Wedding Checklist Part 2
Last week we told you about setting a wedding date early, deciding on a wedding style, setting your budget and discussing financial responsibilities. This week we'll finish up "What to do next when you get engaged" with great information about:
• Reserving Wedding Venues
• Choosing Bridal Party Attendants
• Starting your Wedding Guest List
Choosing and Reserving Wedding Venues
When budgeting for the costs of the ceremony and wedding reception venues, keep in mind that ceremony locations are usually fairly inexpensive. The following tips refer mainly to the reception venue.
• First, consider the size of your wedding. This is the most important factor in choosing a wedding venue. You should have a fairly accurate guest count (see below) in mind before looking.
• Consult your budget before beginning your search. Make sure you are clear about how much you want to spend on each location.
• Some cheap wedding reception locations include public parks or gardens, beaches and backyards. Just remember, you may still need to pay for tents, tables and chairs.
• Some fun and creative wedding reception venues are museums, zoos, restaurants, libraries and bowling allies — just use your imagination!
• Find out what each wedding venue includes in their fee, such as seating options, wedding decorations, parking, coat checks, etc.
• Try to visit potential wedding venues while they're in use to get an accurate idea of layout and logistics.
• Find out who is responsible for setting up wedding decorations and post-reception clean-up. Check out Ann's affordable wedding reception decorations.
• Discuss your wedding reception venue with caterers, florists and musicians, so they can plan accordingly.
• ALWAYS have a back-up plan for outdoor receptions, and make sure all vendors are aware of the back-up location. Let guests know by adding a note to your reception cards: "In case of rain, the reception will be held at [location]."
• Book your wedding venues early! Depending on how popular the venue is, you might be looking at a year or more in advance.
Choosing the wedding party is not an easy task, but here are a few tips for making the process a little less stressful.
• Consider the size and style of your wedding. If you're planning to keep the cost down, you'll probably choose to have a smaller affair with only one or two bridesmaids. A common rule of thumb is one bridesmaid and groomsman per 50 guests.
• Choose friends and family members who have played a significant role in your life and are important to you.
• Choose people who will be responsible. Each person in your wedding party has duties to perform or should be ready to help if needed. Choosing responsible attendants will save you a lot of stress.
• Don’t be afraid to choose attendants outside the norm. Is your best friend from college a guy? Are you closest to your fiance’s aunt? If someone is truly important to you, don’t let tradition stand in the way of your perfect wedding party.
• Be mindful of the costs of being an attendant. Tuxes, dresses, shoes and salon services can all add up for someone on a tight budget. Having a destination wedding? If you want someone to be an attendant who may not be able to afford it, offer to split or cover the costs of the dress and travel expenses. If you are having a destination wedding, it is very helpful to send Save The Date Announcements so everyone can plan in advance for travel arrangements.
• Don’t ever choose attendants out of obligation or guilt. Your wedding party should consist of people you've chosen out of love. Besides, there are many roles for friends and family, such as being ushers, greeters, personal attendants and day-of planners for the super organized! Don’t forget special thank you cards to show them your appreciation.
• When asking friends or family to be part of your wedding party, it may be thoughtful to mention that you will understand if they would rather attend the wedding as guests.
• Once you have your bridesmaids chosen, asking them can be as simple as a phone call or as thoughtful as our Maid of Honor/Bridesmaid cards (six cards total). Check out our Going to the Chapel save-the-date cards for a super cute way to ask friends to be in your wedding party. Just change the wording below your wedding date to read: to be a bridesmaid in my wedding?
Starting Your Guest List
Now that you've thought about the type of wedding you want — large and extravagant, small and intimate, or somewhere in between — it's time to decide how many people you want to invite. Here's how to start:
Create four lists starting with your closest family.
List 1: immediate family members (parents, siblings, children, grandparents)
List 2: close extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins)
List 3: closest friends
LIst 4: acquaintances and coworkers
Add them all together and if the amount equals your preferred guest total, you're finished. If it's more, you have some work to do. You can start removing names by individuals, or you can remove entire lists. Try cutting list four or cutting it off at list two with just a few close friends from list three. There's no easy way to cut names; just make sure you and your fiancé get an equal say about who is removed.
Once you have your list, you can base the number of wedding invitations needed from your guest list. Enjoy creating your guest list because these are the people who will be present to celebrate your marriage.