Bride on A Budget: Getting Acquainted

Meet Stephanie, a resourceful bride-to-be ready to look to unconventional resources to make her dream wedding a reality. Follow along as she chronicles her story right here on our Bridal Party blog.

Hi, Washingtonians! For the next 14 months, I’ll be one of your bridal bloggers. I’m excited to share my wedding-planning journey with you in all of its glory—good and bad. But first, I need to introduce myself and my man.

Matt and I met four years ago as paralegals in the same office. It was not love at first sight. In fact, I thought Matt was a little nerdy—it must have been the old-school green JanSport backpack he was always wearing. Our office was pretty social, so Matt and I ended up spending time together and became fast friends. We both liked exploring the city and found that we shared a lot of common interests. One night, after months of faux dating, Matt, my friend Laura, and I went out to dinner. After seeing how playful and flirty we were, Laura made herself scarce for a bit and gave us the alone time necessary for our first kiss. The rest, as they say, is history.

I’m not the type of girl who has been planning my wedding since I was little. Growing up, I was more interested in pursuing extracurricular activities, internships, and new job opportunities. I’m also an extremely practical person who considers the tax and liability implications of any situation, even though I’m neither an accountant or an attorney. Of my college girlfriends, I’m the Miranda of the group—Sex and the City fans, you know what I mean—and I’m definitely the one we all figured would be the last to get married. I remember saying on more than one occasion that I wouldn’t tie the knot before 30. But look at me now—I’m only 25.

My thoughts about walking down the aisle changed a year ago, when Matt and I became serious about our future. I threw out my timeline and instead focused on my relationship with this wonderful man. The wedding bug bit hard when we looked at diamond rings last October. I (not so) secretly began compiling research on weddings. Even though I didn’t have an engagement ring, I had lots of fun poking around. I spent more than a few lunch hours googling “DC wedding venues,” checking out the Washingtonian wedding web site, and reading DC wedding blogs. Although I was getting a little ahead of myself, I’m glad I did my homework. Once I officially got the rock, a lot of that research helped in navigating our ceremony and venue choices. But I’ll tell you all about that over the coming months.

Matt and I are really excited about the wedding-planning process, though we know it won’t be easy or cheap. The last few months have been tough—we’ve faced the death of loved ones, a job change, completion of my graduate degree, and Matt’s second year of law school. Trying to fit in wedding planning has been challenging, but I’ve made monthly timelines to avoid getting overwhelmed. The last thing anyone wants is to let this overshadow school, work, family, and friends.

I hope you enjoy reading about our wedding as much as we enjoy planning it and that you pick up some valuable tips in the process. Planning a wedding in this city while saving up for our first house and paying off a combined six-figure graduate-school debt will be quite the adventure, but the outcome is guaranteed to be great.

>> Tune in two weeks from now when I tell you about Matt’s proposal (spoiler alert: I said yes!).