a barn. I want the Bride Wars style wedding at The Plaza,” I say.

And then it hit me.

The venue in OKC I remember as a kid. The proverbial Plaza wedding my sister and I dreamed of.

The Petroleum Club. That’s good.

And so, a wedding ceremony at my home church and a reception following downtown at The Petroleum Club was born.

… and now I have to figure out all the details to make the entire day happen.

The Starting Point 

Thankfully, I don’t actually have to — I was quite successful in the last regard over the in planning our wedding (with the help of my mom), praise the Lord.

For the sake of this blog post, though, let’s pretend like I didn’t know what I was doing at all. Let’s pretend like I’m about to plan my wedding completely from scratch. Here’s where we’re beginning in this scenario: • Chase and I just got engaged (yay!) • I know we want to get married at my church. • I have a general idea of who I want to be there and how I want the wedding to feel. • I’m on a budget, so I don’t want to spend too much money on all the things — I want to make excellent choices within my budget based on what I want — not what’s currently trending.

And that’s all I’ve got. So… I guess I should get started?

Step #1 — Figure out exactly what I care most about for my wedding day.

The first thing I’m going to do is envision what I want my wedding day to feel like. Do I want it to feel fun and exciting? Romantic and elegant? Like OMG THAT WAS THE MOST FUN I’VE HAD EVER! — The best way to ensure that you’ll get the day you want is to be super specific about what you care about, do that, and communicate exactly what you want and what you envision.

…but you can’t do any of that if you don’t know what you WANT.

Or how you want it to feel. Or what is most important to you. Or why you want it to feel that way. Or what you care about MOST. So, I’ll need to put in some work developing specifics around what I care about most. Important things I want to make sure I’m clear on are: what do I value for the day and for the future? Is it photography? Is it food? Is it specialty cocktails? A band? DJ? A painting? Welcome baskets that show I care? Invitations that set the tone? This sounds kinda hard, but it’s actually pretty simple — all it takes is some brainstorming, and enough effort to think a bit deeper. A Google Doc will do.

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Step #2 — Find a wedding planner that understands my vision

Once I’ve got my vision for the day nailed down (or, at least, the brainstorm about my wedding day somewhat underway), I’ll need to find a wedding planner that understands my vision and my budget.

As a bride, I don’t know that many of the weddings I see on Instagram are million dollar weddings. I need a planner that can explain to me what we can do that meets me where both my vision and budget align.

Now, because I have the luxury of my current knowledge informing this whole “what I’d do to plan my wedding from scratch” experiment, I know that a full service wedding planner is best if you want to be the CEO of your wedding but not necessarily have your hands in all the nitty gritty details, and a partial service planner/month of coordination is if I want to be the CEO, CFO, COO — basically every part of the wedding and I only want help with execution.

I know that I’m a vision person and I want someone else to take care of the details; so I’d choose a full service planner from the beginning if I were to do it all again. So, for step #2, I’d get referrals for full service wedding planners, binge their Instagrams and Pinterests, and fill out the contact forms of 2 or 3 I felt were a good fit for me before we touched base. I would definitely want to get on a call and see if we were really a good fit. I’d be working with this person to plan our wedding in 9 months — a good fit is imperative.

Need planner recs? I got you.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE HOW I WOULD PAINT THIS AMALFI COAST WEDDING…

#3 — Be like Elsa and LET IT GO.

I did this the first time around, and I’d DEFINITELY do it again. When you first start planning your wedding, I strongly advise beginning with a wedding planner, making a Pinterest board of inspiration, and staying AWAY from Instagram: You want to focus on what you want for your day; your aesthetic, not what is trending on TikTok or Instagram. Sure, social media can offer some awesome ideas, and really help you to find new and interesting ideas you hadn’t thought of. But, in the beginning, you want to focus on YOUR love story. YOUR aesthetic. YOUR vibe. What YOU find most important. (This is why I recommend beginning with a planner.) Unlike constant deep dives into social media, your full service wedding planner isn’t new to this experience. Unlike social media, your wedding planner is hired by YOU – and is an expert on what they do, and isn’t going to change course willy-nilly for a TikTok trend. Unlike social media, your wedding planner gives you space to make decisions based on what you’re looking for, not what other brides are doing.

