Did you know that each year, around 2.4 million weddings take place in the U.S.? Our culture has become consumed by wedding fever. If you aren’t actively planning a wedding, you’re probably dreaming about the wedding you’ll someday have. For that matter, you’re probably watching reality shows about weddings. To a certain degree, planning a wedding has become less about home and family, and more about competing against everyone else you know who is getting or may someday get married.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Your wedding should be about you and what you want; and you shouldn’t have to stress out about planning a wedding, at least not any more than is absolutely necessary. This is why, for many people, handling a wedding on your own has become a thing of the past. Though things like catering have long been handled by professional companies, but in this day and age it’s completely normal, and even becoming preferred, to have virtually aspects of the event taken care of by a wedding planner or wedding planning company. You would be amazed by what you can focus on when you aren’t planning your wedding. Rather than worry about the wedding venue, you can focus on the wedding experience and memories that are personal to you — like the bride picking out her gown with her friends and family, or the couple choosing their favorite flavors of cake together. Believe us when we say that the more you focus on building a strong relationship and being happy as you look forward to your wedding, the less likely you’ll be to have to look for a divorce attorney years down the line! But nonetheless, you should keep some main factors in mind when choosing a wedding planner or a wedding planning company. Let’s look into some of the topics to think about ahead of time.
What’s Your Budget?
There are a couple of schools of thought that people have surrounding the typical wedding budget. You may want to save as much money as possible, which is understandable — you will be starting your life with someone, and your life doesn’t solely concern your wedding day. But when you think about what you may want to spend your wedding budget on in the future — whether that’s new granite countertops or a master suite renovation — you should consider whether or not working on those things in the nearer future is worth sacrificing the memories you’re making now. Consider how special an engagement ring is; a wedding is a similar sort of expense. Not entirely necessary — but then again, neither is a basement remodel. Stretching your budget a little bit, if you can, and putting off other unnecessary expenses a bit further into the future, can help you have the wedding of your dreams. It’s really all about budgeting and prioritizing what is most important to you. With that being said, there are ways that you can stick to the wedding budget that you want, and perhaps the first step of doing that is choosing the right professionals to work with. You may not think that spending money on a caterer or planning has anything to do with saving money; but in reality, you’d be wrong. By working with professionals, who will have their own contacts and package deals, you’ll end up saving money in the long term. So, whether you’re saving up for a kitchen remodeling project or simply your future in general, you’ll be better off planning a wedding with people who know what they’re doing and have access to all of the resources that you may not.
What’s Your Theme?
What do you want your wedding to be like? This may be a big question, especially during the early planning stages. But the overall theme and atmosphere you want your wedding to have will determine many of your choices afterwards. For example, if you’re looking to have an autumnal wedding, you’ll want to choose a date that will provide the ideal climate. Indeed, you may even decide where you’re getting married in conjunction with planning your theme. That doesn’t just apply to your wedding venue, though of course this will have to accommodate the theme of your wedding. Many people choose specific destinations — and of course, if you decide to go with a destination wedding, you’ll want to plan as far in advance as possible. Even going to Panama City Beach for your wedding could require a good deal of planning if you’re not from Florida. Choosing a theme for your wedding is deeply personal, and is a great way to reflect your personality and that of your significant other. Of course, there is such a thing as over-doing your theme. You don’t want to lose your personality for the sake of a specific “look” or feeling, and you don’t want your wedding to seem like just any other party. Some people eschew the idea of a theme altogether — but you can inject your personality into a theme, and you can certainly incorporate your theme into the practical necessities that your wedding will require no matter what.
What Are You Doing About Food?
