Planning Your Wedding Before You Get Engaged

We’ve recently heard of unengaged ladies taking big wedding-planning steps… What do you think of Planning Your Wedding before you get engaged?

I just learned about a woman who had gone engagement-ring shopping with her long-term boyfriend. A little while later, she found herself at a clothing store that also sold wedding gowns. The store was attempting to purge themselves of their inventory buy offering the dresses at deep discounts. This woman spotted a wedding dress she loved at an amazing price and bought it.

A few months later, her boyfriend broke up with her.

Another girl was dating her boyfriend for about six months when she reserved a date at a wedding hall! True, the venue gets booked up two years in advance, but it requires a ginormous, non-refundable deposit to hold the date. Fortunately, her story has a happy ending: They got engaged a few months after she booked the hall, the dude wasn’t at all spooked by the early wedding planning, and they’re married with two kids now.

Do you think these women were nutty to wedding plan before they were engaged? Or do you think it was fine to take a chance, as long as they understood what a huge risk they were taking? How much pre-engaged wedding planning are you doing?


Things to Consider: Engagement Rings.

From solitaires, stackables and heirlooms to diamonds and precious stones of every conceivable cut and color, the ring reflects the taste and the personality of the giver and the recipient. Unlike any other ring, however, an engagement ring embodies a promise and an unprecedented level of romantic expectation. It also symbolizes love.

Before shopping, all ideas related to size, style and budget should be addressed. Although a ring is not a prerequisite for making an engagement official, finding something treasured by both the bride and the groom is imperative. While there is no formal etiquette regarding the purchase, the notion that the groom spends the equivalent of two months’ salary is antiquated.

• Even though tradition assigns the ring selection to the groom, a bride should still let her taste be known. Couples today often prefer to collaborate on the ring choice. Should it not be to her liking, the bride’s response should be tactful and discreet. • Even if a bride does not intend to wear her engagement ring on a daily basis, it should still complement the reality of her lifestyle. • For those who are planning to wear their engagement ring with a wedding band, the width of both bands should correspond, and the rings designed to be worn together. • The size and shape of the stone should be in proportion to the bride’s finger. • The stone choice will impact how the ring will look on the bride’s hand. In addition, the color of the stone should complement the bride’s skin tone.

Get Organized with this Handy Timeline…

8-12 Months:

Start your dress search.

6-8 Months:

Order your dress now so you’ll have plenty of time to attend fittings.

Get a swatch of fabric from your dress so that you can match shoes and other accessories.

Make shopping for accessories and choosing a hairstyle easier by taking front and back photos of yourself in your dress.

3-6 Months:

Shop for your accessories…
Wrap or shawl

2-3 Months:

Attend your first fitting; bring your shoes, lingerie and accessories with you.

Attend your final wedding-dress fitting.

1-2 Weeks:

Pick up your wedding dress. Try it on one last time before you leave the salon to make certain that it fits just right.

Brides-to-Be…Q&A|| Erin Cole

Q:  I’m worried about my train getting tangled before I walk down the aisle. How can I be sure it’s straight?

A:  Ideally, one of your bridesmaids should make a last-minute adjustment. But since they head down the aisle before you, you may have to ask your dad (or whoever is escorting you) to fluff out your train and make sure it falls evenly. You can also designate your wedding consultant or a friend to handle the job. After the ceremony, your honor attendant should straighten out your train before you head back up the aisle.

Q:  How do I take care of my gown once the wedding is over? My mom says it has to be cleaned a special way.

A:  In this case, Mother knows best. “A wedding gown is a very delicate garment, so it needs to be handled with the utmost care,” points out Steven Saidman, of the Imperial Gown Restoration Company in Fairfax, Virginia. “This means having it cared for by an expert, who will use a special technique called hand-wet cleaning.” During this method, the dress is immersed for a precise number of minutes in a bath of solvents tailored specifically to the fabric. While your neighborhood cleaners may be great at reviving workday wear, they may not be experienced with this process. “So if you take it to a regular cleaners, you run the risk of subjecting your dress to the solvents used on everyday clothes. They’re too harsh for a wedding gown,” says Saidman. To find a qualified bridal cleaner, ask us for recommendations.

Getting Guests Involved in the Guest Book.

If you are the kind of couple that likes to leave each other little notes, incorporate this into your wedding day with neat ways for friends and family to sign the guest book. Perhaps a vintage typewriter, white chalk on black paper (be sure to seal these in plastic protection after the day) or an ink and nib on pretty stationary. Let guests express their individuality while expressing their love for you both. With so many options, several guests can pen out their well wishes at the same time and no one feels rushed. Even better, let guests mosey up to the table throughout the night and give them an activity.  Tip:  Keep the theme going and send thank you notes in the same format you asked guests to sign in (i.e. vintage typewriter thank you’s).


Once cherished as the ultimate wedding fabric because of its delicacy, scarcity and cost, lace is less popular than it once was. Lace sets the tone for a wedding that embraces tradition. While there are infinite varieties of lace, each specific weave has its own distinct look and defining characteristics.

Fragile and timeless, lace exudes tradition, propriety and romance. The finest lace, with its fluttery delicate nature and timeless honored handwork, makes it a cherished accent to the traditional bride’s wedding gown.

While there are infinite varieties of lace, each specific weave has its own distinct look and defining characteristics. The range in lace styles is enormous, from fragile and delicate Chantilly lace, to elaborate, re-embroidered Alençon or Venice.

Lace is particularly well suited for morning or daytime weddings, as it provides adornment and texture without beading or shine. When coupled with other delicate fabrics such as silk taffeta or duchess satin, lace can provide just the right amount of traditional appeal.

Q&A with Judd Waddell.

Erin Cole Couture is happy to be featured on  Our friends at Hitched sat down with Judd Waddell for some Q&A time. We love Judd Waddell gowns at Erin Cole.  Here is the interview:

Hitched: Where are you from, and how did you get your start as a wedding gown designer?

Judd Waddell: I was born in a small town in rural Illinios and ended up going to Washington University in St. Louis for college to study architecture. I wound up being really stimulated by it, which opened my mind to other types of design. I became interested in fashion design, but had no idea that I would be a wedding gown designer. I was more interested in doing sportswear. But then, about a year and a half into my job at Carolina Herrera, I was approached to design her first bridal collection. I though it might be fun, because I really liked the Herrera aesthetic. There was a formality but it was very clean, which I thought would make an interesting take on wedding dresses– a very different take on what else was happening with gowns in the late ’80s.

Hitched: What was your first job ever?

JW: I was a senate page for the Illinois state senate– so it was totally unrelated to bridal. Unfortunately there was no scandal attached to me… though it wasn’t for lack of trying!

Hitched: What do you use for inspiration when designing your gowns? Is it mostly architecture, based on your background?

JW: Architecture is how I clear my head. To prime myself for designing, I download apartment floor plans, white everything out, and reconfigure them. I love those kinds of projects, but it’s not my direct inspiration. Really, I like historical costume– all the way back to the 15th and 20th centuries. That kind of clothing inspires me, and I love history. I’ll design something that’s like a riff on a Victorian dress, but a bit lightened up to make it stand as it’s own design.

Hitched: What’s your favorite part of the design process?

JW: When designing, I like both the two and three-dimensional parts. I like to sketch, but I really like building patterns, where the architecture comes in and makes it go from flat to 3D.

Hitched: Who are some of your favorite non-bridal designers?

JW: Dead? Balenciaga and Madeleine Vionnet. Living and not designing? Claude Montana. Living and designing? J. Mendel.