Let go of trends, and follow your heart.❤️ Wedding planner first, everything else second.

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Step #4 — Listen to your wedding planner.

I now understand what goes into weddings of all budgets, but when I was getting married, I sure didn’t. Listen to your planner. They are the EXPERT.

Let’s say it again — your planner is the EXPERT.

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Step #5 — With the help of my planner, choose my vendors.

If I were to do it all again, I would take the recommendations of my planner.

For example, I visited with two florists when planning my wedding. Both did a great presentation. The first, gave me exactly what I wanted. The second, however, showed me what I didn’t even know I wanted. He also wasn’t afraid to say — that’s kitschy and you’re not going to love that years later. Honestly; at the time it ticked me off; but now I can look back and see he was exactly right, and going with him was the best choice.

Don’t just choose vendors who give you what you want — choose vendors who go above and beyond what you want. Vendors who will customize what they offer to make your day perfect. Vendors who listen to your wants and needs and can explain to you what would be best fit for YOU and why.

As a last tip in this section — if I could go back I would hire a live wedding painter.

Ten years of marriage in and 3 of 4 babies are no longer babies (I’m holding onto my little one year old tight because babies don’t keep) — I’m really hit with the beauty of remembering.

Days can be long, but years are short. My husband and I still feel like we’re those two kids around the fire pit obsessed with each other, but here we are and Facebook has the nerve to show us memories saying 14 years ago — my, how time has flown.

Your painting is an artful memory..

Capture those soft details that are timeless.

Your very own Monet-inspired watercolor painting you’ll look back on and love years later.

A beautiful piece that tells your story with every brushstroke — like this mother and daughter.

Because let’s be real — life happens. And when your wedding photos are replaced by maternity, baby, and family photos, and your priceless wedding album gets put away for safe keeping —

no random toothpaste fingers on the album please 🤣( speaking from experience here)

—this painting will still be there, up on the wall, so a special piece you can see that shares the beauty of your day. The deep heart of all those involved.

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Step #6 — Ask our wedding party

Now that I have my wedding planner taking care of making my vision come to life, I’ll want to make sure that I have my best people by my side. A painted champagne bottle with a handwritten note would be juuuuust the thing. So, I’d consider what would be most meaningful, and paint each one unique to them. (Click here if you aren’t crafty and want some help with this)

Then, I’d write a handwritten note to each person.

Then, I’d package everything thoughtfully so they could feel how much I love them just from seeing the bag.
Then, I’d go and deliver them, hug my people, and say THANK YOU for standing by be on my wedding day.

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Step #7 — Realize I may have missed a few steps of wedding planning …

I know my wedding planner is planning my wedding for me according to my vision.

Soon, I’ll be inundated asks about when the wedding is, who is invited and I won’t have as much time to answer those questions because the wedding will be right around the corner. Thankfully, I hired a planner who knows how to do all of this for me. PTL! 🙌🙌🙌

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And that’s a pretty dang good Starter Plan, if I do say so myself.

Vision. Wedding planner. Letting go. Listening to the planner. Choosing top notch vendors. Choosing the wedding party. That’s plenty to plan my wedding…

& speaking from experience: It works.

Want help painting your love story into a bespoke painting? Let’s make it happen.

Bringing your wedding day to life, thrilling your guests with a show-stopping live wedding painting experience, and creating a timeless keepsake that honors your sacred bond and will warm your heart every time you look at it – it’s what I do best.

Hey, I'm Courtney.

From behind the easel, I serve timeless brides who still embrace the unexpected by creating heirloom painting experiences that are immersive, one-of-a-kind, and thrilling to watch.

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