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Advice for Planning Your Wedding

Lessons from a Houston bride, planning a wedding during a pandemic.

Trey and Zondra's wedding reception pic

Wedding planning can bring out the most unexpected emotions in and friends alike. It's the era of your life where you see how you handle stress, how you and your partner problem-solve, and your communication skills WILL be tested! With all that said, the wedding blogs, podcasts, and advice from my closest friends were all RIGHT! The most important thing that matters is the reason you are creating the perfect situation for all this hooplah to happen in the first place...celebrating your love for each other.

Normally, our families aren't the type to hold extravagant weddings. While there are a couple we had memories of attending family weddings, we didn't really know what to use as our example of what rituals we should use, so we did our research and had a lot of discussions for what our vision would be.


We got engaged on April 11, 2019 at Herman Park. This just so happens to be my sorority's Founders Day! As the now hubby recalled, it was not supposed to be on that day. He had been arranging to propose a few days later, but that good ole unpredictable Houston weather made him move the date up. Ironically, the gloomier weather came through earlier than expected, so our proposal ended up happening on an overcast day with the threat of rain! Nevertheless, the proposal was beautiful and completely unexpected. I couldn't have asked for a more thoughtful proposal. THOUGHTFUL being the keyword.

In the whirlwind of confirming our future as husband and wife, we immediately began receiving questions about what the date would be, what the theme would be, and if we had a color scheme...overwhelming to say the least. We had no idea what we wanted! All we knew was that we wanted to celebrate with our family and friends and provide an atmosphere for everyone to be together. So, we kicked off our celebrations but planning a '90s-themed engagement party with the theme, "Love in the 90s," since we are both '90s babies.

Here are some key tips for planning an engagement party:

Pinterest is your best friend

Whenever I am planning an event, I immediately begin creating a Pinterest board to find inspiration and to refer to it later. This enables me to visualize all the thoughts that end up swarming in my mind. Here are a few DIYs that came to life thanks to Pinterest!

DIY CD Memory Wall
CD Memory Wall filled with different pictures of us throughout our relationship...including the engagement photo!
DIY Photobooth
I designed a mini photobooth backdrop in Canva and bought props on Amazon

Ask a friend or family member for help

I had sooo many cupcake toppers to make! A week before the party, I brought them over to my cousin's house so she could help me cut out all the images I laminated and hot glue them to toothpicks. It took a lot less time for this project to get done and I am so grateful for her help! The cupcakes on the other hand...I did not plan these out too well. I was up until 5 am baking and decorating these cupcakes because I didn't bring anyone to help me out. If there was one thing, I would have done differently, it would be to ask for help to decorate all these cupcakes! However, my hard work didn't go to waste.

DIY cupcake toppers
Custom cupcake toppers w/ 90s themed characters and nostalgia

Add personalized touches to reflect you and your significant other

We were looking for ways to customize our party even further and stumbled upon different cocktail recipes on Pinterest. In order to be cost-efficient, we decided to use drink dispensers and mix our favorite drinks. Mine had dark rum and he had white rum. I made the mistake of adding too much in mine (the darker drink) and it was so strong! Needless to say, Trey's drink was a hit and everyone was able to drive home safely lol!

Custom party drinks
We each created a drink and labeled them with our Instagram handles.

Have an RSVP list

Instead of creating a private group on Facebook, we made an event page for our party. This was helpful because people could add it to their calendars and, if needed, guests could check Facebook events for information on the location and other fun surprises we had in store.

Have the after-party

After going home to change and feed the dogs, we went to Christian's Tailgate Bar and Grill for Karaoke night! We were exhausted, but caught a second wind once we got there! We sang one of our favorite songs, Whisky Glasses (which is more of a heartbreak anthem than a love song, but you love the songs you love).


Since the pandemic was still looming over us, we created the safest plan possible. We narrowed down our list to about 35 people, that included deciding not to have all the bridal party we intended to have. This turned out to be a good decision for us and made the ceremony more intimate. Our other guests were sent Zoom links to join us virtually and it was so heartwarming to see everyone wishing us well! We created a Facebook Group for everyone to be able to ask questions and share their thoughts and photos.

We used the Peerspace app to find a house to get married in. It was the perfect spot and a blank slate to decorate our ceremony space. The owners also had a huge yard where we took our pictures afterward. My godmother created all of the floral bouquets and boutinieres, with the help of her assistant, my mom.


After the engagement party, we began envisioning what our wedding would look like. Thankfully, my dad already found a venue that was all-inclusive and at a great price point! All in all, we paid about $7,000 for the venue and catering, which included servers, linens, etc. We paid more for the appetizer/grazing table we had during the cocktail hour. We got a great deal on alcohol and paid about $300, including mixers. All the centerpieces were DIY (made by me 😌). I had a few years to get it right, considering we had to postpone the wedding twice since signing the contract below.

We didn't end up using the chapel, so that cost went to renting the house. To have a central place for RSVPs and information for the reception. Click here to see our site! I also designed the invitations with Canva and it was hands down the greatest and most cost-effective decision. I paid $134 for 200 invites with envelopes. THAT'S A STEAL! We also included a picture on the back as a gift to everyone we invited. Take a look at my handy work:

We also got a great deal on our DJ since he is a family friend. We spoke with him at a family event and later secured the date with him. HE KEPT US DANCING ALL NIGHT! Thanks DJ Walt! We created another Facebook Group for everyone to add their photos and videos, and to share our excitement when we opened our gifts. We also shared some photos from our Honeymoon in the group.


We decided against save the dates and instead, used the reception group to remind people that we would be sending out our invitations soon.

Hiring a wedding coordinator wasn't necessary since we planned the wedding ourselves, but thanks to the Woman Getting Married podcast and Jamie Wolfer, we chose to have a day of coordinator. Out of the thousands of decisions we needed to make during the wedding planning process, this was probably the best decision ever! Thanks, Ashley Nicole Events!

We also decided not to have a videographer at the ceremony, but instead interviewed and found an amazing photographer, Helena Photographs. For our reception, we only had a videographer. I was able to hire my old friend from college to document our night and since I knew how to edit, I got a good deal and edited the footage myself. Check out Vinson Valdez Films!

If you have any questions about other decisions we made, sound off in the comments section below. Also, I created videos for our ceremony photos and our documentary-style-ish wedding reception video. Take a look!

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