I’ve previously talked about things to remember when planning a wedding. The fact is the topic is just about endless. Weddings are huge deals. Even small weddings require a lot of planning. With that in mind, here are some more things to think about when planning the big day.
Save the Date Cards
Consider save the date cards. Many people find them unnecessary, seeing them as overlapping in function with invitations. However, there is an important difference. Invitations request an RSVP, at which point the guest is making a commitment to attend. Save the date cards simply alert guests to the upcoming event so they can make appropriate plans, plans that are easier to address six months out than two or three months out, when invitations are mailed.
Save the date cards should make it clear who is invited. Rather than saying “The Smith Family,” everyone should be named, just like on an invitation. That way there’s no question as to whether the children are welcome, if a guest is acceptable, etc.
You need to know the time and general location of the wedding before sending out a save the date card. You might not have the reception hall booked yet, but you need to know what city you’ll be in, so people can make travel plans.
Every aspect of a wedding can book up fast: reception halls, churches, caterers, photographers and so on. Get planning early. For a large wedding, it’s best to start a year in advance. Reception halls generally book up first, so it’s the best place to start planning. Reserve the hall and then work everything else around it.
Set a Budget
Whether the wedding is big or small, you need a budget. Everything you look at will have a more expensive alternative, and you need to know your limits.
It’s not enough to just have an overall price in mind. Divide the budget into categories: reception and catering, dress, cake, flowers, etc.
Together, expect the reception hall, caterer and bar to take up half the budget. Because some halls require you to use their caterer in exchange for low rates, it makes sense to budget these issues together.
Of course, there is some internal wiggle room. If your heart is set on a more expensive dress, consider limiting the flowers or using less elaborate invitations. But stick to the overall budget. It’s very easy to go into debt with a wedding.
Spend Serious Time on Ceremony Planning
The actual ceremony is the most important moment of a wedding, and it shouldn’t be casually approached. Both partners need to express their wishes and not presume they know what the other wants. This can be particularly important when partners are coming from different faiths or have differing opinions on how religious a wedding ceremony should be. Compromise is a cornerstone of marriage, and finding an acceptable wedding ceremony can be a foundational exercise of compromise.
Weddings are complicated affairs, and planning is key. Start early, and make sure you have at least a rough road map of the planning process. Communicate with each other and with guests to avoid undo confusion and stress, leading to a truly memorable wedding day.