Planning: Rules of Thumb

If you scour the internet, odds are you’ll find wedding advice ranging from logical to downright bonkers. But there are a few tried and true bits of guidance that most people can agree upon. A few include: 

Think long and hard before landing on a wedding date. 

You may jump at the chance to secure your dream venue, or your dream price, no matter the time of year. But careful consideration should be given to the exact date you land on. Think about the people you most want there – does that date work for them? How about weather conditions? Are there any major events in your city that will coincide with the date you desire, making parking, availability and general logistics more difficult?

Prioritize your guests. 

This day is about you and your betrothed, no doubt about it. But remember that your guests should also be a priority on your big day. Don’t make them wait outside in the heat or cold for longer than you’d be willing to endure. Ensure food and drink are ample, and served at the correct time. Additionally, make sure you’re selecting a venue that can comfortably accommodate all of your guests. 

Hire a planner.

If budget allows, a planner will greatly relieve you of some major stress – from dealing with vendors to delegating tasks, handling interpersonal disputes and everything in between. 

Utilize credit. 

Firstly, ensure your credit score is tip-top before embarking on the large financial journey that is throwing a wedding. After that, research credit card bonuses and perks, and consider signing up for the best deals. While it will take major forethought and budgeting, credit card reward points can help tremendously with airfare, honeymoons, down payments and more. 

Get ready to edit.

After getting all your ducks in a row, you’ll more than likely have to trim some fat somewhere to make the day work. This editing could look like a lot of things – from cutting down your guest list to your bridal party, dress budget, number of hors d’oeuvres or total cocktails on the menu. 

Trust the experts. 

At the end of the day, those in the wedding industry likely know more than you when it comes to planning the big day. Don’t be afraid to rely upon, or defer to, their judgment if you’re unsure about something.

What to Look For

In today’s world, we may use the term ‘red flag,’ a little too liberally. Regardless, your wedding vendors shouldn’t have any. So, what should you look for when booking these all-important vendors? 

In all vendors:

  •   A strong social media presence, or at least an up-to-date website 
  •   Up-front pricing
  •   Quick and friendly communication 
  •   Openness to suggestion/collaboration 
  •   Positive reviews

In a florist:

  •   That in-person bouquets look exactly as they do on social media
  •   A designer that can, and has, created your floral aesthetic before

In a baker:

  •   The opportunity for a cake tasting 
  •   A variety of positive feedback – not only of the cake’s appearance, but its taste and how it was delivered

In a venue: 

  •   Up-front contracts with clear language
  •   A happy and enthusiastic staff 
  •   Back-up plans or offerings in case of inclement weather or emergency

In a caterer: 

  •   A variety of positive feedback – not only of the food’s taste, but it’s appearance, temperature and delivery
  •   Competitive – but not incredibly low – pricing.

Trend Forecast 

Wedding trends seem to be changing every time you look. Experts agree that in 2024, the following will be seen more often than not: 

Mixed company:

Although the tradition conveys that the bride and groom shouldn’t see each other until the ceremony or first look, many couples are eschewing that belief in 2024. Some wedding parties are getting ready all together, while other couples opt to hang out alone with their soon-to-be-spouse before the ceremony starts. 

Late night bites:

If you’re planning a celebration that goes past 10 p.m., odds are your guests may get hungry again after dinner and drinks. Enter the late-night bite! From food trucks to pizza by the slice, many couples are bringing in another food option at the end of the evening – a sort of edible wedding favor, if you will.

Private vows:

Vows can often be incredibly personal and intimate, and more couples are realizing they’d rather keep those words between themselves. The pro of this is a shorter ceremony, meaning more time to party! 

Candid photos:

From disposable cameras on reception tables to an editorial photographer, we’re seeing a shift away from numerous posed shots and a greater focus on capturing a wedding’s beautifully unplanned moments.

Mini dresses:

Whether brides are opting for a shorter dress just for the reception or for the entire sha-bang, minis are cycling back into style.

Audio guest books:

Many creative couples are setting up a phone at the reception, where guests can ‘leave messages’ of advice and love as opposed to signing a guest book. This better captures the essence of the day, and will likely give the couple some good laughs.

More sitting:

No, we don’t mean a move away from the dance floor. Instead, you’ll likely see more wedding parties sitting down in the front row instead of beside the bride and groom. Not only does this allow the most important people to the couple to be able to see the ceremony, but it also keeps from drawing focus away from the couple. 

Etiquette 101

You’d think in the year 2024, people would know how to act at a wedding. But some things still need to be reiterated. Here are some equiette tips for anyone involved in the special day: 

For the couple:

Don’t put registry information on the wedding invitation – You’ll have plenty of time to tout your registry. Your wedding inviation isn’t the time to start. 

Always be on time – Your family and friends are working hard to help you plan your special day. Ensure that you’re always on time to showers, parties, fittings and the like so no one starts feeling slighted. 

Don’t expect guests to pay for things day-of – Many of your guests and wedding party members have likely pitched in financially before your big day, from buying new outfits to transportation costs. Don’t ask them to pay for things at the wedding itself – like a cash bar on honeypot donation.

Don’t make guests wait – Barring major emergencies or usual circumstances, your wedding and reception should start on-time.
Remember to value your guests’ time.

Avoid a singles table– Coming alone to a wedding shouldn’t be an ostracizing experience. Make sure your single guests are seated with their friends, not relegated to a table with other singles.

For parents/elders of the couple:

Don’t micromanage or make executive decisions We know, you’ve done this before and just want to help. But remember that as a parent or elder of the couple, your job is to help in the ways the couple needs you to, not how you want to help.

Be upfront about budget contributionsWhether you plan on paying for the entire shindig or aren’t able to contribute anything, don’t dance around that conversation or use your finances as a bargaining chip.

Prepare your speech in advanceNo one wants to hear a meandering speech, not even coming from the bride and groom. Make sure your delivery is well-rehearsed and succinct.

Remain positive about planning elementsSo you hate the dress, the food, or the color scheme. Oh well. Keep that to yourself! The only thing you’ll be doing is making the couple feel bad about something they enjoy. 

Don’t invite anyone that’s not on the guest listNo explanation necessary. 

For the bridal party:

Prioritize the bride or groom – A simple bit of etiquette, but something that can often be forgotten. Even if things are a bit inconvenient or over-the-top, remember that this is the special day of someone you love. Just go with it! (Within reason, of course.) 

Help plan – Everyone, even the couple, has a life outside planning this wedding. Make sure to offer as much help as your bandwidth allows. 

Be prepared to pay for certain aspects of the wedding – For most wedding party members, the celebration isn’t a free ticket to paradise. Be prepared to shell out cash on portions of the celebration, from bachelor/bachelorette parties to clothing, make-up or accessories. 

Block off the entire wedding day – Your friend’s wedding day is not the time for additional errands or obligations. From sunrise until long after sunset, your priority should be the wedding and the wedding only. 

For guests: 

RSVP on time – And if you don’t, prepare to lose your spot at the event. Most RSVPs can be made online now, no excuses!  

Stick to the registry – No, the couple probably doesn’t want a hand-painted birdhouse. They worked hard to create a registry of the things they want and need – use it! 

Stay engaged– The last thing a couple wants to see when they look out into the crowd is a bunch of people on their phones or talking to one another. Stay focused during the ceremony, and make sure to be present and social during the reception.

Don’t take any fashion risks The couple has a vision for the wedding, so make sure you stick to the recommended dress theme. No feather boas … unless requested! 

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