Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Erin Vale

How long after your got engaged did you begin planning the wedding?

Not right away. We were engaged for about 2 years. My husband graduated college a year ahead of me so we had a built in year. We took things slow.

How did you determine the wedding’s budget and who contributed what?

My mom told me she had been saving for quite some time for my wedding. I had no idea she was doing that! She told us her budget and let us do pretty much whatever we wanted.

How did you keep track of your wedding planning (book, planner, Excel, other)?

My mom kept a small binder for us. As I mentioned before, we took our time. We booked the big things first: cake, hall, church, photographer. The little things just came pretty easy after that. It was nice to have all the contact info and reference printouts in one place while we met with vendors. Being organized is key.

When you discussed the wedding, what 5 things where most important to the two of you?

Month of the wedding. Time the wedding would take place. My colors. My dress. My flowers.

How did you incorporate those 5 things into your wedding?

Our favorite season is fall and month is October so we were married in late October when the leaves were just turning. I think nighttime is sexy and romantic, so we were married in the late evening. {Come on, everyone looks good by candlelight!}.

I love neutrals so our wedding colors were cream and black. My favorite uncle can sew anything and he made my dress for me. It was a one-of-a-kind dress and memory. One of my grandmothers passed away when I was in sixth grade. She was very special to me so I incorporated her favorite flowers in my bouquet. Felt like she was there with me.

Did you register for gifts and was it a good experience?

We did register for gifts. It was fun and easy. I did make the mistake of letting my husband use the little gun thing and he thought it would be funny to register for Laffy Taffy candy. {We met at college over that particular candy.} I ended up getting POUNDS of Laffy Taffy at all three of my bridal showers. [It] ended up being quite funny. We gave the leftovers away as favors at the reception!

Could you share some wedding planning advice for newly engaged couples?

Start early and give yourself plenty of time. We did a lot of DIY projects to make it more personal for us and our guests. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Why stress over an event that is only going to last a couple of hours?!

Where did you splurge and where did you save?

[We] splurged on flowers. I love natural elements. I saved on my dress. My uncle made my dress and gave it to me as his gift. I also saved on my invitations. I am a graphic designer so I made every paper element for the wedding.

What specific cost surprised you (pleasantly or unpleasantly)?

Flowers can get very expensive very quickly.

Could you share a favorite DIY project from your wedding?

I love heartfelt personal reception favors. As I mentioned, we gave everyone pieces of Laffy Taffy candy and for those who did not know, we included a little card that explained how the candy played a role in how we met.

Did you have to handle any tricky or delicate issues while planning your wedding and how did you cope with them?

Not really. My mom and I made a conscious effort to not be stressed about the wedding. Honestly, I was really more excited to be married. The wedding was just a formality to begin the rest of my amazing life with my best friend. Looking at it that way took all the pressure off.

Could you share some wedding day advice for newly engaged couples?

1. Make it personal. Incorporate elements and talents from your family members and friends. Let people help you. 2, [The] best advice that was given to me that I give to other couples [is] – At your reception, sneak off together and observe how happy your family and friends are to share this moment with you. Best memory from our day.

Could you share your favorite photo from the day and tell us why you love it?


I LOVE THIS PHOTO! It is a candid that is not the best of me but the look of sheer joy and happiness on my mom’s face is priceless! She has never looked lovelier.


Thank you, Erin! I loved your take on the real feelings and reason behind a wedding day…and your uncle making your dress?!?! So cool.

Would you like to ask Erin any questions about her wedding experience? Leave a comment and we'll try to get back with you! For another look at Erin's work – click here.