5 tips for a bride from a bride

Congrats! Your engaged!

Now what? It is probably overwhelming, all the attention, well-meant advises and the whole idea of organizing your own wedding.

Don’t worry, thousands of brides do it every year, (this year I am one of them) and I’ll take you with me on my journey full of lace, satin, flowers, cake and I do. Here are my first 5 tips for you, so you don’t have to make my mistakes.

As mentioned in my previous blog, we got engaged in New York, in June 2018. Our wedding date is May 11th, 2019. We have had many discussions about the date for our wedding. We fixed our date only very recently (like this week) and I wish we stuck with my first tip.

1st tip: Pick a date (provisional is fine) before you tell anyone you’re engaged!

The 2nd question (after: OMG! How did he/she propose!?!?) will be: When is the wedding?

Trust me, having to tell everyone: oh, we don’t have a date yet… can become pretty annoying after the first 20 people. Everyone will understand you don’t have a fixed date, but wouldn’t it feel way better to say: Well, we are planning on the first week of June, so you better block that weekend in your calendar!

About that date you are picking…

2nd tip: Get married on any day of the week except for Fridays.

Lots of vendors will have discounts when you get married during the week, so you can really save on that. But a big one not to forget is the venue. At our venue we found out that getting married on a Friday would (just for the rent of the venue) cost 3 times as much as a Saturday, not kidding, this really happened. Just because the venue also rents out spaces for business meetings and they get so much revenue from that, if you want to rent the entire venue, they’ll to compensate for that. So keep that in mind when shopping for a venue. Everything else is cheaper during the week than during weekends but do you really want everyone to take a day, or two, off from work just to be at your wedding?

Everything you want to plan or organize is depending on your date! Getting quotes from vendors, the style of your wedding (Winter-wonderland theme? Cozy indoors? Summer-BBQ-in-backyard-vibe, beach wedding) and the timing for getting a dress (it can take 5 months to get a dress, better start early!), just to name a few things.

3rd tip: Pick your most important items for the wedding.

I’ve read it so many times, on so many blogs: set a budget and stick to it. These blogs just didn’t mention the endless discussion about which items within that budget are more important for the both of you.

Please do so, have that discussion. Life will be so much easier. We set a budget, a very realistic one. But now my fiancé keeps saying: 1250€ for a photographer? But what if it costs 2500€ and we love the photo style? Same for the location + catering (he had his mind SET on a location, I loved it too so that was easy), we plan on it to be 5000€ but I had to ask him: what if the price comes out to be 10000€? He responded with: I still want to get married there. To avoid this discussion AFTER you set your budget, start with it. Do you want perfect photos, or do you really have your mind set on that specific location on a specific date? You’ll have to make choices and you better make them together as a couple (a bit of practice never hurts right?).

So my tip is to discuss in advance (before setting your budget) really well which items are super important for you both and which are way less important and can even be skipped if your top items come out a bit more pricy.

4th tip: Set your budget and stick to it.

You knew this one was coming. Setting your budget can be very scary, because you need to get a feel for all the costs. But you know, the budget isn’t set in stone (yet). If you think you can get a photographer for 500€ but it turns out the cheapest around starts at 1000€ you will have to change your budget. As long as you can still get the money together in time, no problem.

On the other hand, if you go dress shopping, stick to your budget! Don’t try any dresses over your price range, there are so many, yours will be there with the right price tag.

What I’m trying to say is that for items you really guessed wrong when setting your budget, you can always change that, but to alter your budget just because you were stubborn enough to look out of your price range… just don’t do it! This day will be expensive enough as it is.

Don’t forget to include 10% contingency for unexpected thing (you know they will be there).

5th tip: Try to stick to one venue.

When we met with our caterer earlier this week, he was over the moon to hear we wanted to organize everything (ceremony, reception, dinner & party) all in one location.

But not only your vendors will love you for this.

Think of all the guests that need to move from one place to another, in a town or city they might not be familiar with. They don’t know that a specific road will be blocked due to roadworks and they need to take a detour through the city center and end up lost in the middle of nowhere, arriving late for the next part of your day. You just don’t want that.

Think of all the decoration for 2 or maybe even 3 venues? Budget wise that could be costly and who is going to decorate and clean up? You need to rent all those venues, again: budget. You hire a photographer for a certain number of hours. Do you really want this person to be in a car during that time or would you rather have a few more wonderful photos?

And after all, this is your day. Do you really want to be traveling for half an hour, multiple times, while you could also spend that time chatting with your guests or enjoying some quiet time with your partner?

I hope you enjoyed this blog and keep these tips in mind when going through the same process. More tips will following so subscribe to avoid missing out!


Love, Laura

My first blog – New York (& Proposal)


Starting a blog is hard! I have so many things I’d like to write about, I’m having a hard time picking one for now.

As I already mentioned in the About me part, I’m engaged!!! M. proposed to me when we went to New York recently so I thought that might be a nice start of my blogging adventure.

