I have never personally planned a wedding, but ever since the beginning of college I have been fascinated by them. I am going to preface this blog post by reminding everyone that these are just my opinions, and a wedding is your big day; make it as personal as you want. So, that said, here are some ways to make your wedding spectacular, and some common mistake to try and avoid. (Part 1: Dress and Theme here.)
This, in my opinion, is the one part of the wedding that couples should splurge on. A great venue can make all the other parts of the wedding easier simply because most great venues have tools in place to make weddings seamless.
My tips for the venue:
Do lots and lots of research. Having a couple venue options will allow you to relax a little bit if one of them is unavailable. Also, doing research into typical pricing in your area for the size of the party you are having can help you get the best deal. Researching your area can also help you find a surprising and unique place that you may not have thought of.
Don’t reserve the venue the first time you visit or even the second time. Visiting the venue at different times of the day/year ensures that the atmosphere is really what you want.
Do ask a lot of questions, even if they seem dumb. Does the venue allow outside food? Who is responsible of set up/ tear down? Do you offer any additional services, e.g. flowers, decorations, even a fill fledged wedding planner? What is the maximum capacity? What does the price include (preferably itemized out)? What is the parking situation like? What is the time limit, and what happens if we go over? If it is an outdoor venue, what is the backup plan in case of less than ideal weather? Asking every question you can possibly think of, and some you haven’t yet ensures that you know exactly what you are getting out of your venue.
Do pick a place that fits your theme or is special to you and your partner or both. This is a party celebrating you guys so make sure you have it somewhere that makes you happy. Hopefully, you will be able to afford your dream venue, and even if you can’t you can make your venue a dream with the right team.
Do decide if you’re going to need more than one venue before starting the hunt. It’s possible that you may want a different venue for the ceremony than the reception. If you are doing this, make sure you come up with a plan to get guests from one place to the other. Using just one venue is a generally more cost effective option, but it adds a layer of complexity because the space needs to be changed between the two events. Two venues can be a challenge, but can also provide couples with a necessary gap between the ceremony and reception.
The Wedding Party:
For some, the wedding party is the simplest and easiest part of the wedding, but for others it can be a struggle. Different personal styles, too many candidates, and difficult to please personalities can give even the most relaxed couple an anxiety attack. The number one piece of advice that I want you to give is that you need to remind your wedding party that it is your wedding, not theirs.
My tips for the wedding party:
Do ask the party members at around the same time. This makes it easier on both the couple and the members of the wedding party because it streamlines the process. It also means that you can celebrate with them all at once.
Don’t try to have everyone you know in the wedding party. If you have so many friends that your wedding party could easily be 8 or 9 pairs, maybe consider only having family in it. Or if you want, only have friends you’ve known since childhood. There are other roles that your friends can play like readers and ushers. If someone is unhappy with your decision just gently remind them that this is your wedding and although you dearly want them to come, they don’t have to.
Do take their ideas and tastes into consideration. Try your best to please everyone, but always remember that you probably will not be able to. These people are hopefully your friends and family, you don’t want to alienate anyone. Also, your wedding party can be a treasure trove of ideas if you get stuck.
Do rely on your wedding party. They are there to make your life easier. So, let them. You should allow them to take over on the day of the wedding so that you don’t have to do anything. If they are thrifty or good at DIYs let them help with the center pieces and decorations. The people in your wedding party love you, and want to make your day awesome. Just always remember that.
Don’t forget to thank them. Write them a heartfelt letter; get them a gift; or even just a hug and thank you. These people love you and have probably been there for you through the crazy process of planning a wedding. They were there when you melted down about the venue or had doubts about your flowers. They deserve to be thanked in the most wonderful way.