You are engaged and you want to shout it to the world…or at least to everyone you know! And you may be ready to hit the ground running with appointments for gowns and venues. There’s no harm in that and it’s very exciting to get started on wedding ideas, but the following three steps are a good springboard to getting prepared together as an engaged couple with a plan.
Photo: Halftone Studios
Step One should certainly be an honest discussion between you and your fiancé about the type of wedding event you would both like to have. If one of you wants to include a super long list of all the relatives and friends for a memory-making extravaganza, and the other wants to run away to a secret island for a private affair, then you may each have to compromise.
And compromise can be just the ticket. Having a small family-only ceremony followed by dinner at a great restaurant or including just the closest loved ones on a destination wedding may satisfy both partners. Hosting a larger reception gathering sometime soon after an intimate ceremony is another way to share the joy and make both sides happy. (See this Real Wedding in Durham for inspiration.)
Hopefully, if you are planning either a semi-formal or formal wedding and reception, both of you are in agreement. While you are talking over the type of event, choose a best time of year and month that will work well for your schedules.
Step Two is equally as important and is all about budget. Chat honestly with your fiancé or fiancée about how much in savings you will have available to put into the wedding day expenses.
If you feel like your families will be interested in helping out with your wedding and reception, make a time when you can talk with them about this. Gone are the days when the bride’s parents hosted everything as a traditional obligation. Many parents still do follow the custom of the bride’s folks hosting the full wedding and reception and the groom’s family taking care of a rehearsal dinner and a few wedding day costs. And in many cases, both sets of parents contribute an amount towards the wedding of their children, just as many couples host and pay for their own special day.
In all likelihood, you already know whether the wedding will be up to the two of you or a fully involved family affair.
Step Three is immensely important and again, involves you and your wonderful spouse-to-be being in sync. It’s time to make a guest list of all the people who are important to each of you and your parents.
So far, you know what type of affair the two of you would love to host. You also know a close proximity of the budget that you have to apply to the day or will have saved by the date you’ve selected.
The number of guests are divided between both the bride and groom’s families. If one side has more people to invite than their half of the decided total guest number, they can offer to pay for the extra guests. The newer etiquette considerations also allow that both sets of parents are indicated as hosts of the wedding (on the invitation) if they share the expenses, rather than just the bride’s parents.
Usually, only close friends and family are invited to weddings. Business acquaintances who are not personal friends are usually not invited. Only spouses, betrothed or significant others of those on your invitation list must be included. But certainly, if you have an ample budget, you may invite co-workers and allow every single friend to bring a guest! Your guest list may shorten or lengthen as you continue shopping for your wedding depending on your venue selection, food choices and other amenities for the day (remember to hold on save-the-dates until the list is finalized).
With these three major steps, you’ve done the basics to prepare for the exciting part of planning a wedding that is just right for the two of you!
Photo: Joe Payne Photography