When you have nothing other than “we want to get married”… which is of course the most important part, it has to feel pretty overwhelming! Just know that the first decisions are the hardest. As you go along everything will start to fall into place and it will get easier. If you decided on a long-ish engagement it will give you time to get everything done without any (or too much) panic.
THIS IS YOUR DAY! Remember this when you are inundated with advice and suggestions! Nothing is as important as what you and your partner want for this special day. Not what is currently trending, and not what the wedding industry wants to sell you nor what the world thinks. If you feel you want to include close family in your decisions of course do so, but still you should draw boundaries from the beginning and make it clear to everyone what is important to the two of you, what you won’t compromise on and that the final decision is yours. I have seen too many brides or couples distraught by family who didn’t have the wedding they wanted and sometimes, even subconsciously, want to finally see their dreams realized through their child’s wedding. I am not saying you shouldn’t listen to advice as we often get carried away with plans and a voice of reason can point out how our plans may not be realistic but still, this is your day and most importantly…. Have fun with it!
YOUR VISION. When deciding on the type of wedding you want, I suggest that you and your fiancé take some time to sit (just the two of you initially) and discuss your vision for your special day. Are you an outdoor, casual rustic barn, free-spirited, or the elegant, ballroom, everything-has-to-be-perfect type of couple, or somewhere in between? What is your favorite season and location? If your vision is not quite the same, decide how you can compromise. Maybe one partner can choose the venue and the other the location? First decide on the big picture and then work on the details. Your wedding doesn’t need a theme or color scheme if this isn’t you but if it is, this is not something you need to decide right away either. Often those details will just fall into place as time goes by. Decide on the must-haves, the would-like-to-haves and the wish-list if you have enough money left in the budget, if this is a determining factor. Think about the type of food you want to serve and just in general what you would like for this very special day.
YOUR WEDDING DATE: This is of course the most important decision to make and you may wonder where do you start? This is a question unique to each couple and you will decide what is the most important factor for both of you and you really cannot commit to anything until you have made this decision. My suggestion is give yourself plenty of time to plan for the things that are truly important to you, such as the availability of family and bridal party, whether it’s incorporating lace from your mom’s dress to use in your own gown or your favorite venue being available. Many factors play a part in this decision especially weather and guest list. If you are in California I have found that the nicest weather is during Spring and Fall as it usually isn’t too hot or cold. Every season has its unique beauty (and challenges) and your personal preference is the deciding factor here. There are definite dates to avoid such Jewish religious holidays, high stress crunch time deadlines at work and so forth and you may want to consider avoiding major holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve, event weekends or major sporting events, Mother and Father’s Day and other holidays of this nature, and of course September 11th as you want to celebrate your wedding day for years to come you don’t want it to conflict with another important date. In addition, the price of hotels, flights and car rentals can get expensive during the holidays and you want to be cognizant of your guests’ budget constraints also. Certain months may help cut down on venue rental fees but then you would have to consider that your favorite flowers might not be in season. If you want Valentine’s Day remember that the price of flowers is unbelievably expensive and can make a serious dent in your budget. The options are almost endless so here too, the “must-haves” can help you make this decision. Once you have potential dates narrowed down to a month or two you should consider whether there are any dates that are meaningful to you as a couple or as individuals such as honoring a family member who is no longer alive by getting married on their birthday or anniversary.
YOUR GUEST LIST: An important factor that will determine many things, will be who you want at the wedding. It will determine the cost of the wedding and can even determine the location and date if this is the most important aspect for you. Did you want “everyone” at the wedding or just a small intimate group consisting of close family and friends? Of course not everyone you invite will be able to attend so you should make peace with that. We have found that for the most part about 70% of invited guests will attend however the smaller the guest list the most likely you are to have almost everyone there as a small guest list usually indicate close family and friends who will make sure they attend. You cannot fit your wedding date into everyone’s schedule and at some point you are going to have to choose one so I would pick one you both want most and then communicate with loved ones and those you want in your bridal party as well as your favorite officiant to see whether that date will work for them. Once you have the preferred guest list and the date confirmed make a list of who else you would love to have at your wedding. Knowing your audience and whether they are likely to attend will be helpful with picking the location and size of the venue. If your guest list consists of friends and family who are mostly local, then you can be reasonably certain that they will attend. Don’t go down the slippery slope of asking friends if they are available! Once you have your cannot-get-married-without guest list completed, stick to it! You can always throw another party to celebrate with those who could not make it a few months later or on your first anniversary.
The most important factor that will determine the size of your wedding guest list is of course your budget but more about that in the next post. Have a wonderful week!
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Thank for spending this time with me and see you next time!