So, to start this off: last March we were together for 5 years and he gave me a trip to New York as we both wanted to visit that city at least once in our lives. In June we went to the big apple for a week and we did it all:

On the first day we rented the blue Citibikes (duhh, we’re Dutch, we cycle), rode over 30km, walked 20.000 steps as well and got trapped in a mile long parade of Porto Rican people (how do you say that in English?). We ate our first Hotdog near Central Park and just enjoyed all the things we saw. We walked the Highline (does anyone know what those huge flowers are? Also got our first pictures of Lady Liberty of course.

As it wasn’t the best weather, we had to take cover from the rain once every while so we got to hide in Central Terminal and enjoyed the great architecture. After that, we walked to Times Square and HAD to visit the M&M store.

We got a very nice dinner at a small Thai place on 56th street, New Topaz Thai. After that we (fully jetlegged) got on our bikes back to the hotel where we went into some kind of a coma.

Day 2. We started early so we could get on Top of the Rock before lunch. After enjoying that wonderful view on Central Park and the Empire State building and Manhattan in general, we went to the Library. We had to fight our training as the slow swoop evacuation signal just kept on going and we both are trained to leave when the alarm goes off, really annoying ! They were just testing the system (we asked, to make sure).


Next we cycled all the way down to Ground Zero. That place really made an impact. Goosebumps all over. 

We walked to Wall st. as M. really wanted to see that. Loved the atmosphere there by the way. Felt very much like towns near the Mediterranean sea. Very odd, but nice!

To be the ultimate tourists, we also had to take the ferry to Staten Island and back, so we did. 

Next we felt we were up for a burger, cause you can’t go to the US and not eat a burger, right? So we went to Bareburger, on the corner of Ann st. & William st.

Again, we were fast asleep that night.

On our third day we were tired of visiting so many things so we decided to have a lazy day in Central Park. With some books, an e-reader, magazines and lots of water we headed into the park. After having laid down for a while we went to explore the park a bit more, going towards the lake. I have to say, it was a really hot day, like really really hot, so it was nice under the trees. M. saw all these small rowing boats on the lake and said: Ow let’s go rent one and get up on the lake.

And I, miss not-romantic herself, said: WHAT!?! NO!!! We’ll burn alive on the water!

When I looked at Maarten I noticed I screwed up a plan of his and that is when I got suspicious, like, why do you need a plan for anything?

So we walked around the lake a bit more, and M. got really touchy and kept hugging me all the time. After a while we got to a really pretty bridge above the lake with a violinist next to it (for real, like it was planned). After staring for a while at all those romantic couples (burning alive) on the lake, M. took my backpack and took something from it. And I was like: OOOOWWW, that is what I just screwed up!

This poor guy had to improvise and find a new spot for his proposal, aaaah so sweet!

So on that bridge, M. asked me to marry him, and I (still very clear in my head and not screaming YES!!!!) said: don’t you think you should ask me that on one knee? And so he did!!! And of course I said yes. Aaah it was so sweet! So you get it, we didn’t take too many photos that day besides this one:

On THE bridge in Central Park

We had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant  (Osteria Cotta, Columbus Av. & 84th St.) and called it quits quite early that night 😉

The fourth day we started with a breakfast at the Brooklyn Bagel & coffee Company (recommendation! Best bagels we ever had!) and we went to the Met museum followed by a long bike ride along the Hudson river down to Soho for some sightseeing. As we had some time to spare until our Broadway show we decided to WALK all the way from SOHO to 44th street. I can you: I needed new shoes after this trip. So after dinner at Virgils Real BBQ at Times Square (mega portions, just order a mini portions, don’t get pursuaded to take 5 ribs instead of 3. Two was more than enough for me.) we went to see Escape to Margarita Ville, so much fun, laughed soooo much. I don’t have many pictures of this day because we were kind of tired of our cameras.

Our 5th day involved visiting Coney Island, as it was again a super hot day and we figured the beach would help us cool down a bit. Big mistake! It was super windy, but the wind was hot so you got covered in sand within seconds and melted away due to the heat. So we got some hotdogs at Nathans (. stood in line for 30 minutes! WHY!?!?).

After taking the train back to Manhattan we decided Central Park would be the best option to avoid melting any further, so we spent the rest of the afternoon at a lovely quiet part of the park with lots of shade. Dinner was at Joe’s Shanghai on 56th St. Very nice Chinese restaurant!DSC_0046

Day 6 was our last full day so we decided to go see what we wanted to see again. So we went back to our favorite coffee bar Irving farm coffee roasters,  China town, Little Italy and SOHO. Here we finally did some shopping, and we tried to go for dinner at Chelsea Market but we found it kind of a tourist trap. Very crouded and not very good food (sorry, not the best experience during our trip).

For our final evening, we had booked a sunset sail on an old sailing boat. That, besides the proposal, was the best part of our trip. It was so nice, the weather was perfect, the sunset was gorgeous, the boat was nice and big and a super good remake of the original America boat that won the first America’s cup (sailing competition). Can’t describe it with words, it was just super relaxing and wonderful.

On our last morning we packed up our bags and went to Central Park until it was time to catch the train to JFK and head home…

We loved NYC, but as we don’t usually spend much time in a big city like that, we were pretty worn out by the time we got home. So many things we have seen and experienced.

Maybe one day we’ll be back, any suggestions for us what to see & do?

Love, Laura