There are plenty of options in terms of wedding food — but you’ll want to be careful when it comes to choosing a wedding caterer. After all, there is wedding food, and then there is good wedding food. You don’t want less than appetizing meals to throw off how much your guests enjoy your wedding. Lots of people choose a specific flavor for their menu, and coordinate their meals around that. For example, if you decide to go with a Mexican theme for your menu — perhaps to match a Latin theme to your wedding — you may want to offer a variety of fajitas, as well as Mexican paletas for those who need to cool down after kicking up their feet on the dance floor. Of course, you could also skip a traditional sensibility and offer fusion meals, merging two or even more different cultures. This would be particularly special for couples who are from different cultural backgrounds. Of course, you’ll also want to consider the practicalities of the menu. Some people prefer plated meals, and caterers will usually offer set menus with an entree and dessert, as well as, in some cases, an appetizer.
But you don’t necessarily have to have a traditional sit-down dinner at your wedding — of course, depending on the timing of your wedding, you don’t even need dinner at all! Breakfast, brunch, and lunch are also all great options for weddings. With that being said, you may want to look into a buffet as well. Buffets allow people to get what they want, when they want it. It also allows for a greater variety of options. Rather than having to collect and place particular orders ahead of your wedding, you’ll be able to let your guests pick what they wish. You can have your buffet easily offer options for vegans vegetarians, meat eaters, and those with specific food allergies. They can get second helpings if they want; the choice will really be up to them. Of course, another benefit of offering a buffet is that wedding buffets are becoming more unique and specialized as weddings become more over the top. Lots of people like to offer specific “bars” at their weddings — dessert bars or candy bars where people can pick the sweets they want and their toppings, for example. They don’t have to be sweet, of course. Macaroni bars, where people can have their own particular servings of macaroni and cheese made to order right in front of them, are also growing in popularity. Trendy foods like sushi and macarons can certainly help you create a wedding that people will remember. But no matter what you decide to do about your wedding food, keep in mind that what you’re planning is ultimately your wedding. Yes, you’ll be expected to accommodate particular dietary restrictions and needs, but you’ll also be creating a menu for your own event. It should be what you want it to be.
Who Are You Inviting?
This is perhaps one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding. The fact is that the more people you invite to your wedding, the more people you’ll have to budget for. If you’re working with a tighter budget, it stands to reason that you’ll be able to spend more on what you want, versus spending on feeding and accommodating a larger number of people. You should keep in mind, however, that a wedding is a very personal event. It’s a fact of life that when certain people don’t get invited to weddings, they will take it personally. You should only invite who you want at your wedding, but be prepared to smooth things over afterwards if your great aunt is miffed that she didn’t get an invitation. Of course, some are able to split the difference in this sense. Many guests, especially those that you don’t know particularly well but do respect, may be happy to attend your wedding ceremony and skip the reception. It’s becoming more and more common for couples to send separate invitations for their wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions. Your wedding is ultimately about you, and this could be a great way of compromising, and honoring certain people while still ensuring that you’re able to afford the wedding you want — and put on the party that you want your reception to be! The fact is that wedding guest lists will always be a bit controversial. Putting together a guest is list is one of those parts of planning a wedding that will always be a little stressful, even if you work with a professional planner. But if you follow your gut and do what you want to do when planning a wedding, rather than force what is expected of you, you’ll probably be a lot happier with the end results.
When Will You Have Your Wedding?
Setting your wedding date is one of the first decisions you’ll make when planning your nuptials. Trust us when we say that you’ll want to get it out of the way as soon as possible. One of the reasons why you should prioritize handling this issue first is that it will give people time to plan their schedules and accommodate your wedding. The bigger your guest list, the sooner you’ll want to set that date. Most of the time, planning a wedding takes about a year, though a grander wedding may of course take more time. You should narrow down your range of dates, then get to your calendars and decide whether or not any of them will work for you and your highest priority guests. Another thing to keep in mind when planning your wedding is the classic wedding season, which is usually around late spring to early summer. Yes, these months usually offer great temperatures and awesome weather, but they’ll also be wedding heavy, and you may have to compete against other couples for the right venues. It may also be more expensive to get married during prime season — keep this in mind when planning a wedding.
Planning a wedding can be frustrating, and at times challenging. But keep in mind: this should be the best day of your life. Don’t let the fact that you’re in love and marrying the love of your life escape you. And do what you can to make the planning process easier — even if that means leaning on others!